13 Nutritional Ideas
for Your Kid's Lunchbox
For parents, providing your kids with healthy, nutritional lunches that they find interesting can be quite a challenge. The "if it is good for you then it must be boring" mentality makes this particularly challenging and you have such favorites as lollies, sweets and fizzy drinks to compete with.
Don't despair, it can be done and here are 13 alternatives to get you started...
INSTEAD OF PACKING... WHY NOT TRY...
Plain dry crackers, rice cakes, corn thins or Scottish oatcakes.*
1. High fat savoury biscuits
Raw carrots or celery cut into small pieces are also an excellent choice.
2. Pies, pastry or sausage rolls
Meat or cheese sandwiches or pasta with mince beef sauces (you can buy wheat/gluten free bread and pasta if required).
Tuna and sweet corn.
Brown rice (or white) with tuna and roasted vegetables.
Falafel (Lebanese delicacy made from chick peas).
3. Processed meats such as frankfurters, salami or other.
Mince burger (home made), lentil burgers or bean burgers.
Leftovers from main meals.
Quality ham (e.g. Virginia) or cooked bacon, which has been grilled, and the fat/rind removed.
Quality sausages that are mostly meat and not too fatty (gluten free sausages are a great alternative if you can find them).
4. Biscuits (cream filled or chocolate) Crackers or plain sweet biscuits, oatcakes, rice crackers or rice cakes.
You can make these interesting by having different topics like tuna and sweet corn or avocado (too much avocado may be regarded as fattening).
5. Chocolate / candy bars
Cheese cubes or dried fruit or yoghurt with fresh fruit to add to it.
Dairy products may make you feel bloated, so sheep's or goat's yogurt make a great alternative to cows yoghurt and have a different texture and taste. They are less bulky and easier to digest).
6. Muesli bars and breakfast bars
(these are often full of sugar and preservatives)
Fresh fruit such as grapes, melon cubes, oranges or mandarins/satsumas.
Nut muesli bars (check the ingredients first though).
7. Cordial or fizzy drinks
Water is the best option to add to any lunch box.
Dairy, soy or rice milk are also good alternatives.
8. Chocolate spreads
Sesame seed spread (tahini).
Dip such as yoghurt, avocado or one that you make yourself, dipping for example, pitta bread or cut up vegetables.
9. Lollies / sweets
Dried fruit, nuts and raisins.
Make a nibbles bag with a variety of nuts and dried fruit and add sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
10. Chips / crisps or hot chips
Hot homemade soups with the addition of sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds.
Pecan nuts, almonds and flax seed are all great snacks as they are high in essential fatty acids and are best eaten raw (cooking them can destroy the essential fatty acid component).
The best way to encourage your children to eat these is to add them to soups as an alternative to croutons and to sprinkle them on yoghurt and cereal/muesli in the morning.
11. Fruit leather straps If you have your own fruit drier, then you can dry the fruit yourself.
Fresh fruit, plain dried fruit e.g. sultanas, dried apricots, mixed nuts,
100% fruit bars.
12. Donuts Raisin bread (you can buy wheat free raisin bread if required).
Scottish oatcakes* with a banana.
Tuna and sweetcorn.
13. Potato crisps, corn chips, or similar snack food.
Rice crackers, or rice cakes with a homemade dip or spread, or a bought one as long as it has a low fat content.
* Scottish oatcakes are widely available throughout the UK and from specialist stores in Australia and the USA. The Nairns brand is preferable but there are other alternatives such as Walkers and Pattersons.
Helen Thompson is a qualified child care worker (Nursery Nurse) and Brain Gym consultant who has spent many years working with children aged between 0 - 8 years. Helen aims to provide busy parents, carers and teachers with fun and educational activities for children to develop their creativity.
Visit her website at http://www.ChildLearningSupport.com includes recipes, craft activities and more. To be kept informed of new additions to the site, please subscribe to her newsletter.