Lunchtime is an important part of your kids’ school day, giving them the chance to recharge their batteries with a packed lunch full of goodness. But trying to come up with exciting and delicious yet healthy packed lunch ideas for your children can seem a difficult task – especially if they are fussy eaters.
But don’t worry, you don’t need to send your kids off to school with a bag of lettuce and a box of berries to give them a healthy, brain boosting lunch. Cleverly using your culinary skills will allow you to create tasty, simple school lunchbox ideas that’ll give your little academics all the vitamins and nutrition they need to be productive and able to concentrate in the classroom.
Get inspired by these five lunch and snack ideas; they’re so tasty, you’ll probably want to make extra portions for your own packed lunches! Be allergy aware, some of these recipes contain nuts.
1. Thai salmon bites
Oily fish is full of omega-3 fatty acid which is important for brain activity, and one fish that is packed full of it is salmon. Fish can be one of the more difficult things to get kids to eat due to its texture and smell, but adding a Thai twist to this fantastic fish will help make this dish even tastier. These can be served immediately, but they taste just as good cold the next day.
Ingredients (for two children): 225g boneless salmon; 1 tsp coconut oil; 1 tsp Thai red chilli paste; ½ tsp soy sauce; ¼ tsp lime juice
- Pour coconut oil, Thai red chilli paste, soy sauce and lime juice into a large bowl, and mix thoroughly
- Chop the salmon into small, bite-sized pieces
- Place the salmon chunks into the bowl and leave to marinate for one hour
- Place salmon onto a foiled baking tray and bake in oven at gas mark 220°C for 10-12 minutes
- To accompany them, sweet potato wedges go perfectly and can be eaten hot or cold
2. Strawberry Brazil nut salad
Getting your children to try new things can be difficult, so you really need to pack a punch with the flavours, and this salad does exactly that. You may think adding fruit to a salad seems a strange choice, but once you try this tasty salad you’ll wonder why you haven’t experimented with these flavours before!
Strawberries are extremely good for brain function and memory, so it’ll help your kids remember what they’ve been taught, while nuts are full of omega-3 fatty acids – the good kind of fats. On top of this oranges are full of vitamin C which is an important vitamin with a multitude of benefits, including protecting cells and keeping them healthy.
Ingredients (for two children): A handful of lettuce leaves; 100g strawberries; 2 tsp fresh basil; 2 tsp red onion; 1 tsp balsamic vinegar; 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil; 3 tablespoons Brazil nuts; 1 orange
- Cut the strawberries into thin slices
- Chop the basil, red onion and Brazil nuts, setting the nuts aside for later
- Wash the lettuce leaves, then combine with the strawberries, onion and basil
- To make the dressing, squeeze the orange to get 1 ½ tsp of juice and whisk the juice together with the balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil
- Drizzle the salad with the dressing, tossing it to get an even spread and finish by garnishing with Brazil nuts
For a non-vegetarian option, adding in some cooked lean protein such as chicken or turkey can assist with muscle growth and repair after running around the playground all lunch break
3. Avocado spread sandwiches
Avocados seem to be the go-to fruit (yes, it is a fruit!) of the moment, and getting this hipster health food into your kids’ packed lunches needn’t be difficult.
A great source of vitamins C and E, iron, potassium and good fats, an avocado spread is a hassle-free way of packing your kid’s sandwich with nutritious goodness. Here’s how to do it:
Ingredients (for two children): 2 avocados; 2 wholemeal pitta breads, 1 small onion;
1 tomato; lime juice; salt; pepper
- Peel and mash the avocados in a bowl
- Stir in the finely chopped small onion and chopped tomato, then season with lime juice and a pinch of salt and pepper
- Once mixed, you can either assemble the pitta breads immediately or cover the bowl with a lid or cling film and leave in the fridge overnight
- Cut and open two wholemeal pitta breads and spoon the mashed avocado inside
Serve alongside a hard-boiled egg to add some protein to the dish, and there you have it, a lunchbox twist on the ever popular poached eggs with avocado on toast.
4. Peanut butter energy bites
Peanuts are fantastic for getting the nutrition the brain needs to function effectively, so it’s a good idea to include them in your child’s packed lunches, as part of a balanced diet. An easy way of doing this is by using peanut butter, often a household favourite! The perfect pudding or snack, these easy to make crispy peanut energy bites will keep your kid’s mind and body active through their afternoon classes. Ensure you use a good quality peanut butter – there are many options available now that are simply 100% peanuts with no added sugar or preservatives.
Ingredients (for 15 bites): 150g peanut butter; honey (optional); 75g wheatgerm oil; 1 egg
- Preheat oven to gas mark 180°C
- Line a baking tray with grease-proof paper
- Put the peanut butter and wheat germ oil into a bowl with some honey to sweeten along with a cracked egg
- Stir together until the dough is thick
- Using a tablespoon, scoop dough onto grease-proof paper and spread evenly
- Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes until crisp on top then cut into bite sized pieces
5. Fruity sundae
Simple yet effective, a fruity sundae is an easy way to get fruit into your kid’s packed lunch. All you need is three ingredients to make this dessert and it takes no time at all to put together. Plus with a generous serving of brain-boosting berries, your young ones will be able to keep their mind on the task at hand until home time.
Ingredients (for one serving): 80ml natural yogurt; 25g strawberries; 10g mixed berries
- Mash the strawberries in an airtight container using a fork.
- Mix the yogurt with the strawberries
- Finish by pouring the mixed berries on top and sealing the container. Keep cool until lunchtime.
We hope you and your kids enjoy making and eating these recipes – why not take a photo of you and your little chefs and tweet us @SovereignHealth
To find out more about Sovereign Health Care and how our cash plan can help you and your family claim money back on your everyday health care costs, visit https://www.sovereignhealthcare.co.uk/personal