Healthy Lunch Box Ideas
The Fold team love a bit of chat about our aspirations for a healthier lifestyle. With kids almost back at school, the office chat has turned to our good intentions for a year full of healthy lunch boxes (for them and us). So, we asked local nutritionist Kylie Bucich for some hints and tips to help us plan and make healthy lunches.
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Packing lunches for work or school can feel overwhelming right? Now we're almost back in the trenches of the school year and have vowed to pack and eat healthy lunches for the kids (and for us at work) this year, follow these simple tips to save time and money. Fuel your body and feel focused and energised throughout your day! Switch up your packed sandwich for your personal version of a bento box. Be it last night Mexican turned into a tasty wrap or steak reincarnated into a spicy beef salad, get creative!
Having a meal plan and spending some time over the weekend to prep food for the week is a great way to get organised and take out the guesswork of the week ahead. Here are some suggestions (most of these will keep in the fridge for up to five days):
- Bake muffins/banana bread (slice and freeze some too)
- Make chia puddings
- Make bliss balls/muesli bars
- Wash and cut veggies
- Portion smoothie packs in ziplock bags and freeze - We found Sinchies they have some great portion packaging.
Cook more at dinner time and take leftovers. You’ll have lunch for the whole family AND it will be packed the night before saving you time in the morning.
BUILDING A HEALTHY LUNCH BOX
Packing a healthy lunch box applies to us all and balance is key! Incorporate carbohydrates, protein, fiber, and healthy fats into each meal. For example, I often pack roast vegetables mixed with rocket, chicken, and avocado. Slowly introduce more whole foods into your diet and lunch box! What do I mean by this? Less packaged, processed and refined foods. Choose fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, meat, whole grains, beans, and legumes.
BACK TO SCHOOL LUNCHBOX IDEAS
- Water bottle (freeze overnight in hot weather, add a squeeze of fresh lemon to flavour it up)
- Fruit (2 serves = 1 medium apple and 1/2 cup berries etc)
- Veggie sticks and hummus
- Nut free muesli bar or bliss ball
- Chia puddings
- Yoghurt - Opt for full-fat dairy. Try Jalna Biodynamic Organic Yoghurt (add your own fruit, nuts, chia seeds) or Tamar Valley Kids yoghurt pouch found at Woolworths or Coles. Look for roughly 5 grams of sugar or less per a 100-gram serving.
- Leftovers from the night before: Meatballs, rice paper rolls, fritatta
- Homemade pizza and salad
- Sandwich ideas (sourdough or spelt bread)
Leftover meat and salad, egg, lettuce and avocado, avocado, pepper and salt, avocado chicken salad, tuna salad, ham, cheese and salad, hummus and veggie salad.
- Pack lunch in an insulated freezer lunch bag. Freeze the actual bag overnight and pack lunch for school or work in the morning!
- Pack a cooling icepack with the lunchbox and store lunch in the fridge overnight.
- Keep school bag out of direct sunlight
- Use insulated containers/lunch boxes to keep cool or hot
Opt for BPA free (plastic can leach chemicals into your food and drinks), glass or stainless steel lunch boxes, bottles and insulated containers.
NUT FREE CHOCOLATE, COCONUT & APRICOT BLISS BALLS
2 cups (380g) preservative free dried apricots
½ cup (80g) preservative free desiccated coconut, plus a little extra for rolling
¼ cup (25g) raw cacao powder
½ cup (40g) rolled oats
½ cup (70g) pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
2 Tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
1. Soak the apricots in hot water for 15 minutes (this will help soften the apricots and make them easier to process) and then drain them.
2. Add all ingredients to a food processor and blitz for a few minutes until the mixture comes together.
3. Sprinkle a little extra desiccated coconut on a plate and then, using wet hands, shape the mixture into small balls (I use about 2 tablespoons of the mixture per bliss ball) and roll them through the coconut to coat them.
4. Store the bliss balls in the fridge or freezer.
Makes approx. 24 bliss balls.
Recipe from Amanda’s Wholesome Kitchen
BANANA BERRY SMOOTHIE
1 cup berries
1/2 cup baby spinach
+ 1 cup water/coconut milk/almond milk and blend
THE BASIC SMOOTHIE FORMULA
1.5 cups your favourite fruit
2 cups of greens (baby spinach, kale)
Add dry ingredients: chia seeds, coconut, nut butter, protein powder - whatever you have around!
+ 1 - 1.5 cups of your choice of liquid and blend
Pics via Kylie Buchich