After a long summer, the kids are finally back to school, which means you need to come up with fresh packed lunch ideas every day. Don’t worry, we’re here to help!
According to NHS choices a balanced packed lunch should contain:
- Starchy foods like bread, rice, potatoes or pasta
- Protein foods like meat, fish, eggs or beans
- A dairy item, like cheese or yogurt
- Vegetables or salad and a portion of fruit
Starchy foods will keep your little ones full up throughout the day and provide them with much needed carbohydrates to give them the energy they need to stay on top of the world throughout the school day. Rice, potatoes and pasta are all great options, but most kids like to eat these when they’re hot, which won’t be possible at lunch time.
Sandwiches have been the go to food for packed lunches for decades and we don’t see any reason to change that. With a variation of wholemeal, granary, multi seed, white bread and the odd tortilla wrap, you can keep your sandwiches exciting.
Proteins are most likely to come from your sandwich fillings in a packed lunch box, and here is a great selection to get you started (Net Mums):
- Meat– wafer thin cooked meats, cubed chicken/turkey breast with tomato and lettuce, ham and cheese, roast chicken & hummus, leftover cold meats (chicken, turkey, meatloaf, sausages etc) with salad, chicken and mashed avocado, cold BLT.
- Fish– tuna mayo & sweetcorn, tuna salad, sardine and tomato, fish paste and cucumber.
- Veggie– grated cheese, cheese spread, cream cheese, Quorn slices and salad, cottage cheese with pineapple, cheese and grated carrot with a little mayo, veggie sausages, vegetarian pate with cucumber, cheese and coleslaw, egg salad/egg mayo, cheese and pickle, Marmite.
For growing children, calcium is essential to help strengthen their bones and teeth. Thankfully dairy products are packed full of it. Here are a list of tasty dairy snacks that will keep your kids happy after their starchy main (Tesco Real Food):
- Mini mild Cheddar sticks
- Goodness Fromage Frais pots
- Strawberry Probiotic Yogurt drink
- Fromage Frais tubes
- Fruity layered Fromage Frais
- Strawberry Jelly
- Double Bubble Mousse
The modern desert
Crisps, biscuits and chocolate were the go to snacks of packed lunches for generations, but with Jamie Oliver’s school dinner shake up, such snacks have become frowned upon. Healthy snacks like vegetables, fruit or salad will provide one of your little one’s ‘five a day’ and help provide them with vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre.
Few kids will thank you for an apple, so why not mix it up their packed lunch with a fruit salad? Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, bananas, apples, oranges and kiwis will give them a refreshing burst of flavour that’s so tasty, they will forget it’s healthy.
For vegetable and salad based snacks, carrot sticks and humus are great options that are packed with flavour and full of vitamins!