Tackle the impossible with these simple lunchbox solutions that are tasty, healthy and low waste too.
The importance of mid-day nutrition often gets overlooked. Children have high energy requirements, so they need nutrient dense foods that will fuel their brains and bodies. Research shows that a nutritious lunch improves behaviour and concentration in the classroom, as well as, strengthens immunity, supports overall wellbeing and lowers the risk of obesity.
Use these guidelines to make the impossible, possible.
- Plan ahead
This is the key to packing consistent, healthy lunches. To avoid the morning rush, do the prep work and lunch selections on the weekend. Check in to see what they liked/didn’t like from the previous week. Leftovers make great lunches: homemade pizza, frittata, pasta or roasted vegetables are a super-fast healthy lunch.
2. Have a baking day
Choose a day to bake each week and involve the children if possible, most likely on the weekend. We love these low sugar recipes: Tahini Oat Biscuits, Coconut Banana Bread, Granola Bars, Healthy Bliss Balls and Popcorn Balls. Wrap and freeze individual servings that are easy to grab in the morning and keep the lunchbox cool too.
3. Get your kids involved
When kids get to choose what they get, they are happier to eat it. Get them in the kitchen, preparing and packing lunches. For younger kids ask “Almonds or bliss balls”? “Carrots or cucumber”?
4. Make your own “pre packs”
Take a few minutes to wash, prep and chop fresh fruits and veggies once a week. Packing them in containers helps make the morning rush less chaotic. Prep single servings of crackers, corn chips, granola and trail mix in small reusable containers.
5. Go plastic free
Invest in a high-quality lunchbox with compartments and save later. This allows for small, loose portions to suit your child’s appetite without using extra wrapping or single serve packaging. Use beeswax wraps to keep sandwiches or wraps fresh.
6. The well-balanced lunchbox
To help power an afternoon of learning and growing, a nutritious lunch should include a lot of fibre and whole grains, some protein and healthy fat, a veggie, a piece of fresh fruit and occasionally a little treat.
7. Eat the rainbow
Encourage your kids to eat fresh fruit and veggies of every colour. The lunch box should include at least one colour. If the lunch is all brown, add veggie sticks and beetroot hummus.
8. Organic where possible
Research shows organic food is healthier, however it may not always be an option. A good place to start is the EWG list of the 12 most important foods to eat organic. Did you know you can get fresh, organic produce delivered to your door?
Shake up the Sandwich Scene with these Fresh Ideas:
- Wraps, pita and bagels offer endless options. Possible fillings include: tahini, honey and banana; hummus with veggies such as spinach, lettuce, shredded carrot or cabbage, sliced cucumber or cherry tomatoes; nut butter, raisins and sliced apple.
- Kids love dipping – send them off to school with guacamole, hummus or carrot dip with crackers or veggie sticks. Spread these dips into wraps for added nutrition.
- Mini kebabs are fun to eat. Fruit is popular, but savoury kababs are more filling. Try cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cubes, basil leaves and cucumber or salami, cheese cubes and pineapple pieces. These keep better in cooler weather.
- How about an apple sandwich? Slice an apple into rounds, spread with nut butter, sprinkle with granola and top with another apple slice
- Tuna salad with grated carrots, served with crackers or in a pita.
- Little pancakes are great finger foods and can be loaded with healthy ingredients.
- Celery slices filled with nut butter and topped with raisons.
- Hard-boiled egg, either whole or mashed with mayo and used in a sandwich.
- Trail mix with shredded coconut, nuts, seeds and a little dried fruit.
- Rice or corn cracker sandwiches made with tahini and shredded coconut.
- Making your own sushi allows you to use ingredients your kids will eat. Try our super-fast and easy Cheat Sushi.