Preparing a school lunch can be a bit of a chore and after five days of making lunches they can sometimes turn out boring, bland and not very healthy.
Around a third of a kid’s daily food intake is usually consumed at school so it is important that we provide food that contains a good balance of nutrients and energy.
Kids don’t tend to see healthy food as fun, so it’s key to make the ‘good foods’ exciting, tasty, and with a touch of difference each day.
Here are some great ideas and tips to provide a combination of everyday foods, good snacks and occasional treats.
"Kids don't tend to see healthy food as fun, so it's key to make the 'good foods' exciting"
Everyday foods such as dairy, fruit, vegetables, breads and cereals, meat and other protein sources provide the much-needed nutrients for energy and growth. Choose a variety of items from these food groups to go in the lunchbox each day.
Sandwiches made with wholemeal bread and lean meats; leftover meat is great or canned tuna/chicken. Some vegetarian fillings such as egg, baked beans or peanut butter are also a tasty source of protein.
Snacks for mid-morning and afternoon tea are a great way to help fuel our kids’ brains for learning, play and concentration throughout the day.
Small, hard foods such as whole nuts and dried fruit and small round foods such as frozen peas should not be given to children under the age of 5 due to choking risk. For more information, see food and nutrition guidelines from the Ministry of Health.
Kids love treats and would love to eat them every day, but limiting treats encourages healthy habits and allows parents to surprise and reward their kids with something exciting in the lunchbox. Try involving your kids when preparing their special weekly treat – if they’ve been good, maybe let them pick their special treat for the week.