The per­fect lunch­box

With a new school year on the hori­zon, give kids the best pos­si­ble start by send­ing them off with some healthy grub. Helen Ford, head of nutri­tion at Glenville Nutri­tion Clin­ics, lifts the lid on the per­fect packed lunch

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‘Make sure a slow-re­lease car­bo­hy­drate is in­cluded in the packed lunch

– think a whole­meal sand­wich or bread roll filled with a pro­tein such as fish, egg, hum­mus or cheese,’ says Helen. ‘The com­bi­na­tion of slow-re­lease carbs and pro­tein keeps blood sugar lev­els stable for longer, which helps with chil­dren’s con­cen­tra­tion and fo­cus.’

In­clude some fresh fruit and veg­gies for ex­tra vi­ta­mins, min­er­als and fi­bre. Try a pot of mixed berries or some chopped cu­cum­ber, car­rot and tomato. ‘And if they want some­thing sweet, you could try mak­ing your own cakes with­out adding re­fined sugar,’ Helen adds.


What your child eats plays a big part in their learn­ing. Helen says that be­cause the brain is largely made up of fat, it’s vi­tal to eat lots of fat-rich foods such as oily fish, nuts, seeds, av­o­ca­dos and co­conut oil. These foods also help keep blood sugar stable and im­prove con­cen­tra­tion and mem­ory.

‘Avoid giv­ing kids re­fined sugar most of the time; have it as a treat,’ she says. ‘Also, swerve low-calo­rie or sugar-free squashes as they con­tain ar­ti­fi­cial sweet­en­ers and en­cour­age the need for more sweet food.’ Helen also rec­om­mends di­lut­ing pure fruit juice. ‘It stim­u­lates a sharp blood sugar rise, which drops just as quickly, leav­ing your child hun­gry and strug­gling to fo­cus.’


Hid­ing healthy food is a good way to en­sure kids will eat up, and boost their veg­etable, pro­tein and fi­bre con­tent too. ‘Grate car­rot and cour­gette into Bolog­nese sauce, sprin­kle ground al­monds into por­ridge or add sweet potato and dried apri­cots into a curry,’ sug­gests Helen. she also rec­om­mends us­ing brown rice or try­ing half brown and half white, and adds: ‘Get chil­dren in­volved with cook­ing, if they can see what you are do­ing and help with chop­ping and grat­ing it will en­cour­age a more var­ied diet.’

The per­fect lunch­box

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