Kids can be funny little things and despite their young age they can have very set ideas of what they prefer to eat. This can often present challenges to parents who may struggle with what to prepare that is both tasty and nutritious.

I cringe to think of the ‘expert advice’ that I gave to parents as a newly graduated Dietitian with no children. I remember telling the frustrated Mums to just make them eat their vegetables. Let’s just say that I was still learning!

I was so naive!

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Now with quite a few years experience behind me plus now having three children, I get it!

There is no doubt that making school lunchboxes both interesting and healthy can be a challenge for any parent. Sometimes we need to bring out the heavy artillery and prepare for some healthy lunch box ideas that your kids will be excited to find.

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Five Top Tips for the Best Lunchbox in the Playground

1. Think about the best way to keep your child’s lunchbox cool. Lunches can be languishing in the school bag for hours and can be a happy haven for bacteria. Young children don’t have fully developed immune systems and are at greater risk of food poisoning. Try a frozen water bottle to help keep lunch fresh and a change from regular water to keep those bodies hydrated.

2. Boost brain function – try choosing a bread containing chia seeds. Chia seeds are tiny little things and can be black, white or grey. They are tasteless and slightly crunchy meaning that they can be added to almost anything. Chia seeds are a very good source of omega-3 fats, which are just the ticket for heart health and brain function, plus they are full of fibre. Some commercial bakeries are already adding them to bread or if you have your own bread maker, toss in a couple of tablespoons to give your kids a brain boost.

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3. Make treats do some work – instead of reaching for the multi-packs of chips and chocolate, make a quick rice custard by adding cooked rice to some prepared custard, freeze it and pop into the lunchbox. It is a great source of energy and calcium and kids love it. Alternatively, try some dry cereal instead of packaged snacks, my kids inhale them!

If you love to cook, bake a batch of muffins but make them mini to avoid waste and then freeze them for an instant snack. They will be defrosted by the time recess arrives.

4. Make fruit interesting – for some reason kids find peeling fruit or eating a whole piece hard going. Make it easy and interesting by chopping up a mixture of fruit into small pieces and add a drop of lemon or orange juice to stop it going brown.

Make the most of delicious summer fruits like stone fruit, grapes and melon when they are available. For a double boost mix a handful of frozen berries into some Greek yoghurt and freeze. Great snack that will last the distance.

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5. Doing the Dairy Dance – Instead of spending your weekly wage on pre-prepared cheese and crackers use a collection of small cookie cutters to make interesting shapes and team them up with some plain crackers or twists.

If kids are presented with a lunchbox full of yummy things each day, not only does it make them happy but healthy and above all ready to learn.

Connect here with Expert Julie Meek

 

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