Making Lunch Boxes Healthy

As I work in a school, I recently came across the HSE publication Eat Smart, Move More. This is exactly what it says on the tin, but focuses on healthy eating and activity for school-going children. You can download a copy of it here.

They have a suggested weekly menu for children including small break and big break lunches.

Day: Monday: Tuesday: Wednesday: Thursday: Friday:
Small break:  Low-fat yogurt Orange segments Banana Cheese Carrot Sticks
Lunch: 2 slices of
bread with a lowfat
cheese slice and
Pitta bread with
cooked ham, low-fat
mayonnaise, lettuce
and cucumber
Tortilla wrap with a
slice of chicken, relish
and lettuce and a
sliced apple
Cooked pasta with tuna,
sweetcorn, spring onion
and tomato ketchup
Brown roll with mashed
hard boiled egg, lettuce,
peppers and tomato

This is very useful, especially for parents of junior infants who aren’t used to correct portion sizes to give etc. I err on the side of caution and give my child a bit more than what is advised here. I have taught him to put what he doesn’t eat back in his lunchbox though, so I can easily gauge whether I’m giving him too much or not. The downside of this is cleaning the half eaten banana out of his lunchbox in the afternoon. I am learning a lot though. Half a banana went in the next time.

Here’s my take on the weekly school lunch box. Dairy free of course.

Day: Monday: Tuesday: Wednesday: Thursday: Friday:
Small break: Homemade flapjack Mandarin Orange Banana and Carrot Sticks Red Apple and Humzinger Carrot Sticks and Raisins
Lunch: Tuna, sweetcorn and mayonnaise wrap with raisins Ham sandwich on wholemeal bread with cherry tomatoes Chicken breast and cherry tomatoes on wholemeal wrap Brown bread with roast beef slices Pitta bread with ham and mayonnaise

Other small breaks: Innocent fruit tubes, Granola Bars, Grapes, Melon, pineapple, bread sticks, soya or goats’ yoghurt.

Other lunches: egg, tinned salmon, corned beef.

Sliced cucumbers and sliced peppers along with the carrot sticks and cherry tomatoes are all good lunchbox options for vegetables.

Check out my other school lunchbox post for more ideas.

The booklet contains full weekly menu including dinners and breakfasts also, lots of ideas for snacks and lots of information about children’s exercise requirements and suggestions of how to incorporate this into your everyday routine. Definitely worth a read for all parents out there even if you think you already have a good handle on healthy eating.

The full HSE booklet is here.

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