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Healthy Lunch Ideas for Parents
Whilst most of you send in amazing food for your child to eat at lunchtime, we have noticed that a number of our students are very picky eaters and we thought we would send you some ideas about lunch time food that might help them.
As a general rule of thumb, please involve your child with their food choices as much as possible and at every stage – from the planning, through to shopping and preparing. We know that this may be hard in our busy lives but a small amount of effort now, will instil good lifelong habits.
See some great websites below with lots of ideas to discuss with your child and your helper if they are preparing the food.
Phrases That Hinder
"Eat that for me"
- Phrases like these teach your child to eat for your approval and love.
"You’re such a big girl. You finished all your peas"
- Phrases like these teach your child to ignore fullness.
"See, that didn’t taste so bad, did it?"
- This implies to your child that he or she was wrong to refuse the food and can lead to unhealthy attitudes about food or self.
"No dessert for you until you eat your vegetables."
- Offering some foods in reward for finishing others makes some foods seem better than others.
Phrases That Help
"This is a kiwi fruit. It is sweet like a strawberry."
- Phrases like these help to point out the sensory qualities of food. They encourage your child to try new foods.
"Has your tummy had enough?"
- Phrases like these help your child recognize when he or she is full. This can prevent overeating.
"How do you like that?"
- Phrases like these make your child feel like he or she is making the choices. It also shifts the focus toward the taste of the food rather than who was right.
"We can try these vegetables again another time. Would you like them cooked in pasta next time?"
- Reward your child with attention and kind words, not with food.
Wholemeal pitta bread with hummous and chopped vegetables
Cherry tomatoes cut in half
Tip: For kids with a larger appetite – add some falafel to the lunchbox. It makes a great healthy snack and will last them 'till suppertime.
Chicken with rice salad - fry up some finely chopped onions, mushrooms and tomatoes. Mix together with cooked rice and some salad dressing and serve with cold chicken – a drumstick is ideal
Reduced fat crisps or other healthy snack
Tip: Home-made bagel chips are low-fat and delicious. Slice bagels vertically into thin slices. Brush the surfaces with olive oil flavoured with a little garlic paste and then grill or bake until lightly toasted – they’ll keep in an airtight box for two or three days.
Homemade pasta salad with tuna and sweetcorn - make up the pasta as usual (if you haven’t got any leftovers). Mix together with tuna, sweetcorn and some low-fat mayonnaise
Reduced-fat Babybel cheese
Tip: If you have pasta for supper one evening – set aside some plain cooked pasta to use for the next day’s lunchbox.
Turkey wrap with salad and cottage cheese - try to use good quality turkey from the butcher or supermarket rather than heavily processed meat laced with preservatives and sugar.
Tip: Keep lunchboxes interesting by using different types of breads or wrappings.
Vegetarian Frittata - combine chopped, cooked vegetables (peppers, onions, potatoes etc) with whisked eggs. Fry for about 7 minutes until set. Put the pan under the grill to brown the top (make sure your handle is ovenproof). Serve cold.
Mini chocolate swiss roll
Carrot batons and cream cheese
Tip: Frittatas are a great way to hide healthy veg, so make sure to slip as much as you can in.
Ideally children should drink water or milk with their lunch. But if that proves difficult, try flavoured spring waters (check for sugar content), diluted fruit juices or flavoured milks.
Websites to visit for lunch box ideas: