Struggling to pack a school lunchbox for your kids that is nutritious and gets eaten?
It is tough finding inspiration day in day out, a challenge that is amplified if you have more than one child – because they inevitably like different flavours and foods.
With this in mind we approached Mandy Sacher for some much needed inspiration and advice. She is a practising Paediatric Nutritionist, mother of two and the brains behind Wholesome Child, a site that aims to provide, ‘creative advice, support and inspiration to empower parents to make healthier food choices for their kids’. There is even a Wholesome Child Nutrition Guide and Cookbook if you need inspiration and support for your family’s healthy eating journey.
Mandy’s philosophy is actually rather simple: it’s all about nurturing healthy eating behaviours.
Establish healthy eating behaviours
Train your kid’s taste buds early to appreciate nutritious foods and they will establish healthy eating behaviours from day one. Get this right and she believes they will carry this through to adulthood for a lifelong relationship with the right foods.
Mandy’s tips for getting them on board with healthy eating include:
- Talking to them about the importance of healthy food and how their brains and body need the right fuel
- Asking them what they like to eat
- Involving them in your planning and shopping
- Getting them to help pack their lunch
Now let’s find out what ‘kid-approved’ foods she recommends for their lunchboxes.
Choosing ‘kid-approved’ foods for a healthy lunchbox
There are a ton of healthy options you can rotate in a lunchbox, including:
- Fresh crunchy vegetables like carrots, capsicum or cucumber
- Calcium-rich foods like natural yoghurt and cheese
- Proteins, like lean meats, salmon, tuna or a hard-boiled egg
- Wholegrain breads, wholemeal flatbread or seeded crackers
- Healthy fats like sunflower or pumpkin seeds and avocado
- Fresh fruit like apples, oranges, berries and mango
She also recommends simple, nutritious and colourful snacks to complement this list; with popcorn, brown rice sesame crackers, cut up veggies with dips, veggie and fruit skewers, trail mixes, a mini fruit salad of mixed berries, and cubes of cheese. If you are feeling creative you can also make your own at home, like healthy banana bread, savoury quinoa breakfast cups, muffins and nut-free muesli bars.
It’s also important that they are always well hydrated – and water is the perfect drink, but fruit and veg like watermelon and cucumber are also high in water content.
If your little one loves a sandwich then there is nothing wrong with that – just try use wholemeal bread and nutritious fillings like avocado and ricotta cheese or mashed egg with mayonnaise and grated carrot.
There are also great alternatives to sandwiches which are sure to be devoured, including sushi rolls, rice paper rolls, cheese scrolls and wraps with healthy fillings.