Updated: Jun 3, 2018
New to real food lunch boxes? Think, there is no way my kids will eat veggies in their lunch box. Here are some suggestions on how to boost your kids nutrition by offering a healthier, less packaged and processed lunch box.
1 . Take it slow.
You don't want your kid losing their #$#@ when they open their lunch box to find capsicum sticks instead of a packet of chips! Don't over haul the whole thing in one go, but make small simple changes to start. Eventually they won't notice the disappearance of packaged foods from their lunch box.
2. Explain why you are making these changes.
Let them know you want to nourish their body and brain. You want them to be healthier, run faster, think smarter and get sick less often, and one way is to eat more real nutritious food. They only have one body, that needs to last them a lifetime.
3. Get them involved and give them options.
Ask them to pick two veggies they would like in their lunch box. There is always something... sweet corn, capsicum, snow peas. You could even show them my healthy lunch box ideas handout and ask which packaged food they would be willing to replace and for what on the list? If it comes home uneaten, suggest they eat it for afternoon tea. Or ask if next time there is another veggie they might like to try.
4. Jazz it up.
Display the foods. Play with the way they are presented. Such as on skewers, toothpicks, or maybe as a happy face. Choose brightly coloured veggies. Use a bento style lunch box to display the foods, rather than hiding them away in gladwrap and plastic containers. (It's better for the environment too). A colourful, well displayed lunch box looks more pleasing to the eye and the stomach. For the ultimate review of lunch boxes check out this kidgredients blog.
5. Sneak it in there.
Still struggling? Hide the veggies in smoothie pouches (kai pouches are great) or muffins. Do some home baking. For the time poor, even 2 ingredient pancakes with egg and banana is a quick nutritious option. You may like to check out recipes within the blog for some ideas.
Also remember research shows that it takes up to ten tries of a new food to decide if you like it or not. So please don't give up. However don't stress either. If you feel they are missing a full range of nutrients consider a kids multivitamin (one without sugar or fructose). My favourite at the moment is the Nuzest Kids Good Stuff. Pop it in a shaker with water or a dairy free milk (I love unsweetened almond milk) and it makes a delicious smoothie. My kids love it. It comes in three flavours and contains not only essential vitamins and minerals but antioxidants, fibre and pre and pro-biotics.
Need more help creating a healthy lunch box? I have an awesome printable cheat sheet with a huge list of healthy lunch box ideas. You can download it here or read more about it in this blog post. Plus you can check out Domskitchen.co.nz and also here on facebook. My friend Claire Deeks from Dom's kitchen is a real pro when it comes to creating the ultimate healthy real food lunch box, so it's worth checking her out.
Good luck. Happy lunch box making!