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5 Day Lunch Box Plan

HBF Dietitian, Mary Du Heaume says following the colours of the rainbow is one of the best nutritional rules of thumb. Varied colour in your child’s lunch box is a good indicator they’re getting the variety of nutritious goodness they need to grow and develop fully.

Rainbow of Fruit and Vegetables

Using recipes from some of our favourite bloggers, we’ve created a rainbow lunch box plan that will introduce your child to a new fruit or vegetable every day. For more healthy lunch box recipes and tips, see the HBF Lunch & Play Report.

  • RED: Tomatoes are rich in vitamins A, C and B3 (niacin). They contain manganese which helps regulate brain and nerve function.

  • ORANGE/YELLOW: Carrots, sweet potato and pumpkin are rich in beta carotene, which is converted by the body into vitamin A to support healthy skin, a strong immune system and good eye health.

  • GREEN: Dark green veg such as spinach and broccoli are especially good sources of carotenes, with B carotene converted in the body to vitamin A. This helps maintain normal vision and immune function.

  • BLUE/PURPLE: Eggplant, beetroot and blueberries are linked to improved memory function.

  • WHITE/BROWN: White or brown fruit and vegetables contain a whole host of goodness from B group vitamins to potassium and protein, which aid healthy growth.


Monday - Say hello to mushrooms

One Handed Cooks

CHEESY MUSHROOM, HAM AND THYME MUFFINS

It’s a (not-particularly-scientific) fact, that children love muffins. They’re delicious, filling, on-the-go snacks and can hide an arsenal of nutritious ingredients. This healthy recipe from One Handed Cooks is such a tasty lunch box filler, there won’t be a crumb left over.

SANG CHOW BOWS

For an alternative idea, dice mushrooms finely and sautee with some onion, garlic and a splash of soy sauce, and serve wrapped in a lettuce leaf.

BENEFITS

Mushrooms are an excellent source of riboflavin (vitamin B2) and niacin (vitamin B3), which are involved in releasing the energy from your food. They are vital for the growth and development of children. Mushrooms are bursting with fibre for good digestion.


Tuesday - Try a colourful capsicum for vitamin C

Stay At Home Mum

MINI CHICKEN CAPSICUM QUICHES

These quiches from Stay at Home Mum are a good hit of protein for kids. They take less than 30 minutes to whip up, and if you make extra, you can freeze them for an after school snack.

PUMPKIN AND COUSCOUS FINGERS

Crunchy and moreish, this recipe from One Handed Cooks will be a hit with the little ones at lunch time.

CAPSICUM SLICES WITH HUMMUS

If you don’t have time to bake, simply serve up capsicum slices with a side of protein-rich hummus.

BENEFITS

Capsicums are rich in vitamin A, E, B6, dietary fibre and folate, and support healthy eyes, skin and strong immunity. They can be eaten raw or cooked.


Wednesday - Beautiful broccoli for added fibre

One Handed Cooks

CHEESY TURKEY BROCCOLI BITES

Getting your kids to eat ‘mini trees’ (whether raw, steamed or sautéed in butter) doesn’t always fly. So this recipe from One Handed Cooks will be a sure-fire hit. Even better, the addition of turkey and quinoa will provide some energy-boosting protein.

BROCCOMOLE

Alternatively, if your child is keen on dipping crudités (or even wholegrain crackers) try this fun twist on guacamole with broccoli. It’s just as green and delicious.

BENEFITS

Just 100g of cooked broccoli provides over 30mg of vitamin C, which is more than the recommended daily requirement. It’s is a good source of dietary fibre, potassium, vitamin E, folate and beta-carotene for healthy eyes.


Thursday - Bring on the beetroot

Planning with Kids

CARROT AND BEETROOT FRITTERS

Balance beetroot’s earthy flavour with a sweet vegetable such as carrot. They combine beautifully in this recipe from Planning with Kids. Not only is it nutritionally sound, it looks beautiful and bright in the lunch box. The addition of carrot adds beta carotene, which is essential for good eye health.

BEETROOT DIP

Need to whip something up in a hurry? Create this delicious dip to spread on a sandwich or serve with veggie sticks or crackers.

BENEFITS

With its vibrant earthy taste and intense red hue, this ‘rooty beauty’ is super colourful with antioxidants, vitamin C and dietary fibre. Grated raw over salad, roasted or boiled, this is a sweet addition that is a burst of colour.


Friday - Toss in a tomato

My little lunch box

TOMATO RICOTTA TART

It’s no wonder that tomatoes are an all-time favourite – sliced into a sandwich with cheese, baked into a pie, or as a sauce, it’s super versatile. This tart from My Lovely Little Lunchbox is an excellent lunch time staple that the whole family will enjoy.

TOMATO AND KIDNEY BEAN PIE

This pie from One Handed Cooks looks and tastes like a treat, enticing even the most discerning lunch box connoisseur. The addition of red kidney beans, which are a good source of protein and low GI, will ensure they’re extremely satisfying for hungry tummies.

BENEFITS

Clever, bright and tasty! Cherry tomatoes or even a whole Roma is a healthy quick addition in a lunch box. They’re rich in vitamins A, C and niacin and contain manganese, which helps regulate brain and nerve function.


Bonus - A tasty recipe with all the colours of the rainbow

My little lunch box

HAM AND VEGETABLE SLICE

One of the best things about serving up an egg-based frittata, slice or omelette is not only that it’s incredibly easy and full of egg protein, but that the possibilities of hiding a whole rainbow of veggies beneath the egg-y goodness is endless. This slice from My Lovely Little Lunchbox manages to squeeze in two zucchinis, two carrots, a quarter of a cabbage and a capsicum. Just add some mushrooms and you’ve included the whole rainbow.

The beauty of this recipe is its adaptability – if you’re vegetarian, just leave out the ham.

BENEFITS

All of the above. The more colourful veggies you can include in one lunch box sized serving, the better. Delicious and nutritious – it’s a win-win.

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