Posted in: Lifestyle
Top Five Healthy Lunchbox IdeasWith the summer holidays well and truly over and the daily school run a fixture in the diary once more, mornings can seem manic at best. With 101 things to get done before you drop your offspring at the school gates, making a balanced and healthy packed lunch isn't always top of the agenda. By following these simple steps however, you can take the hassle out of packed lunches and make mornings run a little smoother…
Ditch the BreadSometimes, it’s not always what’s on the inside that counts, certainly not where sandwiches are concerned. Why not step away from the pre-sliced loaf and opt for something a little different to package your favourite fillings. Try bagels, pitta pockets or tortilla wraps to give lunchboxes a bit of a lift; they’re a tasty alternative, will eliminate the risk of soggy sandwiches and are even a little easier to pack. If you are sticking to bread though, nothing beats the taste of a wholesome, homemade loaf.
A Healthy BalanceAchieving a balanced, healthy lunch is no easy feat, particularly when it comes to making lunch for fussy youngsters. Research has shown that kids are more likely to eat their lunch if they have had a hand in making it, so try and put the decisions in their hands with a different approach to packing lunch. Give them three bowls, one filled with healthy fruits (lunchbox-friendly fruits like apples, bananas and pears are great), one with dairy yoghurts or sticks of cheese, and one with treats. Let the kids choose one item from each bowl, then all you have to do is add a sandwich, throw in a drink and you’re good to go!
Preparation Is KeySave yourself some precious time in the morning by thinking ahead. Foods such as roast chicken, pasta dishes, or even homemade pizza taste great hot as well as cold, making them a brilliant alternative to the humble sandwich. Using last night’s leftovers is a great way to jazz up lunchtime without much effort; all you need to do is cook a little extra for dinner – very easy to do when using a slow cooker - then save it for lunch the next day for a tasty, homemade lunch that will be the envy of the school canteen!
Fancy FillingsForget boring cheese or chocolate spread and get a little more creative with your fillings. For a vitamin boost, combine grated apple, their favorite grated cheese and a little light mayo for a tasty alternative to the cheese sarnie. For a sweet treat, try sliced banana and honey or alternatively forgo the sandwich all together and whip up a veggie packed egg and cheese lunch pie. Simply whisk everything together using a food processor or stick blender, and cook in a cupcake pan to create quick and easy individual frittatas, perfect for lunchboxes and little hands.
Healthy SwapsBeing healthy isn’t all about ditching your favourite foods - making healthy swaps means you can keep the kids favourites without compromising on the nutrients. Swap white bread for wholegrain, normal mayo for light mayo, and crisps for healthier alternatives such as popcorn. Low-fat cream cheese is a nice alternative to mayo, tastes great in wraps and helps to bind fillings together for easier packing. Grating vegetables rather than slicing them is a good way to sneak more vegetables like carrots, cucumber and celery into salads and sandwiches too! Hopefully, that little lot will make lunchtime at school happier and healthier for your little lot. If you have any tips you’d like to share, hit us up via our Twitter and Facebook channels and we’ll add them to this post.