It is the start of the school year and we have to come up with a lunch box full of nutritious healthy food; is generally quick to put together and will actually be eaten when at school.
We all want our kids to sprout up like bean shoots and run around with an enviable amount of energy, so a balanced lunch box full of good quality protein, fats and carbohydrates, packed with plenty of vitamins and minerals, such as iron and calcium, is important to helping them keep on track.
I also find a great lunchbox that keeps food as fresh as possible goes a long way in making sure there are no leftovers when the kids get home from school. In my experience, the best types of lunchboxes are those with separate compartments (EverEco Bento Boxes are a great option) where minimal packaging is required and allows for a small freezer brick to keep food cool throughout the day.
So what does my quick, easy and nutritious school lunch box look like?
This one is the easiest to prepare. Simply send whole pieces of seasonal fruit such as bananas, apples or stone fruit or chop into manageable bite sized pieces and place into sealed containers. Great options include grapes, fresh blueberries, sliced strawberries or orange and mandarin segments. Fresh fruit is an excellent way to provide essential vitamin C and many other trace minerals.
Cheese, yoghurt or smoothies (both dairy or non-dairy)
Chop up a block of organic dairy or non-dairy cheese into bite sized chunks and serve alongside carrot sticks, capsicum strips and whole cherry tomatoes. Or save money by purchasing a big tub of dairy or non-dairy yoghurt and decant into smaller containers packed with a spoon. A friend of mine makes an extra-large breakfast smoothie each morning and sends the leftovers in a small jar for her child’s morning tea. Smoothies are excellent as they can pack in a huge range of fruits, veggies and superfoods as well as keep children hydrated.
If you have a spare half hour free on a weekend, whipping up a batch of muffins and popping them in the freezer is a great time saver. Simply put a frozen muffin into your child’s lunchbox in the morning and it will be defrosted by morning tea. Great combinations include spelt flour banana and date, pumpkin and hemp (recipe) or classic blueberry with almond flour.
Sandwich, Roll or Wrap
If your child loves a sandwich in their box, there are endless flavour possibilities as long as you’ve chosen a nutritious base. Instead of the traditional commercial white bread, try using sourdough bread or breads and wraps using ancient grains like spelt or khorasan. You will be adding in extra fibre, minerals and probiotics (plus the taste is so much better, in my kids opinion anyway).
Some great filling ideas that have been given high marks by my kids include:
- Almond or Peanut Butter with cinnamon and sultanas (this one is a family favourite)
- Tahini and Honey
- EveryMite spread, Avocado and Cheese
- Boiled Egg and Lettuce with Mayonnaise
- Ham or Turkey Ham with Hummus and Salad
- Leftover Roast Chicken with Mayonnaise and Grated Carrot
What about packaged snacks?
Although it’s important to minimise pre-packaged snacks in favour of wholesome, homemade fare, sometimes a healthy packaged snack is a saving grace and can still offer nutritional merit.
Here are 5 of our favourite packaged snacks that deserve a tick of approval…
- Cobbs Slightly Salted Organic Popcorn
- Nutra Organics ‘Berry Choc Chunk’ and ‘Berry Yum Biotics’ Kid Sized wholefood snack bars
- True Fruit 100% dried fruit bars available in Apple; Apricot and Apple; Plum and Apple and Tropical Fruit Salad
- Coyo Coconut Milk Yoghurt Pouches available in Banana and Mango; Strawberry and Vanilla
- Human Bean Co. Roasted Faba Beans in snack sized packs of 3 different flavours: Lightly Salted; Pizza Supreme and Sea Salt and Vinegar
You can find all these delicious lunch box foods and more at go natural foods.
Written by Emma H for go natural foods
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