Packed Lunch Ideas: Read Our 10 Tips For Packing A Healthy Lunchbox For Kids
Read Our 10 Tips For Packing A Healthy Lunchbox For Kids
Do you find it difficult to keep your children's lunchboxes healthy but also exciting enough for them to eat?
You're not alone! Gather some packed lunch ideas from our parent's guide to packing a healthy lunchbox.
Make A Packed Lunch They Will Love
School dinners are currently free for children aged from four-seven in state-funded UK primary schools. Certain criteria mean your child might qualify for a free hot lunch beyond that.
But if you have an older child, or your child prefers a packed lunch, you might opt for a packed lunchbox instead of school dinners.
It can be difficult to come up with different packed lunch ideas every day. Our guide to packing a healthy lunchbox will give you simple ideas on how you can include variety of different foods, so your child doesn't become bored.
Ten Tips For Packing A Healthy Lunchbox
First off, if mealtimes are a struggle, make sure you read our guide to dealing with fussy eaters. It can help to try and include your child in preparing their lunch boxes each day. If they help to choose the foods they like at the supermarket, and are also involved in preparing the food, it might encourage them to eat it.
1. Try to include each of the main groups in their lunchbox:
- Breads and cereals
- Fruit and vegetables
- Milk and dairy products
2. Limit the intake of unhealthy fats and sugar:
It's likely your school will have guidelines on what you can and can't include, but try and stay away from too much fat or sugar.
If you make your own cakes, try cutting down the amount of sugar and replace it with honey or dried fruits.
When adding meats as fillings, try and use fresh lean meat and not processed meats. It might be a little less convenient, but you'll be cutting out a lot of fat and salt.
3. Mix up the bread
A good packed lunch idea is to not to stick to the same boring bread. Try wholemeal bread, pitta bread pockets, tortilla wraps, French sticks or bagels.
4. Vary sandwich fillings daily
Cheese sandwiches every day of the week can get a bit boring! Try one of the following:
- Tuna (in brine) with sweetcorn, cucumber and reduced fat mayonnaise
- Roast chicken salad
- Cheese salad
- Egg mayonnaise and tomato
- Humus and peppers
5. Or offer an alternative to sandwiches
Alternatively, try and give different foods to break the sandwich routine. These could include:
- Small slice of plain or vegetable pizza
- Mixed vegetable and rice salad
- Small piece of quiche
- Kebabs with a yogurt dip
- Pasta with salad and grilled chicken or tuna
- Roasted vegetables and chicken in a tortilla wrap with salsa
6. Add a semi-sweet or savoury item
Include a semi-sweet or savoury item for after the main meal. Always check with your school first as they might have strict guidelines on what's allowed. Examples of things you could include are:
- Currant bun
- Low sugar cereal bar (check for nut-free healthy alternatives that don't contain chocolate or sugar)
- Small muffin
- Small portion of unsalted nuts and currants.
7. Add a dairy product as an extra source of calcium
For a different packed lunch idea, why not try:
- Cheese sticks or Babybel
- Small pot of low fat fruit yogurt
- Small pot of fromage frais
8. Don't Forget Veg
Don't forget to include at least one portion of fruit or vegetables to help achieve the recommended five a day! You could try:
- Cherry tomatoes, sliced in half lengthways
- Carrot and cucumber sticks
- Small lunchbox veg, e.g. mini whole cucumbers
- Sliced peppers
9. And Fruit
- Piece of fruit e.g. apple, banana, satsuma or peach
- Small handful of chopped grapes or soft berries
- Slices of melon
- Small portion of dried fruit. A small box of raisins or 3 dried apricots counts as one portion of the 5 a day recommendation.
10. Make Sure They Keep Hydrated
It is important for your child to keep hydrated throughout the day. Make sure they have a water bottle at school and take regular drinks.
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