Expert Opinion

What are some healthy and tasty lunch-box snacks that I can give my child who’s starting school for the first time this year?

What are some healthy and tasty lunch-box snacks that I can give my child who’s starting school for the first time this year?

Some of my favourite, healthy and delicious lunch-box snacks that I love to make for my kid’s lunchboxes are:

  • Nachos (corn chips topped with grated cheese placed in the oven until the cheese is golden and melted) served with a side of guacamole for dipping.
  • Spelt choc-chip cookies (I halve the amount of sugar called for in the recipe).
  • Veggie sticks with hummus
  • Granola bars
  • Popcorn
  • Trail mix – sultanas, pepitas, sunflower seeds and some little chocolate chips.
  • Apple slices with tahini to dip them into or spread straight onto the apple slices.
  • Cheese & crackers
  • Gummies made using gelatin and pureed fruit.
  • Yoghurt topped with berries
  • Chia pudding

I find it difficult to think of different lunch options for my child – what are some options that are still healthy, easy and won’t require too much time?

Having to think of different things to pack into the school lunchbox can certainly become overwhelming. I like to keep it simple and stick with the favourites for the most part. Here are some of my go-to lunches for my kids lunchbox:

  • Ham, chicken or turkey & salad wraps or sandwiches.
  • Mini homemade pizzas (these can be made in bulk the night before and kept in the fridge for up to 3 days).
  • Fried rice (again, this can be made in bulk and kept in the fridge for 2-3 days, or frozen in individual portions).
  • Sliced cooked sausages with veggie sticks.
  • Sliced cooked chicken breast with veggie sticks.
  • Nachos (as I mentioned above, however be sure to add some protein like taco mince or chicken if serving as the main lunch).

I want my child to develop a healthy relationship with food; what are some easy ways to get them involved in preparing and cooking food?

Getting your children involved with packing their lunchboxes is a great place to start! This way they not only see how much work goes into packing a healthy lunch (hopefully meaning that they will eat more of it!) but they also get a say in what goes into it. I like to have my children helping with slicing veggies or fruit for their lunchbox while I am making their main lunch.

Getting them involved in day-to-day cooking can be as simple as having them help you to prepare the ingredients to be cooked, allowing them to stir the pot or flip a pancake can help to give them confidence in the kitchen. I love to set them up with their own station with a chair to stand on and their own chopping board and knife. There are so many kid-safe knives on the market now as well as stools designed to keep kids at the right height but also safe while helping in the kitchen. Giving them some independence in a safe way helps to build their confidence and healthy relationship with food. Not to mention it teaches them important life skills!

My child is very fussy with food – how can I minimise tantrums at mealtimes and make these experiences more positive?

The most important thing here is patience. Most children will go through fussy stages and will all test their boundaries. It’s important to remain calm (I know this can be hard) and stay consistent in what your boundaries are. Some ways to reduce tantrums occurring in the first place are:

  • Eat early – poor behaviour can be exacerbated when children are hungry so getting in before that happens can make mealtimes run a lot smoother.
  • Serve some “safe foods” – make sure to always serve at least a portion of their dinner as some healthier safe foods- by this I mean serve some of the healthy foods that you know they will like and eat. This way they’re not getting frustrated over their dinner and helps them to feel more positive around mealtimes.
  • Remove distractions – take any electronic devices or toys away from the table and out of sight so that your child is focused on mealtime and not being distracted by wanting to play with their device or toy.
  • Stay positive – our moods have a direct impact on our children’s moods, trying to stay positive and happy around mealtimes helps our children to be positive and happy.

How important are probiotics – does my children need to be taking them?

There is more and more research coming out about the importance of probiotics. It is one supplement that I give to my children ongoing (on and off), especially when they’re younger. Providing beneficial bacteria promotes good gut health, which in turn has positive effects on mood, general health, immunity, and digestion. I recommend booking a consultation with a Nutritionist to see which probiotic would be best for your child.

About the author

Sarah Bell is a Nutritionist and healthy recipe developer. Being a mother of 3, Sarah is passionate about pediatric nutrition and turning fussy eaters into well-rounded eaters. She loves creating family-friendly recipes that are easy to make and taste delicious.
As a Nutritionist, Sarah knows the importance of gut health to our overall health and wellbeing. Because of this, she loves creating recipes using wholefood ingredients that promote good gut health and that are free from refined sugars.