Healthy Packed Lunch Tips

As the kids go back to school here are some healthy lunch box tips from the British Dietic Association (BDA).

Back to basics – bread, cereals and potatoes…

Try to keep a selection of breads in the freezer for sandwiches. Using a different type of bread each day can make sandwiches more interesting. Try multigrain and seed rolls, bagels, baguettes, pitta breads, wraps…the list is endless! (Children have reported they like meat / cheese or fish etc and bread separate so it doesn’t go soggy)
You could also raid the fridge for leftovers – some foods taste just as good cold such as pizza or pasta. Cook extra pasta, couscous or rice. Mix it with cut-up vegetables, a few nuts flaked tuna or mackerel.

Filling the void – meat, fish and alternatives…

Try to include lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs, nuts, beans or pulses in your lunchbox:

Tuna with cucumber, green pepper, sweetcorn or tomato
Low fat hummus and cucumber
Egg and cress (grow your own?)
Cottage cheese and dried apricots
Cooked chicken or turkey, tomatoes, and lettuce
Peanut butter and banana
Grated cheese and tomato
Oily fish, such as salmon sandwich or mackerel pasta salad

Remember, if you are using a spread choose a reduced fat one – or do without it completely if you are using a moist filling.

Vegging out or Feeling fruity..?

It’s important to eat 5 (or more) portions of fruit and vegetables every day. You won’t be stuck for choice when it comes to lunchtime:

fresh fruit e.g. apple, grapes, banana, kiwi fruit (children have also said they like different fruits every day and not always the traditional choices e.g.. wedge of  melon / peeled orange / kiwi and spoon / pot of strawberries. Why not surprise your child with a different fruit / veg choice every day of the week?)
dried fruits, e.g. raisins, apricots
chopped raw vegetables e.g. carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes or a mixed salad
tinned fruit in natural juice – pop in a small container or buy small tins with a ring pull

Dairy delights…

Try to include some dairy products in your lunchbox – important to keep your teeth healthy and your bones strong (remember to look at sugar levels – 5g equals about one teaspoon):

low fat yogurt – plain or fruit flavoured
low fat fromage frais
small pot of rice pudding or custard
Milk / fruit-based milkshakes

Tasty treats…

Fancy something sweet in your lunch-box? There’s nothing wrong with this. Just try and make healthier choices when you can:

currant bun, scone or fruit loaf,
plain popcorn
cereal bar (remember to look at sugar levels)
fun sized bar of chocolate

Put in a drink…

Choose from:

Plain water (still or sparkling)
Plain milk (skimmed or semi-skimmed) or plain yoghurt combined with fruit e.g. smoothies, pureed fruit with plain yoghurt
Pure fruit juice in small cartons or in a small bottle
Hot drinks in the winter, e.g. soups

Keep cool…

Use a cool bag and pop in an ice-pack or freeze a carton of juice and place in with food to keep cool
Keep in the fridge until morning if you make it the night before

·          Don’t store your lunch next to a radiator or in the sun.

Tips provided by the British Dietic Association (BDA) –  www.bda.uk.com