It’s that time of year where your kids are ready to pop on their school bags and head out the door to mingle in another year of schooling. For some, it might be a whole new experience, as they jump into their first years of primary or secondary. Either way, ensuring they’re able to kick it all off successfully means they’re equipped with all the right essentials to get them through the day.
The first critical step? A healthy lunchbox with all the nutrients and balanced foods they need for optimal brain function and learning.
Here are a few tips to help you pack the perfect lunchbox in 2019.
Wholegrains are your best friend
When you’re off to the shops, keep your eyes open for a nutritious form of carbohydrates that will provide your child with sufficient energy. Most of the time, that means a sandwich, but you can also opt for flatbreads, cracker biscuits, rice or corn cakes – to mix things up.
Because these are often digested slower than other forms of carbohydrates, wholegrains keep little tummies fuller for longer.
Load up on vegetables and protein
If you’re choosing the sandwich approach, make sure you include lean protein (like ham or chicken) to add in balance. This will help your child maintain sufficient concentration levels as they hit the afternoon slump, and keep powering through to the end of the day. Best of all, you’re less likely to experience that rush to the fridge once they get home.
Bonus tip: Add salad to sandwiches and wraps for extra bulk and fibre. Take advantage of options like lettuce, celery, capsicum and grated carrot – options that won’t make the bread soggy.
Fruit means fibre
While it’s not always the most exciting option to add, fruit is a necessity. Jazz things up a bit with dried fruit, or keep it simple with the freshest additions you can find. Children will avoid junk food if they’re not given the opportunity to consume it, so fruit is a great way to load up their lunch box without those ‘easy nasties’.
A little something small for the side
Kids have forever swapped their fruit out to others for something more ‘exciting’, but there is a way to avoid this: simply include an enticing, small snack in their offering to make sure they’re not filling up on other unnecessary foods. Choices like reduced-fat flavoured milk, yoghurt, crackers or mini-muffins are all safe bets here.
Above all, have a handy lunchbox to load up
Don’t send them on their way with a paper bag. Choose a high-quality lunchbox that’ll withstand general wear and tear, and that you can easily clean at the end of the day. Options that allow you to segment different foods are sometimes the best approach, while insulated ones are always a crowd-favourite.
What are your favourite tips for preparing the perfect school lunchbox?