Lunch is an important meal that needs to be filling, nutritious and contain a good balance of the food groups to enable children to learn and engage positively for the rest of the school day. But coming up with school lunchbox ideas can be a thankless task. It needs to be quick and easy to assemble with as little fuss as possible. But what exactly constitutes a healthy packed lunch?
A healthy lunchbox needs to contain:
- Starchy foods – wholemeal roll, wraps, pasta, rice, couscous
- Fruit & vegetables – At least one portion (but this isn’t as much as you might think)
- Dairy – milk, cheese or yoghurt
- Protein – beans, lean meat, eggs
Try to be inventive and make things look pretty, cutting sandwiches into different shapes or making a funny face if you have time. Also, try involving your children, they are much more likely to eat it if they have had a say in whats in there in the first place.
This doesn’t mean giving into demands for chocolate but giving a choice “would you like a satsuma or a banana today?”
To make it easier here are some suggestions for you:
- Tuna bagel with sweetcorn and mayonnaise, a drink of milk, a satsuma and a small handful of raisins
- Couscous salad with cheese cubes, chopped cucumber, red pepper, a drink of water and a banana
- Chicken, lettuce and tomato wrap with Greek yoghurt and chopped fruit, a drink of water
- Egg and cress sandwich, popcorn, satsuma pieces dipped in chocolate, drink of milk
- Strawberry and cream cheese bagel, houmous and crudites, sliced carrot and cucumber, drink of water
You can also include dried fruit like a small handful raisins or apricots and they come in super handy when you are short on time, cubes of cheese and apple work well but squeeze some lemon over the top to prevent it turning brown. Homemade flapjacks, oat bars and muffins are also great options and means you can also get the kids involved in baking them if you wish. Malt loaf, banana bread and rice pudding would also be lovely options to help you mix things up a bit.
As you can see there’s nothing special or complicated about the foods I’ve included, you just need a little bit of planning when you do the weekly shop. Do you have any ideas of your own?
If you found this useful you may also enjoy reading my ‘5 Top Tips to Get Your Kids Eating Dinner’