It is possible to provide your child with a lunch box filled with nutritious and balanced food that will actually come home empty. A little inspiration is all that’s needed to prepare school lunches bursting with goodness! Below are a few helpful tips to get you started.
Keep it interesting
Using a Bento-type lunch box or separate containers will enhance your child’s experience of healthy options and the opportunity to create her own food combinations. She can enjoy her own mini picnic straight out of the lunchbox!
Make the most of leftovers
Cook extra at night so there are plenty of delicious leftovers for lunch the next day. A tasty meat ball wrapped up in a lettuce leaf, cold roasted vegetables, fried rice or a chicken drumstick are a welcome respite from a wearisome parade of endless sandwiches.
Jazz up fruit and veggies
Fresh fruit and vegetables should always be included. Chopped up veggie sticks or strips are great for the lunch box as kids forget that they’re veggies! A handful of cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas, celery, capsicum, carrot or cucumber sticks are popular additions in the lunchbox. Offer different seasonal fruits for a change in flavour, colour and texture. Cutting up softer fruit and putting it into a smaller container for protection works well. Frozen fruit in the summer or for sport days is always well received!
Putting corn thins, rice cakes or cruskits with half an avocado, a small pot of hummus, cream cheese or salsa helps spice up a lunch box. Natural yoghurt with honey stirred through is a great dipping sauce for any fruit.
Include a tantalizing healthy treat
Aim to make your own muesli bars, biscuits, muffins or truffles. It’s not that difficult once you’ve got a few quick and healthy recipes up your sleeve. This will ensure that your child gets a treat without too much sugar and additives. Get started by tapping into the delicious recipes by Eleanor, blogger of Petite-Kitchen. http://www.petite-kitchen.com/2013/05/whats-in-my-kids-lunchbox.html
Keep it real
Keep pre-packaged & processed snacks to a minimum for kids and focus on real food. Consider a cold boiled egg, cubed pieces of cheese, a small tin of ‘salt reduced’ baked beans, corn or tuna. Other ideas include homemade popcorn, pikelets or create your own trail mix. Stick with whole-grain breads, pitas and tortillas for sandwiches. By avoiding processed foods, your child’s lunchbox will contain an abundance of nutrients without the unhealthy additives.
A hit of protein
Include a serve of protein in your child’s lunchbox. Kids need protein to help them build and repair their growing bodies as well as provide them with loads of energy. Protein rich foods include lean meat, fish, egg, dairy, nuts/seeds, legumes/pulses and whole-grains.
Stick with water in the drink bottle
Most juices are full of sugar and make the drink bottle smelly. Water is the best way to stay hydrated and will also help keep the family dentist away.
For more ideas and advice contact our onsite naturopath and nutritionist Sally Officer 0404 010 600 www.greenleaf.net.au