If you have read my previous blog then you will now be ready to start introduce your little ones to healthier eating habits. These suggestions don’t have to be only for your kids, you can enjoy adding them to your lunchbox too!
Below is a short description of each suggestion. Some of these dishes are great to make in bulk and either keep in the fridge and use throughout the week or freeze for use at a later time.
**If your school is a nut free zone then some of these options may not be acceptable. You can either save them for weekend snacks or in some cases, leave the nuts out of the recipe all together.
Cut up bite size pieces of your little one’s favourite veggies and either serve raw or lightly steamed (whichever their preference). Get them involved in choosing what veg they want that day, maybe ask them to go to the fridge/cupboard and bring you their favourites.
Eg. Broccoli, carrot, cucumber, baby tomatoes, celery, peppers, spring onion…
Cut up strips or batons of your little one’s favourite veggies and fruits and serve with their choice of dip. Again, get them involved in the choice for the day, even if they decide they want the fudge dip with the veggies or the mustard dip with the fruit go with it, if it gets them to eat the food should we really be complaining?
Eg. Carrot, cucumber, celery, peppers, apple, pineapple, mango. Raw Fudge Dip, Homemade Mayo (with garlic/chilli/mustard), Nut Butter…
A selection of your little monster’s favourite nuts, seeds and dried fruits. For a nut free zone, maybe try dried fruits and seeds only. Now we know that some of you will be shouting at us about dried fruits due to the higher concentration of sugars and the preservatives but used in small quantities for growing children, this should be fine. If in doubt, buy a dehydrator and dry out your own fruits.
Eg. Almond, macadamia, pecan, walnut, cashew, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, raisins, cranberries, prunes, mango, dates, apricots, coconut flakes…
Boil up a batch of eggs on a Sunday night or Monday morning and keep them in the fridge for a quick and easy protein kick for your kiddies. (Make sure you have a separate place for boiled eggs and it is labelled in your fridge otherwise it can get a little disgusting and messy!) De-shell them as required and either pop them in whole or cut into manageable pieces.
A handful of tasty biltong is a great addition to a lunchbox. Make sure that you buy as high a quality biltong as you can afford and remember that it generally has a high salt content so it’s a good idea to only pop this in the lunchbox once or twice a week, rather than every day. Here in Cape Town we buy our good quality biltong at Gogo’s Deli in Newlands.
Cut a couple of thick slices from a fresh pineapple and cut into bite size pieces, wrap them in streaky bacon, pop them in the oven for 15 mins and your done. Simple to make, delicious warm or cold.
These can be made with celery, peppers or cucumber and your choice of filling.
Cut a celery stick into thumb length pieces or cut a pepper in half or quarter a cucumber length ways and remove the seeds in the middle then cut into thumb length pieces. Fill the middle with:
nut butter – topped with raisins or cranberries
Chicken Liver Pate
Homemade Egg Mayo
Homemade Chicken Mayo
Line muffin cases with bacon or prosciutto and fill with omelette mix of your choice. Arrange some veg on the top to look like a smiley face to capture their imagination. These are also great for a quick breakfast and you can make a batch of them for the week (if they last that long in your house!).
Using leftovers is an awesome idea. Leftover chicken can be transformed into a tasty chicken salad with Homemade Mayo. Throw on top of some leaves and fresh veggies and you are on to a winner.
A smaller, bite size version of your Homemade Meatballs. A batch can be made for the week or frozen for another time. Delicious served with Zoodles (zucchini noodles) and Homemade Tomato Sauce.
A smaller, bite size version of your Homemade Burgers. Again, these can be batch made for the week or frozen and used another time. Serve in a ‘mushroom bun’, lettuce wrap or with some tasty veggies.
Slices of cooked beef or ham filled with slices of your little one’s favourite veggies and rolled up like a wrap. Add some Homemade Mayo or Homemade Tomato Sauce to spice it up a little.
Take a large tomato, slice the top off (this will become your ‘lid’), scoop our the insides and add your filling of choice and pop the ‘lid’ back on:
Tuna and Homemade Mayo
Chicken and Homemade Mayo
Egg and Homemade Mayo
Meat Sosaties (Kebabs)
Cut up bite size pieces of meat and skewer them onto a sosatie stick. You can also make mini versions on cocktail sticks too. Have fun with this:
Robots (traffic lights) – red/orange/green veg in between each piece of meat
Add some fresh fruit bites for a different flavour
Get your little one involved to choose or even make their own Fruit Sosaties.
Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf
Make an awesome meatloaf that your family will love and will make enough for several lunches or dinners! Click here for our favourite recipe.
Grilled chicken and/or beef strips with a choice of dip. A favourite for all the family!
Wings, Drumsticks and Thighs
A favourite of mine. I make a batch of wings, drums and thighs and we eat them for lunch throughout the week. Mix up the flavours (I always make 2 different spice mixes in each batch) so it doesn’t feel too same, same.
Sweet Potato Latkes (Pancakes)
These are tasty, I make them for breakfast with a fried egg on top then have them for lunch with some cold meat on them the next day. Click here for the recipe.
It doesn’t matter what you had for dinner the night before, you can always have some leftovers for lunch the next day…chilli, curry, fish, stew, it always tastes better the next day!
Fresh Fruit Sosaties (Kebabs)
Cut up bite size pieces of fruit and skewer them onto the sosatie stick. You can also make mini versions on cocktail sticks too. Have fun with this:
Caterpillars on a stick – green grapes
Robots (traffic lights) – red/orange/green fruits
Get your little one involved to choose or even make their own Fruit Sosaties.
Raw Coconut Almond Fudge
Delicious as an occasional treat in your little one’s lunchbox as it can be very sweet. Click here for the recipe.
I love these! Core an apple, slice into rings and top with some tasty nut betters and dried fruits. Here are some more topping ideas: Raisins, cranberries, coconut flakes, biltong dust, dark chocolate drops, Cinnamon, Nutmeg.
Bite size selection of your little one’s favourite fruits. Get them involved in the selection of their fruit for the day.
Paleo kids love to dip! Meat, veg, fruit, you name it they will dip it. Here is a suggestion for homemade dips and sauces:
Homemade Dijon Mayo
Homemade Tomato Sauce
Nut Butter (Cashew, Macadamia, Brasil, Pecan…)
Raw Fudge Dip
Something To Drink
Homemade Vitamin Water
Chop up some of your favourite fruit combos and add them to a jug of water. Homemade vitamin water without all the hidden nasties.
Smoothies are an awesome way to hide the veggies that your little one refuses to eat.
If you don’t already have one, buy a juicer. Try to get a masticating one, it keeps more of the nutrients in, also it’s much easier to use and sooo much easier to clean! You can also make your own nut butters in some of the good ones. Please remember to add some of the pulp back into the juice and dilute it half and half with water before drinking.
If your tap water is suitable for drinking then thats fine, unflavoured bottled water is good too, however if you have a natural spring near you then collect the water from there to drink. We have a local one here in Newlands at SAB where they have a collection point beside the brewery, search online or ask about in your local area for a fresh spring.
What are some of your tried and tested healthy lunchbox ideas?
For more ideas, check out this book: Lunchbox Solutions by Dr Jennifer Floreani
To find out more about what real food is and what it isn’t and how to begin to move yourself toward real nutrition, get the Philosophy of Food by Dr Greg Venning. It’s a free digital book available when you sign up as a free member of the Thrive! Foundation Library.