It’s that time of year again when us mums are over promising ourselves that we will make even more effort with our kids pack lunch this year :)
I’m already receiving mailers and blogs with lunchbox tips suggesting all kinds of cute little shapes and animals I can spend hours turning my kids food into, but, the reality is…I really don’t have the time and I will not chastise myself for this anymore.
Here are some tips and ideas that are actually really important for the health of your kids and realistic to achieve for busy mums:
Choose the right lunchbox
There is so much choice when it comes to lunchboxes now and the team at DbBabies really have done their research. Yumbox is a fabulous option as a bento style box and when you close the lid the individual compartments are all sealed, as we all know there is nothing worse than all the food ending up mixed up together so this is a winner for us.
Practice portion control
As your kids are growing its really important they have the right balance of carbohydrates, fresh fruit and vegetables, protein and dairy. The Yumbox offers enough sections to ensure the right balance of everything in the right portion sizes too so no need to worry you are over feeding or find that kids are coming home with half eaten lunches.
We need to ensure our children are eating a balance of the following:
Starchy carbohydrates: bread, rice pasta, potatoes.
Fresh fruit and vegetables, or salad.
Protein: beans, pulses, eggs, fish or meat.
Dairy (or dairy alternatives): cheese, milk, yoghurt.
Avoid some foods
You may have a child that doesn’t have weight issues and therefore think you don’t need to worry so much about what they are eating, however that is not the case. The wrong diet can affect a child’s mood and concentration, and a diet high in sugar can lead to diabetes. So try and avoid:
- Prepackaged foods; It’s really important to avoid these as they are high in salt, sugar and fat.
- Chocolate bars, crisps, carbonated and fruit juice drinks are also high in sugar and not thirst quenching.
Aim to make the following good food swaps to improve the nutritional value of some lunchbox favourites:
- Crisps for wholegrain popcorn or crackers
- White bread, pasta and rice for brown and wholegrain – kids will feel fuller for longer too.
- Cheese slices or sticks and triangles are processed cheeses that often include emulsifiers, salt, sugar and food colouring - be careful choosing your cheese!
- Cakes for homemade fresh fruit muffins; we have some great recipes as part of the pack lunch subscription :)
- Make your own granola bars; they really are simple and often require no cooking.
- Fruit yoghurts for plain yoghurts with a portion of fresh fruit. Fruit yoghurts are often high in sugar and this is a simple swap that makes a big difference.
Get the kids involved
This works especially well for fussy eaters. Getting them involved also helps them take responsibility for what they are eating, instead of needing to rush them off for an activity every afternoon this is just as important part of their learning and development regarding health and nutrition.
Pop in a note :)
Remind your little one how much you love them by popping a note in their lunch box each week. When you sign up for our kids pack lunch or combo subscription you receive a free downloadable note to print and pop in their lunchbox
Here are a few lunchbox ideas:
Frittata’s - you can make a tray of these and add whatever filling you like; cheese and spinach, ham and peas, turkey cheese and sweet corn. You can the freeze them easily too and use the following week.
Wraps instead of sandwiches - kids love making these too and you can buy wholemeal wraps.
Dips really encourage kids to eat chopped up veggies and there are so many dip options; guacamole, cream cheese, hummus, labneh.
Sandwiches are popular for a reason and as long as you use whole grain bread and vary your fillings they are not a problem. Filling options are endless so try and introduce new ones each week to keep your children interested in trying new food. Some popular ones are:
- Grated cheese and apple
- Tinned salmon and cucumber
- Tuna and sweet corn
- Egg mayo and cress
- Cheese and marmite
- Chicken salad
Turkey and cucumbe
Sandwich alternatives - for those who want a change why not try:
- Tuna pasta and sweet corn salad
- Mozzarella balls and cherry tomatoes on sticks
- Frittata’s, omelet slices or a boiled egg
- Soy and honey chipolatas
- Bean or rice salads
- Homemade coleslaw
- Homemade banana and blueberry pancakes
- Homemade veggie crisps (easier than you think :)
- Homemade soup
- Homemade mini pitta pizzas or quiches
Leftovers - often things we have for dinner can easily be used for kids lunches the next day too.
- Chicken drumsticks
- If you roast a chicken, us the leftover chicken for a wrap, sandwich or even pieces of chicken with hummus, carrots cucumber and some pita bread makes a nice alternative to a sandwich.
- Leftover noodles, rice or pasta dishes
The ideas for kids pack lunches are endless; it’s more the time we have to think about and prepare them that’s not. Our subscriptions for the kid’s lunches are cost effective and really help you get inspired with some new ideas. They come with a weekly planner you can print and put on your fridge, an easy-to-download shopping list and any recipes needed are included too.