We all want our kids to eat healthily but when it comes to packed lunches for school or nursery, things can get a bit tricky. However, with a little time and planning it does become easier, and it’s well worth it. With that in mind, check out my 10 top tips for healthy packed lunches, from drawing inspiration from the rainbow to learning how to defrost a freezer quickly.
When you’re making healthy meals or snacks there’s no reason why they can’t be used for packed lunches, too. Portioning and freezing leftovers is a great way of ensuring your kids get good nutrition at lunch – you’ll save on prep time, too. Just make sure you’re regularly defrosting your freezer so that the food is kept at its best. If you’d like to know how to defrost a freezer quickly, you can find out here.
Pack their healthy favourites
Packed lunch is not the time for experimentation! After all, I want to know that my daughter will eat everything I send her in with.
Involve your children
One of the best ways of getting nutritious food into your child’s lunch box is to let them choose. I make it fun by creating weekly menu options and letting them pick what they want from the healthy list.
Make it fun
It’s amazing what you can do with a little presentation. Funny shaped sandwiches and fruit kebabs are much more interesting than plain versions.
Control the sugary snacks
It’s really easy to pack a chocolate bar or biscuit from the shops, and they’re not all bad, but if you take a little time to make your own low-sugar versions you know exactly what your little one will be eating.
Do what you can in advance
Whether it’s baking healthy biscuits, freezing leftovers or simply putting together a weekly plan, the earlier you do so, the more you can control what’s going into your child’s lunch.
There’s a well-known phrase about ‘eating the colours of the rainbow’ to keep healthy, and this is a great rule to live by. When it comes to applying that your kids’ lunches, keep it colourful with red, green, yellow, purple and orange fruit and veg… very healthy and very enticing.
Something that really helps me is having a list of back-up options or staples. Whether it’s an apple, a banana, or a handful of oat biscuits, I’ve got plenty of options to fall back on. Once you’ve got a list of healthy items you know they love, it’s a real time-saver.
It’s all about balance
My starting point for packed lunch planning is to ensure there’s a good balance of carbohydrates, protein and fats. Fresh fruit, sandwiches or wraps with a combo of protein, veg and good fat, healthy snacks and a low-sugar drink (or better still, water) is a great template to work from.
Communication is key
I always keep an eye on what’s coming back in my daughter’s lunch box – after all, no child eats everything you pack every day. We talk about what she’s currently enjoying and things that she’s gone off. That makes it much easier for me to plan, shop and pack her lunches, and saves on waste too.
As with anything involving kids, nothing is easy or works first time.
It took me a little trial and error, and plenty of patience but we got there in the end… most days!
Disclaimer: This post is a pre-written guest post published on behalf of the team at Maverns.