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At this time of year, mums everywhere are racking their brains for healthy packed lunch ideas.
The British Dietetic Association (BDA) has plenty of suggestions below to create healthy packed lunches which are full of flavour and variety. Rachel Cooke, Bristol Healthy School Dietitian and spokesperson for The British Dietetic Association, said:
'What children eat at a young age has a massive impact on their eating habits for life, so it is essential we get the younger. When putting together a packed lunch, it is so easy to go down the usual route of packets of salty savoury snacks crisps, bars of chocolate, fizzy drinks and the same old boring sandwich day after day. Many adults wouldn't accept eating the same things day in day out, so why should children?"
Tips for a Healthy Packed LunchTry 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 rolls, bagels, baguettes, pitta breads & wraps etc! Lots of children like meat / cheese or fish etc and bread separate so it doesn't go soggy. If you are using a spread choose a reduced fat one - or do without it completely if your filling is moist.
Raid the fridge for leftovers - some foods like pizza and pasta taste just as good cold. Cook extra pasta, couscous or rice. Mix it with cut-up vegetables, a few nuts flaked tuna or mackerel.
Tuna with cucumber, green pepper, sweetcorn or tomato
Low fat hummus and cucumber
Egg and cress (grow your own?)
Peanut butter and banana
Cottage cheese and dried apricots
Grated cheese and tomato
Cooked chicken or turkey, tomatoes, and lettuce
5 or more portions of fruit and veg per dayfresh fruit e.g. apple, grapes, banana, kiwi fruit, wedge of melon / peeled orange / kiwi and spoon / pot of strawberries. 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
Dairy SnacksTry to include some dairy products in your child's lunchbox. Check 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
Sweet SnacksFancy something sweet in your lunch-box? There's nothing wrong with this but do try to make healthier choices when possible:
cereal bar (remember to look at sugar levels)
fun sized bar of chocolate
Lunchbox DrinksPlain 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 Lunchbox CoolUse 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
Information by The British Dietetic Association (BDA)
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