Top Tips for School Lunch For Healthy Kids

 

A wholesome lunch will ensure they can focus and concentrate in their afternoon lessons.

Throwing together a healthy lunch that you know your child will enjoy can be the vain of parent’s life.  It can be easy to fall into the trap of not putting much thought into your child’s lunch especially with the mad rush to get out the door each morning. For a growing child, placing just as much emphasis on what you are going to feed your child for lunch is just as important as the decision you make regarding a wholesome dinner.  You wouldn’t feel happy giving them a processed cheese sandwich for dinner and it should be the same for lunch.

 

Lunch is an extremely important meal because this is where a balanced meal follows on from a good breakfast.  Ensuring lunch contains protein and wholegrains helps to prevent poor focus and concentrate during the afternoon. 

 

Most adults are familiar with afternoon energy slumps and it is no different for children.  For example, if your child eats a processed cheese sandwich on white fluffy bread and a fruity muesli bar (could contain 7 to 10 teaspoons of sugar) then this will create a spike in their blood sugars.  What happens next is the sugar is quickly used up and their energy levels crash and they get tired, irritable and have trouble focusing for the rest of the afternoon.  By the time they get home their blood sugars are even lower and they can be grumpy and demanding more sugar and the cycle carries on.

Tips for a healthy lunch

Hands up if you like preparing school lunch from scratch in the morning.  Hmmm, thought so.  Plan dinner with tomorrows lunch in mind
  • ✅ Get their lunch ready while preparing dinner. 
  • ✅ Think ahead about what you can put in their lunchbox for example, if you are roasting a chicken, reserve some for their lunch. 
  • ✅ If boiling vegies, boil an egg in the same pot with the vegies and make a dip with a little mayo for after school.
  • ✅ Freeze dinner leftovers in small portions for emergencies when there’s nothing in the pantry.
  • ✅ Use wraps and bread over bread rolls because there can be twice as much bread in a roll.
  • ✅ Always choose the best quality bread you can afford.

 

Good quality lunch box

Invest in good quality eco friendly stainless steel water bottle, food thermos and lunch box.  PVC and phythalates are dangerous chemicals that are commonly found in plastic food containers that can leach into food.   The older the lunchbox the more it can leach its chemicals into food especially if it goes through the dishwasher.  The same applies to their water bottle, invest in a top quality, long lasting water bottle that doesn’t leach nasty chemicals into the water.

 

Bento box

There are hundreds of different healthy combinations for lunch when you use a bento box. These can be a great way to get a good selection of food for your child to choose from, lessening the likelihood of bringing lunchboxes home untouched.  Also, kids like to graze so providing plenty of healthy choices makes lunch fun.

Organise their bento box while preparing dinner, this cuts down on time especially in the chaos of getting ready for school in the mornings.  Image how good it would feel to have their lunch all packed and ready to go.

  • ✅ Freshly cut colourful vegies e.g. carrots, snow peas and red capsicum.
  • ✅ Dip and corn chips
  • ✅ Olives
  • ✅ Corn fritters
  • ✅ Frittata
  • ✅ Meatballs
  • ✅ Poached chicken and pesto
  • ✅ Chicken wings
  • ✅ Chicken drumsticks
  • ✅ Cheese squares and crackers
  • ✅ Egg muffin
  • ✅ Fresh fruit
  • ✅ Zucchini fritters
  • ✅ Natural corn chips
  • ✅ Sushi
  • ✅ Falafel
  • Tip:  Buy sushi the day before and wrap well to keep its freshness.

 

Food thermos

Another easy way to pack a good lunch is to use a food thermos.  Last night’s dinner can be quickly reheated the next morning to make a nutritious and delicious lunch.  Think mashed vegies with casserole, meat balls, pasta or soup.

Tips for keeping food safe in a Thermos

Sandwich/wrap ideas

With that focus on protein, these sandwich suggestions focus on wholesome food, trying to avoid the usual sandwich deli meats that may contain chemicals as preservatives. In regards to protein portion size, I recommend to include the thickness and the size of the palm of protein for each meal.

Fiona’s Tip: Poach a chicken breast for their sandwich – so easy.  Just slice the breast into strips and poach in simmering water or chicken stock until cooked through.  Either roughly chop or shred and add to bento box or use as sandwich filling.

Non vegetarian Vegetarian (non-meat)
Chicken and avocado Cream cheese & grated carrot
Chicken & pesto Hummus & lettuce
Chicken, lettuce & tomato Egg, mayonnaise & lettuce
Roast beef & tomato relish Tuna, mayonnaise, spring onions and lettuce
Tuna & mayonnaise Avocado, cream cheese & grated carrot
Lamb, mint sauce & lettuce Falafel, cream cheese and lettuce
Roast beef, chutney & lettuce  
Smoked salmon & cream cheese  
Chicken & cheese  

Tip: In the warmer months, freeze water in drink bottles overnight and put them in their lunchbox to keep their lunch cool.

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