For many, the morning rush doesn’t allow much time to make lunch for yourself let alone if you are trying to put a lunchbox together for your kids. We’ve put together a quick guide to help you prepare a balanced lunch with minimal fuss that is suitable for the whole family.
1. Choose a carbohydrate base
Carbohydrates give your brain the energy it needs to stay alert and focussed. Look for Low GI, high fibre and wholegrain products. Some examples include wholegrain breads, wholewheat pita breads or high fibre wraps. Wholegrain crackers and crisp breads also make a nutritious meal base. There are also white breads with added ‘invisible’ fibre for children who refuse to eat the wholegrain and high fibre breads and crackers.
2. Select your fillings
Peanut butter, tuna, egg, sliced lean meats or baked beans make both delicious and nutritious fillers as they provide the body with protein. Whenever possible, include some vegetables as well such as grated carrot, rocket, baby spinach lettuce or onion. If you are preparing a lunchbox for your child, try letting them help to pick out the fillings to make them more interested in their lunch. If you usually use butter on bread or crackers, why not try using mashed avocado instead - it’s rich in healthy monounsaturated fats and a range of other essential nutrients.
3. Be sure to include some dairy
A quick and easy way to include some dairy is to add a slice of reduced fat cheese to a sandwich. If you have access to a fridge for storage, reduced fat cheese sticks, reduced fat yoghurt or a small container of milk are also great options. A small skim latte for your afternoon tea is another way to include dairy.
4. Don’t forget the fruit
We should aim to eat two serves of fruit each day. Lunchtime is a great opportunity to add some fruit to your day. Take advantage of what’s in season. A smart approach is to purchase fruit a week in advance and have a different kind of fruit for each day of the week. Not only will you be enjoying the nutritional benefits of fruit, you won’t get bored with having the same thing day after day. If you are also packing a lunch for children, let them help choose the fruit for the week. It’s a great strategy to get them forming healthy eating habits.
5. Keep hydrated throughout the day
If you are working in an office setting, keep a water bottle handy and top it up throughout the day. Freezing water in a water bottle for children to bring to school will not only keep them topped up but can help to keep lunchbox items chilled. For both adults and children, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of including water during morning and afternoon tea especially during the summer months.
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