Are you curious to know how to make the best possible healthy kids lunchbox for your child?
If the answer is yes, then read on my friend!
Firstly, let’s look at the general variety of what a lot of parents/caregivers (coz I’m being politically correct here people…) put in their children’s lunches….
Sandwiches – think… jam, honey, peanut butter, ham and cheese
Biscuits, muffins, cakes
Crackers of various descriptions
Apple or banana
Mandarin or orange
Packet of chips (crisps if you’re reading my New Zealand blog from the UK!)
Packets of rice sticks/tiny teddies/rice crackers etc
Various other ‘foods’ that are marketed to kids and packaged in cute ways to little eyes…
Obviously there are some great options in there.
But also there are many options that are not so great.
What do I mean by great?
I mean…. do they provide wee growing bodies with the nutrition they need?
How good is white bread? Sugar-laden biscuits? Do you know what is actually in the muesli bars you’re buying?
If you’re child is having a sandwich, but the rest of their lunch is packed with fruit, veges, good fats and protein, then that really isn’t a big deal.
But lots of lunches are mostly packaged foods, with a sandwich and a token piece of fruit.
We can do better than this…..
Make it colourful!
It’s not only adults who eat with their eyes…. kids are notorious for deciding on a whim if they are going to put that thing in their mouth – based on it’s appearance.
So brighten up that box Mummy (or Daddy) please!
So entails a nutritional punch when it comes to our kids food?
Protein: Hummus, protein powder in the rice bubble crunch, meat in the pasta.
Carbs: Pasta, pretzel sticks.
Treat: Chocolate rice bubble protein slice. (Homemade with low sugar).
Healthy fats: Coconut oil holding the rice bubble slice together.
Now it’s time to get started and really, it all starts with a little planning the night before! There is nothing worse than scrambling in the morning to see what you have in the pantry and fruit bowl.
When we fail to plan, we plan to fail – isn’t that how the saying goes!?
So what do you need in your lunchbox to pack it full of all the nutrition that your growing child needs?
Always have a mix of fruit, vegetables, protein and fat sources.
And of course some good-quality carbohydrates to fill up their little bellies.
No child ever said no to a small treat either…
It comes down to a good balance of all these things.
What I noticed when I fed my 3 children a balanced breakfast and lunch, is that that the incessant nagging for food stopped. Their bodies were getting the food they needed that kept them full for longer and fed their wee cells on a nutritional level.
Many people these days are overweight, but starving at a cellular level! They are missing key nutrients, which in turn sends signals to the brain asking for more food – in the hopes that the nutrients are delivered. So we get hungry and go and eat something. But if that ‘something’ is a blueberry muffin vs a salad wrap, we are going to have very different responses and signals being sent in our body again.
Kids are humans too! If all you feed them is a diet high in carbohydrates or processed foods, they are missing out on those nutrients, their blood sugar levels rise and fall (leading to increased energy, then tiredness and nagging for more food) and whilst they are eating and full for a period, they are ultimately missing out on what they need to function and grow at their best.
And I completely appreciate that it’s hard to know what a good balance is. As well as feeding children who are fussy.
It takes time and consistency – above all else – to get them eating a range of different, healthy foods. Which is why I created a great visual printout of that balance, in my Kids Lunchbox Planner.
Stuck for ideas on what to add?
On what foods are in what category?
No worries! Just click here to sign up to grab the Kids Lunchbox Planner today!