Running out of lunch-box ideas? Planning can solve last-minute morning panic as well as helping your kids start the day on a “nutritionally good foot”. Lunch-box snacks shouldn’t be about quantity but about the nutritional value they contain. At the end of the day, it’s not what they eat but what vitamins, minerals and nutrients they absorb to help them grow and enjoy their school days to the max.
Healthy Mini Lunch: go for mini versions of the meals your kids love at home. Mini quiches, mini pies, mini arancini, mini potato croquettes. For added nutrition include quinoa, millet and brown rice for these lunch-box snacks. Pitta bread, whole-wheat tortilla/wraps filled with your kid’s favourite filling (rolled and sliced into bite-size portions).
Fruit: As fruit should preferably be eaten during the first part of the day, it makes an ideal snack to take at school. Fruit should always be eaten on its own. So, children should be taught to eat fruit either as a mid-morning snack, on its own, or before their main snack. This is because fruit gets broken down quicker than food which can create digestive problems if eaten straight after, or with, other foods.
Lightly steamed pears and apples are a favourite for kids as they are low in salicylates, which are naturally occurring chemicals in fruit and vegetables, often linked with behavioural issues and eczema in children.
Dried fruits contain a high amount of sugar as well as sulphites. A healthy alternative is to soak them for a few hours before placing them in lunchbox and choose organic dried fruit which do not contain sulphites.
Treats: The “real” healthy cereals or granola. Healthy flapjacks (email me for easy recipes), yoghurt, cubes of cheese. Crunchy veggies cut in cubes or in strips and hummus.
Drinks: Nothing beats water or organic fruit juices (no added sugar). Coconut water which is rich in potassium and super hydrating is ideal especially after sports or during the hot summer months. Refrigerate once opened.
A chemical-free healthy lunch-box.
Choose non-toxic lunch boxes and drink bottles which are free from chemicals such as BPA, PVC (a toxic plastic) and phthalates.
Chemicals in both aluminium foil as well as plastic wrap can also leach into food. If you do need to wrap food up then use greaseproof paper instead.