It’s really easy to lean on the same foods day in and day out for our children’s lunchboxes, especially if they’re foods that you know your child likes and eats. If you’re looking to change things up a bit to keep your child’s lunchbox interesting, here are some ideas for what to pack:
- Rainbow rice paper rolls – fill with thinly sliced capsicum, carrot, purple cabbage and/or cucumber as well as tuna or chicken.
- Mini pizzas – top with your child’s favourite toppings and serve with a side of vegetable sticks.
- Make Your Own Wraps – add thinly sliced ice burg lettuce, grated carrot, grated cheese, and sliced chicken or ham as well as 2 mini wraps into the lunchbox. Your child can make their own wrap at school with their choice of the fillings provided.
- Sushi – sushi sounds like a big deal but once you get the hang of making it, it’s really quite quick. You could also do deconstructed sushi and pack rice, your child’s choice of vegetables and protein as well as seaweed.
Try to keep your child in the loop as well, they might have some interesting ideas for lunches from other kids at school. This helps them to feel like they contributed, which means it’s more likely that they’ll eat more food from their lunchbox.
What foods should I be fuelling my child with to help keep illness away towards the end of the school year?
A diet rich in anti-inflammatory, nutrient-filled foods will help to keep your child’s immune system strong. Foods like strawberries, blueberries, kiwi fruit, oranges, cauliflower, capsicum, and broccoli are great sources of vitamin C, which is an anti-inflammatory nutrient that increases immunity. Reducing the amount of highly refined and processed foods and offering more foods like fruit and vegetables, lean proteins, and high-fibre complex carbohydrates will help to improve gut health, which has a positive impact on the immune system. Fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut provide beneficial bacteria, which also promote good immunity and gut health.
Are there any particular foods I can feed my child to re-energise them after the school day?
I always find a well-balanced smoothie to be the best thing to give kids as an energy boost after school. Particularly in the warm weather, a nice cold smoothie goes down a treat and can be filled with energy-boosting nutrients like B Vitamins and magnesium. Nuts and seeds are good sources of B Vitamins, so add in some nut butter, hemp seeds, chia seeds or linseeds. Oats are also a great source of B vitamins. Coconut water is a good source of magnesium and is delicious in smoothies. Spinach is also a good source of magnesium and can be easily disguised in a berry smoothie, your kids won’t even know it’s in there!
Other snacks that provide sustained energy are:
- Apple slices with almond butter
- Boiled eggs with a side of vegetable sticks
- Vegetable sticks and crackers with hummus
- Wholegrain toast with nut butter and banana
Should I be feeding my child healthy foods now in preparation for an indulgent Christmas period?
The end of the year brings lots of occasions where unhealthy foods are more widely available. Whether that’s Halloween, end-of-year celebrations at school, or Christmas parties. We should always be aiming to feed our kids mostly healthy foods, regardless of the time of year. But that doesn’t mean that they must miss out on treats either. If you know they are going to a party where there will be lots of indulgent foods, I like to feed them a small balanced meal before the party so that even if all they reach for is the “sometimes foods”, you know they have already eaten well. This means they are less likely to go crazy on these foods as well and they won’t go in hungry.
But learning how to self-regulate when it comes to food is an important part of growing up. If your child is eating a well-balanced diet most of the time, it’s okay for them to have days where it’s not so well-balanced.