Top 5 Tips for Making Hassle Free Healthy Lunch Boxes
Packing a healthy diverse lunch box each day is one of the most important things you can do to help with your children’s mood, behaviour and learning. No pressure there, right?
But packing a healthy diverse lunch is not always easy to achieve when you’re juggling getting breakfast sorted and making sure everyone is getting ready for school and work. Then there’s the challenge of making the lunch box different from yesterday too. This can sometimes mean you start the day with a fair amount of stress, even before school and work starts.
So as school starts again, here’s our Top 5 Tips for Making Hassle Free Healthy Lunch Boxes
1. Plan Ahead
Think about what you are going to pack for lunches the night before, or even better, plan for the whole week. Then, the act of packing the lunch box each day will be far less stressful. Try to avoid including packaged foods (e.g. chips) because these tend to have additives and preservatives added, many of which have adverse effects on behaviour.
2. Use Evening Meals as Lunches
This is one of the simplest ways to add diversity to lunch boxes. Use evening meal leftovers for lunch, or repurpose the evening meal to make it into something entirely different for lunches, e.g. roast chicken can become a chicken pasta salad. If you don’t normally have leftovers from your evening meal, cook a double batch. Some can be for lunch tomorrow, then you can easily freeze the remainder for use in the future.
3. Pack a Rainbow of Foods
Each different colour of fruit and vegetables does something different to help support the body. For instance, red foods such as berries and tomatoes are good for your heart and memory. Try to include as many colours of the rainbow as possible in your lunch box. Factor this into your plan.
4. Pack Good Carbs and Proteins
It’s important to ensure the lunch box includes complex carbohydrates such as starchy fruits and vegetables for longer lasting energy. Include a good quality protein such as egg or chicken (hormone free) to help fill them up so they stay fuller for longer.
Here’s a few good examples of foods you can include:
- Fruit – oranges, banana, cherries, grapes, apple (whole or cut on the day & sprinkle with lemon juice to minimise it going brown)
- Vegetable – carrot sticks, celery sticks, cucumber, cherry tomatoes
- Whole Grain – brown rice, quinoa, Whole grain muffin
- Protein – chicken, chick peas, eggs, hommus, yoghurt
- Healthy Treats – popcorn, rice cakes, home made museli bars
5. Quick Check
A healthy diverse lunch box should include one of each of the following:
- Wholegrain (brown rice, quinoa etc)
- Healthy Snack (home-made or look for additive and preservative free options)
For more information on these Top 5 Tips, and to learn more, make sure you listen to the Hassle Free Healthy Lunch Box Webinar. You’ll be instantly emailed the special link and password to watch the webinar recording.
About the Author
Belinda Smith is a wife, mother of two, and a Health & Wellness Coach who specialises in helping children and parents understand how their lifestyle and food choices affect their mood, behaviour, learning and overall health. You can find Belinda at The Root Cause.