Easy Children’s Lunchbox Recipes

Healthy. Simple. Fun. 

After the recent surge of healthy school dinner campaigns outlining concerns over the food being served to children, school dinners have benefited from a long overdue transformation. Providing healthy lunches for children is now more essential than ever with the change in attitudes and knowledge towards food. This change has helped to identify the importance of healthy, balanced and nutritionally rich diets as it promotes better concentration, increased academic success and a general uplift in mood – just to list a few!

“Packing a healthy lunchbox can be a daily battle!”

 

So what should we be putting in those little boxes each day?  

The NHS has outlined that a healthy lunchbox should contain the following:

  • Starchy foods. These are bread, rice, potatoes and pasta, and others.
  • Protein foods. These are meat, fish, eggs, beans and others.
  • A dairy item. This could be cheese or yoghurt.
  • Vegetables or salad, and a portion of fruit.

Top 10 Healthy Children’s Lunchbox recipes

Planning ahead can help you to avoid getting stuck in a cheese and pickle rut! Being creative and healthy can be time-consuming so below is a list of our top 10 easy to prepare, creative and healthy kid’s lunchbox recipe ideas. Enjoy!

1. Couscous Salad

Couscous has become a popular alternative to rice and pasta originating from North Africa and it is very low in saturated fat. It’s easy to prepare with the bonus of being able to be creative with what’s in your fridge, you can use a variety of different vegetables and meats to make a delicious couscous dish.

2. Pasta Salad

Pasta Salads are an easy and quick recipe that’s always a favourite! Using tuna can be beneficial for children’s lunches as it is low in saturated fat, a very good source of protein and contains Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12.

3. Chicken Wrap

 A creative alternative to sandwiches, making your child’s lunchbox that little bit more fun! You can also use vegetarian alternatives in the wrap for example one of my favourites – Paneer cheese, which could be served with spinach or salad. Paneer can sometimes be a pain to get hold of so halloumi cheese is a great substitute.

4. Savoury Cupcakes

Savoury cupcakes are a good idea to get those fussy eaters into more adventurous foods as well as subtly giving them a good portion of vegetables. A good combination would be cheese and spinach, the recipe above uses feta but you could also try cheddar or parmesan. I also find using frozen spinach saves time and reduces waste (who hasn’t explored the fridge to find half a bag of soggy leaves) plus – it tastes every bit as good as fresh once baked.

5. Jellies

For children’s pack lunches it may be an idea to make smaller jellies in mini Tupper-wear boxes with lids. Make a batch on a Sunday and you can have yummy fruity jellies all week. Add tinned peaches or fresh blueberries or any softer fruits to a basic raspberry jelly mix or dissolve your own gelatine or agar (a veggie jelly substitute made from seaweed) into fresh juice instead. Just avoid pineapple as this fruit can prevent the jelly from setting and developing a nice wobble!

6. Spanish omelette

A dish consisting of a thick egg omelette made with onions and potatoes fried in olive oil, but you can add vegetables or meats to make it more flavoursome and give your child some of their 5 a day. Making smaller portions might be easier to store in your child’s lunchbox, you could even use cutter to make some fun shapes!

 7. Vegetable crisps

Most children are familiar with potato crisps but using other vegetables can be colourful, tasty and that bit healthier. You could serve with a homemade hummus dip.

8. Spring rolls

A fun alternative to sandwiches with the added bonus of getting your child to have a variety of vegetables that are not always considered ‘child friendly’! The above recipe uses prawns which are a great source of protein and contain omega-3 fatty acids but you can make them with meat – chicken or duck and there is always the option to just use vegetables – always delicious!

9. Cheese straws

Cheesy pastry straws, lovely on their own but can be great for dipping! Like with the savoury cupcakes I think it would be idea to add ingredients such as spinach to add some colour and flavour to the dish, as well as making it a slightly healthier option!

10. Chicken Kebabs

Marinated chicken and vegetables cooked on skewers – as enjoyable to make as to eat! I would use a variety of vegetables such as peppers, mushrooms and courgettes to go with the chicken; it makes it more colourful and fun to eat! Paneer or halloumi cheese or tofu would be a great substitute for the chicken.

Your say…

What do you think of our recipe ideas? Join the conversation and share your favourite lunchbox recipes with us on our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter.

Written by Daisy Hartley.

