Healthy Kids Lunch Boxes.
With the kids going back to school next week, an important ingredient to help your child perform at their best is through proper nutrition.
A healthy lunch keeps active kids alert and focused and gives them the nutrition they need every day. But no matter how healthy your child’s lunch box is, it won’t provide any nutritional value if it doesn’t get eaten!
As like everything with children there is never an easy fix, but I have put together some simple ideas and recipes to help you prepare for the year ahead.
-Try mixing things up, a lot of Kids don’t like the same thing over and over. Choose from a variety of food types: fruit and vegetables, starchy food, protein and dairy and don’t forget the water.
-Think about what your child likes to eat at home and try to translate that into a lunch box option.
-While an apple is a great lunch box filler (sturdy and hard to squash), consider cutting softer fruit up and putting it into a smaller container for protection. Berries and kiwi fruit survive very well this way.
-Last night's leftovers in a container with a small spoon can make a welcome change to the parade of endless sandwiches.
-Homemade pikelets are a great snack - easy to make ahead of time, they're filling and don't require any extra toppings.
-Treats like chocolate or chips should only be included occasionally, not every day. Why not try some rice crackers and cheese, a fruit and nut mix or even yogurt coasted berries instead.
Below are some healthy lunch box ideas i've found that I think the kids will really enjoy.
San Chow Bau-
Canola or olive oil cooking spray
500g lean pork mince
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
200g green beans, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, grated
4 green shallots, thinly sliced
2 tbs salt-reduced barbecue sauce
1 tbs salt-reduced soy sauce
1/3 cup coriander leaves
8 large lettuce leaves
1 cup bean sprouts
1. Heat a wok or large non-stick frying pan and grease with cooking spray.
2. Add mince, garlic and ginger and cook for 5-10 minutes over a high heat until mince is evenly browned, breaking up any large pieces with a wooden spoon.
3. Add beans, carrot and shallots and stir over hear a further 1-2 minutes.
4. Stir in sauces and coriander leaves. Remove from heat.
5. Spoon mince mixture onto lettuce leaves and top with bean sprouts.
6. To eat, wrap up leaves to enclose filling.
8 (384g packet) multigrain tortillas
1/3 cup tomato salsa
11/3 cups grated rediced fat tasty cheese
400g can red kidney beans, drained
1 cup grated carrot
1 cup (30g) baby spinach leaves
Olive oil cooking spray
1 avocado, peeled and chopped
1 tbs lemon juice
1. Lay 4 tortillas on a clean surface. Spread with tomato salsa and sprinkle with half the grated cheese.
2. Top each one evenly with kidney beans, grated carrot and spinach leaves. Sprinkle with remaining grated cheese. Cover with the remaining 4 tortillas.
3. Heat a large non-stick frying pan and grease with cooking spray. Add one filled tortilla, cook over a medium heat for about 3 minutes or until golden underneath. Using an egg slide, carefully turn and cook other side until golden. Remove from pan.
4. Repeat step 3 with remaining filled tortillas to make 4 quesadillas. Cool then cut each into 6 wedges.
5. Mash avocado with lemon juice in a small bowl. Serve with quesadillas if desired.
Chicken Rice Paper Rolls-
50g rice vermicelli
150g packet (16) rice paper wrappers
200g skinless cooked chicken breast, sliced*
2 cups shredded lettuce
1 medium avocado, thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, grated
1 medium Lebanese cucumber, cut into thin strips
Handful of fresh mint leaves
2 tbs Vietnamese dipping sauce (or sweet chilli sauce)
1. Soak vermicelli in a bowl of hot water for 5 minutes or until softened. Dain, rinse under cold water, then drain again and chop roughly with kitchen scissors.
2. Cover a chopping board with a clean, damp tea towel.
3. Place one rice papter wrapper in a dish of warm water for a few seconds until softened slightly.
4. Lay softened wrapper on the damp tea towel, place a little vermicelli, chicken, lettuce, avocado, carrot and cucumber at one end of wrapper.
5. Lift wrapper over filling and fold in edges, roll once then place 2 mint leaves on top and continue rolling firmly to enclose filling and form a neat roll.
6. Continue process with remaining wrappers and filling ingredients.
7. Place rolls in a single layer on a plastic wrap-lined tray and keep covered in refrigerator until required.
8. Serve rolls with dipping sauce and lime wedges.
Tip: For a quick shortcut, use the skinless breast fillets from a shop-bought roast chicken in this recipe. Vietnamese dipping sauce and rice paper wrappers are available from the Asian food aisle in supermarkets.
Kids Snack Pack-
1/2 cup popping corn 1 cup dried apricots, chopped 1 cup dried apple, chopped 1 cup sultanas
Put the popping corn in a microwave safe dish. Microwave on HIGH (100%) for four minutes or cook in a saucepan or electric frypan according to packet instructions. Stand popcorn for one minute. Mix remaining ingredients into the popcorn. Makes 6 cups.
Homemade Musili Bars-
100g (1/2 cup) light canola or olive oil spread*
2 tbs honey
1/3 cup apple juice
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup diced dried apricots
Canola or olive oil cooking spray
1 cup quick oats
1 cup sunflower and pepita seed mix
2/3 cup plain flour
2 tbs raw sugar
1. Combine spread, honey, apple juice, cranberries and apricots in a small saucepan. Place over a medium heat until spread is melted, stirring occasionally.
2. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cool 15 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Grease an 18cm x 28cm slice pan with cooking spray and line with baking paper to cover base and extend up sides of pan.
4. Combine oats, seed mix, flour and sugar in a large bowl, add dried fruit mixture and mix thoroughly.
5. Press mixture firmly into prepared pan.
6. Bake in preheated oven for about 25 minutes or until slice is light golden. Remove from oven and cool completely.
7. Lift slice from pan using lining paper and cut into bars to serve.