Thanks to recent campaigns run by the NHS and Public Health England, there’s plenty of information on what to put in your child’s lunchbox to ensure they’re getting the correct balance of nutrients. However, remembering it all on a busy day, and trying to put healthy lunches together in such a way as to appeal to your son or daughter (especially if someone else in their class has a tuckbox crammed with crisps and chocolate!), can be tricky. The team at Mentor have put together a few pointers to help you load a lunchbox with minimal hassle.
Recent studies have shown that only 1.6% of packed lunches satisfy the nutritional needs of children. Researchers found excess to be the main problem – too many sugary snacks, for instance. Balance, then, is key.
The NHS recommends that healthy lunches should contain:
Eating with one’s fingers is more interactive and more tactile – it’s just more fun! Moreover, if you make wise choices, this style of food can also be a useful tool for teaching your children to eat more slowly. Here are some finger food favourites:
Kids like variety, but trying to get a variety of healthy foods into a packed lunch can be a challenge – there are only so many ways to skin a cat, right?
Whilst this is true, turning food preparation into a fun activity – which results in treats that your kids are excited to eat – can be an excellent way to ensure that your children love the food you choose to feed them.
There are few different things you can do here. As mentioned earlier, preparing healthy lunches with your children – letting them try different things, cooking different recipes together, and allowing them to choose what makes it into the lunchbox from time to time – can make the whole process more enjoyable (and exciting).
Alternatively, if your child isn’t that food-oriented, or they’re a picky eater, why not play on the presentation aspect? Children are highly visual, and so if something looks fun, they’re much more likely to try it! Here are some ideas:
Ditch ‘Colin the Caterpillar’ for a healthy alternative. Thread fruits onto a skewer – grapes work really well here – and paint eyes on the end with icing sugar so they look like little caterpillars (a healthy alternative to M&S’s hugely popular cake!)
Say goodbye to soggy sandwiches. Use rolled-up lunch meats or cookie cutters to turn sandwiches into different shapes, sizes and even animals – tasty yet fun.