Want your kids to enjoy low-carb lunches? Dunk the junk food? Eat healthy WITHOUT spending all day in the kitchen.
Brilliant! Because I have a healthy kids planner to help you get started with low-carb kids meals and snack ideas below.
Ultimate guide to low-carb lunches
Following my last post on Low Carb Kids 1, here is the printable "Ultimate Guide To low carb lunches". It is aimed at children and school lunches, but can easily be used as a template for making low carb lunches to take to work. Print it and get your children involved.
- Low Carb Kids 3 - a 2-week guide to school lunches
- Low Carb Kids 4 - how to make a low carb lunchbox, and more Low Carb lunchbox ideas
- Low Carb Kids 5 - Healthy sugar-free snacks for after school
- FREE printable PDF guide to Healthy Sugar-Free after school snacks
- Low Carb Kids 6 - an entire month of school lunch ideas
- Low Carb Kids 7 - My guest post on Diet Dr, "How To Raise Children On Real Low Carb Food".
- Low Carb Kids 8 - How to help your child eat real food - with an action plan
- Top 10 Myths Of Low-Carb Kids
Click on the pictures below to take you to the PDF file that you can easily print.
Lunch box planner (printable)
Top tips and tricks (for easy lunchboxes)
- Ask your children to highlight the foods they like from the printable Ultimate Guide To Low-Carb Lunches.
- Ask your children to add their own suggestions.
- Highlight new foods as they begin to enjoy them.
- Get a lunch box with little compartments or a mini fishing tackle box. Use small containers, silicon cupcake cases, bento boxes, etc. Children love picking at lots of different foods and grazing.
- What would you put inside a sandwich? Give that. Just miss out the bread.
- Add plenty of good fats. Keep them fuller for longer so they don't end up at the corner shop after school.
- Use cold meat as a ‘wrap’. Use a slice of ham or roast beef, with some cheese and vegetables inside.
- Take a look at one of their ‘typical’ days lunchbox. Now if you removed the wheat, cakes, biscuits, muesli bars, flavoured yoghurt – what is left? Not much? Think honestly about how nourishing their lunches are? How many vegetables are in it? How much GOOD fat do they eat? Fish?
- Stop the WHITE STUFF - flour and sugar. Pasta. Potatoes. Crackers. Bread. Cakes. Biscuits. Flour and sugar, are stodgy high carbohydrate bulking agents and have no nutritional benefits.
- Drink WATER ONLY. Absolutely NO fizzy drinks, energy drinks or fruit juice.
- Let them have treats when out with friends and parties, so they don't feel deprived and resent you. My children know these are occasional 'treats'.
- Don't bring high carb foods into the house. Remove temptation.
- Take them to the veggie shop and get them to help choose what they like, and make up new recipes as you shop.
- Make the transition slow, don't quit everything overnight. There will be hurdles along the way, but your kids are lucky, most discover the benefit of eating low carb real food later in life, yours will grow up with a nutritional knowledge that not many adults have.
- Encourage them to help in the kitchen.
- Some children are picky eaters so their parents try and get them to eat whatever they can when they can. Don't allow picky eaters to snack and graze like this. Allow them to become hungry before a meal.
- Dinner will always be more appealing if you are actually hungry. Picky children are getting their energy through nutritionally devoid foods such as bread, flavoured yoghurts, muesli bars, crackers and processed snacks. They snack continuously and never finish their dinner – which should be based on good old fashioned meat and veggies - REAL FOOD.
- Encourage children to try new foods. My youngest knows he is only allowed to choose 1 item to leave on his dinner plate, so I give him plenty of vegetables, knowing he will eat all of it, minus 1. He ends up eating more veggies this way and feels he has a say in his meal each night.
- If it's really difficult to get your kids to eat their greens, why not make them the healthy low-carb chocolate zucchini cake.
- Be patient. It's just as hard for children to change, as it is for us (but we can't have tantrums - well not in public anyway 🙂 )
Read more: 15 Bread-Free Lunch Box Ideas
Eating out (how to make healthier choices)
- Be a good example. Show them how to search out healthy options in cafes and encourage healthy habits.
- Before heading out, explain what your eating out rules are. No juice or fizzy drink, your meal has to include vegetables and maybe sharing a cake.
- Be prepared with snacks, so they won't become soooo hungry, that you have to resort to something you wouldn't usually choose.
- Eat something before you go out.
On The Topic Of Treats
I limit the treats my children get in a week, as each activity they do seems to be associated with a sweet treat at the end somehow.
Football player of the day brings a treat each Saturday, end of term swimming they get sweets, after every water polo game a parent supplies chocolate, the school has bake sales, even going to the DIY shop and they hand you sweets and lollipops!
I'm not saying no to all of this, but with limitations. In one week, recently there were 6 occasions where sweets were on offer.
So sometimes I say yes, sometimes I say no. But I always remind them of how many treats they have had in the week, and that seems to make more sense to them.
Many parents become quite emotive if you want to stop treats at the end of a game or at school events, they see it as their choice, and that's fine, but why are they imposing it on others? And so often?
It makes it incredibly hard for those who don't want their children to eat sugar and empty calories.
Why is celebrating sports and events, school celebrations, fundraising...... so highly associated with sweets, baking, chocolate and confectionery? It certainly wasn't the case years ago. Why is it seen as acceptable to constantly use sweets in this way, yet ridiculous and restrictive if you want to stop it? I don't get it.
Why can't parents be supportive of other's choices? I keep quiet and just get on with it for my children and I know there are plenty of mothers who won't say anything, so we all assume people like me are in the minority. Yes have treats every now and again, but it seems to have gone too far and too often.
One parent said I was dangerous limiting my children's carbohydrates! I never comment on the food and rubbish I see their children eating, so why do they feel it is OK to pass judgement on how we eat?
Grandparents - this is a win-win solution
This is a sensitive one as many grandparents want to bring sweets each time they visit. Time with them is special and you don't want to offend them, so here are a few suggestions.
- Ask them to cut back on how much they bring, maybe a bag of sweets between your children, not 1 each.
- Instead of sweets, biscuits, cakes and confectionery, ask for dark chocolate? Chocolate covered nuts?
- Instead of anything to eat, how about a children's magazine or book? Stickers? Coins for their money box?
- Or open the treats when the Grandparents are visiting and share a few today, and the rest will be after dinner over the week.
- Share the treats with the Grandparents.
- If they don't visit very often, let it go. I have very fond special memories of visiting my Grandma, and her always having a biscuit jar in her sideboard when we visited.
Teach your children to eat and enjoy REAL FOOD.
Teach them healthy habits.
Teach them nutrition is the basis of good health.
Easy healthy lunch box recipes
So let's dive in on some simple, tasty and healthy low-carb lunch ideas.
From helping thousands of parents in my groups, I know these recipes are winners.
Start with super tasty recipes (generally the low-carb cakes) to get your children accustomed to lower carb foods before you introduce the harder things (generally savoury and vegetables may be the hardest for some families).