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Although it takes a little extra time to plan kids’ lunches with more variety, it’s really worth doing. Health experts say variety is important for a healthy, balanced diet, and the more different foods your kids eat, the more likely they are to get all the nutrients they need.

When lunch is something to look forward to, little ones are more likely to eat it all, giving them the energy they need to get through the afternoon. And if your kids are older, interesting lunch boxes help stop them sneakily swapping homemade goodness for junk food! But what is a healthy lunch to eat at home or at school? We’ve stocked up on some healthy lunch ideas to help you fill that lunch box with interesting and delicious healthy lunch treats to delight even the fussiest of eaters.

Variety is the spice of life – and how to eat a healthy lunch every day

The key to learning how to eat a healthy lunch every day is variety. If you usually make sandwiches, why not mix it up with wraps, pitta bread, rolls and bagels? Then it’s easier to be inspired when it comes to fillings when giving your children a healthy lunch to eat at school. Leftover cold cuts are always a good start and you can add fresh salad and thinly sliced veg for a crunchy texture – and a good way of adding greens for fussy eaters! You could also try salads made with couscous, rice or pasta shapes, to pack in lots of veg while giving them plenty of energy. Think about what they’ll be eating over the course of the week and try to ensure that there’s not too much of the same thing.

Tempting healthy lunch ideas for fussy eaters

If your little ones turn their noses up at healthy food, giving them a sense of control can actually encourage them to be less picky. So, what is a healthy lunch strategy for children who refuse to eat most things? Let them build their own lunches from a selection of ingredients – including meat, cheese, bread, and vegetables, depending on your family’s diet. They’ll love putting it all together and feeling involved will encourage them to eat every bit.

A way to fit five a day into your healthy lunch ideas

Fruit and veg are a key part of a healthy lunch. Add a piece (or two!) of fruit to your kids’ lunch boxes to help them reach the target of five a day. Bananas, easy-peel clementines and chopped apples are always popular, or try a combo of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries (you can buy mixed packs in the supermarket). Different fruits contain different nutrients, so try to vary what you give them each day. Dried fruit and one glass of unsweetened fruit juice a day also count towards their five a day.

Healthy lunch ideas for kids’ lunch boxes

Make your child’s lunch even more interesting – and nutritious – with little extras. For example, you could add a yoghurt or cheese triangles to give your kids more calcium and protein. Or, if you think lunch could do with a few more veggies, add crunchy raw crudités (try carrot, peppers, cucumber and cherry tomatoes) with humous or cream cheese for dipping. If you think your kids need a little more energy, you could give them baked items such as mini pasties or samosas – but don’t include these foods every day, as they can be high in saturated fat and should form part of a varied diet to be included in a healthy lunch.