Whether you are slicing a sandwich during the school morning mayhem, or just before bed after a hectic day – packing a lunchbox can feel like another chore on the endless list.
Providing a balanced meal for your children, that is healthy and delicious, can also be difficult when time is limited.
But a dietitian has shared the ideal lunch box on social media, and revealed the foods to include and exclude as a parent of school-aged children.
Jaime Rose Chambers, who goes by @lunchbox.of.the.day and @jaimerose_nutrition online, uploads daily pictures on Instagram of lunches that she makes her children to inspire followers.
The dietitian opts for a ‘picky’ approach, which includes a number of different foods separated into different parts of a container.
This method works well for fickle young eaters, as children at this age enjoy seeing different elements of their meal individually, she explained.
She recommends keeping lunch food ‘familiar’ for primary-school and kindly-aged children, but ‘minor adjustments’ can help to widen their palette and provide more nutrients.
On occasions when Jaime has a busy day filled with errands, she packs a balanced lunch box to avoid “having to buy food or with hangry kids”.
Posting to Instagram, the nutritious box contains tomatoes, cucumber, strawberries, Vegemite sandwiches, a crunchy oat bar and smoothie drops, writes the Daily Mail.
The mum-of-two recommends quartering foods – like strawberries and grapes – when packing lunch for young kids, to prevent a choking risk.
She encourages parents to only pack foods that will travel well, or else this could lead to grumpy children.
In every lunch box, Jaime packs sandwiches – such as ham and cheese on whole grain bread or jam – because they travel well and are popular with her children.
When discussing foods to avoid, she steers clear of white bread and packs foods that will work well for a snack, like yoghurt pouches and smoothie drops, as well as plenty of cut-up fruit and veg.
Jaime explains that she always includes a treat that her children will enjoy, such as chocolate bliss balls, a healthy chip or pinto and pea sticks.
For wet foods – like watermelon – she uses a piece of kitchen towel to prevent the box from becoming soggy.
The dietitian explained she avoids nuts due to allergies, and anything that is too wet as it won’t travel well.
Foods to include in a lunchbox:
- Cut-up fruit or veg
- Smoothie drops or yoghurt pouches
- Cut-up sandwiches on whole grain bread
- Cold meats like ham or chicken
- Homemade chocolate bliss balls
Foods to avoid in a lunchbox:
- Meals that won’t travel well
- Messy foods with rich sauces
- White bread as much as possible
- Nuts, of foods with nuts in them
- Too much overly-processed foods, candy and chocolate
- Bananas without the skin on to prevent them going brown