As the end of the Easter break comes to a close, it won’t be long until you’re back packing school lunches for your kids each morning.
As tempting as it is to give them five bucks and let them buy a pizza or meat pie from the canteen, packing a nutritious school lunch can be just as easy.
The Six Parts of a Healthy School Lunch
At its very core, a healthy school lunch that addresses all of the major food groups should include:
- Fresh fruit.
- Fresh vegetables.
- Some dairy, which could be in the form of milk, yoghurt, or cheese. If your child can’t have dairy, consider including an appropriate alternative, such as calcium-fortified soy or rice drinks, or even soy yoghurt.
- Meat (ideally lean meat, such as chicken strips), or even an alternative that packs the same nutritious punch as meat, such as hard-boiled eggs.
- Grains or cereal-type foods, such as bread, crackers, flat bread, or rolls (preferably wholemeal or wholegrain).
- Tap water (bottled water will do the trick, but tap water will have the extra hit of fluoride to help keep their teeth strong).
Six Things to Avoid Packing
Just like there are a host of items you can pack to ensure your child is getting all of the nutrients they need, there are plenty of foods that will quickly ruin the healthy status of your child’s school lunch.
- Sweet drinks, including fruit juices, sports drinks, flavoured water, ice tea, or soft drinks. All of these drinks come under the empty calorie umbrella, as they don’t provide any real sustenance but are riddled with kilojoules that can cause weight gain or unwanted dental issues.
- Muesli bars, fruit bars, or the always-popular fruity straps. Generally these sweet treats that mascaraed as a healthy snack are low in fibre and high in sugar – far from a good combination!
- Chocolate bars or dairy desserts, such as chocolate mousse. As much as your kid would love to find one of these in their lunch box, opt for fresh fruit instead.
- Sandwiches filled with Nutella, jam, or honey. These popular spreads will quickly turn a sandwich into an unhealthy snack.
- Savoury oven-baked goods, such as savoury biscuits or muffins– it’s surprising how high in fat and salt these snack are.
- Processed meat, such as salami.
Healthy Lunchbox Recipes
Do you need a little recipe inspiration? How about a healthy zucchini slice that will tick off eggs, cheese and vegetables from the list of lunch box must-haves?
Or, you can easily make sure your child is having a tasty, yet nutritious lunch with these chicken rainbow wraps. Filled with beetroot, carrot, spinach, and shredded chicken, you can’t go wrong with this lunch box staple.
However, if you’re after an all-in-one lunch box solution, consider this delicious Aussie Bento Box that is beautiful and colourful, and oh-so-delicious! Corn and beetroot dip is just the beginning, your kids will want more when they discover how tasty the meatloaf sandwich and fruit and yoghurt salad is.
Prestige Catering is a catering and event hire company in Perth, and we specialise in creating deliciously healthy, or naughty menus for any kind of event. Talk to us today about our range of healthy menus that include kid-friendly options.