A healthy lunchbox takes planning
1. Organisation is Key!
If you’d like to reduce your reliance on processed snacks or foods in wrappers, then a simple plan can do wonders for helping you stay on top of the lunch preparation and include plenty of whole fresh foods.
2. Keep it Simple
The pressure to pull together something fancy for the school lunch box is real, but it doesn’t have to be fancy to be healthy. You can’t go wrong with a sandwich, piece of fruit, vegetable sticks, some grainy crackers and a tub of yoghurt!
If you commit to make one small change to your kid’s lunch box each month, and then repeat that new habit for a couple of weeks, you’d be surprised with how much variety your kids would embrace over a whole year.
Take the pressure off to create a new lunch every day. Variety doesn’t need to be huge but change at least one item each week to avoid boredom, and so that your kids don’t get ‘stuck’ only wanting to eat the same thing every day.
4. Pack Lunchbox the Night Before
School mornings are busy! Make life easier for yourself and pack the lunchboxes the night before. If you’re already in the kitchen cooking dinner, kill two birds with one stone and make the lunches as well. Trust me, you’ll feel so good when you wake up tomorrow, knowing the school lunches are done!
5. Keep it Cold
Warm yoghurt and half-melted cheese sandwiches are not fun for anyone. It’s worth investing in a good insulated lunchbox and keeping an ice pack or two on high rotation, especially during terms 1 and 4.
Freeze drink bottles as an extra ice block that will still be cold to drink by lunch time. Your kids will love you for it!
6. Minimise the Packaging
Little ones, Year 2 and under, may have difficulty with opening some packaging. Plan foods that use as little packaging as possible. They make for easy access for younger kids, and it’s also good for the environment.
7. Cover the Food Groups
Offering something from each of the different foods groups ensures good nutritional variety in your kid’s day. Here are some ideas:
Lunch Box #1:
- wholemeal sandwich with vegemite and cheese
- carrot and celery sticks with hummus
- 1blood orange and poppy seed muffin
Lunch Box #2:
- 1 serve of zucchini slice (use wholemeal flour to boost the fibre)
- apple slices
- 100g tub of yoghurt
- small container of cherry tomatoes
- small handful of dried apricots
8. Cook in Bulk
Do some home-baking over the weekend (click here for ideas). The goodies can be stored in an airtight container for a few days or frozen, so that you will never be short of something to pop in the lunchbox.
9. Choose Whole Foods over Processed
One of the simplest ways to ensure your kids are getting all the nutrition they need is by regularly including whole foods in their lunch box.
Think chicken breast instead of ham, fresh fruit instead of fruit roll ups, wholegrain bread instead of white bread, vegetables instead of biscuits and chips.
10. Water to drink
Sugary drinks are not necessary for children and can have detrimental effects on their health long term. Help your children establish good habits by learning to enjoy plain water if they are thirsty.
If you’re looking for more help with kid’s meals or support in implementing strategies, need some extra inspiration, or would like some individualised advice on healthy eating, book in with one of our experienced dietitians online at The Healthy Eating Clinic or call us on 6174 4663.