You want to send your child off to school with a healthy packed lunch, crammed full with fresh fruit, veg and wholemeal bits, but how do you actually entice your child to eat it? For most mums early mornings are frantic, so the school packed lunch has to be quick and easy to make. Get ready for school with Little Dish's tips for healthy lunch boxes.
- Don't over-pack the lunch box. If the box is straining you've put too much in. Remember little ones have to eat lunch fast, so better to give them something small and simple that they can quickly scoff. Racing round the playground is infinitely more fun than sitting down to eat.
- What to pack? Aim for one main course (sandwich, bagel, wrap, pasta salad) containing some salad or vegetables with a piece of fruit, a drink and a treat such as a fromage frais, cereal bar or raisins.
- Don't expect your child to gnaw their way through a whole apple so cut fruit into easy to eat slices or include easy peel fruits such as satsumas and bananas.
- While sandwiches are speedy to make and easy to eat, throw a few alternatives into your child's lunch box. Pasta, rice and couscous salads make deliciously nutritious lunches.
- If your child refuses to eat wholemeal bread, try 50/50 breads which look white but actually contain 50% wholemeal flour in them. Brown pitta breads and granary rolls, which look like burger buns might be eaten too.
- Sprinkle a bit of love into the lunch box by adding a little healthy treat - a smoothie, fromage frais, pack of raisins or cereal bar that's been sweetened with fruit juice rather than sugar will do the trick.
- Keep an eye on the salt content. One to three year olds should eat no more than 2g of salt a day (0.8g sodium) and 4 to 6 years - 3g salt a day (1.2g sodium).
Ideas for a yummy packed lunch
- As an alternative to sandwiches, make a simple pasta salad just stirred through with pesto and grated cheese. Another idea is pasta mixed with tuna, topped with diced peppers and sweetcorn.
- Rice salad is another easy lunch box favourite. Just mix it through with a combination of chopped ham, sweetcorn, peppers or chicken, cucumber and cheese.
- Grated cheese and cucumber rolled up in a slice of ham makes a delicious lunch - and a tasty snack for mum too.
- Cold freshly-made chicken nuggets, served with vegetable sticks and a little tomato dip makes a delicious lunch. Our fresh tomato sauce makes a great dip.
- Pitta pockets with a variety of fillings - chicken or houmous and avocado make yummy quick lunches.
- Bread sticks with cream cheese and chopped pineapple make a delicious extra treat.
What do you pack in your child's lunchbox? Share your favourite time-saving tips and ideas with us, and we'll add them to our website. Please email us with your pictures and ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.