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Formula for a Perfect Packed Lunch with Munch!

Welcome to part two of our back to school series in collaboration with Munch. You can find part one here where we talked about children’s nutritional needs to get them through busy school days feeling full of energy.

Here’s a simple formula that we keep in mind when packing lunchboxes to make sure we’ve got all of the nutrition bases covered. Pick one or two foods from each section below: Protein + healthy fats + complex carbs + fruit and veggies + water. Using this formula will create a lunchbox that’s well-balanced, nutritious and satisfying. It will fill children up and provide them with all the energy and nutrients they need to keep them going throughout the afternoon.

Feel free to tailor to what your children like and what you’ve got in the fridge / cupboards.

 

Protein

cubes of cheese

falafels

sweet chickpea balls

frittata

hummus

edamame beans

smoked salmon

cubes of chicken

hard-boiled egg

crispy chickpeas

greek yoghurt

chia pudding

sweetcorn fritters

hemp seeds

halloumi

lentils

nuts and seeds

nut and seed butter

Protein is essential for the body’s growth and repair which is super important for our fast-growing children. It’s one of the fundamental building blocks for muscle development as well as being important for children’s growing immune systems and brains. Children need protein on a daily basis so include one or two of these in their lunchbox every day.

Healthy Fats

olives

olive oil

nuts and seeds

nut butter

seed butter (tahini)

fish and meat

cheese

cream cheese

nat unsweetened yoghurt

avocado

guacamole

coconut

coconut yoghurt

energy balls

 

Fat has many functions in the body including growth and development of the brain and nervous system, building hormones and helping the body to absorb fat-soluble vitamins. Healthy fats have been shown to improve attention and decrease hyperactivity, impulsiveness and restlessness in children. Pick one or two from the list each day.

 

Complex Carbs

vegetables

oats

oatcakes

chickpeas

beans

lentils

sweet potato wedges

wholewheat pasta

nuts and seeds

brown rice

quinoa

wholegrain bread or wraps

flatbreads

Complex carbohydrates are a great source of energy, which children need a lot of during the school day. My preference is to get most of the complex carbs from plant sources like veggies, oats, chickpeas etc. but if you’re including pasta or bread then opt for wholegrain types rather than white which will provide longer-lasting energy.

 

Fruit and Veg

cherry tomatoes

celery

red pepper

carrot sticks

cucumber slices

raw sugar snaps

roasted broccoli

sweet pot wedges

green beans

peas

roast beetroot

sweetcorn fritter

avocado

edamame beans

olives

berries

apple

melon

grapes

banana

kiwi

dried mango

dried apricots

pear

peach

plum

pineapple

mango

orange

coconut

satsuma

Mix and match the fruit and veg you pack in your children’s lunchbox to get a range of vitamins and minerals in there. Giving children a couple of portions of their daily fruit and veg in their lunchbox is a great way to care for their bodies and minds - helping their immune systems to work effectively, supporting their brains and providing long-lasting energy.

Aim for a minimum of 2 portions each day in the lunchbox - with one of them being a vegetable. As a rough guide, one portion will be about the size of the palm of their hand.

 

Something to dip into

hummus

guac

pea dip

natural yoghurt

choc chickpea spread

 

These dips are all loaded with protein, good fats, and sustaining carbs to promote healthy growth and development. Dips are an optional add-on but I find children always love having something to dip their crackers or veg sticks into.

To keep things interesting, consider textures and variety - put something crunchy (cracker) with something soft (avocado), something juicy (melon) and something chewy (dried fruit). Chop veg and fruit in different shapes and sizes.

 

Drinks

Always pack a full water bottle with the lunchbox and encourage your children to drink it throughout the day. Water is the most hydrating drink, and the only one we recommend packing for school. As an occasional alternative, you could pack coconut water, milk, a green smoothie or our fruit soda.

 

 

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