As we are heading into the autumn life got back to normal for both kids and parents with the new school year. This means most of your time will be spent at work, if you have kids they will be in school or at extracurricular activities most of the day. That means one thing: the lunchbox is back in your life too.
Historically a lunchbox would include some sort of sandwich, a pack of crisps, a drink and potentially some dessert. Maybe some fruit, but hardly any vegetables. In this article I’ll give you some practical advice on how to construct your and you children’s lunchbox to keep it exciting but also healthy.
What makes a packed meal healthy?
The same thing that makes any meal healthy: a balance of complex carbohydrates, like whole grains, protein, fruit and vegetables and a very small amount of fat.
High fibre whole grains will keep you and your family fuller for longer, preventing energy drops, while protein is needed for tissue growth and vegetables and fruits will provide your body with essential micronutrients, like vitamins and minerals.
7 Tips for a Healthier Packed Lunch
Lunchbox Inspirations for Parents
Avocado and smoked salmon on rye bread, yoghurt and blueberries
Salmon is an excellent source of protein, healthy omega-3 fatty acids and tastes amazing with avocado. You can smash it and use it as a spread or slice it thinly. Take a slice of lemon with you and drizzle its juice on top just before eating it. Add any vegetable you like. Simple, tasty and filling.
For dessert take a pot of real Greek yoghurt or the Icelandic ones, both naturally high in protein, a few handfuls of blueberries and a drizzle of honey if you like it sweet.
Low Calorie, High Protein for those on a “diet” - Tuna Salad
Sounds boring, but the excitement is in the detail. You can pick any combination of the following, just make sure you include at least one leafy green: kale, celery stick, carrot, parsley, spinach, tomato, peppers, apple. Dice them finely. Take 50g cooked quinoa, buckwheat or even rice, add in a can of tuna and the vegetable and fruit. Mix them well and season with olive oil and lemon juice.
Dessert: natural cottage cheese (choose low-fat if calories count) with mixed berries and seeds with grated dark chocolate (85%) on top.
Healthy and Yummy Ideas for the Kids
You can use the same principles, just keep the kid’s box easy to eat and interesting so they will look forward to opening that box.
Finger foods work extremely well, so do sandwiches, wraps, bagels especially if you use your creativity and make them into exciting shapes, use their favourite colours and keep the content varied. Even the NHS website provide some inspiration and a tool you can use to design packed lunches for your little ones.
Ham & Cheese Wheels with Veggies, Berry Sticks and Yoghurt
It can be turkey or chicken depending on your child’s preference. Use lettuce leaves, tortilla wraps and cream cheese to create a wrap, then cut it into small “wheels” and place them in the box with the wheel side up. Add any veggie sticks, like cucumber, carrot or anything they like, and cherry or plum tomatoes sliced into half.
Choose a low sugar yoghurt, even better if they like Greek yoghurt and solid berries like strawberries and blackberries. Use cocktail sticks and stick the berries on them. They can dip them in the yoghurt as a dessert.
Let me know how you liked these ideas and what your plan is to add to your lunchbox next week. Comment below or feel free to message me.
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My name is Calumn Duthie, founder of CD Fitness Coaching. You’ll find me in and around the gym and helping like minded people just like you get the results they deserve. I enjoy everything from keeping fit, yoga, snowboarding, coffee and making people happy. If you would like to improve your nutrition, training and mindset then you definitely want to be part of my bigger community. Join my Facebook group,Healthy Living With CD Fitness Coaching is a must.