Healthy Lunchbox Tips
Packing a healthy lunchbox can seem daunting. Take one look at Pinterest for ideas and you could be fearing long evenings in the kitchen to prepare an Insta-worthy lunchbox. Oh, the pressure!
In children, eating a balanced, healthy diet has been associated with improved academic performance and cognitive function. Poor eating habits, on the other hand, are linked with disruptive behaviour and poor mental performance, as well as childhood obesity.
Thankfully, preparing healthy school lunches isn’t too difficult if you’re prepared. Giving a little thought to what your child likes and will eat, and doing some prep in advance will make life much easier! Here are a few tips to get you started.
Healthy LunchBox Tips
Select the right lunchbox for your child
There are a plethora of lunch boxes on the market from your stock standard Tupperware to the more popular bento style box. Regardless of which style you choose, make sure it’s right for your child.
Can your child easily open it themselves? Does it hold enough food for them? Does the school require you to have their morning snack in a separate container?
Get batch cooking
Food you can cook in advance is always helpful and removes the temptation of resorting to the less healthy convenience foods.
Before the school year starts, it’s worth making up a batch of snacks and meals you can freeze. Think safari or sweet mini muffins, egg cups, protein balls. Some recipes will last up to 3 months in the freezer, so if you get started while you’re on summer holidays you’ll be one step ahead.
Test out your recipes
Avoid sending your child off on the first day of school with some exciting food they’ve never tried. You don’t want to find out your child has been starving all day because they hated what you put in their healthy lunchbox.
When you are batch cooking, make sure your child gets to try everything first.
The reality is, you’ll be preparing most of your child’s healthy lunchbox, but it’s a good idea to encourage your child to get involved. This could be discussing the lunchbox menu on the weekend or packing it with you in the morning.
Putting out the food for the child to pack in their lunchbox will appease their independence and make them more excited about eating their lunch.
Scope out healthy ready-made snacks
There will be times when making a healthy lunchbox from scratch is trying, especially if you’ve run out of time to shop or you haven’t prepped enough for in advance.
It’s a good idea to have a list of go-to convenience snacks that are healthy-ish and tasty. Scope out your local supermarket for things like the best cheeses, yoghurts or bars.
Keep it cool
Don’t forget to keep the food cool by packing the lunchbox in an insulated bag and throwing in an ice brick or frozen bottle of water. Warm carrots and dip are not all that appetising and you don’t want to increase the risk of food spoiling.