It is tough feeding our kids exciting, healthy lunches at school. Making lunch boxes healthier is a challenge that every parent needs to face HEAD ON. 1-in-3 parents said finding healthy food for their kids lunch isn’t easy, according to recent research carried out by Soreen. So, let’s give some of those parents some advice to help get lunches into our kids that are both healthy, and fun. That way, there may even be less long faces at lunch around the country. *And that’s just from the parents* 😀
We’ve got five ideas for you to try today to help make those lunches a little healthier for the kids, but without the headaches involved in cutting the fun out all together.
1. Swap your cake bar for malt loaf
Every kids likes a little bit of cake in their lunch box, don’t they? But we ALL know how much sugar is in a cake or a chocolate bar….
Don’t despair though, pop a Soreen malt loaf into your kids lunch box instead of a cake bar and that can help to reduce your child’s sugar intake by 57%. Soreen use the traffic light colour coding system to help parents understand the nutritional content of their bars; making it easier for parents to choose for their kids healthily.
2. Think about your balanced food plate
Our kids are taught to make sure they have a balanced diet, with plenty of fruit, vegetables, dairy, vitamins, and carbohydrates. It does no harm to remember these principles when we are making our kids lunches as well. Why not make sure you have enough Go, Grow, and Glow in their lunch boxes to start off with….Just like your kids are taught to at school?
You can even use it as a bit of a fun learning opportunity with them – which food goes into which section of Go, Grow and Glow? Is bread a carbohydrate? Is rice one as well? Where does the cheese fit into all this? And so on. Make it fun while you get their lunches ready, and it’ll help to teach them how to choose their lunch foods when its their turn to make thir lunch box.
3. Use a five a day chart for more colourful food
Kids LOVE a sticker chart – our site has plenty of them to choose from, including the usual reward charts that we all know and love. However, we also have something a little different – a five a day food superheroes chart!
Why don’t you use these to get your kids into eating five different colours of fruit of veg every day, and use lunch as one of the meals to help tick your colours off. Tick off each colour every day for a week, and perhaps you can give them a little treat – perhaps extra screen time, or a visit to the local skate park? Whatever they really, really enjoy. *Or give you a break 😉*
Using this kind of chart is a great way to teach kids to mix up their diet with colourful foods, and also to understand a little more about balance in their eating habits. It helps YOU to think about what you are putting in the lunch boxes too. Rather than giving them carrot and satsuma – both orange of course, if you re thinking about your five-a-day chart, you might pick a banana or grapes instead. That means you are giving them something yellow or green to eat – Magic!
4. Use an online lunch box suggestion tool
Change4Life has a brilliant website which gives suggestions for lunch boxes for kids, alongside other healthy eating tips for both adults and kids.They even have a tool to provide lots of amazing suggestions for different combinations of healthier lunch box ideas. Why not build your own lunch menus with their interactive tool to help make planning your kids lunches easier and healthier?
You can use similar meals on rotation to make planning easier as well – why not write down what you are having week to week, and then employ a 4-6 week rotation so you don’t run out of ideas for healthy meals? Six weeks is definitely long enough for your kids to have forgotten they had it *recently*! 😂
5. Think beyond the sandwich
It is so easy to reach for two slices of bread – and then smack a little cheese in-between for kids lunches. But to make them healthier and more fun – forget the sandwiches for most of the week, and think about how you can mix it up with different flavours, textures, and ideas.
- Getting creative with a some slices of pitta and dips,
- Mix it up with rice, cold noodles, and even quinoa if your kids are a little more adventurous than the average littlie,
- What about messing up your meals, and giving a bit of breakfast to the kids at lunchtime. From pancakes, to sausages and a little leftover omelette, you’ll surprise them if they see their breakfast in their lunch box!
- How about a little Sushi – now THAT would be a bit different and very healthy, don’t you think?
- And finally, why not pick some healthy foods that pack a bit of a crunch to make the lunch a little noisier than usual too. For example, some carrots, cucumber, and even a lovely juicy apple? Not too noisy though – we wouldn’t want to upset the lunchtime ladies and gents….
Encourage other manufacturers to use the traffic light system for food
For those of you that are really keen – we’ve got a bonus thought for you – why not lobby locally for more adoption of the traffic light system for food to help parents everywhere? The system was introduced in the UK in 2013, but is still voluntary. Why? It’s a simple and effective way to help parents understand the nutritional content of the food we buy. So why not push for more manufacturers to adopt it as standard? If more manufacturers used it, like Soreen, it’d be a lot easier for us to tell if what we are buying to good for our kids.
We hope you like these tips – please check out some of the other articles we have around kids lunches:
- Some lovely lunch box notes to pop into those healthier lunch boxes you just made!
- We actually got some kindness notes for lunch boxes too to encourage your kids, and even their friends to be kinder to each other,
- Five ways to stop lunch boxes from being boring as well – so now you have BOTH bases covered, and
- What about a lunch box planner as well for you, to make those lunches easier to manage?
We are spoiling you on this, right? But if THAT isn’t enough, then how about some of these instead?
- Happiness is Homemade has some back to school lunch boxes jokes and notes for the kids,
- Hangman lunch box game from The Typical Mom, and
- If you are truly stuck for ideas for lunch boxes, then you HAVE to go and see Eats Amazing and the suggestions that she has.
Do come back again soon, and if you like our advice, then subscribe to us too.
Take care and happy lunches from now on!