Healthy lunch box ideas for kids

With school starting back this week, many parents have to add the chore of making packed lunches back to their long “to-do” lists. Here are some nutritious ideas which will not only get your kids excited about opening their lunch boxes, but will also give them plenty of energy to learn and play until the home-time bell rings.

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These ideas will give your children lots of energy as well as a good serving of nutrients as well (Photo by Sarah Pflug)

Think beyond the sandwich

Sandwiches are quick and easy to make but with a little bit of planning and some clever shopping, you can provide your kids with an interesting alternative. If cooking up rice or pasta sounds like too much faff, you can buy some great pre-cooked grain packages now. Or if cooking some for dinner just cook a little extra and keep in the fridge for the next day (cooked rice needs to be kept either hot or cold to stop bacteria from developing).

You could just pop some into a Tupperware with a little soy sauce and either some raw or cooked veg. You can even buy cooked flavoured rice such as Tilda’s Cheese and Tomato or Mild Curry rice that save you from having to do any prep at all.

 

Playful popcorn

Popcorn
Photo by Charles Deluvio 🇵🇭🇨🇦 on Unsplash

All supermarkets now sell a range of flavoured popcorn. Many manufacturers such as Propercorn now offer a wide variety of flavours that contain no refined sugar or artificial flavours. At around 100 kcals per bag they are great alternative to a packet of crisps.

 

Fruity variety

Bear, Nakd and supermarkets now offer a wide variety of bars and snacks made from dried and pureed fruit. These are sweet enough that children will enjoy eating them, but they also deliver a good serving of vitamins from the fruit.

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Cleverly designed lunchboxes make the chore of creating packed lunches gun

Embrace the Tupperware

Make like the 80s and rediscover the world of Tupperware in order to package up a wide range of snacks. There is a world of shapes and sizes available now such as the great range from Sistema. You can cut up veg such as peppers, carrots or cucumber, pack little pieces of cooked meat, fish or cheese, hard-boiled eggs, nuts (although please check if your school has a ‘nut free’ policy first), mini breadsticks, dried fruit and more. The possibilities are endless.

Chocolate rice cakes
These rice cakes from Itsu (https://www.itsu.com) are far more appealing than the plain variety and are available at many supermarkets

(Rice)cake is on the menu

Rice cakes are no longer the cardboard-like offering they once were. There are now a huge variety of flavours available including chocolate and yoghurt covered, caramel, cheese, BBQ and more. Although the nutritional value of them is fairly low, they are a worthwhile addition to a lunchbox if they allow your child to enjoy a strong flavour without having to take on a high number of calories with equally low nutritional value.

(Please note, I am by no means suggesting keeping childrens’ caloric intake down. I am suggesting merely keeping calories that are low in nutritional value down.)

Paleoathome
Follow @Paleoathome for a wealth of lunch box inspiration

Want more inspiration?

For amazing inspiration for nutritious lunchbox ideas I highly recommend following @Paleoathome on Instagram. Creator Emma Farrell regularly posts pics of her daughter’s incredible lunch boxes. The enviable packed lunches feature a wide variety of creatively chopped fruit and veg, homemade “gummy sweets”, and ingenious meat, fish and egg creations. Warning: they will make the basic ‘cheese sandwich, packet of crips, KitKat and an apple’ lunch box seem well below par. They have been known to make me feel a large amount of mum guilt, LOL. 

Please tag in my in pics of your most ingenious snack ideas on Instagram (I’m @hilton_health) in order to win a Sistema Bento Cube. I look forward to seeing your creations.

Lunch on the go

11358215_1455462974773612_78535042_nMornings are hectic, I get it. It’s challenging enough to get everyone to where they have to be, with the right bag, snack and drink, without stopping to think about your own lunch. Then lunchtime comes around and your only option is the work canteen’s gloopy offerings, the vending machine or the cafe next door.

With a small amount of planning and savvy shopping though, you could change all of this. Here are a few ideas lunch hacks that will improve the nutrient density of your food you eat at work:

  • Pre-cooked chicken or fish– comes in a variety of flavours but plain is best if trying to avoid sugar and other additives. Pair with a bag of salad for a chicken salad.
  • No-cook grains – I love this one from Waitrose. You don’t have to cook it and paired with meat, veg, or even just some tamari soy sauce you’ve got a filling lunch.
  • Noodle pots – Itsu do some great ones but there are others available. Add boiling water and you have a healthy, filling lunch ready to go.
  • Last night’s dinner – It’s an oldie but a goodie. Cook a little extra for dinner and pot it up for lunch the next day.

Hopefully that gives you a few ideas to help revolutionise your lunch. If you have any other suggestions please share them.