07:11 Wednesday 02 January 2013

Healthy packed lunches

Written byHeart Research UK

With most children going back to school next week, the new term doesn’t have to mean going back to old lunchtime habits and unhealthy snacking.

Lunch is a major part of children’s daily intake which, with a little imagination you can really pack a punch and provide a balanced diet. Include foods from the starch, protein and fruit and veg groups to provide a tasty, exciting and nutritious diet to fuel active little minds and hearts all day long.

  • Use different types of bread such as pitta bread, baguettes or wraps, and alternate between white and wholemeal varieties to keep sandwiches interesting and choose healthy fillings such as lean meat, chicken, fish, hummus and low fat cheese. 

  • For a tasty change, try rice, pasta or couscous made with colourful, finely chopped vegetables like tomato, cucumber, beetroot or sweetcorn.

  • FruitApples, oranges and bananas are great lunchbox fruits, but, for variety, try grapes, tangerines, kiwis and pears or include dried fruit like raisins, dried apricots or cranberries. To help your children get their 5-a-day, chop up some cucumber, carrots or pepper sticks too.

  • If your child has a sweet tooth there are plenty of alternatives to chocolate and sweets; try cereal bars, malt or fruit bread or currant buns (without icing).

  • It’s important to include a drink to keep your children hydrated, but stay clear of fizzy, sugary drinks; include some still or sparkling water or unsweetened fruit juices instead.

Use your imagination to make healthy, tasty packed lunches to keep your children’s energy and concentration levels up. Get your children interested in healthy foods too by getting encouraging them to make their own packed lunch. They’ll have lots of new or unusual ideas to keep them on the right path towards a happy and healthy heart.

You never know, you may discover some tasty ideas for your own working lunch!

For more information and advice about healthy living, contact Heart Research UK via email lifestyle@heartresearch.org.uk.

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