Summer is back! School holidays are over and it’s time to get the kids lunch boxes back in their school bags. Having had the whole holiday to plan this daunting task; I’m sure we didn’t get a chance to prepare.
That’s why this is the perfect read for you. More often than not we actually can never find healthy, affordable lunch ideas for the little ones.
What do I put in my toddler/ child’s lunch box?
How much you put in your child’s lunch box depends on the length of your child’s day. A healthy lunch box full of fresh food gives your child the energy to concentrate, learn and play all day. For example, children who go to child care, kindergarten or school for six hours a day might need to bring food for morning tea and lunch. Children who go for longer periods might also need an afternoon snack.
What is inside a healthy lunchbox?
A healthy lunch should be chosen from the five food groups:
• grain foods – bread, pasta, breakfast cereals, rice, corn
• dairy – milk, cheese, yoghurt
• meat, fish, chicken, eggs and legumes, including peas, beans, lentils, chickpeas, nuts, tofu and so on.
• oh and water of course
An adequate of amount of each of the above food groups is what a healthy lunch box consists of.
Where to find affordable food supplies?
In Gaborone we have a few shops that sell fresh and affordable vegetables, fruit and other small snacks to include in a lunch box. My company “Endorsed by Nature” also offers pre-packed lunch boxes that can be delivered. It’s for the moms that don’t have the time to prepare food at home. Food Lovers also has a wide range of affordable fruit. Not forgetting Woolworths foods.
Snacks in the box
With having listed above what a healthy lunch box consists of, here are a few cool snacks to make for the little ones.
Healthy Lunchbox Chicken Balls
These little balls are delicious and packed with protein. Easy to make and something the kids love. Here’s how to make these tasty treats;
• 1 small onion
• 600g chicken mince
• ½ cup cornflake crumbs
• ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
• 1 egg, lightly beaten
• Sweet chilli sauce, to serve (If it’s not too sticky)
• Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
• Finely chop the onion
• Combine onion, chicken, cornflake crumbs, cheese and egg in a large bowl.
• Mix until well combined and roll tablespoons of mixture into small balls.
• Place balls on tray and bake for 30 minutes until golden and sizzling.
Sandwich on a stick
Do you ever get tired of packing the same old sandwich in your kid’s lunch box? Assembling a sandwich beforehand can also leave the sandwich soggy after sometime. When you separate the sandwich ingredients it stays fresh, your kids can choose what they want to include, and there are so many fun ways to assemble!
• Chicken chunks or any other meat you would like to use.
• Whole wheat bread (Keep it healthy!)
• Cheese ( If kids are lactose intolerant find an alternative)
• Cherry tomatoes.
• Cube (or cut with decorative cutters) bread, cheese and lettuce. You can warm the chicken in the microwave if your serving at home. Thread the wooden skewer with cheese and veggies, capping each end with a cube of bread like sandwich. You can also serve with a dip of some kind.
Veggies sticks and dip
They are crunchy, tasty and highly nutritious. Carrots sticks and dip is the perfect combination for a hungry kid.
• Cream cheese (For dip)
• Peel the chosen vegetable.
• Slice vegetable into long stick like slices.
• Make dip with cream cheese.
Are you tired of all the nagging, begging, pleading, and sometimes down to bribing? I bet your kids will drink like camels when there’s juice around? Well, infused water is the solution you are looking for. Not only do they look tasty but actually do add flavour to the water.
You can use any fruit you feel comfortable using; here are a couple of suggestions though;
• Cut up the fruit into pieces.
• Pour water into a bottle.
• Add the fruit into the bottle.
• Serve chilled.
In these times we live in, I personally feel that it is vital to get kids eating healthy from a young age. Healthy kids become healthy adults. Not only that, but we save our kids from deadly diseases caused by unhealthy eating! If you have any go to lunch box meals please let us know. I know everyone is always looking for inspiration. If you want a few more ideas please look at Family Gems previous post on lunch box ideas.