a week of healthy packed lunches
It's back to school time and for some that means the return of the packed lunches. How do you make them healthy, but still taste good so your children actually eat them? We have come up with some healthy ideas here, that will hopefully inspire you to change things up. The key is to be organised. Get the bag ready the night before and put in anything that doesn't need to be refrigerated. Fill up a water bottle and leave it to chill overnight in the fridge - small things will make a difference. All the meals are nut free and most are gluten free and dairy free. We have also tried to make them full of fruit and vegetables – and colour, which is lacking in so many lunch boxes that we see.
For today we have a homemade humous with a selection of your child's favourite crudites and some kale crisps (Luke's Organic). A blackberry smoothie and a Pulsin Oat Bar. There's a good mix of protein, fats and slow release carbohydrates here to keep hunger at bay. For older children that get very hungry, I would add some chicken skewers or strips. We have two recipes that would work perfectly. The cumin chicken skewers or the chicken dippers – both can be made ahead and used throughout the week. To make the chicken dippers nut free see Tuesday's lunch box.
I used our chicken dipper recipe, but instead of using ground almonds to coat the chicken I used oats to make them nut free, which I ground up in a food processor with the paprika. The dip is a beetroot dip that I had in the fridge (roasted beetroot, avocado, black beans, olive oil and a pinch of chilli flakes), but you could use any dip that your child enjoys. Again served with favourite vegetable sticks and a Pulsin Oat Bar. The drink is a raspberry milkshake made with frozen raspberries, a cube of frozen spinach, 1 small banana, a teaspoon of chia seeds and coconut milk.
A colourful box for today. A salad that's a cross between a greek salad and nicoise salad. New potatoes and green beans, tomatoes, black olives and feta cheese with a simple vinaigrette dressing. You can make this with whatever your child prefers. Don't like tomatoes - then swap them for cucumber. Want to make it dairy free then swap the feta for sardines. This is great to make in bulk and will then serve adults to take to work too. To go with it, we have a couple of carrots, a beetroot and apple juice (James White does a good one) and for pudding an apple, carrot and ginger flapjack (made nut free by using tahini rather than cashew butter)
Another lovely looking colourful box for today. Starting with today's "main course" of egg muffins. We've been making those for so long and as you'll see in our Pick & Mix Egg muffin recipe, they are incredibly easy to vary to everyone's taste and fuss! Today we have smoked salmon and spinach. A classic side of carrot and cherry tomatoes, and my apologies for the mashed avocado I forgot to include for the photo! Today's drink is a blueberry milkshake made with fresh or frozen blueberries, 1 small banana and kefir . Those Pulsin Oat Bar have almost become the expected item in the lunch box. They are delicious and one of the lowest in sugar we have so far found available on the market.
Friday can sometimes be a bit tough, so we have a sunny mediterranean inspired lunch box for you, packed full of protein to get through to a well deserved weekend. Lovely seasonal cherry tomatoes, half an avocado, simply mashed with a fork, nothing else or fancy. The piece de resistance comes in the shape of those homemade lightly spiced lamb koftas (recipe coming soon) and some flat bread to wrap them in. Do I need to mention that Pulsin Oat Bar? And to finish the week on a little favourite healthy treat, today's drink is quite simply one small banana, a tablespoon of raw cacao powder and some coconut milk, whizzed up in my Nutri Bullet.
As you will see from our photos we have used stainless steel lunch boxes, which are much healthier for you (and the environment) than chemical-leaching plastic boxes. Below we list some of our favourite suppliers of stainless steel lunch boxes.
Nature Doc Shop. www.nature.doc.shop This online shop is a fantastic resource of healthy nutrition-approved snacks. They stock U-Konserve boxes, which have a removable divider and a leak proof lid. They also stock stainless steel snack pots, organic cotton lunch bags and snack bags that kids love.
Little Acorns to Mighty Oaks. www.littleacornstomightyoaks.co.uk They stock Planet Box (photographed in our blog post), LunchBots and ECOLunchbox