Packing a healthy lunch that your kids will actually eat is no mean feat. Cakes and sweets are normally in favour while carrot sticks and salads are rarely the preferred option.
Believe it or not however, it is possible to come up with healthy lunches for kids that they can get excited about. Below we share some great ideas for school lunches that are easy to make and also nutritious.
Get the kids involved
Left to their own devices, kids would probably have pizza every day. You can however get them involved while ensuring they still pick healthy options. Give them a selection of sandwich fillers to choose from and let them pick out a couple of their favourite fruit options. If they choose grapes, don’t forget to cut them in half to prevent choking. Your child is much more likely to eat their lunch if they’ve chosen it and this also helps teach them the importance of considering healthier alternatives later on in life.
Make food fun
It’s amazing how much more willing children can be when you turn something into a game. Have fun with foods by using cookie cutters to make shapes out of bread, meats, cheese and vegetables. You can also make colourful fruit kebabs. Look for candy floss skewers as these don’t have the pointed edges so they’re much safer for toddlers and young children to use. You can even get boiled egg moulds which is a great way to get your children to enjoy a nutritious and protein-rich snack. The BBC Good Food website has some great ideas: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/school-packed-lunch-inspiration
Incorporate all the food groups
A healthy school lunch should include all the food groups. There are so many tasty ways to enjoy each food group you’re bound to find something your child loves in each. If you’d like a quick reminder of all the food groups follow this link: https://www.gosh.nhs.uk/children/general-health-advice/eat-smart/food-science/food-group-fun.
Some examples include:
- Fruit – it’s normally easier to get children to eat fruit than it is vegetables because it’s so sweet. If you really struggle however, try things like raisins and pureed or baked fruit (such as apple crisps). You could also try making your own muffins and adding some fruit into them
- Vegetables – cut them up into sticks and give them a dip if your kids aren’t so keen on their vegetables. You can also try and sneak it into other foods so they don’t notice
- Lean protein – when making lunch for kids, always try to add protein such as chicken on their sandwiches, eggs, beans and nuts (please make sure you check any nut allergy regulations at your child’s school beforehand however)
- Wholegrains – sandwiches, tortillas, pittas, wraps and pasta (this is a great way to sneak veg into your child’s meal because you can mix it with other ingredients)
If you don’t have time to prepare anything, opt for school dinners. Most schools are now very conscious about providing healthy food options so will have carefully considered the choices. Don’t be afraid to talk to the school and ask them the types of meals they serve. Most have a pre-planned menu so you can check in advance.
All the meals here at Tigers Day Nurseries are prepared and cooked on-site by our qualified chef who always uses fresh produce. We pride ourselves on the fact that our menus are carefully balanced to provide the right nutrition for our students. We’re also happy to support any special dietary requirements so please contact us if you would like to discuss your child’s dietary requirements.