In a couple of weeks your children will be back to school or perhaps just starting. Lunch time is such an important time as it allows the children to re-energise and prepare for the afternoon. What the children eat at lunch is primarily down to YOU. So here’s 10 tips in order to make your children’s lunch that little bit healthier!
1. Keep them fuller for longer: Base the lunchbox on foods like bread, rice, pasta and potatoes. Choose wholegrain where you can.
2. Mix your slices- If your child doesn’t like wholegrain, try making a sandwich from one slice of white bread and one slice of wholemeal/brown bread.
3. Freeze your bread- Keep a small selection of bread in the freezer. Make lunchboxes more interesting by using different shapes, like bagels, pittas and wraps, and different types of bread, such as granary, wholemeal and multi-grain.
4. DIY lunches: Wraps and pots of fillings can be more exciting for kids when they get to put them together. Dipping foods are also fun and make a change from a sandwich each day.
5. Less spread: Cut down on the spread used and try to avoid using mayonnaise in sandwiches.
6. Cut back on fat: Pick lower fat sandwich fillings, such as lean meats (including chicken or turkey), fish (such as tuna or salmon), reduced-fat cream cheese, and reduced-fat hard cheese.
7. Always add veg: Cherry tomatoes, or sticks of carrot, cucumber, celery and peppers all count towards their 5 A DAY. Adding a small pot of reduced-fat hummus or other dips may help with getting kids to eat vegetables.
8. Salad: adding salad to sandwiches is also another great way of increasing 5 a day and variety into their diets.
9. Get them involved! Get your kids involved in preparing and choosing what goes in their lunchbox. They are more likely to eat it if they helped make it.
10. Swap the sweets: Swap cakes, chocolate, cereal bars and biscuits for malt loaf, fruited teacakes, fruit breads or fruit (fresh, dried or tinned – in juice not syrup).
Phoebe Wharton Nutritionist