How to create the perfect lunchbox for little ones: an expert’s advice

Master the art of creating healthy school meals

Back-to-school means one thing: it’s time to start packing lunchboxes. Ensuring there’s a balance of food groups – protein, vitamins and minerals, carbohydrates – can prove a little difficult (not to mention stressful). That’s why our expert nutritionist Freda Molamphy is on hand to give you the low-down on what makes the perfect school dinner:

  1. Try to steer clear of processed products – opt for foods with low sugar and salt content.
  2. Vary lunch as much as possible; this will expose the little ones to a range of nutrients and cuisines.
  3. Make things interesting by including several smaller sized portions rather than two or three larger items.
  4. Attractive wraps and fun, colourful containers make lunch more appealing – head to your nearest Spinneys for plenty of funky pots and boxes. If there’s time, peel and chop fruit where appropriate – sizeable chunks encourage kids to eat.
  5. Allow to children to get involved in the planning, shopping and preparation of their lunch. Including them in the cooking process is a good way to teach valuable culinary skills, as well as motivating them to finish what they have made.
  6. Not everything has to be made fresh! Leftover cooked meats, quiches, pulses or pastas all work well.

Simple, healthy recipes to try

Quinoa salad spring rolls

Lime-ginger chicken lettuce wraps

Easy hummus

Coconut, cashew, date and chia bites

Exotic fruit cones

Fruit ‘leather’ roll-ups

If you’re after more ideas for the week, check out mum-of-two Fiona Archibald’s tried and tested packed lunches. And, see what else our expert nutritionist Freda Molamphy has to say about essential nutrients for lunchboxes.