Let’s look at Lunchboxes!
Lunchboxes provide our kids with the energy and nutrients they require when they are at school. The energy and nutrient needs of school children can be high in relation to their body size. With all that running around at playtime and using those brains in lessons, we need to provide a lunchbox for our kids that contain all of the essential nutrients, to help our children develop and grow. Nutrients include protein & carbohydrate, minerals include iron & magnesium, vitamins include B & C, to name just a few.
Our kids lunchboxes, and even our own that we take to work, ideally needs to be healthy, varied, within budget and enjoyable, phew!! Not an easy task to fulfill.
The following tips & ideas will help you to pack a healthy lunchbox for you and your family.
A healthy lunchbox will be well balanced if it contains each of the following from the following food groups.
-Ham, chicken, salmon, tuna, houmous, peanut butter, beef, pork, eggs.
-all fresh fruit i.e. Apples, bananas, oranges, kiwi fruit. Vegetables such as cherry tomatoes, carrot/celery/cucumber sticks, a carton of fruit juice and dried fruit are also included.
-Bread rolls, pitta bread, sliced bread, crackers, pasta, pizza base, scones, malt loaf, hot cross buns.
-A carton of milk, cheese- hard or soft, a yogurt or fromage frais, a pot of custard/rice pudding.
Tips for lunchboxes
Get your children involved in planning their lunchbox, encourage them to try new foods and praise them when they have eaten them.
Vary your sandwich by trying different types of bread i.e. granary, rolls, bagels, pitta bread.
Try different types of filling in the sandwich for variety (see sandwich fillers).
Chocolate, biscuits and cakes are best kept out of the lunchbox on a daily basis as they contain high levels of fat and sugar, which if eaten every day can lead to obesity. However if your child is underweight then these foods are a great energy source to help gain weight.
Fizzy pop and energy drinks are loaded with sugar and not necessary in the healthy lunchbox. Too much sugar can lead to tooth decay, the better options to choose from are milk, pure fruit juice (1 carton counts as 1 portion of fruit daily) or simple water.
Watch your labels when choosing products, a low fat product is defined as containing less that 3gm of total fat per 100gm, any more than 20gm of total fat per 100gm is considered a high fat product. Low sugar products should contain less than 10gm of Sugar (not total carbohydrates) per 100gm.
Keep your lunchbox cool by using a little freeze block.
Lunchbox ideas for 7 days
Day 1 Day 2
-White bread roll with cream cheese (30gm) -Tinned salmon and cucumber pitta
Cucumber & tomato filling pocket.
– sticks of carrots -hard cheese chunks (30gm)
– 1 carton of orange juice -5 cherry tomatoes
– 1 banana – 1 pot of sugar free jelly with fruit salad
Day 3 Day 4
-chicken & lettuce on granary bread – houmous wrap
– 1 pot of low fat custard – 4 slices of raw red pepper in wrap
– 1 small box of raisins – 1 slice of malt loaf with low fat spread
– 2 little tangerines/clementines – 1 small pot of rice pudding
– A handful of grapes
Day 5 Day 6
-2 Small slices of quiche – Wholemeal roll with ham & soft cheese
– A handful of cucumber & carrot sticks – 1 small bag of crisps
– 1 low fat fromage frais – 1 carton of pure pineapple juice
– 1 pot of mandarins in natural juice – 1 apple
– Half a scone with low fat spread
-1 bagel with cream cheese and sweetcorn
– 1 pot of low fat yogurt
– 2 kiwi fruit (eat like a boiled egg with a spoon)
– Half a scone with low fat spread
Ham, soft cheese and tinned pineapple slices
Grated hard cheese and marmite or fruit chutney
Salmon & chopped spring onions with light mayonnaise
Sliced turkey with cranberry sauce
Peanut butter (smooth) with sliced banana
Tuna and sweetcorn with light mayonnaise
Houmous, tomato and sliced red peppers
Roast beef slice and pickle
Lean pork slice with apple sauce and lettuce
Cottage cheese and chives with sliced tomato
Roasted vegetables- peppers, aubergine, red onion and mushroom and a slice of cheddar cheese
Egg mashed up with mayonnaise with sliced cucumber
Get creative with your lunch!
Claire Chaudhry is a mother of 2 children and a qualified Dietitian having worked in the NHS for 10 years. Claire specialist subjects are Healthy Eating and nutrition and Diabetes. If you would like to discuss your diet with a qualified Dietitian, please speak with your GP Dr for a referral. Unfortunately Claire cannot respond to any personal correspondence.