9 Ways To Get Heart Healthy In Your Kitchen

Cardiac disease is one of the leading causes of death in many developed countries and as such a large population of adults are taking note. There are plenty of ways to ensure that your heart is in tip top shape including scheduling regular doctor visits, maintaining a physican fitness regimen and eating healthy foods. There are plenty of ways to improve your cardiovascular health and many of us have heart healthy food products stocked in our kitchen. Here is a look at nine ways to get heart healthy in your kitchen.

Use Olive Oil Instead of Butter

Rather than adding butter to your dishes, consider opting for olive oil instead. Olive oil contains a monosaturated fatty acid which is considered a healthy fat. Monosaturated fatty acids can help reduce your risk of heart disease, lower your cholesterol level and regulate blood clotting. Olive oil also contains antioxidants that promote cell growth and health, as well as bone, digestive health and memory function.

Eat More Fish

Rather than having meat every night of the week, opt out a meal or two for fish. Some types of fish that are heart healthy include salmon, sardines, anchovies and trout. Salmon is a great option for adults who want to improve their cardiovascular health. Salmon contains a wealth of Omega-3 fatty acids which help to lower triglycerides, cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as boost immunity and reduce the symptoms of arthritis in hands, knees, legs and other joints.

Portion Control

Another big way to get heart healthy in the kitchen is to control your meal sizes. By utilizing portion control you are helping to maintain a healthy weight. This action can also help to lower cholesterol, promote healthy blood pressure and stabilize triglyceride levels.

Choose Whole Grain Over Refined Grain

By choosing whole grain foods over refined grain, adults can ensure that they are maintaining a healthy diet. Whole grain foods such as brown rice, whole grain bread, oatmeal and corn are a good source of calcium, magnesium and iron, and are often low in fat. Refined grains are much less healthy for the body because the healthiest part of the grain is stripped during the refining process.

More Fruits and Vegetables

This goes without saying, but if you want to maintain a healthy body, you need to eat more fruits and vegetables. It is recommended that adults eat 4-6 cups of fruit and vegetables everyday to maintain a healthy body and cardiovascular system. Fruits can easily be added to your diet in meals or as snacks in between large meals.

Low Fat Dairy Instead of Whole-Milk Dairy

Switching from whole-milk dairy to low fat dairy is a great way to get heart healthy and maintain a healthy weight. Low fat dairy contains significantly less fat than regular dairy products, and the calorie content is much lower as well. This switch is a good way to lower cholesterol and increase your cardiovascular health.

Monitor Sodium Use

Excess sodium can be really bad for your body, especially your cardiovascular system. Monitor your salt intake, and we’re not just talking about everytime you pick up the salt shaker. Check the sodium content on the meals you prepare. By maintaining a normal sodium level, you can help maintain a healthy heart.

Use Sweeteners Cautiously

Sweeteners are a great way to sabotage any diet and poor dieting can lead to cardiovascular health concerns. Use sweeteners cautiously and sparingly to help keep your diet in check.

Go Nuts

Nuts are a healthy food option that have many health benefits. Nuts are considered heart healthy because nuts are believed to help reduce your chance of dying from cancer. Other health benefits include decreased inflammation, reduced risk of a heart attack, and reduced risk of memory loss.

You will find similar articles on health and care on DearJane blog wholly written by Donna Jane. Donna has been a nutritionist in the aged care space for two decades now. Thank you Donna for this guest blog post!

Marketing and Social Media Intern Wanted – 3 month placement

Cookery Doodle Doo are looking for a Marketing and Social Media intern for a 3 month placement stating in January.

If you are a motivated student or recent graduate this would be a great opportunity to:
- Boost your CV by getting relevant marketing experience and references
- Learn about social media, blogging, video marketing in business
- Enjoy working with a creative and growing company

Cookery Doodle Doo organise children’s cooking classes and parties across Sussex. We have some exciting plans this year which mean that we are looking for additional marketing support at this busy time.

This is an unpaid placement, but for the right candidate is a chance to learn and develop some marketable skills while also having fun.

This placement is not about your tea-making technique – a genuine love of food, writing, marketing and social media will all be relevant to the role and we’ll make sure you get a chance to show off your skills.

Previous interns have contributed to some great blogs on this website  - check out our guides to foodie first aid, Halloween recipes, seasonal foraging as well as building their knowledge of SEO, social media and even creating their own online CV with our support.

To apply please email your CV along with a paragraph telling us a bit about yourself. The deadline for applications is Friday 1st Feb and the role will be based in Hove. Please write to Katie info@cookerydoodledoo.net or phone 07588692955 for more information.