Why not plan the week in advance so you’re not frazzled in the morning and ask the kids to pack their own lunchbox? You can stretch your child’s tastes at home but in their lunchbox choose things you know they love.
- Remember that mixing lots of different finger foods, from blueberries to little tomatoes, makes eating more of a treat for kids.
- Combine a rainbow of colours to make lunch even more appealing – asparagus, red peppers and carrots, and fruit cocktail dessert with cherries, melon balls and tangerine sections.
- Make sure there’s plenty of fruits and vegetables included for necessary vitamin-rich high-fibre.
- Fruit and veg are also great sources of ‘good’ carbohydrates – ideal for growth generally, and to fuel your child’s brain power for afternoon school work.
- Try to avoid ‘bad’ carbs like white bread as the sugar and starch will cause energy dips after lunch.
- Cheese cut into sticks is calcium-rich and a useful protein alternative to bread and packaged meat.
5 great packed lunch ideas
Try beans with lettuce, corn, tomatoes and grated cheese or chicken strips with avocado and shredded cabbage.
Try wholewheat pitta with hummous, cucumber and tabbouleh, lettuce-leaf pockets with tuna, tomato and olives inside, or roll-ups with shredded turkey, spinach and shredded Brussels sprouts.
Try mixed-vegetable crudités in endive boats with different dips or edamame salad with quinoa or rice, sweetcorn and sunflower seeds.
Hard-boiled egg, baked sweet potato slices and green peas, cold frittata filled with broccoli florets and mixed veggies, or savoury wholewheat muffins with ham, cheese and courgette.
Try a mixture of cheese cubes with celery, olives, apples and grapes or mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and pineapple. You could replace the cheese with bite-sized cuts of roast chicken.
Use cookie cutters to make star- and heart-shaped cucumber and courgette slices, carve radish roses and make faces with cherry-tomato eyes and carrot-strip smiles. Or tuck in a little message – a cute drawing, a message that you love them, or even a daily silly joke they can tell at the school lunch table.