Healthy Back to School Lunchboxes Healthy lunches and snacks are extra important for school-aged children as they need to replenish to assist concentration and help aid learning whilst at school. Healthy lunches can be easy to make and if you involve your children in the preparation they are more likely to continue making healthy choices and enjoy eating their lunch! If you make lunch fun children are more likely to stop to eat rather than choosing the playground or running off with their friends.
There are a number of things you can do to make a lunch box more exciting:
Try mixing up what you put in the lunch box, don't always have the same thing, children will get bored with food very easily. There are many ideas for lunches. Use leftovers from the night before, cook up some extra pumpkin and add that to sandwiches for a change.
Involve your child in preparing their lunch box, be creative together and cut sandwiches into shapes. Ask your child what they would like on their sandwich and ask them to help put the sandwich together. Choose different types of bread to use- wholemeal, mixed grain, rye or hi-fibre.
Add a joke in the lunchbox- there are hundreds of jokes online, choose a couple and write them out, then place them in the lunchbox everyday, this will ensure children open their lunchboxes!
Make easy-to-eat foods such as chopped and peeled fruit or fruit salad and vegetables chopped into sticks.
You can label, 1, 2, 3, the order your child should eat their lunch- this is fun for them and it also helps incorporate a small treat for lunch!
And, choose colourful lunchboxes that allow you to store ice blocks to keep lunches cool on hot days.
It is hard to always mix up what you put in a lunch box, below are some ideas of lunch box foods to incorporate that are healthy, fun and easy!
Dairy: add milk, yoghurt and cheese. Milk comes in small containers with a straw perfect for lunch boxes and cheese can be put on biscuits or eaten alone. In the dairy section of the supermarket there are a variety of different yoghurts with fun characters and great flavours.
Fruit: you can put any fruit in a lunch box, kids are more likely to eat the fruit if it is already chopped and if need be, peeled. If you are short on time, choose tinned fruits. You can also buy dried fruit, mix together the fruit and then put in a snap lock bag, or buy pre-mixed boxes for an occasional change.
Vegetables: all vegetables are great; chop the veggies so they are ready to be eaten. If you child is older add containers of dip, that carrots and celery can be dipped in. Cherry tomatoes and diced cucumber can appeal to children for recess as they are quick to eat.
Lunch: don't always send a sandwich- mix it up with bread wraps, tortillas, noodles, rice wraps, bagels, flat bread, pikelets, foccacias, rice cakes, biscuits and cold leftovers.
Meat: try to combine a cold meat into the lunchbox, either in a sandwich or wrap. Tuna and salmon are also great for lunch boxes.
Drinks: give your child lots of water; try to not place fruit juice in their lunchbox. For an alternative to water have plain milk.
Treats: make your own muffins, this way they will be lower in sugar and fat. Even try vegetable muffins as a substitute of a sandwich. Muesli bars are great for energy but it is important you check the sugar/fat content first!