Buying healthy foods can often be perceived as expensive compared to junk foods such as crisps, chocolates, biscuits and other such snacks, but this is rarely the case, especially when planning ahead. I thought it would be useful to give a few tips and ideas of healthy lunch box bites for your children, whilst shopping on a budget.
Ideas: Bananas, apples, pears, grapes, berries, even dried or tinned fruit or tinned, make a fruit pot.
Benefits: These give your children a range of vitamins and minerals, which are needed for body processes. They are also source of dietary fibre to keep their digestive system healthy.
Tip: Buy fresh fruit and vegetables that are in season. These are often sourced locally and are less expensive, such as from a local farmer’s market. Canned or frozen options could be cheaper and are equally beneficial (choose fruits canned in one hundred percent fruit juice and vegetables that are low sodium or no salt added). Buy fruit and vegetables in their simplest form, pre-cut and washed, as processed fruit and vegetables are convenient, but often cost much more than when purchased in their basic forms.
Ideas: Carrot, celery, cucumber. Vegetables also supply vitamins and minerals. Prepare the lunch box together with your child; involve them by cutting these vegetables into fun edible shapes together. Give a side di Benefits: Yoghurt or cheese adds to the child’s dairy intake. This will give them calcium and vitamin D, for growing strong, healthy, bones and teeth.
Tip: Vegetables can be bought in large quantities when they are on sale, so buy in bulk. For dairy, look at buying supermarket brands, not high priced brands when choosing products.
Ideas: Half wholegrain and half white, bread or wraps.
Benefits: To maintain a healthy bowel and digestive system at this stage of their development. The wholegrain bread will release energy slowly, whilst white bread is still needed in their diet for digestion. This is a source of starchy carbohydrates providing them their main source of energy, whilst also providing a source of fibre.
Ideas: Add lean chicken or turkey slices.
Benefits: Provides protein for the growth and repair of tissues and cells.
Tip: Buy store brands as this means savings. You will get the same or similar product for a cheaper price. If your grocery store has a membership card, sign up for even more savings. Check locally and online for sales, coupons, and specials. Often, you can get more for less by visiting larger grocery stores. Buy small amounts more often to ensure you can eat the foods without throwing away.
Plan out the lunch boxes and make a shopping list. You will save money by buying only what you need, and have more of your food budget for healthier items.
Our thanks to Melanie for compiling this article
Further details at www.melaniesnutrition15.webs.com