With summer almost over it can only mean one thing – school is back in session and this year’s back-to-school is like no other. Your child could be navigating bubbles or staggered timetables and for many, school lunches could be affected, so it’s important that you’re packing healthy lunch ideas for back to school, or snacks to keep your child satisfied between breaks.
That being said, thinking up inspiring ideas can be a challenge and it’s tempting to fall into the trap of using packaged, ready-made options. Although these seem like the easy answer, they tend to be high in saturated fat, salts and sugar. So here are 6 easy tricks for a healthy lunchbox to make the school day a productive one.
6 easy and healthy lunch ideas for back to school
Kids may know what’s healthy, but they don’t always like it. You won’t win every battle, but these tips could help to keep their diet healthier. Here’s are healthy lunch ideas for back to school.
Always include fruit and vegetables, this is usually an easy one for children to get on board with. For lunch include at least one portion of fruit and one of veg or salad. A portion is the amount your child can fit in the palm of their hand, even if it’s just cucumber slices, carrot sticks or sweetcorn in a sandwich, it all counts.
Always include dairy or another calcium-rich food, as kids are building bones, for which calcium is needed. Include a lunchtime portion every day. Good sources are milk, cheese, yogurt or fromage frais, as well as green leafy veg and canned fish, like salmon and sardines. Plain yoghurt with frozen blueberries or granola topping is popular.
Always include protein. Protein is important for helping your child grow, as well as keeping them fuller for longer and should be included in addition to dairy every day. Good choices include chicken and other lean meats, oily fish, eggs, as well as beans and pulses such as kidney beans, lentils and chickpeas for vegetarians.
Always include starchy-carbs. These are important for energy, they help to keep the child feeling full throughout the day and should make up a third of their lunch box. Try switching from white to wholegrain bread and pasta.
Involve your child in planning and preparing their lunchbox – kids are more likely to try foods that they’ve been involved in selecting and making. Make this an interesting and fun activity, so that they want to get involved.
Make food fun. Serve meals in the shape of a face and try to include lots of different colours, tastes and flavours in the meal.