Making up healthy lunch boxes for kids is not always easy. Putting in healthy options does not mean they will be eaten! Read our lunch boxes for men review.
Good nutrition is extremely important to the present and future health of every child. Nutritionist Dr. Gillian Mc Keith believes that feeding children lots of junk food is tantamount to child abuse! The title of her book “you are what you eat” says it all!
Some of you will be familiar with Jamie Oliver’s campaign for healthy school dinners in the UK. This young chef was appalled by the junk food served up in many schools. He started a campaign for healthy school dinners. You may believe that making up a packed lunch is a healthy option. However, it is estimated that 9 out of 10 lunchboxes for kids contain too much sugar, salt, and saturated fats (Food Standards Agency).
Jamie believes that many children’s packed lunches are also full of junk. He states that the standard lunch pack consists of:
- White bread sandwich
- Packet of crisps
- Chocolate bar
- Sugar filled fizzy drink
Not a healthy option. Providing lunchboxes like this each day does nothing to teach children good nutrition.
Provide one third of your Child’s nutritional requirementsHealthy vegetarian lunchboxes for Kids should:
- Be well balanced – see table below
- Be low in foods containing large amounts of saturated fats and sugar
- Food your child will enjoy (otherwise it may end up in the bin!)
A word on fats-children do need proportionally more fat in their diet than adults. The trick is to avoid fatty foods with little good nutritional content e.g. cakes and sweets. Instead use foods such as cheese, avocado, nuts (see note below).
Lunchboxes for kids – What to include
|What||2 portions fruit and vegetables||1 portion of dairy food or substitute||1 portion of protein||1 portion starchy food|
|Why||Fibre, vitamins and minerals||Calcium for growing bones and strong teeth||For growth and development||For energy|
|How||Fruit juice, fruit smoothie, piece of fruit or some dried fruit, salad, raw vegetable sticks e.g. carrot or celery batons Cherry tomatoes||Milk, Soya milk and soya based foods(most is fortified with calcium), milkshakes, cheese, yogurt||Egg, cheese portion, beans, hummus, bean spreads, nut spreads e.g. peanut butterVeggie sausage, veggie “meat” slices,Falafel,Smoked tofu,Cold nut roast||Bread, pasta, rice, couscous, bulgur wheat, noodles, potatoes, oatcakes|
Note About Nuts:
Some schools do not allow nut based products in the school. If your child can take in nuts, make sure they are aware of the possible dangers of nut allergy. It is a good idea to teach you child not to share nuts with other children.
Making lunchboxes fun
Lunchboxes for kids should be fun! Try some of these ideas:
- Choose a fun lunchbox container
- Try cutting sandwiches with different shaped pastry cutters
- Sandwiches could be made with one slice of white bread and one slice of brown bread – good trick if you child is not keen on brown bread
- Try “double decker” sandwiches: 3 slices of bread with 2 different fillings
- Try vegetable kebabs – use a mixture of different coloured peppers, cherry tomatoes, tofu, mushrooms or how about mozzarella cheese and tomatoes, cheese and pineapple sticks
- Try fruit kebabs – strawberries, melon, pineapple, mandarin segments grapes etc
- Dip the end of strawberries in a little melted chocolate
- Add a colourful serviette or a novelty straw
- Once a week put in a treat -bag of crisps or chocolate bar. Do this on a different day each week
Use a drinking straw to thread the vegetables or fruit on for small children
Don’t forget food safety
- Encourage your child to wash his/her hands before eating (How about adding a wet hand wipe)
- Teach your child to keep their lunchbox away from direct heat – radiators, sunlight etc. Some schools will refrigerate packed lunches.