Homemade school meals are often a great choice for children to get their required nutrients. Follow these tips to ensure you make healthy lunches for the kids every day.

Start with starchy food  

This includes rice, pasta, bread, wraps and potatoes. Where possible, these should be wholegrain, and always try to keep this skin on the potatoes. If your child does not like the taste of wholemeal products, try using 50/50 options.

How to include starch for healthy kids’ lunches:

  • Use different types of breads, especially if your child starts to lose interest in sandwiches.
  • Other types of bread include pittas, wraps, flatbreads, sandwich thins or bagels which are all available in wholemeal form.
  • Pasta and rice can also make a nice change. If you’re having these the night before why not cook extra and have the leftovers for lunch the next day.   
  • Get the kids involved when making their dinner. They may be more keen to eat everything up if you give them options to choose from, or even if they help prepare the lunch box.

Include a dedicated drink

It’s a good idea to send children to school with a water bottle to keep them hydrated, but a drink that’s just for lunch will add variety to their day.

How to keep drinks healthy in school lunches:

  • Water - still or sparkling is great for diluting
  • Semi skimmed or 1% milk.
  • Smoothie/juice - but make sure it is limited to 150ml a day.

Pack at least one portion of fruit or veg

There should be at least 1 - 2 portions of fruit and vegetables in their lunchbox - and make sure you vary them throughout the week.

How to include fruit & vegetables for healthy kids’ lunches:

  • Chop up some cucumber, carrot or pepper into ‘matchsticks’ and pack them with a dip like low fat houmous.
  • Add sliced or chopped vegetables into a pasta or rice dish.
  • Always add salad in a sandwich - or serve a salad as the ‘main’.
  • Make lettuce wraps to mix things up instead of using bread
  • Choose Wonky fruit or veg to save money

Healthy Lunches For Kids Withh No BreadTry something different for school dinner and treat them to a crispy salad wrap with no bread.
Try the recipe here >>

Pay attention to protein

Cheese, milk and yogurts are great, but a source of protein can also be found in non dairy products too.

How to include protein for healthy kids’ lunches:

  • Use beans, fish, meat, eggs and other sources of protein as a sandwich filling - or in a pasta or rice salad.
  • If using canned fish, make sure you used fish canned in spring water rather than in brine.
  • When packing meat, opt for white meat like chicken or turkey rather than processed meat like ham or pepperoni.
  • If dairy is not being used in the sandwich/pasta etc, make sure you add in a source of dairy in the lunchbox. A 30g cheese portion or a yogurt are ideal choices.
  • You can also choose a dairy alternative like soya yogurt/milk - but make sure you choose products which are unsweetened and have been fortified with calcium.

Healthy Lunches For KidsThese oven-baked mini omelettes are the a tasty portable 'pick' for lunchboxes and a great way to pack the protein through the eggs.
Try the recipe here >>

7 Tips For Child-friendly Snacks

Before deciding what to snacks to pack for your child to munch on in a healthy school lunch, make sure you check your school’s policy on what they can bring in their lunch box. Here are our snack ideas to help you keep things fresh:

  1. Chop up cucumber, carrot, celery or pepper into sticks and serve with a dip like low fat houmous. These will make great finger food.
  2. Plain popcorn is also a good option. Avoid flavoured popcorn like sweet, toffee and salted.
  3. Plain rice cakes can be a good alternative to crisps. These can be topped with nut butter and sliced bananas for a more filling treat!
  4. Unsalted nuts can be a good option - walnuts, almonds etcs. Make sure you check with your school policy for this one as there may be a strict no nuts policy.
  5. For a lunch box treat why not try: no added sugar jelly pot, malt loaf, plain scone or a rice pudding.
  6. Avoid providing dried fruit like raisins as a standalone snack. Make sure you stick to eating dried fruit at meal times as these can get stuck in your teeth which will increase the risk of the tooth decay.
  7. Swaps crisps or chocolates bars for malt loaf, tea cakes or fruit.