Every day millions of children around the country take lunch or some snacks to school. Many times many mothers are left confused so to how they can create healthy options for their children. Though it’s easier to get pre-packaged food and snacks, these options though convenient are barely ever healthy options. Read on for a few tips to make healthy and tasty treats for your child’s school lunch.
Plan ahead: Try having a list of at least 10 different lunches you can pack each day and if possible include on your meal planner that way you won’t need to struggle the day before (or that very morning) thinking about what your children will take to school.
Natures Drinks: rather than giving you child fizzy or flavored drinks every day try natural options such as fresh orange juice, yoghurt or zobo. You can make up to a week’s supply or your chosen natural juice ahead of time and keep in the freezer. Try flavoring zobo with pineapple or other fruits your child may enjoy. You could also try making your own yoghurt from scratch that way you’re sure it’s free from unhealthy additives and unnatural flavours. Also don’t forget to give your child a bottle of water every day! Not only are these natural options healthier they are also inexpensive.
Fruit Packs: Remember that an apple a day keeps the Doctor away! Rather than give your child a sugary processed snack try giving them a pack of seasonal fruits that contain a more beneficial form of sugar. Children love fruits and you could easily fix them a fruit salad made from mangoes,watermelon, pineapples, papayas and bananas. If you don’t have time to make a fruit salad then just give them a few bananas or an apple. Another favourite for many children are grapes (try the seedless variety) freeze them a day before so that your child enjoys them nice and cool!
Leftovers: An easy way to make sure the children have a nice lunch at school without taking too much time is by keeping leftovers from the day before. For instance if you made them spaghetti for dinner then be sure to keep some for their school lunch. All you need to do in the morning is to reheat and it’s good to go!
Mummys helper: It’s a well known fact that children are more likely to eat meals they help prepare. So get your child involved and you’ll be sure that no matter how lunch turns out your little helper will gobble it all up!
Sandwiches are easy!: This is always an easy option and often the first lunch item children learn to make .Try filling your sandwiches with mayo , sausages, eggs or tuna (you could even put in some lettuce) and in minutes you have an easy and healthy meal for your child.
Always a healthier way: even when you want to give them things like noodles for school make it healthier by adding in chopped carrots and green beans and throw in a boiled egg. That way they you can be sure they are getting their daily dose of vegetables. Also instead of always frying potatoes you could slice them thinly and roast them! Yummy and way healthier!
Calcium is yum! : Calcium is very important for every growing child so make sure that you give your child calcium in different yummy ways. The easiest way is by giving your child a pack of milk or yoghurt (the less artificial additives the better) and adding cheese to their sandwiches or pasta dishes.
All in all make sure you keep your children’s lunch choices varied, tasty, high in protein, vegetables, fruits and fibre. Also ensure that the lunches are low in fat, salt and unhealthy sugars. If you must give pre-packed snacks, drinks or lunches then read the labels and give them the healthiest choices available.
Here are some healthy lunch choices:
- A sandwich filled with boiled egg, tomatoes and lettuce: This has the carbs we all crave plus protein and a healthy dose of vitamins. If your child doesn’t mind try making the sandwich with whole-wheat bread. Add yoghurt or a carton of milk for calcium.
- Burgers with oven baked chips: You can use minced chicken or meat and make the patties yourself (just season and mold into the right shape) add one egg into the mixture if you’re making a large quantity. This way you get to choose was spices you add and your sure the burgers are free of preservatives. In the burger you can add ketchup or any other relish your child enjoys; just try and look out for one that has no ”high fructose corn syrup”. Add some lettuce, a slice of tomato and cheese. For the chips you can slice your potatoes thinly or buy the pre-cut ones, ass a little healthy oil (canola, sunflower etc) and bake in the oven.
- Boiled plaintain with liver sauce: This meal is high in folic acid and iron, so apart from being great for the children it’s also a fantastic meal for a pregnant or lactating mum. To preserve as much nutrients as possible boil the plantain in their skin. If your children haven’t acquired the taste for boiled potatoes then slice them thinly and grill in the oven or fry with a healthy oil. For the liver sauce just sauté chopped liver and onions in a little oil.
- Sweet potato and fish sauce: This is yummy and so healthy! Sweet potatoes are truly sweet and a good source of vitamins and iron. For your fish sauce choose an oily fish like mackerel (commonly called ice-fish) which is high in omega 3 nutrients and very tasty too.
- Chicken wraps: This is for all those children who love shawarma. Rather than buy from an eatery you can wrap some smoked or grilled chicken (a good source of protein) in unleavened bread (available in most supermarkets) add in some low-fat mayo or ketchup and you’re good to go.
- Fruit medley: Every child loves fruits especially bananas, grapes and apples. Try creating a medley of chopped up fruits and your child will have a filling and nutritious lunch. You could also try Tomis Treats which are organic pureed fruits.
- Pancakes: Now I know this doesn’t sound healthy but it can be made healthier. You can use whole wheat flour for the pancakes or fill them with chopped bananas. Try not to add too much sugar to your pancake mix and instead of pancake syrup serve with healthier options either honey, nutella or real maple syrup.
- Spaghetti with veggie sauce.: Most of our children love spaghetti and we can do our best to make it healthy. Try making the tomato sauce with olive oil (try atili the local olive oil) and add a very generous amount of vegetables such as carrots, green peppers, peas and more.