Preparing and planning your child's lunch for the week is a great way to save time and ensure that they have a great amount of variety in their meals. Variety is essential in your child’s lunch box throughout the week to ensure they won't get bored or form fussy eating habits in the future!
Preparation for lunch boxes
What should they be taking to school?
- Lots of fruit and vegetables, protein and carbohydrates – try to avoid anything that is high in salt or sugar.
- Include fruits like pineapple, seedless grapes, kiwi etc. If you have a little bit of extra time to prepare try out our fruit slaw, it’s great for introducing different fruits they may not have been accepted otherwise.
- If you find it difficult to include vegetables for your child try adding spreads such as hummus, pesto, tomato sauce and salsa are a great ways of ensuring they are still getting all of the nutrients they need.
- Choose a night to cook some chicken breasts and make a little extra for sandwiches. Making a roast dinner on a Sunday and keeping some over for lunches during the week is a great way to save time!
- If including cheese in your child’s lunch box make sure it is low in salt but not low in fat.
- Changing up the carbohydrates included in your child’s lunch box is a great way to ensure variety. Wraps, pitta breads and whole meal pasta are all perfect for lunch boxes.
- It’s always nice to include a hot lunch every now and again, flasks are a great way of keeping food warm. Our Mini Minestrone is perfect for getting a few extra veggies in during the day.
Things to avoid when preparing your child’s lunches:
- Don’t be tempted to overfill the lunch box in the hope they might eat something. They will only eat what they like leave the rest and you will not move on with variety.
- Place a comfortable food with an uncomfortable food. When adding something new make sure to include something they already know and like. Don’t make it a surprise for them when they open the lunch box and it contains something new. Discuss it with them at the start of the week and let them know each day we will try something new. Praise them for trying or allowing the new food in the lunch box.
- Make a rule that if the lunch box comes home uneaten then before any actively they must finish their lunch. They will be really hungry and will eat it for you and will soon learn that if its not eaten at school they will have to eat it at home before any snacks are allowed.
- After school give your child a snack like a muffin, crackers and cheese (if cheese not already in lunch box), an Actimel / a yogurt, or if you have time, some banana pancakes.
**Note dentists recommend that only one snack per day should be fruit. So if your child has eaten fruit in the morning as a snack it is best not to give it again in the afternoon. Fruit is OK after a meal as it does not have the same effect on your child’s teeth as it would on an empty stomach.
**Not allowing any snacks after 3pm ensures that there is a 2/3 hour break between snacks and dinner. They may nag you but they will definitely enjoy their dinner when hungry.
Check out our 5 day Lunch Box Planner for more inspiration for your little ones' lunches.