Healthy. Lunchbox IDEAS. Be based on a starchy food

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1 Healthy Lunchbox IDEAS It s important to provide a healthy packed lunch for your child to make sure they re getting all the nutrients they need and enough energy to learn, develop and grow and stay healthy. Research shows that adults and children are eating too much saturated fat, sugar & salt and not enough fibre, oily fish and fruit & vegetables. This is worth bearing in mind to make sure your child is getting enough of what they need at lunchtime and not eating less nutritious foods too often. A healthy lunchbox should: Be based on a starchy food Base your meals on starchy carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, rice and potatoes. Sandwiches are often a popular choice for lunchboxes as they re quick and easy to prepare (and eat)! Mix things up and keep lunchtime interesting by switching from traditional sandwiches to tortilla wraps, pitta breads and bagels etc. Try and choose wholegrain varieties where possible (or 50/50 varieties if they don t like the look of wholegrain!) to up your child s fibre intake. Pasta or rice salads make a nice change for lunch, simply cook a little extra the night before and mix leftovers with chopped veg plus anything else you fancy, with one tablespoon of reduced fat mayo, pop in the fridge ready for lunch the next day. Try getting the kids involved when you re preparing their lunch; they may be more likely to try new foods if they ve helped to prepare it the night before. A source of protein Lean meat such as sliced chicken, beef and ham as well as beans, pulses (e.g. chickpeas and haricot beans) and eggs are all a great source of protein and should be included as part of a healthy lunchbox. Fish is also a good source of protein and we should aim to eat fish twice a week, one of those should be oily. Try out tinned salmon or mackerel (instead of tuna, for a change), but keep an eye on the salt content by checking the label before you buy.

2 Plenty of fruit and vegetables Make sure you include a variety of fruit and vegetables in your child s packed lunch remember fresh, frozen, tinned and dried fruit (limit dried fruit to 25g per serving) & veg all count towards 5 a day. One child size portion is roughly the amount your child can fit in the palm of their hand. Add salad to sandwiches and wraps, include a variety of fruits (look out for what s in season) or try carrot batons and sliced peppers served with a tasty dip such as houmous or tzatziki for colourful and finger friendly food, helping your child on their way to 5 a day! A dairy food Dairy products contain calcium which is great for the maintenance of growing bones; however they can also be high in saturated fats so watch how much your child is eating and choose reduced fat varieties where possible for over 5s. Yoghurt, low fat custard or rice pudding, a piece of cheese (approximately 30g per serving) or semi-skimmed milk are all good sources of calcium and perfect for lunchboxes! A drink It s important to make sure your child stays hydrated throughout the school day. Water, a small serving of no added sugar fruit juice (also counts as one of their 5 a day) or a drink of semi-skimmed milk are a perfect choice for lunchtime. Try and avoid juice drinks with added sugar (check the label if you re unsure) or energy drinks. These types of drinks can be high in sugar and calories and provide little nutritional benefit. Things to avoid Try and avoid snacks such as crisps, chocolate and chocolate coated products in your child s packed lunch. These might be a popular choice with children but are often high in fat/sugar and calories and don t provide much goodness to your child s diet. Try and include these types of products in the diet as a treat every so often, not every day. Check with your child s school to see if they have a packed lunch policy in place, many schools do not allow these types of products to be included as part of a packed lunch. Instead try snacks such as unsalted nuts (some schools do not allow nuts due to allergies), dried fruit, individual plain fairy cakes or slices of malt loaf.

3 Monday Salmon & Cream Cheese Wrap Tortilla wrap with tinned salmon mixed with a tablespoon of cream cheese, lettuce and cucumber Small apple Tuna Rice Salad 100g (cooked weight) wholegrain rice mixed with tinned tuna, sweetcorn, peas and diced peppers Chicken and Salad Pitta Wholemeal pitta bread with sliced chicken, lettuce and tomato with one tablespoon of reduced fat mayo Small pot of houmous with carrot sticks Low fat custard pot Cheese & Tomato Baguette Small sandwich baguette with 30g reduced fat cheese with sliced tomato Handful of strawberries No added sugar jelly pot Pasta Salad with Sausage 100g (cooked weight) wholewheat pasta with one chopped up grilled sausage, sweetcorn, diced peppers and one tablespoon of reduced fat mayo Handful of grapes Week One

4 Week Two Monday Turkey and Salad Sandwich Two slices of wholemeal bread with sliced turkey, lettuce, tomato, cucumber and one tablespoon of reduced fat mayo Handful of grapes Couscous & Vegetable Salad 80g (cooked weight) couscous, mixed with drained mixed beans and diced peppers Reduced fat soft white cheese with carrot sticks Slice of malt loaf Satsuma Boiled Egg Salad Boiled egg with mixed salad leaves, croutons and one tablespoon of reduced fat mayo Pear Natural yoghurt Tuna & Sweetcorn Pasta 100g (cooked weight) wholewheat pasta mixed with tinned tuna, sweetcorn and diced pepper with one tablespoon of reduced fat mayo/salad cream Mini quiche Mini crustless quiche with a handful of cherry tomatoes Small raisin box Plain mini muffin

5 Monday Ham & Salad Pitta Wholemeal pitta bread with sliced ham, lettuce, cucumber, tomato and salad cream Small pot of houmous with chopped carrots and peppers Low fat custard pot Cheese & Tomato Bagel Bagel with reduced fat cheese, sliced tomato and one tablespoon of reduced fat mayo Pineapple chunks Chicken Wrap Tortilla wrap with sliced chicken, cucumber and avocado with one tablespoon of reduced fat mayo Handful of strawberries Plain mini muffin Salmon and Salad Pasta 100g (cooked weight) wholewheat pasta mixed with tinned salmon, sweetcorn and cherry tomatoes with one tablespoon of reduced fat mayo/salad cream Canned peaches in juice Small pot of fromage frais Cheese & Crackers Wholegrain crackers with reduced fat soft white cheese and a handful of cherry tomatoes Slice of malt loaf Week Three

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