It’s easy to get a little lazy when it comes to day-to-day chores, including making the kid’s packed lunch. It isn’t easy to come up with new and exciting options that your child likes, as well as ensuring that they contain all the vitamins and nutrients they need.
To help provide a little inspiration, we spoke to two mummy bloggers about what they tend to pack in their child’s lunch box… and then asked a nutritionist to see whether we’re on the right track.
Alison, from Not Another Mummy Blog, keeps to simple and healthy items that she knows her daughter will eat.
“It’s so important to give our kids healthy lunches, and whether it’s for a day out or during the school day, it’s easy to make a tasty and nutritious packed lunch.
“I usually pack a ham or cheese sandwich with brown bread and cherry tomatoes, some fruit (my four-year-old’s favourites are grapes, watermelon and mango) and a yogurt to provide some calcium. We usually give her a bottle of water too, but at the moment she is loving coconut water, so for a treat she’ll be given one of these.
“It’s tempting to put crisps and chocolate in a packed lunch but we try to keep these for parties and treats, otherwise she’d ask for them all the time! Of course, it’s hit or miss whether our little one will eat all of her lunch – when we’re with her, we encourage her to take a bite out of each thing, in turn, which she finds fun and encourages her to eat the healthy stuff!”
Deborah, from Metropolitan Mum blog finds that getting her girls involved in the preparation makes them more enthusiastic about healthy foods.
“As I am trying to keep the girls’ diet mainly free from refined sugars and low on processed foods, a lot of what goes into their lunch boxes has to be made from scratch. A source of protein, a portion of vegetables and another portion of slow-releasing carbs make for a balanced meal that will keep their blood sugar levels stable, helping them to remain alert throughout the day.
I usually get the girls to help me the evening before. That way, they feel involved and it’s meant that they have taken a liking to foods that they haven’t touched before.
My top tip would be to cook a bigger batch of what you are having for dinner and save some for the lunch boxes. Some of their favourite packed lunches consist of quinoa with broccoli and diced chicken; brown rice with tomatoes, mozzarella and basil and whole wheat pasta with tuna and sweetcorn.
If I’m pushed for time, then I’ll rustle up some quick fixes, like a smoked salmon wrap with cream cheese, lemon and dill in whole wheat tortilla or cucumber and carrot sticks with whole wheat pita and hummus.
Anjali, the nutritionist behind the Picky Eater Blog gave us some of her top tips to make sure we’re on the right track when it comes to prepping our kids’ lunchboxes.
“Packing your child’s lunchbox can often get lost in the hustle and bustle of getting your kids ready and out of the house every morning. Here are some tips to keep your child’s lunchbox healthy, while keeping it interesting and delicious, so they are excited to eat their home-made lunch every day:
- As a general rule, mix whole grains with a lean protein, fresh fruits and veggies, and a sensible (small) treat to create a well-rounded meal.
- Kids love pizza, so try making mini pizzas out of whole wheat pitas, topped with low fat mozzarella and your child’s favourite veggies. Cut into slices and pack along with some carrot sticks, hummus and half of a granola bar for a treat.
- Low fat Greek yogurt mixed with fruit and one tablespoon of granola is a sweet and healthy treat that kids will love. Pack something like this, alongside a simple sandwich filled with veggies and lean protein and you’ll be good to go.
- Respect your child’s eating style and preferences. If there are certain veggies or fruits that they love, pack them with their meal to ensure that they eat it. If they are refusing fruits and veggies altogether, sneak them into their cooked meals by using purees and they won’t even know they are eating healthily!”
How does your child’s lunchbox compare to those outlined above? Do you tend to stick to the rules or are you guilty of slipping them a few too many treats from time-to-time? Let us know what you put in your child’s lunchbox in the comment box below.