Recent research from Leeds tells us that only 1.6% of kid's packed lunches are inadequate in nutrition - here's some tips for Dietwise to help make sure you can keep them interesting and nutritious
It’s one of a parent’s most pressing problems making sure your child’s packed lunch is nutritious enough to keep your kids going through a
busy school day, but tasty enough that they’ll actually eat it.
A study carried out at the University of Leeds suggested that just 1.6% of lunches fully meet official health guidelines for what youngsters
should be eating.
But what exactly should you be putting in your little one’s lunch?
Here are some Dietwise suggestions:
Foods like bread, pasta and couscous should form the basis of the lunch. These are what will give kids the energy to keep them going, and
stave off snacking later.
While most people will fit something from this group into the bait box, it’s best to try and include the wholegrain versions, which are packed
full of the fibre youngsters need.
Keep your kids excited about their meal by trying wholegrain pitta breads or pasta salads, instead of a sandwich every day.
Meat, eggs, fish and cheese contain the protein needed to keep young bones and muscles growing strong.
But it’s best to stay away from processed meats like ham if you can.
Dawn recommends tuna fish or strips of chicken. And plenty of food which aren’t meat come packed with protein too.
Try houmous, which they can dip vegetable sticks in for an extra nutrition boost. Or send them with cooked eggs, or peanut butter
sandwiches — nuts can be a good source of protein, but check your school’s policy, as some don’t allow peanuts because of allergy concerns.
Fruit and veg
It’s notoriously difficult to convince kids to get their five-a-day, but it’s vitally important.
Variety is more important than ever here, and you can keep them excited about fruit and veg by making sure eating them becomes easy and fun.
Try bite-sized cherry tomatoes, sweet red peppers or carrot sticks, which make for fun finger food.
Pack other foods full of veg — fill pasta salads with a colourful selection of vegetables, sneak sweetcorn into tuna sarnies, or grate carrots
into sandwiches or salads.
Fizzy drinks have come under the spotlight recently, as they sneak huge amounts of sugar into our children’s systems.
Water is one of the best options — or try milk, which brings in extra protein.
If you won’t get away with not including a sweeter drink, fruit juice is ok, so long as they don’t have too much. 150ml is the recommended
portion of fruit juice, and you can dilute that with water if you want to make sure they stay hydrated.