Ten Top Tips for a Healthier Lunchbox

Most children will be going back to school today after a long summer holiday so if you’re like me and completely out of routine, what could you pack in your child’s lunchbox?

If your child isn’t eligible for free school meals, you choose to give them a packed lunch or you’re trying to save money with a packed lunch, there are lots of ways to give your child a healthy, filling lunch without costing too much.

Here are my ten top tips for packing a healthier lunchbox:

  1. It doesn’t have to be sandwiches. Wraps, bagels, pitta bread etc all count and add variety to your child’s diet. Choose wholemeal or wholegrain varieties to keep them feeling fuller for longer. Freeze any leftover bread and defrost when needed.

  2. Rice, pasta and potatoes are also great additions to any lunchbox. Again, choose wholegrain rice or wholewheat pasta if possible.

  3. Children love to dip so put in a small amount of reduced-fat cream cheese or houmous with crudités of vegetables or pieces of pitta bread for dipping.

  4. Add some fruit in bite-sized pieces. Tinned fruit is a great addition too. You could even add blackberries picked from the hedgerows on your way back from school. Choose fruit in season which will usually be cheaper.

  5. Choose a lower-fat filling such as chicken or fish. If you would like to use cheese, grate it so you will use less and try to keep mayonnaise to a minimum. Reduced-fat cream cheese works well in sandwiches.

  6. Consider packing a small salad in the lunchbox or pack the salad into the sandwich.

  7. To get some dairy into the lunchbox, add a lower sugar and low fat yoghurt or fromage frais.

  8. Use your store cupboard. Add tinned foods to your child’s lunchbox such as tuna or sweetcorn. It can be quick, convenient and healthy.

  9. Mix it up. Try and choose a different selection in the lunchbox every day. Variety is important to make sure that your child gets enough nutrients in their diet.

  10. Most important of all, get your child to help you pack their lunchbox. Research has shown that children are more likely to eat food that they have prepared themselves.

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