The school lunch box is one of the hottest topics around our children and their health. How can something so simple turn into something that leaves us pulling out our hair each morning!?
I asked fellow Gold Coast City Healthy and Active Ambassador and author of The Lunchbox Revolution, Mona Hecke to give us a few pointers on how to pack a healthy school lunch box. Mona’s goal is to take some of the stress out of your morning rush with ideas to help you pack a lunch that is not only healthy but one your kids will love to eat.
Here are Mona’s 10 tips to pack a healthy school lunch box
- Purchase a lunch box that is age appropriate and with separate compartments. It needs to be easy to open, liquid proof and preferably have the ability to stay cool. Investing in quality will definitely pay off.
- Have a picnic with your lunchbox! — It’s a really good idea to have a practise run with your children and their healthy lunch box before going back to school. Have some fun creating and packing their lunch boxes and then go on a picnic. This is a great way to see how easy they navigate opening containers (and the teachers will thank you for it)
- Pack an ice brick. Make sure there is always room to keep the lunch box chilled with an ice brick. This will keep food fresh and crisp, ready to eat at lunchtime.
- Start with a plan. A healthy, tasty lunch box will not magically appear in the fridge come Monday morning. Get organised with the kids (Sunday afternoon) and write a list of what they would like to make for their lunch boxes for the coming week. Then take them shopping encouraging healthy fresh choices. It’s a great idea to give your kids their own small handbasket in the supermarket for them to fill with fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Creative kitchen time. Encourage your children to spend time in the kitchen (Sunday afternoon) preparing and packing their lunch box. Have some fun making homemade muesli bars and healthy snacks. This will cut the Monday morning madness and it also helps the kids with their time management life skills.
- Avoid the ‘packet lunch box’. Filling a child’s lunch box with processed and packaged food is devoid of nutrients. Growing bodies and busy minds need real whole food that is fresh from nature and nutrient dense. Children who are fed a wholesome diet from a young age are more inclined to make healthy choices as they grow into adulthood. And you will also be saving the environment, and kids love that.
- Make lunch interesting! We all love variety, even the kids. By giving them a selection of smaller options they are more likely to eat a healthy range of food options and a wider variety of essential food groups.
- Make a little extra at dinner time. By making a little extra at dinner time, you can immediately pack the leftovers into small containers for the lunch box. Ideal leftovers include things like brown fried rice, wholemeal pasta salad, mini quiche and mini meat/chicken balls.
- Keep hydrated. Don’t forget to include cold water in the lunch box. Children do not need sugary juices and sports drinks. Ice cold water is the best option to hydrate busy bodies and best of all, water will quench the thirst without increasing calories. Freezing fruit like orange segments and grapes is also a great way to keep hydrated.
- Love and Encouragement… Children need guidance to make good choices. Introduce a star system to inspire healthy options, get them to take part in the shopping and preparation, but most of all be consistent and confident that the healthy choices you make today will help your children grow into happy, healthy adults.
More lunchbox ideas and recipes can be found at www.thelunchboxrevolution.com.au
1 x 425 gm can of tuna (drained) in olive oil is best
1 x corn on cob, kernels removed
2 spring onions , finely diced
1 cup cooked brown rice
1/2 cup rice flour
sweet chilli sauce (low sugar)
salt and pepper
rice crumbs to coat
How to Make
Mix all ingredients together and form small balls. Lightly dust with rice crumbs and bake until golden.
Makes approx. 16 balls.
For a refreshing healthy sauce, serve with natural yoghurt, blended with chopped coriander, mint, a little cumin powder and finely diced cucumber.
For further details and if you would like to attend a FREE GCCC healthy and active workshop