Mornings can be busy times in households with school aged kids. Battles to find matching pairs of shoes; untangle knots that could contest a lion’s mane and finding car keys are all realities of modern families. Morning battles can leave little time for packing a lunchbox (let alone a healthy one at that). With a little planning and preparation packing delicious and nutritious lunchboxes can be made easier.
Our clients and followers would already know that we’re big advocates for filling lunchboxes with “Glow Foods”, “Grow Foods” and “Go Foods”. This simple concept ensures that the main food groups are added and also helps kids to understand basic concepts of health eating.
“Glow foods” incorporate fruits and vegetables. “Grow foods” or “building blocks” incorporate diary and dairy replacements; meats, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes, nuts and seeds. “Go foods” incorporate wholegrains including breads, cereals, pastas, rice and other grains.
What are our best tip for packing healthy lunchboxes? Be prepared!!!
1. Brainstorm options
Keeping with the “Glow, Grow, Go” mantra, have a list (either written or in your mind) for options within each group. Speak to a dietitian about “how much is enough” and vary the options between days.
2. Shop for options
It sounds simple but do not underestimate the role of shopping. Brainstorm, write a list and then shop. Store your purchases appropriately as this will save time throughout the week and increase the shelf-life of fresh produce.
3. Have some staple “go-to’s” for days when the fridge is running low
Adding long-life items to your shop can mean that there will always be options. Tinned, frozen and dried fruits and vegetables all can contribute to a healthy diet.
Staple items for lunchboxes include:
- “Glow foods”; tinned fruit in juice, small packets of sultanas or dried fruits such as figs
- “Grow food”: UHT milk, long-life custard; tinned fish and beans, nut spreads, eggs.
- “Go foods”; frozen wholegrain breads and pita wraps, wholegrain pasta and brown rice.
4. Get the gear
Having an appropriately sized lunchbox, thermos and water bottle means that packing healthy (and safe!) lunchboxes is easier. Thermos and water bottles can help keep lunchboxes at hot or cold temperatures which then opens up more options. Warm soup or leftover stir-fry make for a simple, nutritious and delicious alternative to sandwiches.
5. Plan the meal
Time spent planning meals is time well invested. This is true for lunchboxes too. Whether it’s planning 5 days in advance or simply the night before, know what (and how much) to put in the lunchbox is imperative for time-saving
6. Get the kids involved
School aged-children should be involved in part of their mealtime preparation. For younger children this could include having them select from 2 different fruit options. Using the “Glow, Grow, Go” guidelines; teens can be supported to increase their independence with preparing their own lunchboxes.
Contact us to find out what your child’s “not too little, not too much” is or for more tips and ideas when it comes to feeding your family.