Back to School - Healthy Packed Lunches Inspiration
It’s been a beautifully hot summer, but it’s Back to School season – the supermarkets are filling with uniforms, rucksacks are brought out from the back of the cupboard and a new pencil case is the hottest item on everyone’s shopping list! Whilst the kids are mourning the end of the holidays, it’s time for parents to start thinking ahead about packed lunches.
We all want to make sure that our children are getting a healthy, balanced meal at lunchtime to fuel them through afternoon lessons – but it can be tricky to keep them interesting for the kids to enjoy eating them! We’ve put together our top packed lunch picks that will be the envy of the playground:
A Twist on a Classic
The humble sandwich has been a lunchbox staple for decades, so why not jazz it up? Instead of the usual two slices of bread, try wraps or pittas. This small switch will pique your child’s interest and offer a wider variety of texture. Try stuffing a pitta bread with chicken breast, tzatziki, salad and feta cheese. If your child can be fussy about eating their crusts, wraps are an ideal alternative – you can fill them with a simple ham and cheese, or go more adventurous with pan-fried vegetables, tomato and avocado – a DIY packed lunch burrito brimming with vitamins! You could even treat the kids to ‘pizza’ – simply spread passata, cheese, and any topping you’d like on a wrap and heat under the grill the night before and cut into slices.
If your child has PE lessons coming up in the afternoon, you’ll need to make sure they’re fuelled with slow-burning energy to keep them going. You can buy a huge variety of grains from supermarkets – quinoa and couscous are great in your packed lunches, they’re delicious as cold salads and soak up flavours. If your child has a sweet tooth, you can add fruit such as pomegranate seeds or dried apricots to couscous. Quinoa is packed with protein, and is an ideal base for topping with roasted vegetables such as red onion, peppers and butternut squash for the ultimate nutritious meal. For added calcium, why not top with grilled halloumi?
Make It a Party
If it’s one thing kids love it’s choice and variety – who doesn’t know a little one whose eyes don’t light up at a party buffet? You can use this to your advantage and give your child a mini mezze, giving them a load of different tastes and textures whilst you know they’re getting a good mix of nutrients. Try raw vegetable sticks with hummus for a veggie hit, and add protein such as chunks of chicken, ham or tofu. Then add crackers and cheese or a pesto pasta salad for carbohydrates and calcium, and top it off with a fruit salad – a mini mezze in a lunchbox!
Kids will always want junk food - it’s nearly impossible to cut it out completely! But for school lunches, you can make a healthier alternative with homemade veggie crisps. Root vegetables such as beetroot, sweet potato and parsnips make delicious crisps, and are so simple to whip up! Simply peel the vegetables as normal, then peel the parsnips lengthways to make long thick ribbons, and thinly slice the beetroot and sweet potato. Place on a baking tray in the oven and cook until dry and crisp before sprinkling with salt!