Belfast Telegraph

Thinking outside the lunch box with Lidl this summer

We pack up everything form smart cookies to cool pizzas for your #lidlgenius’ school feast.

Covering all food groups and ensuring portion control is just about right can be an equation many parents have little time to solve prior to the school run, so here, in association with Lidl, we pack up everything from smart cookies to cool pizzas for your #lidlgenius’ school feast.

Piece it up

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Sandwiches are a great way to package nutritious fillings. Stick to wholemeal bread or rolls, pittas, bagels and wraps with hearty fillings like;

  • Cheese and tomato (go for a lower fat cheese or a soft spreadable)
  • Salmon and cucumber
  • Egg and cress
  • Tuna and cucumber or sweetcorn

Cool pizza

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Make your own pizza for tea and save some leftovers for a child friendly lunch. Think pitta bread pizzas with low-fat mozzarella, chicken and quality meat toppers. Make your own tomato topping with hidden blended veg.

Quiches also work well with the egg filling providing a healthy protein fix. See Lidl’s quiche recipe and adjust the toppings to suit your child’s preference. https://recipes.lidl-ni.co.uk/Recipes/Quiche-with-spring-vegetables

Grain salad

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Okay, your little one isn’t going to feast on a superfood salad but making grains the focus allows you to sneak in some veg via blended tomato sauces mixed with pasta or potatoes.

Fruit fix

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Part of your kids’ five-a-day can easily be fitted into a lunch-box so use this opportunity to pack up the berries, bananas and apples.

Drink up

Kids should have between six to eight glasses of fluid each day. Some of which should be at school. Water or semi-skimmed milk are the best options. More fluids are needed during warmer weather.

Treat

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Children may need one to two snacks per day alongside three balanced meals.

Fruit, bread sticks, popcorn, rice cakes with low fat toppings, sugar-free jelly, pancake, malt loaf and homemade oat cookies are all better choices than confectionery without the sugar laden guilt.

Hey, Bright Spark, did you know?

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Incorrect portion sizes are the biggest contributor to obesity.

Food portions have increased dramatically in size over the past two decades especially among baked foods and according to research, some takeaway portions are up to 180% larger than they were in the early 90s.

Many children do eat the right food but its portions sizes that are doing the damage. While we may limit the quantity of treats we dish out, we don’t with the ‘healthier’ food groups.

So what is there to know?

1)  Always begin with smaller portion sizes at meal times and allow your child to ask for more when they’re hungry. Children should not be served the same size of meals as an adult.

2) A typical portion size of the different food types is as follows:

  • Cereal - one teacup
  • Vegetables - 1/4-1/2 a cup
  • Fruit - 1/2 to one whole piece
  • Bread - one slice
  • Rice - two to three tablespoons
  • Pasta - three tablespoons
  • Potatoes - two small boiled
  • Milk - one glass
  • Cheese - one matchbox size of hard cheese/ two cheese triangle sizes of spreadable cheese
  • Yoghurt - one 125g pot (typical size)
  • Protein (beans, meat, fish, eggs etc) - 1 ounce of meat, one boiled egg, half a cup of beans

3) Everyday a child should aim to have 2-3 portions of fruit, 2-3 portions of vegetables, 6-11 servings of grains (bread, cereals etc), 2 servings of protein (meat, eggs, beans, fish, chicken),  2-3 servings of dairy (milk, yoghurt, cheese)

4) Typical calorie intake for 4-6 year olds ranges from 1,200 to 2,000 kcals, 7-10 year olds is approximately between 1500 and 2000 kcals per day, teenagers require between 1800 and 3200 kcals per day. The latter stats are guidelines only and depend on your child’s activity levels, height and appetite.

5) Make snacks healthy and limit to two per day. 100kcal snacks like rice cakes and peanut butter or banana, fruit salad, sugar-free jelly, wholemeal or wholegrain toast, bread sticks, plain popcorn with a sprinkling of cinnamon etc are great treats for children. Or why not batch cook oatmeal cookies, flapjacks or oat balls with peanut butter and honey for fuller and quicker fix.

For more information on lunchbox inspiration visit www.lidl-ni.co.uk/back-to-school

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