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Healthier Lunchbox Ideas for Fussy Kids UK

January 6th, 2020
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Research shows that eating habits formed in early years tend to stick into adulthood. In fact, a Children’s Food Trust study has shown that children in primary schools are 6 times more likely to concentrate in the classroom following improvement in school meals.

So Zita Steyn is on a mission to empower parents to take responsibility for your own and your children’s health. Foster children are not alone in sometimes having varied or challenging eating habits. We’ve teamed up with Zita and a few of our favourite family bloggers to bring you some delicious, healthy lunchbox ideas for fussy eaters. Enjoy!

What are the advantages of a healthy lunchbox?

Author: Zita Steyn of foodfights.co.uk

Healthy foods are full of nutrients to feed a young brain, allowing children to perform better in school. In fact, students who eat school breakfast regularly have higher maths grades, fewer instances of missing school, and fewer emotional and behavioural problems. A Children’s Food Trust study has shown that primary school children are three times more likely to concentrate in the classroom after improvements in their school-based diet.

With a higher intake of essential nutrients, a child’s mental and physical health will also improve. This makes them less susceptible to a range of illnesses and able to recover from injuries quicker – and we all know how clumsy kids are in the playground!

Swipe through these great healthy lunchbox ideas

LUNCH 1 OF 6

Rainbow Wraps

What's in the lunch
• Rainbow wrap
• Fruit water (cucumber and mint)
• Apple or tangerine
• Lightly salted popcorn
• Boiled egg

 
Method
1. Spread the hummus evenly onto the wrap, leaving a border along the top end.
2. Place the spinach leaves down in a single layer, pile grated carrot into the centre and lay pepper sticks across.
3. Fold the bottom half over the fillings, ensuring you have a tight roll, then roll upward towards the top end. Cut in half or slice into thirds.

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LUNCH 2 OF 6

Zita's Pasta Lunch

What's in the lunch
• Fruit water (lemon and lime)
• Wholemeal pesto pasta salad with salmon & peas
• Pineapple wedges, raspberries
• Natural Greek yoghurt with pumpkin seeds & raw honey
 
Method
1. Put a medium bunch of basil & parsley, a small bunch of dill, peeled garlic clove, pinch of salt and black pepper in a food processor and blitz until roughly chopped.
2. With the motor running, slowly add 80ml of olive oil until you reach your desired consistency (the pesto should be loose enough to fold into cooked pasta).
3. Combine the pesto with cooked pasta, cooked salmon & defrosted frozen peas. Add a little more olive oil and pasta cooking liquid if it needs it.

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LUNCH 3 OF 6

Frittata Fingers

What's in the lunch
• Frittata Fingers
• Cherry Tomatoes
• Satsumas/Clementine
• A savoury snack

 
Method
1. Dice and fry bacon (fat removed) for a few minutes, then add oregano. Add celery, onion, grated carrot and garlic and cook on a low heat.
2. Add some boiled chunks of potato and some peas, then toss everything together in the pan. Let everything cook for a few minutes.
3. Whisk together 8 eggs and add some grated cheese (parmesan works great). Pour the egg & cheese mixture into the pan of ingredients.
4. Leave to cook slowly on the hob and add halved cherry tomatoes.
5. Once cooked through, place under the grill to cook the top.

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LUNCH 4 OF 6

Pita & Veggie Dipping Lunch

What's in the lunch
• Pitta Bread
• Hummus
• Veg Sticks
• Berries

 
Method
This is a simple, quick and nutritious lunch for fussy eaters. Donna say’s “The children love what they call dippy lunches and a box full of toasted pitta and veg sticks that they can dip into a portion of hummus is an ideal lunch for them”. You can use any crudités for this, a portion of cheese for extra protein, hummus, a handful of fresh berries and some fresh pita or flatbread.

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LUNCH 5 OF 6

Quesadilla & Antipasti

What's in the lunch
• Quesadilla
• Celery and bell pepper sticks
• Grapes (or berries)
• Cured meats – prosciutto, salami etc.
• Sour cream for dipping

 
Method
1. Pop a tortilla in a hot frying pan and sprinkle a tablespoon of grated cheese on top. Wait 30 seconds.
2. Add cooked and diced, sautéed veggies (for example - mushrooms, red onion, peas, tomatoes). Place another tortilla on top. Flatten in the pan, making the cheese melt the tortillas together.
3. Fry for 1-2 minutes on each side. Cut into quarters.

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LUNCH 6 OF 6

Picky Eaters Dippers

What's in the lunch
• Pan-fried Sausage
• Houmous and Chutney Dips
• Tortilla Chips
• Sliced Apple
• Raisins

 
Method
1. Pan fry a quality pork sausage in a small amount of extra virgin olive oil.
2. Use lightly sorted crisps, or a toasted whole meal pita (for a healthier option) for dipping in hummus and fresh chutneys.
3. Add sliced apples and a box of raisins for a kick of vitamins and sweetness.

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Four great ideas to help

1. Parents can support a home environment that promotes healthy eating. When thinking about healthy lunchbox ideas for fussy kids, there are lots of ways to help them enjoy healthy food:

  • Offer veggie sticks and a dip (such as hummus or a yoghurt and pesto dip) as a snack when children are hungry – it won’t ruin their appetite, and will up their veg intake.
  • Offer a variety of foods – even changing the pasta brand and / or shape regularly gets children used to the idea that not all food looks and tastes the same, and makes them more likely to try new foods.
  • Create a tasting chart to track children’s attempts to try new foods and their opinion of them.
  • Involve children in meal prep at home – I have often taught children new recipes with ingredients they told me they’d never eat, only to watch them happily wolf down their own creations. Your Kids will love it!

2. Packing a healthy lunch doesn’t have to be difficult, expensive, or an effort – follow the guidelines below to see your child’s lunchbox packs a nutritional punch.

  • Have one portion of fresh fruit and vegetables (berries, grapes, apples, etc),
  • Three portions of vegetables (carrots, cucumber, broccoli, bell pepper, peas, asparagus, cherry tomatoes)
  • A healthy protein (beans, edamame, seeds, cheese, natural yoghurt, hummus, veggie burger, falafel, hardboiled egg)
  • A portion of complex carbohydrates (baked sweet potato, dried fruit, potato salad, whole grain pasta, bread, or crackers, brown rice, quinoa etc)

3. Have children pack their own lunch boxes the night before from a choice of healthy components. This puts them in control of their meal choices and takes the pressure off you.

4. Pack a water bottle (with fruit-infused water) for your child to refill during the day. Water restores fluids, aids digestion, regulates body temperature and carries nutrients and oxygen to cells. Do not be tempted to add empty calories, flavourings, and even caffeine to your child’s diet by giving them fruit juice, sports or fizzy drinks.

As parents, guardians, teachers and carers, it’s our responsibility to give young people healthier choices at home and in school. A recent study from Teeside University shows that teenagers in the UK eat less than three of the recommended five-a-day. This can be especially pronounced in teens from challenging backgrounds which is why it’s so essential for Compass Fostering to champion healthier eating for everyone. For more ideas, information and recipes, visit foodfights.co.uk/

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