Are you giving your kids the best possible lunchbox?

Unless you’re a gourmet chef, coming up with easy, healthy and tasty school lunches is no small feat. But kids’ lunchboxes don’t need to be fancy to be healthy.

Just keep these tops tips in mind.

1. Up the Omega-3s

Gold star if you’re already including foods high in DHA omega-3 to help support kids’ healthy brain and eye function.

Omega-3s are polyunsaturated fats that are integral for general health and wellbeing.

They are called “essential fatty acids” because our bodies can’t produce them on their own, so we need to get them from food or may need to get them from the occasional supplement*.

There are three different kinds of Omega-3s (EPA, ALA and DHA) but it’s DHA (long name, Docosahexaenoic acid) we’re focusing on because it is an important Omega-3 fatty acid for healthy brain, eye and nervous system function.

In 2013, an Oxford University study found children’s blood levels of Omega-3 (DHA) were associated with cognitive function. Evidence also shows DHA assists in maintaining eye health.

Lunchbox ideas to help your child get enough Omega-3s:

Oily fish like salmon and tuna, and some algal seaweeds, are all good sources of DHA.

Try a simple salmon or tuna salad for your little one, made up with Greek yoghurt instead of mayo.

For kids who are not quite across the line with oily fish, you could try a supplement like Nature’s Way Kids Smart Omega-3 Fish Oil High DHA or Nature’s Way Kids Smart DHA 300mg Triple Strength, which all have a high DHA content.*

Kids Smart has high-DHA supplements for all ages, so your child doesn’t need to miss out even if they’re not partial to a salmon sandwich*!

2. Power pack with proteins too

Protein is a macronutrient essential for energy. Proteins are made up of amino acids, which are the buildings blocks of every cell in the human body and so are also super important for growing kids.

All in all, it is pretty handy for kids trying to get through an action-packed school day.

Plant foods such as wholegrains, nuts and legumes can provide a good dose of protein, but the best sources are dairy products, eggs, meat and fish.

Lunchbox ideas to help your child get enough protein

A few simple and super easy go-to packable proteins include boiled eggs, sushi filled with tuna, salmon or chicken, meatballs and even the humble chicken nugget.

Or for those who don’t like meat, how about a spinach, cheese and bean burrito wrap?

3. Be creative when you put together a lunchbox

Yes, a healthy lunch keeps kids alert and replenished, and gives them the nutrition they need to get their minds and bodies through each day.

But it’s all for nothing if it doesn’t get eaten. Kids love variety and they don’t like to be bored, so mix it up:

  • For snacks, try vegetable sticks with hummus and a mix of fruit, cubed cheese or some healthy home-cooked mini muffins.
  • For younger kids, cut sandwiches in different ways to keep them interested (and amused).
  • Leftovers are great too – fried rice, pasta or curries make a great addition to the lunchbox.
  • And don’t forget to add a water bottle. If you freeze it the night before, it will help keep lunches cool.

Life as a parent is a constant juggle, with seemingly a million balls in the air at once.

But taking these small steps can have a big impact on what your child eats, to help them concentrate, learn and play all day.

Written by Liz McGrath.

This article is brought to you by Nature’s Way Kids Smart. 

*Vitamin and mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet. Follow the directions for use. THIS MEDICINE MAY NOT BE RIGHT FOR YOU. READ THE WARNINGS BEFORE PURCHASE.