Healthy Lunch Box Options for Kids (published in Families magazine)

Lunch boxes should contain a good balance of the three key food groups of protein which provides the building blocks for the body, “good” carbohydrate to provide sustainable energy and fibre for digestive health and “good” fats (omega 3 and 6) for optimum brain development; all essential for developing a healthy body and mind.

See below for some well-balanced healthy lunch box tips:

  • Wholemeal Bread Sandwich with Tuna, Sweetcorn and Coleslaw filling Why? The high fibre in wholemeal bread provides sustainable energy, tuna provides both protein and “good fats” with sweetcorn and coleslaw providing vitamins, minerals and fibre.  (try making coleslaw with finely shredded red cabbage and carrot, a handful of sultanas and small amount of low-fat mayonnaise for an attractive, tasty, nutritious “slaw”).

  • Go for the wholemeal options where possible for bread/pasta and rice rather than white; white versions provide little nutritional value and can contribute to energy highs and lows due to their lack of fibre, whereas wholemeal versions provide sustainable energy and a wide range of vitamins and minerals, plus their high fibre content keeps kids fuller for longer, so they’re less likely to reach for those sugary snacks.

  • If kids are used to white bread, try introducing them to wholemeal by first using the “half white/half wholemeal” breads available, then move onto wholemeal

  • Children are attracted by vibrant colours so alternate colourful easy-to-eat fruits e.g. blueberries, tangerine segments, small apples and strips of crunchy pepper, carrot and in lunch boxes

  • Get kids involved with growing; cress, lettuce leaves and pea shoots are ideal to start with in a window box any time of the year; these can all be added raw to salads/pasta.  If they’ve been involved in the growing, children tend to be keen to eat what they’ve produced!

  • Brown Rice/Corn/Vegetable Pasta (these come in a variety of attractive colours available in most supermarkets and health stores) mixed with flaked poached salmon and peas, with a sprinkling of grated cheese on top; a colourful, nutritious option.  Why? Sustainable energy from the pasta, protein provided by the salmon and cheese, “good fats” from the salmon and fibre, vitamins and minerals from the peas

  • Keep children hydrated; the brain and body can’t function without adequate water.  Avoid the sugar-rich soft drinks and the chemically-loaded “sugar-free” options.  A healthier choice is watered down fruit juice - gradually reducing the fruit juice content or flavouring water with a couple of cucumber slices/crushed raspberry/strawberry

Including the above tips early on in your chidl's development will help improve their health for the future