You know that a good variety of healthy school lunches ideas for kids can be hard to come by. Maybe you are getting tired of the same old recipes that you trot out week after week, when getting the kids’ lunches ready? The great consolation is that they are usually much better than what they can get at any school cafeteria. Your kids are less likely to suffer from overweight issues.
The only problem is that it takes longer and you have to be really organized to get them ready in time. But follow these tips where we will give you some useful ideas. First, watch the video below for some great advice about getting the right mix of protein, carbs and greens but also she has good ideas about the actual containers (laptop lunch boxes, also known as Bento boxes which provide neat compartments) and the importance of the visual effect (never to be underestimated). Let’s see what the healthy school menu looks like.
Healthy school lunches ideas
1. Think outside the box and go for hummus, yogurt and wholegrain bread, rather than dull sandwiches with the usual filling. You can always include some leftovers from previous dinner if they went down well. If they did, then you might not have any left at all. You can also avail of the great recipes here in the Real Plans meal plans.
2. It is not a given that the kids will want something different every day. We all like routine and that goes for kids too, so you have to try and collaborate with them on what they really like. A certain predictability will make it easier for you though!
3. Wrap it up! Wraps are a great alternative to boring old sandwiches. Have some left over turkey? Chop it up and add in a few gated carrots with some julienned red pepper and then add your kid’s favorite mayonnaise or salsa sauce.
4. Ask your older kids and get them to help you with some of the healthy school lunch ideas. This ensures that they will eat what they made! They are less likely to throw this in the playground rubbish bin. Also, preparing stuff the evening before means less chaos in the morning rush.
5. Some fruits are better for older kids, like oranges because they can peel them quickly. Time is short and younger kids may not be able to cope with all that peeling. Soups and stews are great in the winter if you put them in a thermos but again you have to make sure that the kid knows how to manage it so that there are no messy accidents. Also, go for crackers rather than bulky rolls which can be really difficult to bite and chew on.
6. No junk food but….. No point in totally banning junk food as we all need a treat now and again. No harm in packing in some muesli, pita bread, chips, nuts, chocolate, and a few snacks as an extra treat.
Infographic on healthy school lunches ideas.
7. Use your kids’ favourite veggies as often as you can. Try pita bread if they like it and also ask them what else they want in their tacos with low fat sour cream, rice and beans. You know that they are supposed to get five fruit and veg a day. Latest research from the Imperial College London suggests that we adults should be getting ten a day to reduce heart disease, cancer and premature death. But that’s another story!
8. Make a week’s lunches ahead. Use Real Plans to make that all much easier. Do them all in the one day and then organize your cold lunch bucket in the fridge so that they are easy to put together. An even better idea is to get the kids to assemble them together just before leaving. They are more likely to eat their choice. Here are some things to get ready for the week ahead. Peppers can be thinly sliced, celery sticks, carrots, mandarin oranges, apples and oranges already sliced. It’s a great idea to have a stock of cherry tomatoes ready to go. Cut up melon when in season and add grapes and cherries when you have them. Berries and kiwi fruit can be popular too. Then you can have a stock of yogurt cups plus babybel cheese and also string cheese. You can also keep a box of dry items (not in the fridge!) so that these can be quickly added at the last minute. These will include beef jerky, chips, crackers, muesli mix, brownies, cookies and granola bars.
9. Cut pizza into roll up sizes so that they will fit nicely into the Bento box. You can easily use left over chicken and turkey by mixing them with a favourite sauce and shove them in a roll, wrap or sandwich. Cream cheese and strawberries can make a healthy sandwich option.
10. The sooner kids get involved in their own healthy school lunches ideas, the better. It will give you a break and also help the kids to make healthier choices. They are also much more likely to eat what they have themselves prepared or packed. It is also a great way to teach kids about nutrition and what they will have to do when they become parents themselves! It will also reduce any whining about what you prepared. Always ask your kids what they want and then work out what is also easiest for you.