The kids have been back at school for a week already! If they don't have school dinners now's the time to double check that you are sending them off with a healthy packed lunch.
Eating a healthy balanced diet is important to every child’s growth and development. Having a varied diet will help your child to eat more healthily. Here are some ideas to help you encourage your child/children to eat a healthy lunch. Why not get them to help you prepare it – children love to get involved and are more likely to eat something that they have been involved in preparing.
A healthy packed lunch should include:-
- A portion of starchy food such as white or wholemeal bread, pitta, wrap, rice, pasta, couscous.
- A portion of protein such as sliced meat, fish, egg, or meat alterantives:- pulses, beans or chickpeas
- A portion of fruit such as apple, pear, grapes, melon, satsuma, strawberries etc, and a portion of vegetables such as carrot, celery, pepper or cucumber sticks. Peas, sweetcorn, grated carrot in sandwiched or salads.
- A portion of dairy such as yoghurt or cheese.
- A drink. Water or milk is the most healthy option
Here are a few tasty ideas to ring the changes with your child's packed lunch or visit Change4Life web site for loads more.
- Pitta pocket (you can now buy pitta squares – even easier to fill!) Fill with cheese, ham and cucumber, tuna and sweetcorn
- Bagel – cream cheese or tuna make a great filling for bagels
- Houmous with veg sticks – carrot, celery, cucmber, sweet peppers, baby corn
- Cheese dip – with veg sticks or bread sticks
- Pasta salad – add chopped cooked chicken, ham or some tuna to some pasta, stir in some veg (peas or green beans, sweetcorn, chopped cucumber, chopped peppers and mix together with mayonnaise or some tomato sauce. A great way to use up leftovers
- Couscous – add cooked meat or tuna and some vegetables
- Frittata – Frittata is a great way to use up whatever veg you have in the fridge and makes a lovely meal hot or cold. Although the recipe below has peppers and peas in I often use green beans, sweetcorn, courgette, broccoli (anything works – just give it a try!!) You could even put in a handful of grated cheese. Click for Recipe
Researchers from the University of Leeds have found that just one in
five packed lunches (for primary aged children) contain a vegetable or any salad, and just 1.6% meet
current nutritional standards. Although it may take a while for your children to get used to a healthier lunchbox, it will be worth it for their health - so keep trying even if you have to start with small changes at first.