We’re constantly pressured to give our kids the best, but we shouldn’t feel compelled to wear ourselves out every morning creating gourmet cuisine – just nutritious food to fuel your child’s learning and adventure!
Here are five tips for creating a lunchbox that’s the envy of other parents, and five suggestions for giving your little darlings’ lunchtime an overhaul!
Top 5 Tips
Rather than desensitising kids to vibrant textures and flavours, make sure they experience ‘real’ food early on, if you want to promote healthy choices. Children need to try new foods up to fifteen times, so lavish them with praise when they give it a go.
2. Involve them
Get your kids involved in preparing and choosing what goes in their lunchbox. Children like to develop their independence, especially if they can show off the fruits of their labour to their friends! They are more likely to eat lunch if they helped make it.
3. Change it up
Children’s attention spans are shorter than ours and their imagination requires more stimulation. As a result, they generally prefer plates with six or seven different foods in as many colours as possible.
Variety is appealing, and even if you’re introducing one new food your child doesn’t take to, there will still be several items they can munch on.
4. The value of veg
Eating ‘five a day’ isn’t a flighty recommendation, it ensures our bodies are sufficiently nourished – really important for growing kids.
You might struggle to convince them spiralised courgette is better than tinned spaghetti, but cherry tomatoes, sweet peppers, carrot, cucumber and celery sticks are great for providing essential vitamins and minerals.
5. Please the tooth fairy
Take your child’s dental health into account when making healthier lunch choices for them.
Bear in mind that some foods might be a good alternative to sweets, but can stick to teeth, like dried fruits. Only allow these at mealtimes to reduce the risk of tooth decay.
Do your best to including a variety of starchy carbs/whole grains, protein, fruit and vegetables, and dairy (or dairy alternatives):
Houmous and salad wholegrain wraps are a great meat-free choice that pack loads of flavour;
Yogurt-covered pretzels and popcorn can curb salt cravings in small portions;
Tuna and bean salad is a good way to include fish in your child’s lunchbox for brain-stimulating Omega-3;
Make mini pizzas using wholemeal bagels and different toppings;
A homemade trail mix is perfect for small hands and has energy-boosting healthy fats.