Kids need enough energy to keep their focus and brains functioning at full capacity, whilst it appeals to them too.
I read a blog today (of someone who clearly doesn't have children herself) suggest placing cold broccoli soup as a healthy lunch box additive. My boys love a salad, and will quite happily eat vegetable soup for dinner, but cold broccoli soup leaves little to the imagination or taste buds- even for me!
So, in saying that what are some good alternative to the high processed, packaged lunch box ideas we typically see in supermarket shelves?
When packing your children's lunch boxes, involve them- ask them what they want, get them to help make it. By them choosing the foods they become accountable and they also get to make healthy choices.
1. I always start with a protein source, or the 'main affair' in the lunch box.
I have a variety of rotations we use:
Wraps- Chicken & salad wraps mean my boys are getting protein, vegetables and carbohydrates in their wrap. I use the rye wraps and the boys haven't complained! If you are really short on time or meal prep, buy a roast chicken and use that meat rather than the processed, packaged stuff.
Savoury Muffins- The recipe is inside my books, however essentially think of an egg muffin with delicious goodies like chicken, mushrooms or tomatoes throughout- kids love them!
Cold Rolls- Depending on your child's preference, my boys love cold rolls. FIlled with lettuce, chicken and capsicums.
Omelette- Finely slice meats, vegetables into the omelette. Allow to cool before rolling up- kids love them! They are like savoury pancakes!
Boiled Eggs- with Crackers. Such an easy finger food and most kids love eggs!
Turkey Cups- Recipe is in my book, however think of this, a delicious egg wrapped in turkey breast- in the convince of a muffin!
Zucchini & chicken burgers- These can be eaten on there own, our made into a delicious burger.
2. Then I add a piece of fruit or serving of vegetables, this is highly dependant on what is in season.
At the moment my boys are taking mandarines, carrot sticks and bananas.
However other seasonal options can include, but are not limited to: grapes, apples, watermelon, rockmelon, kiwi fruits and oranges. 3. Then, we have our snack foods, these are where I feel lots of people struggle with options that a- are healthy, b-the children want to eat, c-are affordable.
Here is a list of options we usually rotate depending on what I have baked, time, in season etc
Homemade popcorn- I place these in sandwich bags. Easy, cheap and kids love it.
Dried fruit- Apple rings, strawberries, apricots, sultanas, cranberries, mangoes and pineapple. If you don't have a dehydrator, I suggest investing in a cheap one ($30) and making these from scratch, if you are time poor, just ensure that it has no added sugar.
Depending on school policies- Nuts. Our school doesn't have a no nut policy so this is great to fill up lunch boxes, a little container of almond or macadamia nuts.
Banana bread (options blueberry/coconut/orange bread)- On a Sunday I will usually bake 'something' typically banana bread, if we have a surplus! I then allow it to cool, cut into portions and freeze it in zip lock bags, this makes school mornings really quick and easy!
Muffins/Cupcakes- I have a muffin 'base' that I use in my recipe books, from there I created the flavours, blueberry, orange, lemon, cacoa, strawberry- the options are endless!
Fruit roll ups- Again, if you do not have a dehydrator, I would suggest investing in a $30 one, nothing fancy. It is super easy to make roll ups, just by processing fresh fruit- nothing extra required. Kids love them and they taste delicious. They also contain about 2-3 servings of fruit per roll up!
Home made muesli bars- Another great recipe in my books, I have either no bake bars, nut free bars or traditional style- all without sugar or additives!
Balls- Quick, easy to make and the recipes are free on my website, these come in a variety of flavours and the options are honestly endless- apricot and almond, cacao, mint- the possibilities are endless!
I hope that has provided you with some ideas for the school term ahead! The other important factor to remember is breakfast! I will blog again soon on the importance of breakfast and some great children's ideas for breakfast, however ensure your child is given the best advantage everyday with a nutritious, filling and healthy breakfast before school!