Lunch box ideas that won’t break the bank

THERE’S nothing worse than a child opening a lunch box only to see peanut butter or cheese spread for the third time in a week.

According to dietician, Linda Stack, who has 15 years’ experience in the field, it all begins with forward planning.

“Parents want to make healthy meals for their children, but have no idea where to start. Well, it all starts with planning.

“Packing lunches can sometimes be a nightmare and parents often just send the child to school with tuck money,” she added.

One of the easiest ways to plan ahead is to cook enough protein for supper in order to add to the sandwich or lunch box the following day.

“There sometimes isn’t enough time in the morning to cook chicken, burger patties or the like.”

Stack also advises getting older children to pack their own lunch boxes.

“Large salads for supper are advisable so that the leftovers can be placed in a container and then either added to sandwiches or for a salad lunch.”

Healthy options include a whole-wheat roll or whole-wheat or low GI bread with lean ham, turkey, chicken, tuna, tinned fish, boiled egg, cheese and salad.


• Hamburger (beef, ostrich or soya) with a whole-wheat roll and salads.

• Whole-wheat tortilla wrap with chicken, beef or tuna and salad.

• Mini quiche, vegetable sticks with humus or cottage cheese.

• Biltong snapsticks, jiffy bag of popcorn, vita snacks, dried fruit bars or health cereal bar.

• Yoghurt, fresh or dried fruit, Clicks Smartbite rice pops or vegetable chips, rice cakes, bran muffin, crunchie or digestive biscuits, nuts or trail mix.

Stack encourages school tuck shops to offer healthy meal options instead of pies, crisps, and the like.

“ADHD and ADD is increasing and has definitely been linked to diet.

“The explosion of obesity among children is scary and parents need to put more effort into preparing healthy lunch boxes for their children.

It is also much more cost effective than giving the child spending money,” she said.

When it comes to Banting, she strongly advises against the diet, especially for children.

“I strongly disagree with the Banting diet for children as it puts their bodies into ketosis and since Banting has been a ‘fad’ there has been an increase in the incidence of gallstones, kidney stones, fatty livers and cholesterol.

“Young children are active and carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of muscle and liver glycogen. I agree with cutting out sugar and refined carbohydrates, but young children do require whole grains and fresh fruit. I also disagree with the high intake of animal fat in the Banting diet,” she added.

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