How to pack a healthy lunch
Healthy lunches are very important for your child. They’ll give them the boost they need to carry out the day at their fullest potential. School provided lunches aim to be healthy and balanced, with options for every child. However, if you’d rather a packed lunch for your child, we’ve got some tips on what you should put in their lunchbox so that they’re healthy and happy all day long. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive.
The NHS suggest 4 areas that a balanced lunchbox should cover. These are:
Starch – Bread, rice, potatoes, pasta; also known as carbs. These will keep your child fuller for longer (and stop them from reaching for snacks!)
Protein – This can be from meat or fish, but you can also get a lot of protein from eggs or beans.
Dairy (and dairy alternatives) – Something like cheese or yoghurt is great for a lunchbox. There are non-dairy alternatives you can try if you can’t pack dairy.
Some of your 5-a-day – This one is self explanatory; make sure to add some fruit and veg!
Making substitutes for things already in their lunchboxes can be an easy way to pack a healthy lunch. For example, try changing their white bread to brown; if they don’t like it, try a half and half bread or one slice of white with a slice of brown on a sandwich. Opt for lower fat and lower sugar items where possible, like in yoghurts and cheese.
Cutting out the chocolate doesn’t mean they can’t have a sweet treat. Dried fruit is a great way to satisfy your child’s sweet tooth, but if that doesn’t cut it there are plenty of other options. Fruit bread is a great option because it’ll feel like they’re eating cake! Fill up a low sugar yoghurt with lots of healthy fruits for another treat idea.
Most children enjoy fruit, but often they don’t like having a whole apple in their bag and things like melons aren’t practical unless they’re sliced. Simply slice up fruit and drizzle lemon juice over the top to stop it going brown in their bag. However, we don’t allow grapes or cherry tomatoes in lunchboxes as they can lead to your child choking, so bear that in mind. For more information, please see this month’s newsletter.
The Change4Life website offers a number of healthy lunches that are easy to make, and while some of them may be more suited to the weekends in the house, there are plenty of ideas for lunchboxes too.