Nutritious lunchbox ideas
With the start of a new year and schools going
back soon, one needs to think about making lunchboxes again.
According to Claudine Ryan, registered dietician (SA) for Compass Group
Southern Africa, “Keeping a lunchbox nutritious and exciting at the same time
need not be tricky.”
“Creative efforts with your child/children’s lunchbox/es will stimulate
concentration, behaviour and energy levels during and after school hours,” says
If lunchboxes were am algebra equation, it should read like this:
Nutritious Lunchbox = ½(Fruit/Veg) + ¼ Low GI Starch + ¼ Protein
½ lunchbox = Fruit + Vegetables
Use at least 2 different colours to ensure your
child gets a variety of minerals and vitamins.
You can include some:
such as cucumber wedges, snap peas, green melon balls, green grapes or
reds or purple such as cherry tomatoes, tomato wedges, strawberries,
watermelon cubes, black grapes
or orange such as baby carrots, mini corn (mielies), naartjie segments,
such as button mushrooms, apple wedges, peeled litchis or
such as coleslaw, mini vegetable skewers, fruit salad, fruit sticks.
¼ lunchbox (1 fistful) = low GI starch
Include low GI whole wheat and seed breads, whole wheat pita breads, mini pita
pizza slices, provita, rye vita, rye bread, low GI baked treats (such as
muffins), cooked low GI pasta (whole wheat is better) , low GI rice (brown rice
is better), barley, baby potatoes, low GI pancakes for savoury wraps and
homemade mini low GI quiches.
¼ lunchbox = protein (size of your child’s palm)
sources of fish such as tuna in water, fishcakes made with pilchards or
such as shaved cold meats, mini meatballs made with lean mince
such as grilled chicken strips, kebabs, shredded chicken as filling
such as low fat yoghurt, low fat flavoured milk, low fat cheeses
biltong can be included as a treat.
Additions to the lunchbox
Add only 1 serving of fat
Examples of healthier fats include:
tablespoon of low oil mayonnaise/dressing
fat cream cheese
Healthy drinks include:
fruit juice (100 %)
low fat milk or
chocolate with low fat milk in winter
Children love special treats in their lunchboxes, which include:
GI home baked items like low GI chocolate muffins
popped popcorn or
1. It takes some
up on healthy foods at home.
ahead by drawing up a weekly lunch “menu” to avoid repetition of food
2. Make time
Prepare lunchboxes the night before if mornings are rushed to prevent you from
taking the easy way out and including unhealthy snacks.
3. Be creative
and focus on food appearance
sure the lunchbox packaging is big enough so that the food is not crammed
in and squashed.
a variety of colourful foods to stimulate your child visually e.g. carrot
sticks, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, colourful fruit sticks, vegetable
sandwiches into different shapes with a cookie cutter.
one slice of white bread and one slice of whole wheat bread to vary
sandwiches and compromise taste.
tags or stickers to label food items with interesting names.
love to dip so include healthy homemade dips such as hummus, mayonnaise
mixed with plain yoghurt or low fat mayo.