Back-to-school means one thing: it’s time to start packing lunchboxes. Ensuring there’s a balance of food groups – protein, vitamins and minerals, carbohydrates – can prove a little difficult (not to mention stressful). That’s why our expert nutritionist Freda Molamphy is on hand to give you the low-down on what makes the perfect school dinner:
- Try to steer clear of processed products – opt for foods with low sugar and salt content.
- Vary lunch as much as possible; this will expose the little ones to a range of nutrients and cuisines.
- Make things interesting by including several smaller sized portions rather than two or three larger items.
- Attractive wraps and fun, colourful containers make lunch more appealing – head to your nearest Spinneys for plenty of funky pots and boxes. If there’s time, peel and chop fruit where appropriate – sizeable chunks encourage kids to eat.
- Allow to children to get involved in the planning, shopping and preparation of their lunch. Including them in the cooking process is a good way to teach valuable culinary skills, as well as motivating them to finish what they have made.
- Not everything has to be made fresh! Leftover cooked meats, quiches, pulses or pastas all work well.
Simple, healthy recipes to try
Quinoa salad spring rolls
Lime-ginger chicken lettuce wraps
Coconut, cashew, date and chia bites
Exotic fruit cones
Fruit ‘leather’ roll-ups
If you’re after more ideas for the week, check out mum-of-two Fiona Archibald’s tried and tested packed lunches. And, see what else our expert nutritionist Freda Molamphy has to say about essential nutrients for lunchboxes.