Healthy Back to School Lunchbox Ideas | ExpatWomanFood.com
 
 

Pack a Healthy Back to School Lunchbox With These 5 Tips

Energise your kid's day at school with these fun and healthy school lunch ideas

Posted on

27 August 2019

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Pack a Healthy Back to School Lunchbox With These 5 Tips

If you're planning on turning up your lunch menu game, this is your handy guide for healthy, easy, and fun school lunches

Your kids are probably ready for a break from the typical PB&J and handmade wraps, but who really has the time or energy to replicate Pinterest photos of cat-shaped sandwiches and sausages shaped into little octopodes.

Plus, if you also have to go to work in the morning, you may be pressed for time that putting together one or more extra brown bag lunches may slow you down. Faced with the idea of an extra chore when you could just slap on another ham and cheese sandwich, you might wonder if it's even worth to put in that much effort.

According to health experts, it always is.

A healthy school lunch provides your child with sound nutrition to develop a lifetime of healthy eating habits and the energy your kid needs for the rest of their busy school day, especially when they've just returned to school and haven't settled in a "school mood" yet.

It's totally doable to prepare a variety of healthy school lunches without spending too much on time and money. Head on over to QualityFood.ae, a UAE-based online grocery store where you're spoiled for choice for healthy ingredients. A little creativity with how you prepare will also encourage your child to actually eat it rather than trading it for someone else's lunch during the break.

Take a look at some healthy and creative ways to spice up your kids’ lunch routine.

1. What foods to avoid

Here's a list of items you might want to avoid on your next grocery run:

  • Convenience foods such as snack bars and packed crisps. If your kid wants them anyway, opt for baked crisps
  • Drinks with added sugar. Instead, reach for milk, water, freshly squeezed juices, or packed juices without added sugar
  • Processed and instant foods, including hotdogs and spam meat. Try not to make a beeline for the frozen meats section and head straight to the butcher to check out options for freshly ground, healthy sausages and sliced meats
  • Overloading on carbs - avoid packing too many carbs such as pizza, pasta, rice, and bread in hopes that it will fill your kid's stomach for the day. It's always best to portion the sizes. Consider replacing pasta noodles with zoodles (vegetables noodles)

2. Get your kids involved.

Get your children involved in making the lunch by allowing them to choose the fruits, veggies, and meat they want for the week. If they're old enough to use some kitchen tools, let them be a mini assistant chef and assist you. This will increase the odds of them looking forward to what they're eating.

3. Try to follow a school meal guideline

Japan ranks low in the world's childhood obesity rates. A previous study found that students who ate a typical US school lunch, which usually consisted of a lot of carbs (pizza, hotdogs, fries, etc.), chicken tenders, sugary desserts, were 29% more likely to be obese than kids who brought lunch made and packed from home.

For parents who want to reduce such risks, try sending your child to school with a lunch based on the Japanese school meal guideline. If you balance the portions right, it won't pack heaps of calories. Instead, ranging an average of 650 to 850 per meal.

  • Carbs (bread or rice)
  • Protein sources
  • Side of vegetables
  • Soup - Consider using a thermos and pack homemade soups or smoothies rich with nutrients (kids can also snack on these between classes)
  • Milk
  • Fresh fruit

4. Wrap it up

Years of plain old sandwiches will have your child frowning a little every time they see it on their lunch bag.

Children find wraps as a fun alternative to sandwiches, and the best part is you can put almost anything in a wrap. Best to start your wrap with something moist like low-fat cream cheese, hummus, or pesto, then add proteins such as thin slices of turkey. You can make chicken caesar wraps, ham carrot and cheese, egg salad and lettuce - the list is endless.

5. Healthy sneak-snacks

Every student, at some point, sneaked bites between classes or when the teacher isn't looking.

Skip the easy options like chocolates and pastries, and pack a brown bag with healthy finger foods. If your kid is a picky eater, try and use cartoon sticks to skewer fresh fruit kababs - this will make them look more enticing, even more so if the cartoon stick is their favourite character.

Some healthy sneak-snack options include:

  • Fresh fruit - apples, pears, grapes, melons, bananas, oranges, berries, etc.
  • Low-fat cheese snacks
  • Nuts - walnuts and almonds help with brain health
  • Celery sticks dipped with peanut butter or low-fat cream cheese
  • Fresh vegetables like carrots, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, and bellpeppers - play around with how you present these. The more creative you are, the higher the chances your child will munch on them

If your kid doesn't want to/cannot eat a whole apple, cut the apples into slices and store them in a zipped bag with a squirt of lime or lemon to slow down the browning process.