Are your kids bored with the same old sandwich? Nutritionist Brooke Longfield offers some great nourishing lunches.
Here are the five elements you need to pack a healthy lunchbox.
1. High-fibre wholegrain carbohydrates
For energy and brain power! While it’s important to choose high-fibre and wholegrain varieties, taste and texture are important, too. Try mixing it up by using wraps, flatbreads, pita pockets, grainy rolls and crispbreads.
Some meat, cheese, canned fish or other protein helps with sustained satisfaction. Protein-rich food also has important essential nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, iron and omega-3 fats.
3. Vegetables and fruit
These essential components of a healthy lunchbox provide filling fibre and important vitamins and minerals without adding too many kilojoules.
Healthy mid-morning and afternoon snacks boost energy and brain power. Ideal snacks for kids include fresh fruit or reduced-fat dairy.
Water is always the best choice. ‘Dress’ water up with a snazzy drink bottle, try adding a dash of cordial and slowly reduce the amount of cordial you add. Or try a small no-added-sugar fruit juice or a fruit and vege juice blend occasionally.
Perfect for little (and not-so-little!) hands, these filling wraps are tasty and satisfying.
- Wholemeal mountain bread with flavoured tuna, avocado, grated carrot, cucumber ribbons and lettuce
- Rye mountain bread with shaved lean chicken, avocado, cranberry sauce and baby spinach
- Wholemeal tortilla with shredded chicken breast, avocado, reduced-fat mayo, grated carrot and lettuce
- Wholemeal tortilla with leftover taco mince, grated carrot, grated reduced-fat cheese, diced tomato and lettuce
- Multigrain wrap with hummus, roughly mashed four-bean mix, tomato and baby spinach
Peel thin ribbons of colourful veges with a vege peeler and layer them onto sandwiches.
- Wholemeal bread with grated reduced-fat cheese, carrot, cucumber and lettuce
- Multigrain roll with shredded cooked chicken breast, baby spinach, tomato, cucumber and sweet-chilli sauce
- Multigrain bread with shaved ham (off the bone), tomato, reduced-fat cheese and lettuce
- Wholemeal sourdough roll with diced cooked chicken breast, reduced-fat mayo and shredded lettuce
- Wholemeal bread with 2 mashed boiled eggs, reduced-fat mayo, lettuce and a pinch of curry powder
Mix up the everyday lunch routine with leftovers and healthy baked goods made in advance.
- Pasta salad: cooked pasta spirals, shredded cooked chicken, cherry tomatoes, sweet corn, baby spinach and sweet-chilli sauce
- Wholemeal pita pocket filled with leftover meatballs, grated reduced-fat cheese, grated carrot, lettuce and tomato salsa
- Rice and vegetable frittata
When kids get home they need a nourishing snack to tide them over until dinner. Satisfy growling tummies with these simple, protein-packed snacks.
- Make a pizza bagel: top 1 split multigrain bagel with 1-2 teaspoons tomato paste, sliced shaved ham and 1 slice reduced-fat cheese. Grill until golden and bubbling
- Make a baked bean toastie: toast 2 slices wholemeal bread filled with reduced-salt baked beans
- Top 1 mini wholemeal pita bread with sliced banana and a drizzle of honey
- Top 1 slice raisin toast with a light layer of reduced-fat cream cheese
- Make a banana hot dog: spread a light layer of peanut butter on mountain bread and top with 1 whole banana. Roll up and slice in 3 pieces
- Freeze a handful of grapes, orange quarters and pineapple rings
- Top mini-pikelets with low-fat ricotta cheese and strawberry jam
- Whiz up a fruit smoothie of low-fat milk, low-fat yoghurt, frozen berries, banana and a squeeze of honey
- Serve a small tuna, chicken or vegetarian sushi roll
- Make a bowl of wholegrain cereal with low-fat milk