By Naturopath, Amy Hotz
A healthy lunch box is key to fuelling your kids with wholesome foods to keep them focused, energized and nourished throughout the day. Below are my top food swaps that will help you provide your little ones with a nutritious and yummy lunch box – that will be both eaten and enjoyed!
Sandwiches are a quick and easy lunch to whip up. Swap your white bread sandwiches for a high-quality sourdough bread or buckwheat loaf. White bread can be made from refined grains and bleached flours and often contains additives and sugar. Invest in a bread that is organic, sugar-free and contains plenty of wholegrains. My top picks are Naturis gluten-free buckwheat loaf or HealthyBake Bavarian Sourdough.
A typical Juice box is often made from fruit concentrate (instead of fresh fruit) and can be filled with added sugar and additives. For active little ones who run around all day, a hydrating and refreshing coconut water is a far more nutritious option. Coconut water provides a natural source of electrolytes and has a natural sweetness perfect for kids
Rice crackers may look healthy but are frequently filled with sugar, vegetable oils and flavour enhancers. Flats on the other hand are filled with veggies, seeds and natural flavours mixed together and dried. They even have nut-free varieties for those schools that are allergy sensitive. The kiddies can munch on these alone or with some smashed avocado.
Apricot squares are a product that fool a lot of parents. They look like a typical fruit bar but these squares are loaded with added sugar, preservatives and emulsifiers. To avoid sending your kids on a sugar high, swap supermarket apricot squares for the Nuvitality Apricot Almond Bar. This bar is only sweetened with dates and contains nuts and seeds that will help balance blood sugar levels.
Jelly cups may look fun and enticing but they contain artificial colours, flavours and sugar, making it hard for your child to focus. Swap a jelly cup with a Chia Co Pod. Free from any nasties, Chia Co Pods are a nutritious snack that contain a great amount of fibre and healthy fats. The apple spice pod tastes like an apple pie and has a similar consistence to jelly. The best bit? Your kids won’t even know they’re healthy!
Chips are full of naughty ingredients and contain high amounts of sodium and vegetable oil. Store-bought or homemade sheets of nori are a wholesome alternative to chips. They’re a fantastic source of iodine, folate, Vitamin K, magnesium and iron. The Gimme Seaweed snacks are certified organic flavoured and lightly roasted nori sheets. Crunchy, light and delicious, they make the perfect lunch box treat.
Ditch your cheese and cracker dips for a block of high quality and wholesome dairy or non-dairy cheese. Pre-packaged cheese dips may be convenient but are often highly processed and contain lengthy ingredient lists. Cutting off a block of a high-quality cheese is a great swap and will provide your kids with both calcium and protein. I recommend Barambah’s Chedder or Meredith’s Goats Cheese. Teamed with some veggie sticks, it makes a delicious snack.
Swap the classic fruit roll up for a piece of crunchy fresh fruit. The processed supermarket roll-ups are anything but natural and contain added sugar, flavour enhancers and artificial colours. Fresh fruit is nutritious, tasty and refreshing. Cut up some oranges for vitamin C, blueberries for antioxidants and banana as a great source of natural energy. You can’t go wrong with a homemade fruit salad.
Supermarket dips can be filled with hidden nasties; and while they might look healthy, they also contain added sugar, sodium and preservatives. Supercharge your kids lunch with a yummy home-made dip. Combine an avocado with lemon juice and Himalayan salt or blend together your own hummus with a can of organic chickpeas, lemon, tahini and garlic.
Flavoured yoghurts can contain almost the same amount of sugar as an ice-cream and are often filled with artificial additives and colours. Skip the sugar (and sugar high) and whip up your own yoghurt snack. Choose a high-quality yoghurt like Barambah Organics or Coyo Coconut Yoghurt and add half a teaspoon of cinnamon and honey.
A delicious snack – without the nasties.