Lunch box ideas

Back to school time is looming. Along with new books and uniforms the old school lunch box will be dusted off, and a collective sigh can be heard as parents everywhere try to figure out what to fill it with. Like a New Year resolution, we all think this year lunches will fun be and healthy before defaulting to the old reliable by October.

Here are some tips that may help to shake off old habits and hopefully make life a little easier in the long run.

Bread: Variety is the key. Pitta, wraps, sliced pan, soda bread, rolls, crackers — just keep them guessing. The important thing is to buy the best quality you can afford, think wholemeal and read the labels — this is their main carbohydrate fuel of the school day.

Fillings: Again, a little variety goes a long way. The possibilities are endless, but here are a few suggestions: Banana with peanut/almond butter, bagel with cream cheese and grapes, grated carrot with cheese and hummus in a wrap, add pear or apple to a toasted ham and cheese sandwich, classic egg salad, tuna and sweetcorn, turkey with cheese and avocado, mozzarella and pesto.

Alternatives: Why not ditch the sandwich altogether? By just adding a fork you can get creative with leftovers, cold pasta, noodles, or roast chicken can go down a treat. In the winter a Thermos of soup can be a welcome warm up. Cheeki makes a great insulated food jar that keeps food hot for eight hours.

Fruit: Along with the reliable apples and bananas, why not add blueberries, strawberries, mandarins, and grapes to their lunch box? Teach them how to eat a kiwi like an egg with a spoon.

Vegetables: Why not team a small portion of hummus or another favourite dip with sticks of brightly coloured pepper, carrot, or cucumber.

Nuts and dried fruit: Raisins, apricots, nuts, and seeds all make a naturally sweet and nutritious snack filled with protein and fibre. No need to buy pre-packaged, instead buy in bulk and refill your own small containers.

Treats: Homemade muesli bars, flapjacks, scones, fruit muffins, or banana bread make a great lunch box treat, and they freeze well. There are some great pre-packaged muesli bars available if baking is not your forte, but read the labels carefully.

For even more lunch box ideas, back to school tips, and lots more visit the Evergreen Healthfoods blog at evergreen.ie/blog or pop into any of the seven Galway stores and speak to an Evergreen expert today.

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