Lunchboxes are possibly one of the most underrated items in our children’s daily lives, but in fact, they are a fantastic way of getting creative and getting those extra nutrients into your children’s diet.
First off, incorporate items your children enjoy – the last thing you want to see is an untouched lunchbox in the hands of a very hungry, and possibly, grumpy child after school.
Second, be organised and plan ahead. Shop for the week ahead to ensure you have all the necessary ingredients and / or food items to use in their lunchboxes during the week.
Ideally, you want to incorporate the following food groups into your lunchboxes:
- Carbohydrates / Grains
Here are some ideas you can mix and match to create yummy, healthy and nutritious lunchboxes for toddlers and school going kids:
- Fresh cold meats such as ham, salami, pastrami, chicken served on bread or crackers.
- Boiled eggs – a word of warning: boiled eggs can be STINKY! Make sure to leave them to cool and air before packing and leaving them in a lunchbox for a few hours – your teacher and your child’s classmates will thank you for it!
- Almonds – a great addition for some crunchy texture, great omegas and are so good for growing bones!
- Pumpkin seeds – great source of fibre and magnesium!
- Biltong sticks (droewors works too) – a nutritious snack and doesn’t take up much space at all.
- Drinking milk – best served in one of those 200ml packs that can fit into some lunchboxes or easily into kid’s bags. I suggest using milk such as Parmalat’s Growth Milk 3+ – a ready-to-drink milk for toddlers 3 and up contains essential vitamins and minerals for growth.
- Yoghurts – preferably ones containing probiotics, so you get 2 benefits in one meal.
- Cheeses – there’s a range of cheeses you can choose including cottage cheese, cheddar and Gouda cheese or the soft “cheesies” that are typical a lunchbox favourite for kids.
Carbohydrates / Grains:
- Bread – healthier options such as brown, whole wheat, rye or wholegrain.
- Rice Cakes – combine 2 large rice cakes to form a rice cake sandwich filled with one of the proteins mentioned above or add a few mini rice cakes (perfect potato crisp replacement).
- Pasta – refrigeration may be required, so consider this when packing.
Fruits and Vegetables:
- Create a vegetable spread made from Avo or roasted butternut. For kids who don’t like vegetables, hide the vegetables by adding cheese or some meat to your sandwich to reduce the vege flavour (sneaky, but you gotta love it!)
- Apples, Bananas, Peaches, etc – fruit you know your kids will eat!
- Dried fruit – A favourite of mine that gets an extra kick of fibre in.
- Fruit Salad Stick – chop up a few different fruits and create a fruit kebab stick (ideally suited for older kids’ lunchboxes).
Add a special sticker or love note to your school lunchboxes to provide that extra dash of healthy love to your children’s day.
Bought to you by Parmalat Growth Milk 3+
Original article can be found on Parenting 24
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