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How to Revamp Your Lunchbox: Tasty & Healthy

Posted On : 22 September 2014 | Category : All Hints & Tips, How To

Stuck for healthy lunch box recipes? We’ve put together a range of healthy lunch box ideas and cut out and keep recipe cards that are fun and practical for both children and adults alike.

Simply pick one item from each of the five categories below to make up a well balanced packed lunch.

You can vary the portion sizes depending on the age and appetite of your child.  Take a read through our top tips for lunchboxes for some more ideas.

1. Tummy fillers
Growing kids need plenty of starchy foods to fill them up and give them energy.

Nutritious meals packed with fibre, protein, carbohydrate and vitamins will also help your child’s growing bones and give them a healthy dose of brain power for the afternoon ahead.

These along with fruit and/or vegetables should form the main part of your child’s lunch.
Try some of these ideas:

Sandwiches and wraps
Homemade bread – vary between wholemeal, granary, multi-grain and white.
Crepe/pancakes or scones.

Fillings/toppings

Meat – wafer thin cooked meats, cubed chicken breast with tomato and lettuce, ham and cheese, roast chicken & hummus, leftover cold meats (chicken, roast beef, , bacon, 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, cottage cheese with pineapple, cheese and grated carrot with a little mayo, veggie sausages, cheese and coleslaw, egg salad/egg mayo, cheese and pickle, Marmite.

Sweet –fruit jam/fruit spread, nut-free chocolate spread*, honey, treacle, lemon curd

Other ideas
Carbohydrate based salads such as pasta salad, rice salad, couscous, potato salad,etc.
Egg based foods such as quiche, mini quiche or frittata.
Baked items such as savoury muffin, pizza slice, samoosa, spring rolls etc.

2. Five-a-day options

Any combination of the following, in a small pot or bag: raisins, sultanas, pumpkin/sunflower seeds, ready to eat dried apricots, dates or prunes.

Whole fruits – satsuma, apple, banana, pear, peach, plum, grapes, strawberries (whatever is in season)

Fruit salad pot – any combination of prepared fruit: strawberries, orange, melon, mango, pineapple, kiwi etc.

Homemade fruit puree, smoothie or apple sauce (you can add strawberry, peach, etc)

Fruit jelly made with fruit pieces and pure fruit juice.

Salad pot – any combination of prepared raw vegetables: cucumber, lettuce, pepper, celery, cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks, mangetout, slices of avocado sprinkled with a little lemon juice etc. or coleslaw

3. Good for growing bones

Fruit yoghurt/Greek/plain yogurt.
Cubes of cheese or pre-packed lunchbox sized cheese portion,
Dips: hummus, tzatziki, raita, cream cheese and plain yogurt.

4. Snacks

Here are some of our favourites: 

Savoury options –
Hard boiled eggs, scotch/savoury egg, fish cakes, mini sausages, sausage roll, falafel etc.
small packet of nuts, biltong, or a handful of chips wrapped in cling wrap. Crackers, crisp bread, rice cakes, cheesy biscuits, muffins,unsalted popcorn.

Sweet options –
Muffin, cup cake, small piece of cake, biscuit or cookie, flapjack, shortbread, cereal bar*
* Check cereal/flapjack bars for sugar content, as some can contain as much sugar as a bar of chocolate!

5. Thirst-quenchers 
Steer clear of sugary drinks and go for one of these healthy options:-

Water
Milk (whole, semi-skimmed)
Milkshake, home made or low fat boxed.
Pure fruit juice or smoothie – preferably diluted.
A note about sugar free options
Sugar can be hard to spot in food, as it’s called many different things. All the following are forms of sugar, which is only needed in small amounts and offers your child little, except empty calories: sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, dextrose, fruit syrup, molasses.