Things to make life easier and better for you.
1 Sandwiches are the easiest and most obvious lunch box staple. Nutrition experts usually recommend wholemeal bread or rolls. Chicken or tuna are good fillings and don’t forget to sneak in the salad ingredients. You could even try kids’ favourite’ the banana sarnie
2 Miniature packets of raisins are easy to pop in a lunch box and are a tasty fun-sized snack. Look out for other dried fruits like apricots, cranberries and coconut flakes.
3 A good alternative to the sandwich is the wrap. The NHS Change4Life website suggests fillings of houmous, red pepper and grated carrot or Mexican chicken.
4 If you don’t send them to school on an egg, wave them off with one – in their lunch box. A boiled egg is packed with high quality protein and a wide range of vitamins and minerals.
5 Yoghurt is a great lunchbox option and with so many flavours on the shelves, there’s bound to be something they’ll like. There are smaller snack-pots for young kids and lots of low-fat options available.
6 Getting them to eat salad might not be the easiest thing in the world but should your little ones love their greens – and reds, purples and yellows – it’s an easily prepared lunchtime option. There are also plenty of tempting ingredients to liven things up and get lettuce-shy children interested. The NHS Change4Life website suggests pasta salad with tomatoes, mushrooms, pepper and tuna, smoked mackerel and potato salad with mushrooms and spring onions and pasta and sausage salad with spring onion and red pepper.
7 Pizza slices might not be an obvious choice but they’re delicious cold, easy to take to school and the toppings are highly nutritious. Making the base yourself is easier than you think and that way you know exactly what’s going into their food. And a thin shop-bought pizza base is also an option. Mushrooms, goat’s cheese, chicken and tuna are all great topping options and of course you can load your bases with vegetables.
8 When it comes to fruit, mix it up. Slices of apple are always better when they come with red grapes and medleys of pineapple, melon and mango should keep them interested. Ready-sliced fruit salads are a handy option if you’re really rushed off your feet.
9 Dips are a healthy and handy lunchtime snack and you can cut up carrots, cucumber and other nutritious foods to dip into low fat soft cheese, houmous and plenty of other options. Crackers and oatcakes are also great with dips.
10 Of course, there has to be a few treats but making them snack size shouldn’t cause too much of a problem. Home baking sweet and savoury goodies like sausage rolls and muffins means you can control the ingredients in those fillings. A good website for ideas and recipes is nhs.uk/Change4Life/Pages/healthy-lunchbox-ideas,