All parents who have children of school age will know how hard it can be to give your children a good variety of packed lunches. But it is not only variety that is important. We also need to ensure that they contain a good balance of nutritional elements that are essential for good health.
Flora have recently conducted a survey regarding children's lunch boxes and their results have shown that this is a common dilemma that parents face. I was not surprised that they had found these results, however what I was surprised about that only 1.6% of children's lunchboxes are meeting school food nutritional standards! This percentage has only increased by 0.5% in the last 10 years! Only 1 in 5 lunchboxes contain any salad or vegetables! The report illustrates that the majority of lunchboxes do meet the standards of protein and vitamin C, which is great, but there is still work to be done.
To help parents Flora has sent out 631,000 lunchboxes and lunch meal planners to retailers throughout the country. The guides are intended to make packing a lunch easier. I was sent one of the lunchbox bundles and have found the guide to be an immense help. The guide sets out exactly what our children need to be having in their lunchboxes.
The guide helps you to build a delicious but healthy packed lunch in easy to follow steps.
- Step One Create a Main - This is the largest part of the lunchbox so it needs to be tasty and look appealing. A lot of the time, children go by how food looks so make it look fun and visually appealing! Choose one from the four groups in the orange section. Following these steps will ensure your little ones will have a yummy, nutritious main!
- Step Two Add a Snack - For the snacks give your children some healthy options such as pretzels, breadsticks, dried fruit, dips or flapjacks.
- Step Three Fruit and Veg - Add two portions of fruit and vegetables. Pack a tub of cherry tomatoes and a banana, or an apple and cucumber. Make it fun to choose, let your children have some input in what goes in!
Flora is on a mission to educate both children and parents on not just nutrition but also where food comes from. Flora is rich in omega 3 and 6 and is lower in saturated fat than butter. 100% of the oils used in Flora derive from plants such as linseed, rapeseed, palm and sunflower oil, thus making them a healthier option and one that is also suitable for vegetarians. The Flora product that we always go for is their deliciously creamy Flora Buttery. This is our choice of spread due to its buttery taste but also how versatile it is. Flora Buttery is not only great for spreading on bread for sandwiches or for melting over hot toast but can also be used in cooking. I regularly use Flora Buttery in cakes and bakes instead of butter, it can be used for frying and is brilliant in mashed potato!
Our packed lunch routine starts after our evening meal. Preparing the children's and the hubby's lunches the evening before means that time can be spent preparing a lunch that they will enjoy. It makes the morning so much easier and less stressful. We know that in the morning we just need to go to the fridge and grab the sandwiches or salad, add the extras and pack a drink before the school run!
For the picky eaters of the family disguising foods helps no end. Vegetable noodles are a perfect way to get some extra veg into them. Mayonnaise is another way to sneak goodness in. Today I thought that I would share with you a delicious dip and sandwich filler that is homemade and full of goodness as well as brightly coloured and visually exciting! This recipe came along after a great harvest of beetroot and how the kids, particularly Little I, love this vibrant vegetable.
This is what I did...
Butterbean, Beetroot Hummus, Tuna and Baby Spinach Sandwich
Butterbean, Beetroot Hummus
1 x 400g tin of butterbeans
25g fresh beetroot
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
Sea salt to season according to taste
1 x 125g tin tuna in spring water
1 tsp light mayonnaise
Splash of balsamic vinegar
2 slices of 400g loaf of seeded wholemeal bread
1 - Place all of the hummus ingredients in a food processor and blend together
2 - Remove from the food processor and place in a bowl, mix thoroughly, taste and add more seasoning if needed
3 - Spread the slices of bread with Flora Buttery
4 - Take the baby spinach and place a layer on one slice of the bread
5 - Drain the tuna and flake into a bowl
6 - Splash over a little balsamic vinegar to taste, add the light mayonnaise and combine together
7 - Spoon over a layer of tuna on the top of the baby spinach
8 - Spread over a layer of the butterbean beetroot hummus on the second slice of bread and sandwich together
This is a truly delicious sandwich that will go down an absolute treat!
Flora have also shared many lunch box ideas which you can find here. Our favourites have been the chicken pittas, egg, mayo and pepper wrap and the pasta tossed with tuna and fresh herbs. So pop over and check out their ideas!
Here are a couple of other lunch ideas that my kiddies have loved!
This post is an entry for the #FloraLunchbox Linky Challenge, sponsored by Flora. Check out their lunch planner and recipe ideas here.