Easy Healthy Lunchbox Fillers – 9 Lunchbox Ideas You Won’t Believe You Lived Without!
Easy, Healthy Lunchbox Fillers – 9 Lunchbox Fillers You Won’t Believe You Lived Without!
Many mums and dads, dread filling lunchboxes, and we don’t blame them. Turning up dinner every night is a feat in itself, taking into account your child’s latest food preferences, fussiness, likes and dislikes. Organising lunches is an entirely different beast, and while you may have sorted out the main meal, what about the snacks?
While nutritional scientists suggest that Australia, and most of the world, is in the midst of a snacking epidemic, the fact remains that kids often need to snack between meals. Childhood feeding specialist Dr. Katja Rowell. notes that snacks are “important because kids have a smaller stomach and high energy needs”. However, they shouldn’t be so large as to take away a child’s appetite, something that can negatively impact on a child’s participation at meal-times, and even exacerbate fussy eating tendencies.
Still, when kids are at school, with two meal-times over the course of the day, parents want to be feeding them snacks that keep their brains growing and learning, without contributing to an expanding waistline. Here are 9 ideas to get you started.
1. Fruit Balls
If you’ve got a blender, fruit ball snacks are a super simple and delicious way to add some variety into your child’s lunchbox. Try some Apricot Coconut Balls, or these fantastic Healthy Tahini Balls as a start. Remember to roll the balls small, and make a large batch that can be frozen and added to lunches throughout the month.
2. Homemade Muesli Bars
While commercial muesli bars seem cheap, they’re packed with sugar and not all that filling for a growing kid. Instead opt for some Fruit Muesli Bars or even some Adventure Snacks Cacao Nib Muesli Bar Mix – Adventure Snacks ‘make at home mixes’ make it easy and fun to make your own – the kids can get involved too!
3. Yoghurt Pots
As a snack, yoghurt is a fantastic option, packed with calcium and protein for growing bodies and brains. Of course commercial yoghurts are also packed with sugars, which are not kid-friendly at all. Instead of those, whip up these Homemade Fruit-On-The-Bottom Yoghurt Cups, which are far healthier and beneficial.
4. Banana Bread
Banana breads can be a bit hit-and-miss, with most shop-made varieties packed to the hilt with sugar and fats that don’t need to be in there. When you make banana bread the right way, with super ripe bananas, it’s definitely sweet enough, and if you don’t believe us try this Simple Banana Bread to test it. Your kids are going to love this one, guaranteed.
5.Hidden Vegetable Muffins
Mums are a wily bunch, and when our kids aren’t getting their fill of vegetables, we have our own ways of getting more nutrition into their diets. One clever way is by adding the vegetables to muffins, like using these Adventure Snacks Sweet Potato and Zuccini Muffin Mixes (you get a pre-mix pack sent to you all you need to add are Zuccini, milk, eggs and butter), or these Magic Muffins, with three hidden vegetables and two fruits inside!
6. Fritters and Patties
As a savoury option there’s a lot to be said about fritters and patties, which are a breeze to make in bulk, tend to travel well, and can be easily made into kid-friendly sizes for eating. We like this Very Veggie Fritters recipe, or these Chickpea Sweet Potato Cakes, both of which are delightfully flavourful, and super filling.
7. Veggie Sticks ‘n’ Dips
If you’re looking for something simple that almost any kid will love as a lunchbox snack, the simple option is a classic one: veggie sticks and dips. Get some bite-sized carrots, cucumber, capsicum, snow peas or cherry tomatoes, alongside easy homemade dips like Hummus, or Baba Ghanoush.
Popcorn has definitely become the latest popular snack food for kids, but as is often the case the market is now flooded with commercial alternatives that are terrible for little foodies. Either make it plain yourself with popping corn, or for some variety try this Chili Lime Popcorn.
9. Fruit Snacks
Kids should definitely be eating fruit, but how much to give them, and how to present it so they’ll eat it, is another matter. We’re fond of the success rates of this Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips, but you should know that Homemade Fruit Leathers are a strong favourite as well.
Of course, these snack ideas are just the beginning of the wonderful world of lunchbox fillers. If you’re a mum or dad looking to add more variety and healthy options to your child’s lunchbox, then this article is a great place to start. However, we’ll be exploring this even more, so keep your eyes peeled for the next installment of lunchbox fillers!
Do you have any go to lunchbox fillers you can share with us?
Katie is the Managing Director and Editor at Mums of Brisbane. Most days will find her drinking coffee, trying to keep up with the kids, and praying they will sleep. She lives with her husband and three children in beautiful Brisbane. You can read her story here.