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Healthy Packed Lunch
Healthy Food for Children

Dietitian, Juliette Kellow with ideas for kids healthy food. How to do healthy packed lunches for children and how to give them healthier snacks.

Healthy Food for Kids

By Dietitian, Juliette Kellow BSc RD

Food for Healthy Packed Lunches

Around half of all children take their lunch to school – that’s 5.5 billion packed lunches every year. Unfortunately, many of them are unhealthy!

According to a Food Standard’s Agency study, nine out of 10 packed lunches contain foods high in sugar, salt and saturates and fewer than half contain fruit. Here’s how to pack a nutritious lunch for your kids…

  • Use wholegrain or wholemeal bread, rolls and pitta and try ciabatta, mini baguettes, bagels and raisin or sun dried tomato bread for variety
     
  • Pack pasta or rice salads instead of sandwiches from time to time
     
  • Cut fat by using less butter, spread or mayo in sandwiches and choose low-fat fillings like lean ham, turkey, chicken, tuna in water, cottage cheese, Edam or banana
     
  • Add two portions of fruit – don’t just stick to apples and pears, though. For variety, add grapes, fruit salad, a slice of melon, a small box of raisins or a can of fruit in juice
     
  • Include cherry tomatoes, carrot and pepper sticks and add salad to sarnies
     
  • In the winter, fill a flask with vegetable, tomato or carrot soup – or even a casserole or stew.
     
  • Replace cakes, biscuits and chocolate with scones, fruit bread or low-sugar cereal bars (check the labels)
     
  • Swap fizzy drinks for water, unsweetened fruit juice, fruit smoothies, cartons of semi-skimmed milk or unsweetened yogurt drinks.

Healthy Snacks for Children and Teenagers

  • Fresh fruit – chop it into bite-sized pieces for young children to make it easier to eat or buy packs of ready-prepared fresh fruit slices or chunks
     
  • Mini boxes of dried fruit such as raisins or small packs of apricots or mixed fruit
     
  • Small packs of chocolate-covered raisins or nuts (avoid giving nuts to young children because of the risk of choking)
     
  • Chopped up vegetables such as carrot, celery and pepper sticks and cherry tomatoes with a favourite dip (look for those low in salt and fat if you’re buying ready-made dips)
     
  • Fresh popcorn made without salt or sugar
     
  • Wholemeal toast with peanut butter and banana or low-fat soft cheese and tomato
     
  • Fruit smoothie
     
  • Unsweetened yogurt drinks or a pot of low-fat fruit yogurt or fromage frais
     
  • High-fibre cereal with semi-skimmed milk
     
  • Wholemeal sandwiches filled with lean meat, chicken, tuna in water, cheese or egg and salad.
     
  • Small packets of unsalted nuts and seeds – try mixing with dried fruit.

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