The holidays are over and a new school year has begun. Back to wearing uniforms, carrying book bags, homework, and afterschool activities. For many school kids, however, lunch is the best thing about the school day! Mums know this. They also know the importance for kids to have a healthy meal to carry them through the day with sufficient energy. The struggle sometimes is keeping your child’s daily lunch healthy, but also tasty.
The best way to approach the lunch is by thinking of nutritional balance. Balance the food selections with a protein, some fruit, some veg, and a small treat. Keep the sugars low, so no sugary drinks, too. It’s also best to keep the lunches colourful. Remember, the more natural (not packaging!) bright colours in your child’s lunch, the more nutrition.
We realise with potentially 25+ lunches a month to make, it’s tough keeping the ideas fresh. This is why we’ve come up with some creatively healthy lunch ideas for you to consider for your student this year. Skip the same old sandwiches, crisps, and chocolate and try some of these:
1. Think meats on sticks: A great source of protein, you can add chicken satays, beef skewers, or rolled deli ham or turkey to your child’s lunch. Ensure the sticks are lunchbox-size, of course.
2. Go Mexican: Aye, aye aye! Grab some seeded or whole grain tortillas, fold them over with some of your favourite shredded cheese inside, then heat in a frying pan until the cheese is melted . Adding chicken is a great tasty source of protein, too. You can then cut them into fun shapes and include some fresh mild salsa for dipping.
3. Add Crunchy Colour: Mini-carrots, celery or cucumber sticks, peppery radishes or sliced sweet peppers are always a great addition to a balanced lunch.
4. Breakfast for lunch: Kids who love brekkie might like the change-up for their lunch, too. Try adding a hard boiled egg, some mini carrot muffins, or mini buckwheat pancakes. Include some yogurt with swirled in sliced strawberries and blueberries and your child will have a protein-packed treat.
5. Another anti-sandwich hit is pasta. Pick your whole grain pasta (we like bow-tie), add some chopped cherry tomatoes, cucumber, chopped yellow pepper, black olives (if they like them) and some shredded mozzarella cheese. Mix with some Italian dressing (or make your own olive oil and vinegar mix) and you’ve got a carbohydrate, protein, veggie lunch that will keep your child energized the rest of the day.
We realise the sandwich is a convenient go-to option, but does it really keep your child interested in their food and get them the health they need? All it takes is a little bit of meal planning and your child’s weekly/monthly lunch boxes will be empty when they arrive home every single day.
If you liked these ideas, but have any of your own to offer, please let us know in the comments. In the meantime, have a great school year!