Top lunchbox tips from innocent
It's back-to-school time again, and the search begins for good ideas to make the kids' lunchboxes interesting for a whole year. So we asked our very own nutritionist here at Fruit Towers to share a few tips and ideas:
When I was at school, my lunchbox usually featured little more than a squished jam sandwich and a bag of crisps. Things have certainly moved on. Despite the recent increase in children having school meals, packed lunches are still very popular, with around half of all kids in primary schools having one every day. This amounts to more than 800 million lunchboxes each year.
Research shows that children typically eat around three quarters of the stuff in their lunchbox, so you shouldn't be too offended by any half eaten sandwiches. Kids have told us that sometimes they don't have enough time to finish everything (probably talking or playing) or they had a bit too much to begin with. A few even admit that they fancied their friend's cheese more than your homemade houmous. Either way, it's probably not a sign that they don't like what you've given them.
Lots of schools have lunchbox rules. So to save yourself the potential feelings of embarrassment/outrage/anger when you're presented with the uneaten chocolate bar that you lovingly packed, first find out if your child's school has any lunch box rules that you ought to be following. Then, either adhere to these lunch commandments or camp out outside the headteacher's office and demand an explanation.
The humble sandwich is a real staple of the lunchbox, a wide array of breads and fillings making the sandwich a master of variation. But a sandwich every day of the school year might amount to nearly 200. So some of the mums we've spoken to try and mix it up a bit with some pasta, potato, cous cous or. Using up last night's leftovers can be a great way of doing this and makes your life easier too.
We know that everyone benefits from getting some of the healthy omega-3 fats, but having packed lunches means that kids might miss out on some good sources that they would normally get with school meals. Fish are a fantastic protein source, and oily fish are the ones that contain the omega-3s, so we’re advised to get two portions a week, one of which should be oily. For the kids, tinned salmon can be a good choice. Tuna is a great source of protein, but doesn’t have the Omega-3s of salmon, and salmon can be less ‘fishy’ than the other tinned Omega-3 fish like mackerel and sardines.
A recent study from the University of Leeds showed that the most common drinks put into lunchboxes are normally the sugar-sweetened kind like squash. Whilst tasty, they often provide little in the way of good nutrition. Instead, the School Food Trust recommends trying things like 100% juices, semi-skimmed or skimmed milk (skimmed is fine after 5 years) or just plain water or a combination of the above, such as juice with water. This is another area those 'school rules' can pop up again.
Last updated: about 3 years ago