Are you stuck in a lunch box rut?
When it comes to building a healthy lunchbox for you, or your child, it’s really about putting together nutritious ingredients that are quick and easy to throw together.
I recommend thinking of a lunchbox in terms of the five food groups. When we do this, we are making sure we are filling our bodies with a nutritious supply of food and energy to get us through our busy days.
The five food groups:
- Fruit: Provides vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre that help your body stay healthy.
- Vegetables: Should make up a large part of your daily food intake and should be encouraged at every meal. They provide vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre to help your body stay healthy.
- Grains: What your body uses for energy. Choose whole grain and/or high fibre varieties of breads, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles to have longer lasting energy.
- Protein: Important for growth and muscle development. Foods high in protein include meat, chicken, fish, eggs, beans and legumes and nuts.
- Dairy: High in protein and calcium to build and support strong healthy bones and teeth. Good dairy sources include reduced fat milk, cheese and yoghurt.
Now, using the five food groups, follow these guidelines to help make packing a healthy lunchbox easy! Always include:
- Main lunch item – a sandwich, roll, wrap or salad based on grains such as pasta, rice or quinoa. Examples include:
- Chicken, hummus and cucumber sandwich
- Ham, cream cheese and salad wrap
- Egg, celery and mayonnaise sandwich
- Tuna, corn and mayonnaise wrap.
- Nutritious snack – choose a snack from the five food groups. Examples include:
- Cheese slices with wholegrain crackers
- Veggie sticks with hummus or peanut butter
- Homemade potato chips
- Yoghurt with fresh fruit or nuts and seeds
- Air popped popcorn.
- Piece of fresh fruit – whatever is in season. Examples include:
- Frozen grapes
- Fruit salad
- Apple with peanut butter
- Fruit kebabs
- Drink – always include a water bottle. Jazz it up with fresh fruit, veg or herbs i.e. mint leaves, berries, lemon, cucumber.
PLUS 1 additional snack for active adults and active/fast growing kids. This will provide you with the extra nutrients you need to support your activity levels.
Looking for more inspiration?
Visit some of my favourite lunchbox recipes below: