Finding lunchbox inspiration this Winter.
This is a sponsored post, brought to you by DON® Smallgoods
Back to school means one thing for many parents – lunchboxes. Along with the new term, comes the daily battle of filling a lunchbox with items that not only provide children with the nutrition needed for optimal growth and development, but also that they’re happy to eat. It’s not an easy feat by any means! So if you are already dreading making school lunches again, here are some easy ways to strike a perfect balance between child friendly foods and good nutrition.
1. Start with protein
One of the biggest issues with school lunchboxes from a nutritional perspective is that they contain too much sugar or processed carbohydrates and not enough protein. The issue with this is that tiny tummies are not kept full and satisfied so by the end of the day, small children are tired and absolutely starving. You can boost protein content of the lunches you pack by seeking out protein rich snacks such as cheese and crackers or roasted broadbeans. You can also pop a protein rich filling into their sandwiches such as DON Champagne Leg Ham or Chicken Breast, which is 97% fat free. Roughly 30-50g of lean meat will add up to 6g of high quality protein to any lunchtime sandwich.
2. Don’t forget the veges
Often we focus on adding plenty of fruit to lunchboxes but we forget how important vegetables are. Adding a serve of vegetables such as some carrot sticks, baby cucumbers, tomatoes, sliced celery or capsicum teaches children that veges too have a role at lunchtime. It also adds extra fibre, vitamins and minerals to the lunchbox in general.
3. Add something yummy
Children like food to be novel and fun so I always recommend including a small daily treat – whether it’s a homemade muffin or cookie, a couple of crunchy crackers or a flavoured milk/yoghurt – it will ensure that you have a lunchbox your kids love. When kids love their lunchbox, they are much more likely to eat everything that is in there. Another simple trick is to regularly ask them what they would like in their lunchbox. When they have some input in what goes into their lunchbox, they are much more likely to eat its contents.
4. Go easy on the carb-based snacks
Rice crackers, flavoured biscuits, muffins, potato chips and fruit snacks are all made and marketed as school lunchbox fillers but the reality is they generally contain little other than processed carbs and added sugars. Plus they are expensive and add extra packaging to lunchboxes. Where possible keep packaged snacks to a minimum and instead build the lunchbox around protein-based snacks and fresh fruit and vegetables.
5. Make it look good
Small children are attracted to what looks good. This means the more you cut and shape lunch box contents to look visually appealing, the more likely they are to eat what you pack. Think small containers of individual ingredients, mini sized snacks, cut up fruit and veges, as well as sandwiches with plenty of colour. The prettier the food looks, the better!
Recipe: Ham Quesadilla Pockets
1 small wholegrain wrap
2-3 slices tomatoes
50g DON Champagne Leg Ham
Half and avocado, sliced
3 tbsp. shredded cheese
1. On one half of the wrap, placed shredded cheese and tomatoes in the centre
2. Top with DON Champagne Leg Ham and slices of avocado
3. Fold the bottom of the wrap over the ingredients
4. Optional: place on skillet/sandwich press to warm the wrap and melt cheese before cutting
5. Cut in half to finish!