Coming up with appealing lunchbox ideas that will fuel young bodies is a challenge all families face as school goes back – thankfully, there are some easy tricks to keep everyone happy and healthy.

If you’re stuck for ideas, 5+ A Day suggests giving these lunchboxes hacks a go:

‘Collab’ – think cucumber and cottage cheese, apple or berries and yoghurt.
‘Colour it up’ – aim to include a variety of colours within your lunchbox, like cherry tomatoes, red peppers, carrots and pears. If it looks good, it’ll disappear fast.
‘Cut it up’ – sometimes a whole piece of fruit is a lot more appealing to kids if it’s sliced up. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice over an apple to stop it discolouring or dice some kiwifruit or orange into a small container.
‘Create’ – bake some muffins and include your favourite fruit, grated carrot or zucchini. Mini vegetable frittatas can be quickly assembled and will keep for several days in the fridge, or challenge your kids to make a rainbow wrap with whatever fresh produce you have on hand.

5+ A Day Project Manager Carmel Ireland suggests that parents choose fresh produce that’s in season to keep things affordable. “Right now, stone fruit is your best bet. Nectarines, plums, apricots and peaches are delicious and conveniently packaged by Mother Nature so you can pop them straight into your child’s lunchbox without having to chop or wrap anything, if you don’t have time. Cherry tomatoes, new season apples and pears, are also great options.”

According to Ministry of Health guidelines, New Zealand children should eat two servings of fruit and at least three servings of vegetables every day for optimal health and development.

“Lots of vegetables can be eaten raw or quickly blanched to keep them colourful and ready to eat. Broccoli is a good one to include, along with beans, snow peas, carrots, and salad ingredients like cucumber, cherry tomatoes and avocado.”

“If you focus on what’s in season, and how to present fresh produce in an attractive way, you’ll be onto a winner,” Ireland says. “Lunchboxes can get pretty repetitive during the school year so start 2021 with our lunchbox hacks and boost your family’s 5+ A Day with minimal effort.”

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