Healthy lunchboxes

Whether the kids are sitting in classrooms or virtual lessons this year, they still need a healthy balanced meal to keep them going. Here are a few low GI, low fat, energy-boosting lunchbox ideas that you can even prep ahead of time.

Important tip: With any of the meals below, include fruit, nuts and/or a low-fat yoghurt as a snack and as many crunchy green veggies as you like. Also, choose juice or water over sugary drinks for a healthier alternative.

  1. The ‘traditional’ lunchbox

We usually think of sandwiches when we think of lunchboxes, but it’s a good idea to think about what type of bread and fillings you’re easting to boost energy and maintain a healthy weight.

For a healthy sandwich, include:

  • wholewheat over white bread for a low GI carb option that also provides roughage.
  • low-fat spreads (no more than 1 teaspoon of an oil-based spread).
  • lean meat, egg or a small portion of low-fat cheese as a protein option.
  • as much tomato, lettuce, or gherkins as you like for vitamins, minerals and roughage.
  1. Bento box

Are the kids tired of sandwiches? Bento boxes are originally from Japan and contain single-portion meals that are divided into compartments and don’t need to be heated. We decided to get creative and include healthy finger food for a variety of nibbles at lunchtime.

For a healthy bento box, include:

  • salmon, lettuce and cream cheese wholewheat wrap cut into mini pinwheels for omega 3 fatty acids (salmon), vitamin K for healthy bones (lettuce), and protein and calcium (cream cheese).
  • carrot and/or celery sticks.
  • slices of cucumber.
  • cherry tomatoes.
  • hummus and/or tzatziki for dipping veggies.
  1. Brunch box

Who says you can’t pack breakfast foods for lunch? Most kids eat their packed lunches around 10:00 anyway, so it is brunchtime!

For a healthy brunch box, include:

  • low-fat yoghurt or a quarter cup (1/4) grated mozzarella as a protein option.
  • a large low-GI muesli, blueberry, banana or carrot muffin as a carb option that’s packed with roughage.
  • your choice of berries, nuts and/or seeds to mix into your yoghurt for vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and unsaturated fatty acids, or sugar free jam / fruit preserves to spread on your muffin.
  1. Pasta treat

Many avoid carbohydrates, but carbs in moderation gives young bodies and minds essential fuel for learning.

For a healthy pasta treat, include:

  • one cup of cooked pasta for a low GI carb option.
  • cubes of cooked chicken breast (oven baked with olive oil), or mozzarella as a vegetarian protein option.
  • as many cherry tomatoes as you like for a vitamins, antioxidants, potassium and folate.
  • as much fresh baby spinach as you like for vitamins, magnesium and iron.
  • a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for flavour and vitamin C.
  1. Satisfying stir fry

Gone are the days of bland boiled veggies. There may be no better way to enjoy a range of fresh veggies than in a tasty stir fry and why not pack it for lunch? Veggies are packed with vitamins and minerals, as well as roughage.

For a healthy stir fry, include:

  • green beans (if the kids don’t like beans, add lean chicken as a protein option)
  • julienne carrots
  • fresh peppers (yellow, red and/or green), seeded and sliced
  • baby sweet corn
  • sliced mushrooms
  • chopped cabbage
  • fresh minced ginger
  • broccoli florets
  • chillies, seeded and chopped (optional, for a spicy power punch of vitamin C!)

Serving suggestion: Fry in olive oil, and season with low sodium soy sauce and honey, or fresh lime juice. Serve with a quarter (1/4) cup of cooked brown rice or one (1) cup of cooked rice noodles for a low GI carb option.

Another great tip:

If your kids are fussy eaters, it may be a good idea to supplement their diets with vitamins and minerals that you can buy over-the-counter (OTC). Ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice on what is best for your child, but remember that nothing beats fresh fruit and veg!

Bestmed members on Beat4, Pace1, Pace2, Pace3, Pulse1 and Pulse2 may claim for OTC vitamins, according to a set formulary, from their annual OTC benefit

To find a Bestmed network pharmacy near you, visit our website or download the Bestmed App.

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