Making your children’s lunches healthy (but fun!)
Making sure your kids are eating healthily is always hardest when you aren't around to make sure they’re eating their greens. This is one of the things that can make school packed lunches such a challenge – not only do you have to make sure that their food is healthy and tastey, you also have to be sure your children are going to eat the whole thing without being under your watchful eye.

Fortunately we've got lots of healthy recipes and fun tips that will ensure kids eat their whole lunch, and enjoy it!
Turkey koftas with cous cous and tzatziki
Cover the essentials
Before we can start making it appetising, we need to know what needs to go into a healthy lunch. Every lunch should contain all of the following basic ingredients to ensure a healthy, balanced diet. You need starchy foods, such as bread, rice, potatoes or pasta. You need proteins, which you can get from turkey, eggs or beans. There should be a dairy item such as a cheese or yoghurt, and of course you want plenty of fruit and vegetables in there.
Biscuit cutter sandwiches
If food looks fun, children are more likely to eat it. Rather than supplying them with the same old rectangular or triangular turkey sandwiches, why not get a bit creative? Why not use gingerbread man cutters for people sandwiches? Or star and moon shaped sandwiches? Make the sandwiches a different shape every day of the week and make every lunch a surprise.
Turkey subs
Sliced is not the only bread
It doesn't have to stop there. If sliced bread seems to be getting a bit humdrum, why not try bagels, pitta breads or tortillas? Pitta breads and tortilla wraps can be particularly fun for packed lunches, as you can pack the bread and the sandwich filling separately, so kids get to put together their own sandwiches. Kids love the feeling of preparing their own food.
Beyond the sandwich
But why constrain yourself to sandwiches at all? There are lots of different foods that can travel just as well while providing the same parts of your child’s diet. Rice or pasta salads can make for a great packed lunch, as can leftover meals providing they’re stored correctly. One favourite healthy recipe for the lunchbox is “vegetable treasure hunt”, where you can hide chunks of vegetable in a small tub of couscous for your child to dig through.
The big dipper
Kids love to pick at food with their fingers, so try chopping up carrots, cucumber or peppers into little sticks and give them some hummus or cottage cheese to dip them in. Just like the vegetable treasure hunt, this is a fantastic way to make eating vegetables fun.
Store it well
Once you’ve made up the perfect lunch, the next challenge is making sure it is every bit as appetising when they open the box as it is when you close it. Firstly, it is important to make sure the food stays cool. Schools rarely have refrigerated areas to keep the children’s lunches in, so try using mini lunchbox coolers or freeze cartons of juice or bottles of still water to keep the food cool.

Perhaps the biggest barrier to a delicious packed lunch however, is the dreaded soggy sandwich. If your sandwiches include wet ingredients such as slices of tomato, make you use some lettuce to shield the bread from the moisture.

Get the kids involved
Nothing makes children keener to eat their lunch than knowing they had a say in how it was prepared. Give them plenty of choices. Let them choose their own lunchbox and talk to them about what they want to go into it.

Maybe even let them help you put it together if you have time.
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Making your children’s lunches healthy (but fun!)