Teachers often say to me that some children’s lunchboxes only consist of packaged food – for example packets of chips, sweet biscuits and chocolate bars. So this got me thinking. Were parents thinking this approach was cheaper or were there time factors involved, or were they just out of lunchbox ideas?
Well, help is at hand! Lunchboxes that are nutritious and provide children with the necessary foods for functioning and good growth (mind and body) do not need to be expensive, or take loads of time to prepare. That is absolutely a myth. So, here are some of my suggestions ...
Diane Stride's Top Tips For Healthy Lunchboxes
Protein For Healthy Lunchboxes
- Peanut, almond or cashew butter, or my favourite ... hummus
- Meat – leftovers from the night before are good. Maybe some pieces of chicken, beef, meatballs, ham, sausages (from the butcher, not the very processed ones)
- By the way, for proteins in summer conditions, it's important to include a slicker pad in your kids' lunchboxes to keep protein cool. Place slicker pads in a zip-lock bag to avoid soggy food
- Boiled eggs – hard boiled and peeled for ease of eating ;)
Fillers For Healthy Lunchboxes
- Bread, rolls, wraps or pita pockets – wholegrain is better in my opinion, often much less sugar
- Home baking – homemade muesli bars and muffins made with almond flour if you need to increase protein intake
- Pre-boiled Pasta – but not dry 2-minute noodles!
- Rice, quinoa or couscous salads – kids love this stuff!
Nutrient Dense Foods For Healthy Lunchboxes
- Capsicum or carrots – cut into pieces
- Cherry tomatoes – whole
- Cucumber – sticks or rounds
- Dried apricots – whole
- Avocado – sliced in half, wrapped and supplied with utensil to eat
- Fruit – cut any way you like
- Gherkins – yum!
In A Nutshell, Please Think About Good Nutrition For Your Kids
Let your imagination run wild and you'll see how much satisfaction you'll get when you see a lunchbox filled with colour and whole foods that comes home empty day after day after day ... honestly it works!
Diane Stride is a New Zealand-registered dietitian and nutritionist, working out of the Village Health Centre in Havelock North, Hawke's Bay.
CLICK HERE for Diane's contact details and clinic hours. Or BOOK NOW online!