Eat well, feel well!

Children’s lunchboxes

Lynda McFarland from Athlone Nutrition Clinic offers quick and easy recipes and advice to incorporate into your daily regime to help you feel and look great.

It’s that time of year again and all the supermarkets are displaying their lunch-box fillers but how can we keep things both interesting and nutritious? This week we’ll take a look at healthy yet delicious lunch-box options.

A few guidelines:

Ensure the meal is balanced with adequate amounts of protein for growth, fats for energy and concentration (these are fundamental for good brain function ), and carbohydrates for fuel and energy.

If we choose nutritious sources of the above macro-nutrients we will be ensured good levels of the micro-nutrients, ie vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Good protein sources include meat, fish, eggs, and cheese. Try using leftover meats in wholemeal pitta breads or wraps, tinned fish mixed with a little lemon juice and/or mayo, an omelette or tortilla, or even cubes of feta cheese mixed with small chunks of cucumber, tuna, tomato, and cooked potato with an olive oil and lemon juice dressing for a lunch-box take on a Greek salad - surprisingly good among some picky eaters.

Good fat sources include oily fish such as sardines, salmon, and mackerel, olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados. Try using tinned fish and avocado slices in pittas along with a nice olive oil and lemon juice dressing and if nuts and seeds are allowed in the school then roast them with a pinch of seasalt to make them easier to digest.

Good carbohydrate sources include fruit, vegetables, and wholegrains. Try introducing chopped or sticks of pineapple, carrot, cucumber, melon, and apple wedges (squirted with lemon juice to prevent discoloration ). Try different wholegrains such as spelt bread, oat crackers, wholemeal pittas and wraps, wholemeal pasta salads.

Try to constantly introduce kids to healthy new foods so they don’t become picky eaters; if pickiness has already taken hold, keep coming up with new ways to enjoy the food - eg if they don’t like porridge, try granola or homemade breakfast bars, both of which contain oats as the main ingredient.

Never reward children with food but rather with a game or time to play outdoors instead.

Make healthy food tasty and interesting; it is important that children are not turned off food because it is bland or boring.

Always try foods at home first so that there is no confusion or rejection of the food at school.

Try sourcing healthy snacks which don’t have sugar listed as one of the first three ingredients, or make your own healthy treats such as flapjacks, banana bread, or healthy carrot cake. For recipes check out or

Lastly, behavioural issues such as autism are often linked with diet and digestion so if your child has problems in these areas it would be advisable to talk to a nutritional therapist.

Lynda McFarland @ Athlone Nutrition Clinic specialises in balancing blood sugar levels to naturally achieve weight loss; digestive issues; mental health/behavioural issues; cardiovascular health; and hormonal issues. See or phone (090 ) 6470897 or (087 ) 7927471.



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