Kids spend a lot of time at school, so lunchboxes make up an important part of their overall diet and can be a great opportunity to get some extra nutrients into their day.
A healthy balanced lunch not only gives kids energy and improves concentration, it’s also important for their overall growth and development. But, every parent knows that getting kids to eat a nutritious lunch can be easier said than done!
If you’re needing a little inspiration, here are five ways to get some extra nutrients into your child’s lunchbox.
1. Go for whole grains
Whole grain bread and wraps, wholemeal pasta and brown rice are more nutritious options than white, providing additional protein, fibre, B vitamins and iron, which are all important nutrients for kids. But if you can’t convince your child to eat sandwiches made with wholemeal bread, go for a high fibre white bread instead.
2. Make veggies fun
Variety is the spice of life – and lunchboxes! Including some veggies in your child’s lunch is a great way to help them get their five serves a day, but they’re often the most likely to come home uneaten. Instead of just sticking to carrot and celery sticks, mix up your veg offerings with cherry tomatoes, snow peas, alfalfa sprouts, mini cucumbers or corn on the cob. Cutting vegetables such as carrot and cucumber into shapes using a small cookie cutter is also an easy way to make them more appealing to kids.
3. Add a dip
Kids love a dip, and options such as hummus and tzatziki are full of nutritious ingredients and can also encourage your child to eat more veggies. Add a small container to your child’s lunchbox along with some wholegrain crackers or veggie sticks – you can even get your child involved in making their own dip on the weekend!
4. Think beyond crackers
Instead of crackers and chips which often provide little nutritional value, try popcorn, mixed seeds or roasted Aussie Sprouts Crunchy Combo. Kids get the same delicious crunch but with a whole lot more health benefits – fibre, protein and a range of vitamins and minerals.
5. Homemade heroes
Cooking and freezing batches of homemade muffins, slices and bliss balls makes packing lunches a whole lot easier and is a great way to get extra nutrients into lunchboxes. Use plenty of wholesome ingredients such as wholemeal flour, vegetables and legumes, dried fruit and seeds. Think cheesy tomato and corn muffins, wholemeal pizza scrolls, zucchini slice and carrot cake bliss balls.
Article by paediatric dietitian and nutritionist, Skye Swaney, on behalf of Aussie Sprouts