Now that school is back underway and Sydney is well and truly back into working mode, with traffic hitting its peak. Rushing around after kids sporting commitments, juggling your own exercise and nutrition needs, or high school aged athletes trying to balance training and social demands makes it difficult to get into a routine of healthy eating.
To help keep you on track, our dietitian has done the hard work and compiled this guide of easy snacks that can be packed for school or work to help you get through the first few months of the year on the right foot!
Kids Lunch Box Ideas
Most primary schools in Sydney now implement eating time at the beginning of every recess and lunch, meaning most kids will have the opportunity to sit and eat their food without being distracted by playing. Adding in crunch and sip means that primary school aged kids eat almost half their days meals while at school, so this is a great time for trying to get in as much of the nutrients their body’s need as possible. If their lunchbox has at least one serve each of a wholegrain food, dairy, fruit, veg and a protein, then their lunchbox is already healthy and ticking off their nutritional needs.
Its also important to make sure their lunch and recess options are easy to eat (i.e. if they’re not confident in using a knife and fork at school, then only pack foods that can be eaten with fingers or a spoon).
Think outside the box too – kids lunchboxes don’t just have to be made of sandwiches and fruit, you can make mini frittatas and keep them frozen for future lunchboxes, or kids also love sushi or rice paper rolls. If they’re excited about their food, their lunchboxes are more likely to come home empty!
As always, the drink of choice for a kids lunchbox is water. Tip: Pack an extra frozen bottle in their bag for the hot months!
For an example that ticks all of the boxes we’re aiming for, try: (strawberries, corn on the cob, sandwiches rolled into sushi shape, egg frittata muffins, yoghurt – Chobani FiT or YoPro are the best options for kids that also come in convenient squeeze pouches).
High School Lunch Box Ideas
During high school years, teenagers can be difficult to cater for as what their friends are doing around them has a huge impact on their eating habits – try telling a teenager to sit and eat their lunch while their mates are off playing soccer or basketball at lunch! For any active teenager who has training after school as well as school and weekend sports, recess and lunch at school are really important meals for fuel and recovery.
Rather than packing small portable snacks that are appropriate for younger kids, think of more filling meals for teenagers that will fill them up and provide them the fuel they need for training after school. Leftover pasta or rice-based meals are a great option for lunch, while wraps or sandwiches are great for recess with a piece of fruit. Similar to younger kids, if they have at least a serve of wholegrains, fruit, veg, dairy and protein across the school day, then their meeting their requirements, and this can be built upon for higher energy needs.
Great ideas for snacks to pack for teenagers with extra energy needs include: YoPro/Chobani FiT pouches, air popped popcorn packets, fruit, cheese and crackers, tinned tuna or baked beans. Cooking meals in bulk at dinner and freezing them means hungry teenagers always have a healthy meal option to choose from rather than buying from the canteen.
Keeping convenient options in the cupboard or fridge is also completely fine! The Sirena Tuna and Beans or Tuna and rice packs are great convenience options when there’s no time to prepare food, or the pre-cooked chicken breast from Coles is an ideal sandwich or wrap filling to keep in the fridge for days when there’s no leftovers.
Workplace Lunch and Snack Ideas
The average full-time worker spends $1500 a year on takeaway lunches. Homemade food is much cheaper and can also be a lot more nutritious than the food court and takeaway options! The biggest barrier for most adults packing their lunches for work are lack of time to make food, or spending so much time on making the kids lunches that they run out of time for their own.
A packed lunch at work doesn’t have to be a plain vegemite sandwich, if it’s something a little more exciting that you enjoy eating, you’ll be more likely to get into the habit of packing your lunch regularly and less likely to throw it out when you’re at work and spot a better option at the nearby café!
It pays off to make a double or triple serving of your favourite dinner once or twice a week so that you’ve got leftovers the next day, or cooking extra meat at dinner to make into a salad or sandwich the next day. Make use of ingredients that you can grab in the morning and assemble while at work into a quick lunch – e.g. a tin of tuna, a microwave brown rice and a frozen vegetable pack makes a quick 5-minute lunch that comes in handy when you’re busy. Kale Slaw kits from Coles or Woolworths are a great addition to a wrap with a tin of tuna or a pack of cooked chicken breast as well.
Snacks are the downfall of most full-time workers days, with the office treats often making their way into your hands. Being prepared with your own snacks in the office kitchen will help you avoid the classic 3-pm sugar hit. For some awesome snack ideas, contact our Dietitian: [email protected]