How to pack the perfect packed lunch!

All this week on Good Morning Britain we're preparing you for the end of the summer holidays - when the kids go back to school!

But what's in a healthy packed lunch? And what's best to pack to make sure your children get what they need to get them through the day? Here's lunchbox doctor Jenny Tschiesche's guide to the perfect packed lunch...

1. The carbohydrate portion

  • These foods are a group of foods that include pasta, rice, bread, potatoes, oats and some lesser known foods such as quinoa and buckwheat

  • In simple terms they provide the body with energy, hey do this by breaking down into sugar in the body which we then use as our energy source

Ideal carbohydrates for a lunchbox:

  • Pitta Pockets (with a filling of a protein such as egg or tuna and a vegetable such as sweetcorn or tomato)

  • Wholegrain pasta (with cream cheese, pesto or tomato sauce and cookedvegetables)

  • Multi-grain wraps (with a filling of a protein such as cheese, ham or hummus and a vegetable such as lettuce or cucumber)

  • Malt Loaf (with butter or cheese)

  • Rice (as a rice salad with vegetables and a dressing)

  • New potatoes in their skins (made into a potato salad)

  • Flapjacks (sweet or savoury)

  • Popcorn

  • Tortilla chips

2. The protein portion

  • The protein group of foods includes fish, eggs, chicken, turkey, ham, beef, sausages, beans, chickpeas, lentils, cheese, yogurt as well as seeds and nuts

  • In simple terms protein does two things – improves muscle growth, development and recovery from exercise and also speeds up wound healing, so if your child has a cut or a graze this would be a good reason to think about ensuring they have sufficient protein in their diet

Idea proteins for a lunchbox:

  • Cold, lean roast meats such as beef, pork, lamb or chicken

  • Dips made from pulses e.g. hummus, white bean dip

  • Cheese, cream cheese, yogurt

  • Good quality sausages – ideally 90% meat or more

  • Eggs – boiled, or made into an omelette, frittata or mixed with rice

3. The calcium portion

  • We have probably all had the fact that calcium is important for bones and teeth drummed into us from an early age ourselves, even though we, and often our children, are aware of this many 9-13 year olds are still deficient

Ideal calciums for a lunchbox:

  • Carton of milk

  • Yogurt – ideally natural yogurt with a topping or fruit puree or fresh or frozen fruit added to reduce intake of simple sugars

  • Cheese

  • Spinach muffin

  • Broccoli spears with a cream cheese and garlic dip.

  • Sesame seed bars

  • Seed bars

  • Hummus

  • Nut bars (if nuts allowed in your child’s school)

  • Flapjacks with seeds and nuts (if nuts allowed in your child’s school)

  • Nuts (if nuts allowed in your child’s school)

4. The fruit portion

  • In simple terms fruit provides energy in the form of natural sugars, fibre which helps with keeping our digestive systems healthy, and an abundance of nutrients that help support a healthy immune system

Ideal fruits for a lunchbox:

  • Banana, apple, orange, pear

  • Berries, cherries

  • Nectarines, peaches

  • Figs with cheese

  • Dried apricots with sunflower seeds

  • Apple and cinnamon muffin

  • Carrot cake (home-made so you know how much carrot has gone into it!)

  • Apple puree (mixed into yogurt)

5. The vegetable portion

  • Vegetables are one of the toughest elements to include in their lunch boxes. Most children have some vegetables that they don’t enjoy eating, for the younger and more discerning taste-buds, the slightly bitter taste of dark green vegetables can put them off, however, salad vegetables such as carrots, sweetcorn, crispy lettuce leaves, cucumber and pepper sticks are often well received

  • In simple terms vegetables, similarly to fruit, provide a natural energy boost as well as fibre and an abundance of immune-boosting nutrients to help ward off illness

Ideal vegetables for a lunchbox:

  • Crudités i.e. carrots, peppers, cucumber chopped into sticks (served as they are or with a dip like salsa or hummus)

  • Vegetable muffins and flapjacks

  • Olives (with cubes of cheese or filled with cream cheese (using an icingbag))

  • Sweetcorn (mixed into tuna and mayonnaise as a sandwich filling oralone)

  • Tomatoes, olives as a pizza on a stick (with cheese, pineapple and hamon a cocktail stick)

  • Beetroot (plain or pickled)

  • Root vegetable crisps

6. The drink portion

  • Whilst water is the most obvious and best choice of drink for a lunchbox it is often not the preferred choice of children

  • In simple terms a drink keeps our bodies hydrated

Ideal drinks for a lunchbox:

  • Cartons of milk

  • Cartons of juice

  • Home-made fruit smoothies or milkshakes

  • Shop-bought fruit smoothies

  • Fruit juice

  • Water

  • Fruit juice and sparkling water mixed

Get more information about keeping your kids active

Find out more about the lunchbox doctor