Isn’t there just something fantastic about lunchboxes? While your child is away from you all day, here you have an opportunity to offer them what amounts to a care package in the middle of their school day. Packing your child’s lunchbox doesn’t have to be boring, and you don’t have to rely on prepackaged foods in order to make it easy or fun!
Remember that prepackaged foods, especially those billed as low fat and low calorie, often include ingredients that haven’t been subject to long term testing, and as such we really don’t know what effect they’ll have on children who eat them consistently. Never fear – simple whole-food choices that fulfill those sweet and salty cravings are available.
Lunch should provide your child with an energy boost that will help them to maintain their stamina through the last half of the school day, a time when children often struggle with focus in the classroom. Offering protein packed choices that are full of good carbs is a great way for you to help your child physically and mentally.
Here are five really fun, easy, healthy, and delicious ideas to include in your child’s lunchbox.
- Easy Trail Mix
Let your child choose their favorite nuts and dried fruit. Though there are differences in fat and calorie content in different kinds of nuts, it’s less important which kinds of nuts they are and more important that they be free from added oils, salt, or sugar. Check the baking section of your supermarket for plain nuts. Mix equal parts nuts and dried fruit in an airtight container for your child’s lunch box. Some delicious combinations are raisins and sunflower seeds, chopped apricots and almonds, or chopped dates and pecans. This simple snack is delicious and full of healthy carbs and good fats, and of course high in protein.
There’s no doubt about it, fruit is a simple and delicious whole-food choice for your child’s lunch box. It fills that need for sugar while giving your child lots of vitamins and minerals. The trick is to find a fruit that can become a favourite for your child. Mandarins are a great choice – easy to peel and perfectly sweet. Bananas, apples, pears, plums, or even more exotic choices like star fruit or kiwi fruit. Take your child with you to the supermarket and allow them the option to choose their own favourite – you might be surprised at what they pick!
- Chia Drink
This is a wonderful treat to pack for your child, something truly special that will have all of their friends asking to try a sip! The night before school, mix 120ml warm water with 4 tsp chia seeds. Put in the fridge, and when you wake up you’ll find that you have a cup of jelly like, swollen seeds. In travel cup, add the mix and a 120ml of your child’s favorite juice. Instruct them to shake well before drinking. Chia seeds are an omega-3 packed superfood, and this drink is the perfect way to get your child a big midday boost! Think of it as a superfood soft drink.
- Carrots and Hummus
Filled with fibre, protein, and good fat, hummus is a spread that is almost universally loved. Make your own, or look for a preservative free hummus in the deli section of your local supermarket. And it comes in all kinds of varieties! From spicy red pepper to mellow artichoke, forty spice hummus to spinach. Carrots are the standby for this snack, but it works well with cauliflower, capsicum slices, cucumber discs, and celery sticks. Fresh, delicious, and healthy!
Yes, we already mentioned fresh fruit. But grapesicles are better than fruit – they’re tiny popsicles! Pull red or green grapes off their stem, wash and dry them thoroughly. Put them in a snack sized freezer bag, and throw them in the freezer. When you put them in your child’s lunchbox, they’ll keep everything cool, and after a few hours will be a bit slushy on the inside. A favourite of everyone who tries them!