Boxing clever with these easy, (and healthy) school lunches.

Many parents look forward to the routine that comes when schools reopen after the summer holidays, but less so to the challenge of coming up with simple, nutritious lunch ideas five days a week that their kids will love too. It is an important opportunity to develop positive attitudes towards food choices and nutrition, leading to life-long eating habits.  The Irish Bread Bakers Association and Dr Mary McCreery, a leading Irish consultant nutritionist and dietician, are behind Healthy Heroes, one of Ireland’s most popular school nutrition programmes.  

Dr McCreery offers the following tips to parents when it comes to school lunches:

  • Set a good example by eating healthy foods yourself and make your own lunch at the same time so your child knows how much you enjoy them.
  • Introduce new foods without any special comment so your child can make their own mind up if they like them or not.
  • Make sure healthy foods are available. Try to offer different foods every day. Shopping in advance is the best way to ensure you have plenty of variety for lunch boxes.
  • Include a carbohydrate, a protein, dairy, fruit and veg.
  • Educate your child that school means healthy eating and treats are for weekends and special occasions.
  • Involve your child in the food shopping to encourage them (with the right guidance!) to pick healthy options for their school lunch
  • And here are some healthy lunch suggestions from the Healthy Heroes programme.

Tuna and Sweetcorn Sandwich on Chia Bread

  • 2x slices of chia bread
  • 2x teaspoons of low fat butter
  • 1 small tin tuna drained
  • 1 tablespoon sweet corn tinned
  • ½ tablespoon light mayo
  • Handful of lettuce

Lunchbox extras:  1 apple, 1 yoghurt drink

Total energy content:  527kcals

Peanut Butter, Grated Carrot & Raisin on White Bread

  • 2x slices of white bread
  • Crunchy peanut butter spread thinly on each slice
  • ¼ cup of raw grated carrots
  • ½ tablespoon of raisins

Lunchbox extras:  250ml fruit smoothie, 1 snack portion of cheese

Total energy content:  580kcals

Sweet Chilli Chicken with Yellow Peppers Sandwich

  • 2x slices of white or brown bread
  • 2 teaspoons of low fat butter
  • 2 slices chicken
  • 2 teaspoons of sweet chilli sauce
  • 2 rings chopped yellow pepper
  • Crunchy peanut butter spread thinly on each slice
  • ¼ cup of raw grated carrots
  • ½ tablespoon of raisins

Lunchbox extras: 1 large fromais frais plus 2 small handfuls of strawberries, 1 bottle of water

Total energy content:  475kcals