What your little one eats in the middle of the day is so important, and you can control what goes in there if they’re heading into school with a packed lunch. Whether you’ve run out of ideas, need some advice or feel like you don’t have the time to prepare healthy midday meals, here are six quick and easy lunch ideas for kids to help you on your way.
1. Fruit and veg pots
Quick, easy and oh so nutritious! Rather than chuck in a single piece of fruit that they may or may not eat, mix it up with a selection of sliced pieces. Apples, bananas, berries… whatever you know they ‘ll eat. Do the same thing with veg in another pot – try carrot sticks, tomatoes, cucumber slices… again, whatever they’re likely to enjoy.
The best thing about giving them options is they are far more likely to eat some of the goodness, and what they bring back you can whizz up in an afterschool smoothie.
Choose live yogurt as it’s full of healthy bacteria for your little one’s gut. There are plenty of options in the shops, but it’s easy to make your own too – combining a couple of tablespoons of natural yogurt with a mix of chopped nuts, berries and seeds if that’s what they like. Just make sure you use a pot that clicks shut and is secure.
No worries if they’re dairy intolerant or have other dietary requirements, there are plenty of great substitutes out there nowadays.
This is a really important part of any healthy lunch box. Ideas such as chicken slices, ham, tuna and vegetarian protein are all great choices and fairly obvious. However, sometimes you have to be a little sneakier and load up their lunch box with other sources of protein like cheese, the above-mentioned yogurt and nuts.
Familiarise yourself with high protein content foods that aren’t immediately obvious and you’ll give yourself so many options.
4. Complex carbs
This is mainly about the bread you choose for your child’s sandwich, roll or wrap. The rule of thumb is to steer clear of processed white bread and choose wholemeal or wholegrain versions. Mix it up with a variety of different sliced breads, pittas and tortillas and pack them out with healthy fillings.
As an alternative to bread, you could use leftovers from the previous evening’s meals – pasta, rice and cous cous are all great options to keep your kids fuelled for the afternoon.
5. Dips and crackers
Variety is a key part of healthy lunch box ideas, with dips and crackers offering the chance to mix things up. Tomato salsa, humus, guacamole… there are plenty of healthy options. It’s great if you can make your own – a big batch will save time in the long run – or there are always plenty of healthy options on the shelves.
Cracker-wise, again it’s best to steer clear of the simple white versions and pick out a range of grain-filled crispy bites.
6. The treat!
No child’s lunchbox is complete without a treat, and if they see fruit or yogurt as a special option then that’s great! However, the majority will probably be looking for a biscuit or cake.
Yes, there are plenty of low-sugar options in the shops, but learning to make homemade treats like granola bars, wholemeal muffins and no-butter biscuits allow you to control every ingredient. The time you take learning recipes and baking batches initially will save you time in the long run, and you’ll feel good about the treats you’re giving your little one.
So if you want to know that your child is eating well, give these healthy lunchbox ideas a try. To keep up with the latest news on delicious recipes please read more here.