The amount of students that take their lunchbox to school is on the rise. And without a doubt, eating a homemade lunch Monday to Friday can be synonymous with a healthy diet! Lunch should always be the most complete meal for young children and adolescents so that they are able to recharge their energy for the rest of the school day. It’s important that it include healthy foods and be both varied and balanced.
At Gasol Foundation, we want to make the healthy option the easy option, and we’ve prepared a few ideas to help you put together tasty and healthy meals for your children lunchbox!
A tasty and balanced lunchbox
- The meal should cover the four major food groups:
- Starches (pasta, rice, bread, potatoes, etc.)
- Protein (meat, fish, legumes, egg)
- Dairy or fruit
When we plan the meal, we should make sure to include something from each food group, to ensure a balanced, complete and varied diet. Keep in mind that vegetables and starches, should together make up the majority of the meal, while proteins should represent a smaller portion. For dessert, a great option is a piece of fruit or a low-fat dairy product. Take advantage of “in season” foods: they taste better and help avoid a monotonous diet.
- Set aside one day a week to cook and plan all of your meals for the week, that way you avoid improvising last minute.
- Try and drink water with your meals. We advise you to avoid juices and refreshments.
Ideas to make your lunchboxes even better
At Gasol Foundation, we know that it’s sometimes difficult for children to like the lunches they take to school. That’s why we have prepared three tips for making it easier for boys and girls to enjoy the food they bring from home:
- Get your kids involved in the planning and preparation of their weekly meals. That can help pick the ingredients and wash the fruit.
- Combine different colored foods so that lunch is more attractive for children. This way, you also make sure that the meal contains a great variety of nutrients.
- It’s not necessary to prepare first and second courses, you can prepare a single dish that includes foods from all of the food groups.
Examples of healthy lunchboxes to prepare at home
Protein from meat or fish with a side of vegetables, rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber and some energy from carbohydrate-rich foods (bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, legumes) makes for a single dish packed with nutrients. The following are a few examples of healthy meals perfect for taking to school. They are not only healthy and balanced, but your kids will also love the taste!
- Chicken Pasta Salad with Tomato, Olives and Basil Leaves
- Ham & Cheese Sandwich along with a Tomato, Carrot & Cucumber Mix and a Fruit Salad as a desert
- Hummus with Carrot and a Whole Grain Rice Salad with Peppers, Carrot, Tomato and Celery