Healthy lunches are always on parents’ minds, but they don’t need to be expensive or time consuming to be nutritious. A simple lunch with just a few key ingredients you likely have at home will keep your mornings easy and give the kids the fuel they need throughout the day.
Healthy Lunch Checklist:
Don’t forget a frozen ice brick or frozen water bottle if storing in a lunchbox to keep it cold, even in winter. Not only does it keep food safe, but it will stay fresh too – making it more likely to be eaten!
If your child has a big appetite or plays a lot of sport, add in an extra serve or two from this list, not energy-dense packet snacks. Active children don’t just need more energy, they need more nutrients, and these come from whole foods.
Don’t panic if your child wants the same sandwich every day for the school year – it’s what their diet looks like over the day and weeks that matters. If you want to encourage variety, choose seasonal fruit and vegetables and alternate different protein and dairy options during the week.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing my favourite healthy lunch recipes.
They’re all kid-approved, quick to make and use regular supermarket ingredients.
Cheese and Zucchini Muffins
These savoury muffins are a tasty, high fibre and filling addition to the lunchbox. The zucchini and cottage cheese keep them moist and fluffy and give a boost of nutrients.
They’re delicious as they are, spread with a little cream cheese or served with a thermos of pumpkin soup.
1¼ cups milk
¾ cup cottage cheese
1 cup reduced-fat cheese, grated
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 egg, gently beaten
3 cups wholemeal self-raising flour
pinch salt and pepper
1 cup grated zucchini (½ a medium zucchini)
Tip: If your family prefer their muffins without ‘green bits’, peel the zucchini before grating.
Recipe by Sarah Moore, Registered Nutritionist (BSc, MPH)