A balanced and nutritious lunch can give students the energy to make it through the afternoon. When students eat food high in sugar and fat at lunchtime, they may get a temporary boost of energy, but this is followed by a slump when their blood sugar levels fall. Resist the easy options and go for lean protein, wholegrains, fruit and veggies to provide sustainable energy.
Foods to include in a healthy lunchbox
- Lean proteins like chicken, boiled eggs, and tuna.
- Food high in fiber, like wholegrain bread, provides energy.
- Fruits and vegetables like apple slices and carrot sticks.
- Reduced-fat dairy products like low-fat yogurt.
- Water to stay hydrated.
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Avocado Chicken salad and tortilla chips
Leftover chicken provides a great protein for a quick, no-cook lunch. Add some salsa and fresh cilantro to give it a Mexican touch. Serve it with some tortilla chips to scoop it up with and for added crunch. Complete the lunchbox with some almonds and apple slices.
Salmon and salad bagel
Cut a wholewheat bagel in half, toast it and allow it to cool. Drain a small can of pink salmon and mix it with low-fat mayonnaise and pepper. Spread the mixture on one half of the bagel, and add cucumber and baby spinach. Top with the other half of the bagel. Prepare the salmon mixture the night before to save time in the morning. Complete the lunchbox with a handful of grapes.
Thai chicken peanut crunch sandwiches
Fun and tasty nut butter sandwiches are far from boring. On slices of multigrain bread, pile shredded chicken, finely sliced cucumber, shredded carrot and red onion. Give the sandwich kick with some Sriracha, and use creamy peanut butter to balance out the flavor. Add some peach slices to finish off with.
Tuna salad and sweet potato chips
Add red onion, olives, and baby spinach to tuna to make a delicious tuna salad. Sweet potato chips and hummus provide a nutrient-dense accompaniment. Include some fresh berries for a sweet treat.
Scrambled eggs mixed with avocado
Scramble some eggs and mix in some avocado. Pile onto multigrain bread. Add some cooked corn on the cob and sugar snap peas to the lunchbox. Watermelon chunks will provide some sweetness to end the lunch off with.
Bake the cheese muffins and freeze them, so it’s easy to take one out the night before to defrost. Add yogurt, almonds and some chopped-up fruit to the lunchbox.
Tacos and a sweet treat
Every student loves tacos for lunch. Fill the tacos with lettuce, black beans, sliced tomatoes and shredded cheese. Combine dates, coconuts and cocoa to make a sweet treat that’s full of nutrients and gives an energy boost.
Chickpeas are a great way to add fiber, protein and minerals like iron and magnesium to a lunchbox. Make hummus from the chickpeas and use them in a veggie wrap. Add some carrot and cucumber sticks.
Tips when making lunch boxes:
- Keep some different options like bagels, wraps and multigrain bread in the freezer for quick and easy use.
- Always add salad ingredients to sandwiches and wraps.
- Cheese can be high in fat and salt, so use a stronger-tasting one and less of it or go for reduced-fat varieties.
- Add bite-sized fruit like sliced apple or pineapple segments to make it easier to eat.
- Don’t buy fruit yogurts. Rather buy plain ones and add chopped fruit.
- Variety is important. It’s much easier to eat healthy if a lunchbox isn’t boring.
- Use the right lunchbox. All the food should stay separated, so nothing leaks or gets squished. A stainless steel lunchbox is eco-friendly and dishwasher safe.
- Meats like salami, pastrami, and smoked turkey are highly processed and salty. Rather avoid packing them in a lunchbox or only use them every now and then.
A balanced and nutritious lunch can keep students in good health and prevent them from having an energy slump in the middle of the day. A healthy mind and body is important to excel in education and later in your career. Hopefully, the above ideas will provide some ways to introduce creativity and variety into lunch boxes.
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