Are you all out of lunch ideas? You are not alone. Many frustrated parents have run out of inspiration juice or simply don’t have the time to experiment. Fear not, as here is a simple guide to make sure your lunches not only pack a taste punch but a nourishing one too!
Ideally, Nutritionists and Dieticians recommend for meals to be considered ‘nutritionally complete’ we must strive to prepare a meal with all the macronutrients which the body needs in large quantities which include carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fibre and water. Whilst we are at it it’s best to also throw some micronutrients in there for good measure, vitamins and minerals, which the body requires in smaller quantities.
Here are some examples of macronutrient and micronutrient lunch box ideas:
Carbohydrate (and Fibre) food examples include:
- Rice paper rolls
- Raw vegetable crudites
- Wholegrain pasta salad
- Grain salads (e.g. cous cous, quinoa, rice)
- Sourdough sandwiches
- Legume salad or curry
- Leafy green salads
- Cooked pumpkin cubes
Protein food examples include:
- Edamame beans
- Boiled eggs
- Spinach frittata
- Cheese blocks
- Organic meat slices
- Sustainable fresh or tinned fish
- Chickpea Hummus
Good fat food examples include:
- Salmon avocado sushi rolls
- ½ an avocado
- Olive oil dressing
- Flaxseed cereal
- Chia seed in a smoothie
Micronutrient food examples include:
- Seaweed sheets or crisps
- Pieces of fruit
- All berries
- Carrot, cucumber, celery & capsicum sticks
- Cherry tomatoes
There are many other benefits to prioritising opting to prepare your child’s packed lunch rather than going for canteen style options including retaining the control of what your little one puts in their mouth by trying to reduce their consumption of packaged foods and if you plan ahead, batch cook and utilise leftovers you can reduce your households’ financial outgoings.
Another good tip is to experiment with cuisines, as not only will this expand your child’s palette, but also their knowledge of enjoying varying food cultures. Perhaps try Japanese, Mexican or Indian inspired lunch boxes to break the lunchbox norm.
Last, but most definitely not least, when it comes to making sure your child drinks enough water (especially when you are not around to monitor) ask them to pick their own water bottle that they simply adore so they have a greater desire to carry it around and ideally with a flip-up straw for no excuse easy drinking!