Schools out for Summer! The holidays have finally arrived, bringing with it the prospect of good weather and family time. Children will be looking forward to trips to the park and seaside or picnics and celebrations with friends. Holidays can be an expensive time, especially when it comes to eating out. Planning can be key to ensuring children continue to have a routine and a healthy balanced diet. Encourage children to still have three main meals a day with two to three snacks in between. What do you need to consider with planning meals and snacks to take with you when out and about?
Top tips for planning meals and snacks when on the go:
- Consider what storage containers you will use to ensure the food travels well and will stay in one piece?
- Are the lids on the small containers secure, so that they don’t leak?
- Do you have a variety of big containers and smaller ones to place items you may need to separate from each other? For example, Consider how foods will last – ‘wet’ foods such as tomatoes in a sandwich can make them go soggy, have them on the side or put them in the middle of the sandwich not touching the bread
- Get your child to choose their own lunchbox
- Make sure you pack cutlery for the non finger food items
- Snacks and meal items can be prepared the night before but ensure they are stored in the fridge until you are ready to leave the house. You can keep them cool on the go using cold packs and placing in a cold bag
- Don’t forget to pack a bottle of water and even some open top beakers to use when you arrive at your destination
- Bring some wet wipes and some antibacterial gel if you won’t have access to hand washing facilities
- Is the food easy for little ones to eat and the size of the food manageable? For example cut smaller pieces of fruit rather than one whole piece
- Consider offering the children a variety of foods they have tried before and will be excited to try again
- Are the contents colourful and appetising and exciting for children to try use lots of fruits and vegetables
- Be inventive – make shapes and faces with fruit and vegetables or bread, use a different shaped cutter
- Have you planned meals and snacks to ensure children are getting a variety from the four main food groups of the EatWell Guide.
- Bread, rice, potatoes or pasta
- Fruit and vegetables
- Milk and dairy
- Meat, fish, eggs, beans and others
- Include a tooth friendly drink such as milk and water
- Leave foods high in fat and sugar, offer them just as an occasional treat. Children do not need sugary foods such as sweets, biscuits, cakes chocolate, soft drinks or sugar for energy. Sugary foods can damage teeth and provide calories but few nutrients.
- Vary the food options throughout the week – involve children in planning, buying and preparing the food
Don’t forget to plan plenty of activities to keep the kids active during the summer holidays. Change4Life’s 10 Minute Shake Up is a great place to start with lots of ideas for activities when you are on the move!
Examples from First Steps Nutrition resource: Packed Lunch ideas
Lunch Idea 1:
Egg and cress sandwich on wholemeal bread
Chopped tomato & cucumber.
Lunch Idea 2:
Pitta bread stuffed with chicken and tomato slices.
Tinned peaches in juice with custard.
Lunch Idea 3:
Homemade mini pizza rounds – using tomato, chickpeas, spinach and cheese
Tzatziki with sticks of red pepper
Lunch Idea 4:
Tuna and sweetcorn pasta salad with red peppers