How to pack a nutritious packed lunch with BEAR and Eat Happy Feel Good.

How to pack a nutritious packed lunch with BEAR and Eat Happy Feel Good.

Lunch is a pretty important meal for our little cubs, they will be hungry after a busy morning of play and learning, and they still need enough energy to happily get them through the afternoon. It’s also an opportunity to get lots of goodness into them; this is a meal they have five times a week and can be a great boost to their nutrient intake. 

As a mum, when I’m packing my cubs lunch, I think about whether they will actually want to eat what I pack and I want to make sure they enjoy it. As a nutritionist, I consider how to make it a complete meal that includes: protein, complex carbohydrates (fibre), healthy fats and hydration. Each of them have a purpose, both for overall health and how our cubs feel in the afternoon. 

We also want to avoid a blood sugar spike which may contribute to difficulty concentrating and uncooperative behaviour which is the last thing they need when going back in to the class room. And after a sugar spike, comes the sugar crash leaving them grumpy and irritable, just in time for pick up. This is why packing a well-balanced packed lunch is so important like the ideas listed below. 

I also like to include something sweet and fun, our favourite is always a BEAR yoyo. I love that they are made with 100% fruit and veggies and the natural sweetness means my little ones feel they’re having a treat they love, while I feel good about what they’re eating. Importantly, because of their high fibre content and being part of a meal, they won’t cause the blood sugar spikes we want to avoid. 

For hydration, water is best. Avoid fruit juices or smoothies, these can be full of sugar. If your little one doesn’t like water, try flavouring it with some berries or a slice of orange. Invest in a fun water bottle they really love to encourage them to drink more.    

PACKED LUNCH IDEAS – Just add a BEAR yoyo or fresh fruit. And as many veggies as you think your cubs will like! Great options are cherry tomatoes, mini peppers, mini cucumbers, carrot slices, celery slices, a pot of sweetcorn, edamame or peas, kohlrabi. (Check out my tip at the end on how to make veggie prep a breeze)

  • Make your own ‘pizza’ with mini bagels, little pot of low sugar ketchup and grated cheese.
  • Pasta salad with peas, sweetcorn, chopped pepper and a little mayonnaise. 
  • Little picnic with oat cakes, cheese squares, olives, mini chicken sausages. 
  • Chia jam bagel with added hemp seeds. 
  • Homemade savoury muffin. 
  • Homemade egg, ham and veggie cups. Mini oat cakes or crackers. 
  • Wrap with chicken, lettuce and mayonnaise. 
  • Wrap with cream cheese, hemp seeds. Veggies. 
  • Homemade (or quality store bought) chicken nuggets, vegetables, and dip. 
  • Cheese sandwich. Veggies and dip (sweet chilli sauce or humus). 
  • Pasta with nut free pesto (replace the pine nuts with hemp seeds for added Omega 3 and protein. I make a batch of this and store it in ice cube trays in the freezer. I take a couple of cubes out at night, let it defrost and in the morning just add some cooked pasta and its done) 

NUTRITION TIPS

  • For the bread, pasta, rice and wraps, choose wholegrain options. These are higher in fibre which is not only good for their gut health it will also help keep them fuller for longer. 
  • Add a new food to increase their exposure. Even if they don’t eat it, even if they try it and at first don’t like it, continue to offer it – in packed lunches and at home. Just add a small amount, separate from the rest of the lunch so it’s not touching anything else. For example a tiny pot of peas, edamame beans or little cubes of red pepper.   

FUN TIPS

  • Draw a smiley face or heart on their banana or tangerine with a Sharpie 
  • Add a little note or joke 
  • Cut their sandwiches into shapes using cutters (save the crusts to make breadcrumbs) 
  • Use fun food picks
  • Use a crinkle cutter to slice veggies for a fun new shape and texture

SAFETY NOTES

  • Add a disinfectant wipe / hand gel in your cubs packed lunch as a reminder to clean their hands before eating. 
  • If packing highly perishable foods like ham or yoghurt, especially on warm days, use an insulated lunch box and add a cold pack from the freezer to keep it cool till lunchtime. 


GREAT INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS FOR LUNCHBOX INSPIRATION 

@Lunches_by_lindsay

@Panoseats 

@Packer_of_lunches

@Food.kids.love

@Allboutkids_uk


Eat Happy Feel Good.

Christianna
Written by: 
Christianna