Getting your kids to eat a healthy lunch can be hard work, and it can be a nightmare for time-pressed single parents. However, by being creative, prepared and making a lot of the lunchbox fillers yourself, you can get your children to eat healthier foods. What you spend in a little extra time preparing lunches, you’ll save in money spent on branded lunchbox foods. Give it a try!
1. Mini pizzas.
If you buy pizzas ready-made, they aren’t the healthiest snacks. However, if you make them yourself using tomato puree, fresh tomatoes and a sprinkle of cheese, and use wholemeal pitta breads as bases, you’ll have a healthy snack that your child’s classmates will be fighting over.
2. Fruit jelly containing fruit pieces.
Kids love jelly, and while it isn’t the healthiest food in the world – it’s a great way to trick your children into eating more fruit.
3. Homemade fruit yoghurt.
All you need for this one is low-fat natural yoghurt, a fruit like mango (which is easy to blend up) and a tablespoon of honey, a natural source of sugar. Blend it all up and you’ll have a deliciously fruity yoghurt containing both fresh fruit and calcium that kids will love.
4. Dippable snacks.
This is a great ‘interactive’ food, which makes it more likely that your children will eat it. Chop up carrot sticks and other healthy veggies, and pair them with dips like hummus, soft cheese or even a little bit of peanut butter and you’ll be surprised to find that your kids soon yum them up – after all, it’s fun to dip!
5. Swap sandwiches for wraps.
A bit of variety is a great way to keep kids interested in healthy lunches, so swap bread for wholemeal wraps – they’re lighter, healthier and just a little bit more fun than normal sandwiches.
6. Homemade cereal bars.
It’s easier than you think to make your own cereal bars. Throw in oats, dried fruits, honey or syrup and perhaps a few chocolate chips – or whatever else you’ve got in your cupboards. It’s easy to make a whole week’s worth of cereal bars in one tray bake, and your kids will get a snack with slow-release energy and lots of dried fruit.
7. Vegetable crisps.
By slicing vegetables such as beetroot, sweet potato and parsnip really thinly and roasting them in the oven with a little oil, you can create delicious and colourful crisps – your kids won’t even notice the difference!
Replace that can of fizzy drink with a healthy and tasty smoothie or milkshake, whizzing up fruits and milk or yoghurt in a blender.
9. ‘Build your own’ snackables.
With slices of ham and cheese, plus salad and wholemeal crackers, your kids can build their own mini sandwich snacks.
10. Savoury muffins.
You can make loads of healthy versions of kid-friendly muffins, from carrot cake to apple and sultana. Kids love a treat, but this one’s just that little bit healthier!
These may be cheap healthy recipes, but they do take a little extra time – however, it’s well worth it to save money, know exactly what your kids are eating and encourage them to eat more healthily.