Beating the lunch box blues

After keeping the kids entertained at home during the holidays “back to school” time can be a welcome relief for parents that are keen to return to some routine. However the school lunch routine is one that many parents dread.

Trying to provide healthy, nutritious and interesting options for our kids can be a real chore. To get some children to eat anything before they hit the playground can be difficult! Which is why it is sometimes easier to fill a child’s lunch box with the same pre-packaged items every day, particularly if you think they’ll eat them!

To help you get the school year off to a good start - both for parents and children - we’ve compiled this list of helpful lunch box tips.

  • We all know that it’s important that our kids eat enough fruit. The easy option is to pop an apple into a lunch-box & cross that off your list but this can get dull pretty quickly for some kids. Why not try substituting with a tub of canned fruit or some chopped fresh fruit such as strawberries, pineapple or melon?
  • Vegies are an often overlooked part of school lunches but can provide interest and variety. Offer your child some carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, cucumber or capsicum sticks - something that’s easy to eat with their hands. A small tub of low-fat dip can add some extra flavour too.
  • Sliced white bread can quickly become boring. Why not mix things up a bit with some different options? There are certainly plenty of choices between bread rolls, pita bread, flat bread, bagels, fruit loaf, focaccias, scones, pikelets, crumpets, crispbreads, rice cakes or corn thins.
  • Lean protein is an important part of a balanced diet. A good way to incorporate this into a lunch box would be by giving your child a small tub of tinned salmon or tuna (and don’t forget a spoon!). A boiled egg is another good source of protein which is often overlooked.
  • Want to give your child a treat in their lunch? Rather than over-sweet muesli bars or store-bought cakes and biscuits try baking your own wholemeal versions. If you bake a batch of fruit muffins on the weekend, pop them in the freezer and just take out what you need for each day’s lunch.

Information provided in this article is not medical advice and you should consult with your healthcare practitioner. Australian Unity accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of any of the opinions, advice, representations or information contained in this publication. Readers should rely on their own advice and enquiries in making decisions affecting their own health, wellbeing or interest.