Sue Joy | 98five blogger
A healthy balanced wholefood lunch can be the difference between a child concentrating or feeling tired and sleepy in the afternoon at school.
Let me help you with some nourishing healthy gluten and dairy free ideas for your children’s lunch boxes. I
t doesn’t matter if your child enjoys variety or the same thing every day, as long as it has some protein, vegetables, healthy fats and fruit. Make it a colourful lunch that’s appealing to look at but has a variety of nutrients.
Some prepping at the beginning of the week can make lunch making much easier. Your children may also be more likely to eat the food packed if they have been involved.
Start the week with vegetables prepared in sticks, slices or grated, whatever way your children like them. Store in airtight containers in the fridge. Cook extra meat or chicken when roasting dinner. Make an avocado dip for dipping veggie sticks, coconut yoghurt and have different coloured fruit washed and ready to add.
A good idea is to place all your containers with the prepared meats and vegetables out on your kitchen counter or table and let your children select the foods they would like to eat and get them to add it in their lunch boxes. Have rules: they need to choose a protein, three vegetable choices (cucumber, carrot, cherry tomatoes, snow peas, etc.), and a healthy fat item such as avocado, olives, yoghurt, some fruit and maybe a healthy low sugar, gluten free muffin or cookie.
If you find it hard to get vegetables, fruit and healthy fats into your child, you may like to add them to baked treats. I’ve included protein, vegetable, healthy fat and fruit in my Chocolate Zucchini Bread.
Making items such as my Chicken and Veg Bites, that can be made in bulk and frozen, can help you to be more organised. They are mild in flavour, which makes them child-friendly for very young ones.
Preparing food for lunch boxes doesn’t have to be hard, but the bonus of being organised will help remove morning stress. When you have dinner cooking in the oven, pop in another baking dish with chicken drumsticks or tenderloins. When you are making hamburger patties, make extra in bite size portions for lunches. I’m guessing you get the idea of where I’m going with this.
Let’s look at some yummy lunch ideas you may like to try:
- Kebabs or skewers: use free range ham (nitrate free) folded into squares, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, fresh pineapple and place English spinach leaves between when threading onto skewers. The skewers shown in the picture are small and have a blunt end. If you want an alternative, straws will work or try threading the food using a needle and kitchen twine.
- Beef wraps: use slices of leftover roast beef, add grated carrot or sticks, cucumber, avocado and lettuce. Roll up using the beef slice as a wrap, use a toothpick to keep it all together.
- Lettuce wraps: place left over chicken and salad into the lettuce leaf and roll up. Wrap or place a toothpick to keep together.
- Nori wraps (seaweed): add tuna or chicken with grated or stick vegetables, avocado or mayonnaise, rolled up tight and cut into small portions
- Patties or rissoles (made with tuna, salmon, minced chicken or beef)
- Chicken drumsticks
- Sausages (purchase with no fillers or additives)
- Lamb meatballs (Middle Eastern Lamb Meatball recipe)
- Meat, chicken or egg salad with homemade mayonnaise (egg mayonnaise recipe)
- Tuna salad (Tuna Salad recipe)
- Egg, bacon and vegetable muffins
- A slice of quiche
- Curried eggs or hard boiled eggs (Curried Egg recipe)
- Homemade gluten free pizza, topped with bacon or chicken pieces and veggies
- Left over Mexican dinner (Mexican Bowl recipe)
- Thick soups or stews: use a soup thermos with a wide opening
- Smoothies: pour into a thermos to keep cold
- Nut-Free Choc Chip Balls (Choc Chip Ball recipe)
If your child can’t look past bread options, try the Mountain Bread Spelt Wraps. Spelt flour still contains a little gluten, but you won’t find any preservatives or additives in these wraps, only three ingredients (spelt flour, filtered water and salt). You can also fill them and toast in a frying pan. I have two paleo nut-free bread recipes you can try — Sesame Sandwich Loaf and Seeded Dinner Rolls.
Encourage your children to try different foods so they get a good variety of vitamins and minerals for strong healthy bones. Being a good role model will also help, as they are more likely to do what you do. Try not to comment on foods you don’t like, as this may give them the idea they won’t like it either.
Choosing lunch boxes with dividers can make school lunches more fun. Use a freezer bag or cold packs to keep food chilled and fresh. (An Australian company www.biome.com.au has a huge range of low-toxic lunch boxes, including stainless steel lunch boxes and lunch thermos containers).
Happy lunch making!
Sue is Perth born and bred, married to her soulmate Bryan (40+ years) and together they have three adult sons, three daughter-in-laws and four grandchildren, with more on the way. Family is one of Sue’s greatest pleasures in life. For the last 15 years of her working life, Sue has managed Chiropractic clinics. She is a member of her local independent Baptist church, enjoys teaching Sunday School to young children and is the author of THE JOYful TABLE cookbook. Sue has battled with Chronic Fatty Liver Disease, arthritis and digestive issues and decided to conduct her own research on what food choices could help her conditions. These choices culminate under what is termed a ‘paleo lifestyle’. susanjoyfultable.com | Follow Sue on Facebook | Instagram
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