Lunchboxes can feel like a chore at the best of times, let alone when you’re trying to keep your child’s diet interesting and varied. It’s all too easy to get stuck in a rut, making the same old sandwiches every day – but don’t worry, help is at hand!
If your children are getting fed-up of their lunchboxes – or you want to encourage them to eat some different foods at lunchtime – then this foody inspiration is for you. We’ve put together some tasty alternatives to help you mix up their midday menu and, because we know how busy family life can be, they’re all super quick and simple too.
According to NHS Choices a nutritionally balanced lunchbox should contain:
- A carby item, such a bread, pasta or rice
- Protein for example, meat, fish or eggs
- A dairy item like yoghurt or cheese
- Vegetables or salad and a piece of fruit
But we highly recommend putting a little treat in there too!
To make sure you include all the right components in their lunchbox one Mumsnet user has a great tip: count to five for each child.
"This is a good ploy when you're a bit brain-dead in the early morning. One: a sandwich/wrap/pasta. Two: a piece of fruit - plums are a good alternative to apples and the right size for most lunchboxes. Three: a drink (usually a carton of juice/bottle of water). Four: something else healthy - yoghurt/cheese/pack of healthy crackers. Five: a treat - whatever that means in your house!"
So, with a healthy balance in mind, here are our suggestions for a lunchbox they’re sure to love!
1) Make the Most of Leftovers
You can make light work of lunchboxes by using leftovers from dinnertime. Chicken drumsticks or fillets, rice or couscous with veggies, sausages, frittata, even pizza or pasta all taste great served cold the next day - and you get two meals from one lot of cooking!
If you’re worried about keeping foods like salad or meat cool, include an ice pack in your child’s lunchbox. You can make a DIY version by freezing a bottle of water; this has the added benefit of doubling as a cold afternoon drink.
2) Wrap it up
Tortilla wraps make a great alternative to sandwiches and they’re just as quick and easy to make. Chicken and salad makes a tasty protein-packed filling, or for a veggie option how about hummus and carrot? The recipes are below.
Carrot and Hummus Wraps
- A generous dollop of hummus
- 1 seeded wraps
- 2 carrots
- A handful of rocket
Spread the hummus between wraps. Coarsely grate carrots and scatter on top of the hummus. Finish each wrap with a small handful of rocket leaves and some seasoning. Roll up and eat.
Chicken and Avocado Wraps
- 1 wrap
- A generous dollop of hummus
- 3 slices of chicken breast
- ½ avocado
- 4 sliced cherry tomatoes
- A sprinkling of grated cheddar cheese
Spread the hummus onto the middle of the wrap. Tear up the chicken and put it in a line down the middle of the wrap. Chop the avocado and place alongside the chicken. Add the cherry tomatoes and sprinkle cheese. Roll up the wrap.
3) Salad Sticks
Salad sticks are a great way to get your children to eat all their veggies! Much more fun to eat than regular salad; chop up chunky bits of vegetable and pierce them onto a kebab stick for a healthy lunchbox alternative.
This would also work really well with fruit or a combination like apple slices and chunks of cheddar cheese.
4) DIY Dips and Snacks
Supermarket brands have created all sorts of handy lunchbox fillers, but it’s often healthier and more economical to create your own version of these snacks. Fill a mini tupperware with cream cheese or a similar dip and then have breadsticks of veggies for them to dip in.
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