Back to school – how to include vegetables into your children’s lunch boxes

Auckland Nutritionist Larissa Beeby's vegetable packed smoothie

Shrek Smoothie

With school back shortly I know there are many parents out there dreading getting back into the routine of packing the school lunch boxes. Children need a healthy lunch box to boost their energy and help them concentrate throughout the day. So to get you out of a peanut butter and jam rut here are some ideas to kick the year off on the right foot.

– Include a dip. When sending carrot, celery or capsicum sticks, include a tiny container of a dip such as guacamole or hummus.

– Make wholesome homemade muffins. Include carrot, courgette or spinach. They can be baked in the weekend, wrapped and even frozen for the week ahead.

– Pasta or rice salad is an easy alternative to sandwiches. Use left over pasta/rice from your evening meal, add your child’s favourite vegetables – peas, corns, carrots, steamed broccoli, add a dressing and pack into a container.

– Include salad vegetables into pita breads, wraps or sandwiches. Lettuce, tomatoes, grated carrots, capsicums, mushrooms and cucumber are great options. Just remember to place the tomato slices between the fillings to prevent the bread going soggy!

– Left over roast vegetables such as pumpkin or kumara can be included into a wrap, made into a salad or even included as a snack.

– Vary the spreads. Use avocado instead of butter or margarine as a spread for sandwiches.

– Use skewers. Thread cherry tomatoes, cheese and lettuce onto skewers for a mini meal on a stick!

– Shrek Smoothies. Make a smoothie the night before packed with spinach, pour into a reusable pouch and freeze. Not only will this keep the rest of the lunch box time but it will be defrosted for lunch time.

– Slice vegetables into interesting shapes, such as carrot florets or transform lengths of celery into ants of a log with peanut butter and raisins on top.

– Sushi! Children love sushi so try adding spinach, carrot or cucumber in with their favourite fillings.

Good luck :-)

If you would like help with meal ideas and plans to complement your exercise , contact NZ Registered Nutritionist Larissa Beeby for your own nutrition consultation either online, in person or over the phone.


Director / NZ Registered Nutritionist

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