Easy Peasy Lunchboxes
The importance of a healthy, varied diet is well known, but not always easy to put into practice – especially for fussy kids. Amongst the pressures of ‘nude food’, creating yummy homemade snacks and including plenty of fruit and veg, which specific nutritional areas should parents be focusing on in the challenge to pack the ‘perfect’ school lunch box?
Well, we’ve pulled together some of our favourite, easy tips to build a healthy, dietitian-approved lunch box, sure to nourish the growing bodies and minds of little (and big) people – and be the envy of all the kids in the playground!
Build minds and muscles with Protein
Protein is essential for healthy growth and development in young children. We can get protein from a variety of sources, so get creative with this in the lunch box. Try tinned tuna, store-bought roast chicken, seeds, cheese (we love feta on some crackers!) and yoghurt or yoghurt-based dips, such as tzatziki. Legumes and beans are also great alternative sources of protein; kids will love a simple hummus, or for the more adventurous try some yummy edamame beans.
Make a rainbow with Fruit & Veg
Don’t let fruit and veg become boring. Including a variety of colour and mixing it up constantly improves gut health and introduces a wide variety of vitamins and minerals to your child’s diet. Think outside the lunch box and get creative! Coleslaw or chargrilled corn on the cob are favourites for children, and we love getting the kids involved by letting them choose a different coloured vegetable every day of the week for dipping into their hummus or tzatziki (think capsicum, cucumber and celery sticks or crunchy green beans…the options are endless). Left over roast veggies from the night before are always a quick way to introduce some new options into the lunch box – how about trying some roast cauliflower and sweet potato as a tasty snack? Finally, choose fruits that are easy for kids to enjoy (and don’t involve messy peeling or cutting up); blueberries, apples and pears or banana are all great.
Focus on Fibre
Good sources of fibre are key in keeping tummies happy and healthy; playing an important role in ensuring busy bodies are well fuelled throughout the school day. Think whole grains, fruit and vegetables, which you can mix up by including grain-filled crackers (try Carman’s range of Super Seed & Grain Crackers) with fun toppings and dips including avocado, tomato and cheese. A good quality, tasty muesli bar such as Carman’s Dark Choc, Cherry & Coconut Muesli Bars, or a Belgian Choc or Cranberry & Blueberry Oat Slice make for a fibre-rich, healthy sweet treat the kids will love.