With the start of another school year this means parents across the UK are beginning to think about simple, easy and convenient lunch box ideas for their children that will keep them healthy and energized. Some parents may struggle with this task and rely on packaged foods, snacks and sugary drinks that they know their kids will eat at school. But I am here to share with you some simple, easy and convenient healthy lunch box ideas that will not only keep your kids energized but will also help them stay motivated, focused and support long term health.
The key to creating healthy lunch boxes is to plan ahead for the week. When you go shopping make sure you have lots of healthy options for your kids to choose from and let them help pick out their favourite fruit and vegetable for the week. When making dinner cook a bit extra that you can use for the next day. Take 30 minutes over the weekend to prepare healthy muffins, your kids will love helping you mix the batter and lick the spoon. Or let them create their own healthy smoothie that they can enjoy as a snack.
Here are some of my favourite lunch box ideas:
1) Rice Cakes with Hummus or Tzatziki served with chopped cucumber, courgettes, carrots, celery and chery tomatoes
2) Roast Chicken (from dinner) served with roasted parsnips and carrots & snap peas
3) Whole grain or lettuce wrap with organic cheese, lettuce, tomato, grated carrots, grated beetroot, avocado and a dijon honey mustard dressing
4) Tuna Nicoise Salad - mixed leaves, hard boiled egg, tuna, green beans, new potatoes, fresh lemon and olive oil (you could add olives and sundried tomatoes as well)
5) Sweet Corn Fritters with a greek salad
6) Vegetable Quiche or Frittata served with fresh fruit salad, natural yogurt and dark chocolate chips
The key to creating a healthy lunch box that will maintain energy levels through the day is to include: At least 2 servings of vegetables (of course you can include more), 1-2 servings of fruit, 1 portion of healthy protein & fat, 1 serving of whole grains (optional) and water
Focus on nutrient rich foods that grow from the ground as much as you can, and try to limit packaged foods with added sugars, chemicals and preservatives. We all know that kids love treats, so why not make them healthier and fun by baking some at home - please see below for a simple banana chocolate chip muffin recipe the whole family will enjoy
Homemade Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (gluten free, egg free)
3 large bananas
160ml of water or coconut milk
65g of coconut oil or rice bran oil
2 tsp of vanilla extract (optional)
50g of maple syrup or 50g of coconut sugar or demerara sugar
140g of gluten free flour (doves farm) or 100g rice flour and 40g of potato flour
30g of ground almonds
50g of ground oats
25g of ground flaxseed
50-90g of dark chocolate chips (or chopped dark chocolate)
1) Preheat the oven to 190C and line a muffin tray with 12 cups
2) Add the bananas to a bowl and mash until smooth, then add in the remaining wet ingredients.
3) Add all the dry ingredients to the bowl along with the dark chocolate and mix until combined.
4) Divide the mixture between the 12 cups and then bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Allow to cool and enjoy. These can be frozen and taken out for lunches through the week if they last that long you may have to double the recipe for extras.
Please see my recipe page for the Sweet Corn Fritters
Debbie Vanderboom is a Nutritional Advisor, Natural Juice Therapist and foodie who loves using fresh, wholesome food to nourish the body. Educating her clients on the importance of choosing healthy foods on a daily basis is her focus. She provides her clients with recipes, resources and meal plans to help develop healthy eating habits for life.