If you choose to send your child with a packed lunch, please avoid sweets, bars of chocolate and fizzy drinks.
Please see some of our top tips below:
How to create a healthy packed lunch
If you decide a packed lunch is the way forward, the two big challenges ahead are a) not to give in to pressure from your child to include ‘unhealthy’ elements such as sugary drinks and sweets and b) to avoid boring, repetitive ingredients.
Here’s how you can do it:
- Make packed lunch rules – e.g. no sweets – and stick to them. No deviations or little treats!
- Have a healthy lunch formula. A good one is that every lunch must include a sandwich or savoury, a piece of fruit and a yoghurt or milk-based, low-fat dessert.
- Give your child water. Water will be much more appealing if you can make sure it stays cold – it might be worth investing in a good lunchbox-sized flask.
Top tips for healthy packed lunch ingredients
- First of all, invest in proper packaging. There’s nothing quite as unappealing as a soggy packed lunch. Fruit and vegetable sticks that are still fresh when the dinner bell goes are far more likely to hit the spot. Buy different-sized plastic containers with snap on lids (make sure your child can open them!) and a lunchbox/carry-case with space for an ice pack so the contents stay chilled.
- Let your child come up with ideas for what he/she wants – but make sure suggestions fall within your healthy lunch formula (above).
- Leftovers from supper the previous evening can be tasty and hassle-free. Try to plan your evening meal with the next day’s packed lunch in mind. Have one basic leftover ingredient – e.g. rice, couscous, pasta – and add cubes of cheese, cooked meat, tuna, sweet corn, beans, whatever you have in the fridge or store cupboard.
- If your child wants crisps, suggest alternatives such as crackers or crisp breads. You could spread a low-fat soft cheese or hummus on top to make a tasty snack.
- Buy different sorts of bread for sandwiches, rolls or wraps – e.g. pitta, bagels, granary – and steer clear of white bread.
- Low-fat soft cheese and fruit (try strawberries, kiwi fruit or banana) make great sandwich fillers.
- Tomatoes and cucumber slices make sandwiches soggy. Instead, go for grated carrot or shredded lettuce (choose a variety with crunchy leaves, such as Iceberg or Cos).
- Finally, if your child wants a healthy alternative to sweets, why not include a pack of raisins (or measure out a small handful from a bigger bag and put them into a small plastic container). You can also do the same with dried fruits such as apricots.
Nutritionist Resources believe that healthy eating could hold the key to a long and healthy life, which is why they have established a website that provides the public with easy access to nutritional advice from professionals. They offer information about the areas in which nutrition might help, articles written by nutritionists, and the latest industry news. To ensure the professionalism of their website, all listed nutritionists have provided them with qualifications and insurance cover or proof of membership with a professional body. They have a page dedicated to nutrition for schoolchildren (http://www.nutritionist-resource.org.uk/articles/schoolchildren-teenagers.html) which parents and children may find very helpful.
Or why not look at their exciting new campaign; Loveable Lunchboxes (www.nutritionist-resource.org.uk/loveable-lunchboxes) which is packed full of great ideas.