Approx 590 words. 2.5 mins to read.

With children returning to school, you might find it a little challenging adjusting back to normal – or at least the ‘new normal’. Daily activities that used to be routine will feel new all over again: whether it’s the twice-a-day school run or having to convince little ones to put their school uniforms on. Not to mention the task of sending them off with a nutritious packed lunch every day! There’s a lot to think about, but ensuring your kids are properly fuelled needn’t be a problem.

So, to save you unnecessary brain strain, I’ve rustled up a selection of easy and healthy lunchbox ideas. There are meals for different dietary types – including gluten-, dairy- and meat-free options – and the lunchboxes include at least one portion each of fruit and veg. Make eating well a cause for excitement by giving some of these fantastic meal and snack ideas a go!

1. The vegetarian one

If you want to take a classic egg sandwich up a level, these veggie-stuffed pitta breads won’t let you down. They’re crammed with crispy chick peas, griddled aubergine, reduced-fat houmous and boiled eggs – and each serving contains 2 of your 5 a day!

Pack the pittas with a pot of berries, some crunchy cucumber sticks and a 30g serving of light soft cheese for dipping.

2. The gluten-free one

If your child has a gluten intolerance, there are lots of tasty meals you can make that don’t contain the stuff. Try these spinach and egg muffins: they only use four ingredients (spinach, milk, eggs and cheese) and can be made in just 30 minutes. They’re portable, too! Include a portion of roasted sweet-potato wedges, plus a satsuma and a low-fat strawberry yogurt for something to satisfy their sweet tooth.

3. The dairy-free one

Kids will love dipping toasted tortilla wraps (or wholemeal bread) in this coriander and bean dip. Simply whizz all the ingredients together in a food processor – easy! A simple storecupboard ingredient dip that’s ready in 10 minutes. Pop a portion into a small Tupperware pot to avoid any mess. Then, slice up some carrot sticks to add to the mix. For something sweet (but nutritious), apple chunks are delicious with a small serving (about 15g) of peanut butter.

Tip: If they’re not fans of peanut butter, try almond or cashew butter instead.

4. The one for all-eaters

These zingy chicken and lime slaw wraps are just right for more adventurous eaters, with their fiery fajita flavouring and zesty lime slaw. Include a 30g serving of Cheddar cheese to boost their calcium intake – and don’t forget to add some fruit and veg! Try sliced peppers and chopped mango to add colour to their meal.

For a sweet treat, pop one of these carrot cake cookies in the lunchbox, too. They’re slightly healthier than regular cookies and easy enough to make with kids (all they require are six ingredients), so little ones will feel even more satisfaction when biting in!

5. The vegan one

You may have to think a little more carefully when constructing a vegan lunchbox, but it’s possible to make sure it’s packed with adequate nutrition to fuel your child. This chick pea rainbow salad, for example, is bursting with vibrant veg to help your kids reach their 5 a day. Team it with a pack of Co-op Carrots & Houmous Dip, a pot of grapes and a dairy-free yogurt for an energy-boosting midday meal.

The portion sizes and nutrition for these recipes are designed for adults, so parents will need to amend portion sizes as required for their children.

Aoife McKernan
Co-op assistant diet and health manager

Other food inspiration you might like:

Join the conversation! 6 Comments

  1. If you don’t like meat that’s fine with me, I don’t like lots of things but don’t get my kicks by criticising other’s choices.

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  2. Some of these look delicious. Thanks.

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  3. How can it be healthy if it has dead animal in it? The other ideas are great, why spoil them ?

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