What a nutritionist packs in her kids lunchboxes
Guaranteed to satisfy even the most fussy eaters
When it comes to packing a healthy lunchbox it’s not too hard (and quite cathartic) to create an Instagram worthy arrangement of fruit and vegetables, but actually getting our kids to eat the contents is an entirely different story. So while ribbons of cucumber and carrot might look the part, packing food they will actually eat, that happens to be healthy too is the challenge.
“My top tip is to include your child in the packing process,’’ says Find Your Glow nutritionist, Zoe Dent.
“Start with taking them shopping, ask them to choose two vegetables and two pieces of fruit and get them to carry them in their own basket. Then get them to help you make any prep food items – they can help roll the chicken balls, crack the eggs for the frittata or mix the muffins.”
Zoe says it sounds simple but if her kids come home with untouched items she asks them what it is they didn’t like.
“Was it the taste or texture? What do they suggest as a solution,’’ she says.
“Kids are often smarter than we give them credit for, and they are much more likely to eat a lunchbox they have had a say in creating.”
When packing the lunchboxes Zoe uses the same rule of thumb she applies to a dinner plate: “At every meal, half of the plate should be made up of vegetables and salad. The other half should be divided into one third protein, one third good-quality carbohydrates and one third healthy fats,’’ she says.
“When you look at the bento box squares fill them accordingly, make sure two to three compartments contain veggies and fruit, and at least one each of protein, fat and carbs.’’
Likewise meal prep, just as you might prepare for the week ahead for your own meals, do the same for the kids.
“I set aside some time to prep some lunchbox fillers at the beginning of the week. This can be a combination of store bought and homemade, the point is to have some fillers on hand.
“Some of my go-tos are bliss balls, muffins, oat biscuits, flax crackers or banana bread and prepping some protein, such as meatballs will save you time during the week.’’
Zoe’s favourite lunch fillers:
Fruit and veggies: Cut up tomatoes, carrots, capsicum, cucumber, leftover roast vegies, and sliced (rather than whole) fruits of choice
Protein: Boiled eggs, canned fish, beans, legumes, plain unsweetened yoghurt, cheese, seeds
Fats: avocado, tahini bliss balls, seed bars, hummus,
Carbs: roast root vegetables, quinoa, rice, beans, corn, wraps, crackers.