School’s back and whether you’re a lunchbox lover or, like many of my Mum-clients, the thought of packing them fills you with a sense of dread, I’ve got some tips on how to pack a healthy lunch for your toddler, primary-school kiddie or teen.
Starting with a good source of protein in the lunchbox will make sure your little (or big!) person has enough fuel to get them through their busy day, and avoids them coming home in a hangry heap of low blood sugar. Make protein options the star of your lunchbox, then build carbohydrates and healthy fats around it. Here are some of my go-to lunchbox fillers for my kids:
· Preservative-free leg ham on a sandwich/wrap or bento-style on its own
· Cold preservative-free sausages cut up into bite-sized pieces
· Leftover roast or poached chicken breast – poach a breast or two in some broth on a Sunday and shred it for easy-to-grab wrap/sandwich fillers during the week
· Boiled egg peeled and ready to eat
· Cut-up cheese with crackers or combined with some avocado or vegemite (we use ‘EveryMite’ in our house) on a sandwich or wrap
· Tuna and cucumber sandwich or wrap
· Cooked and cooled natural hotdogs by ‘Cleavers’ cut up and ready to grab
· Leftover dinner or organic baked beans in a mini thermos – we have the ‘Cheeki’ stainless steel ones and they work a treat, especially in winter for a warm lunch!
· Wholegrain or wheat-alternative wraps and sandwiches like ‘Mountain Bread Wraps’ in rye or natural, or ‘Bill’s Organic Bakery’ spelt bread
· Seeded crackers such as ‘Mary’s Gone Crackers’ or brown rice cakes & crackers – I love the ‘Ceres Organic’ brand
· Whole pieces of fruit; avoid too much dried fruit as the sugar content increases dramatically when dried
· Cut-up veggie sticks & cherry tomatoes
· Oat-based cookies or homemade muesli slice – a regular in our house are these banana & oatmeal cookies by ‘The Healthy Chef’
· Organic butter as a base on wraps & sandwiches – avoid margarine & butter spreads as they usually contain seed oils
· Avocado on wraps & sandwiches combined with a protein, or ¼ avocado with the skin on and a little spoon to scoop it out – I pop this in my daughter’s ‘Crunch & Sip’ box regularly
· Seed mix with some blueberries thrown in
· Tahini with a little honey to sweeten on a wrap or brown rice cake, or try these tahini cookies which are another lunchbox-regular in our house
· Eggs – boiled and mashed on a sandwich or in a mini-muffin or frittata. I’ll often bake with an egg-heavy recipe such as The Healthy Chef’s ‘Gluten-Free Naked Chocolate Cake’, made into mini muffins ready to pop one into each lunchbox for a protein & healthy-fat rich treat
One last tip– Make sure breakfast is nourishing, again making protein the focus and avoiding sugary cereals and empty calories. I go for things like eggs on toast, organic baked beans, a cooked sausage or nitrate-free bacon alongside some avocado toast, a smoothie with collage or protein powder added or a nut & seed-based low sugar granola if you can do nuts, like the ‘Farmer Jo’s Paleo Granola’ in the muesli section of your supermarket.
Happy packing & may those boxes come home at least partially-empty!