We caught up with Kelly Vine from Feed Me Healthy to pick her brains for ideas of what to include in a kids packed lunch. Kelly has come up with a handy mix & match list. Over to Kelly to find out more……
Do you ever feel a little overwhelmed when it comes to thinking about what to pack for the kids lunch…. will they a) eat it and b) have something healthy?
Ideally it will contain healthy fats, protein, good carbs, a veggie and fruit element. You may want to plan ahead for the week and a good idea is to batch a few things up on a Sunday then maybe on a Wednesday evening so you’re not doing it last thing at night or first thing in the morning. Some things can also double up as breakfast items or dinner the night before – you’ll get to know this as you go along, and you’ll develop a nice little routine.
This grid is a nice starter for those who’re unsure what are good healthy foods to consider.
Click on image to open larger image in a new window
So, as a guide, I tend to go for a couple of the protein/healthy fats, a wholegrain carb, then 2/3 portions of fruits and veggies. Obviously depending on the age of your child and their appetite you can alter this.
Take it week by week, make a note of things your child likes/dislikes and you can add them again in future weeks or omit them altogether. It’s all a bit of trial and error when it comes to children and their eating habits and as we know all too well, what they like one day then can detest the next. I often find peers help with getting children to eat. My little one wouldn’t touch a sandwich until she went to pre-school and all the other kids were eating them. So, it’s always good to try as many things as possible as they may well eat something at school that they wouldn’t at home, just remember to always pack in something you know them to like so they don’t go hungry. Other ideas are to do trial packed lunches. Get them a lunchbox they like that has enough compartments (I always find they like opening the different little boxes) and go on a long walk or out to the park and have a picnic packed lunch. There are some great bento style boxes out there with a choice of compartments. Look for stainless steel (maybe for the older kids) or BPA free plastic, I also really like the bamboo ones.
- Skewers – kids love a kebab – you can make these with anything – fruits, veggies, meats etc – just make sure you use the thicker bamboo ones for younger kids and snap off any sharp edges. Shapes are also good – you can get some little stars and hearts for fruits/veggies and it just makes them more appealable to children (and me also!!!).
- Frittatas work really well as they last a while in the fridge and you can make them as different as you like every day with all sorts of different ingredients. The basis just needs to be potato, eggs and cheese, there are loads of recipes out there.
- Chicken/fish you can cook some in egg, flour and breadcrumbs to make nuggets the night before for dinner and make double to use the next day.
- Rice and quinoa, you could mix in peas/sweetcorn/chopped carrot/edamame etc.
- Muffins – again you can add anything in you like within reason. Make little bitesize ones with wholegrain flour and these can be sweet or savoury, they also make a great brekkie. Again, there are plenty of recipes out there to try. To start with I would make any of the items that require cooking on a weekend or when you have time. Once you find a recipe you like and after you have made it a few times you’ll be able to whip them up in no time and this way its less stress to start with.
Good luck, just remember it’s all variable and just do what you can as and when. Some weeks you will nail it and others you will scrape by – both are ok and your child will eat and be well. The very fact you are reading this means you will be doing your best.
Kelly Vines is a Registered Nutritional Therapist working from Kings Langley in Herts and also online. Kelly has been in the industry since 2016 seeing clients with all manner of issues. She takes a special interest in female health and fertility but has worked with diabetes, weight management and also sports nutrition to name a few. Kelly offers different packages depending on your needs and offers a functional approach to nutrition – working with the body as a whole to bring you to optimum health.