How to make your child’s lunch box healthier – nutritionist reveals 9 simple swaps – mirror online

One of the great things about sending your kids off to school with a packed lunch is that you can make a real difference to their daily nutritional intake.

By picking what goes into their lunch box, you can ensure it’s full of food and drink items that contain a healthy balance of protein, fats and carbohydrates – complete with a wide spectrum of vitamins and minerals.

Below, as part of our exciting new Grow Your Champions campaign, in association with Team GB sponsor Aldi, we’ve called on nutritionist Keris Marsden to give advice on the healthier alternatives to the nation’s most popular lunch box items.

Over the next six months, we will help fuel budding sports stars with a string of features to educate and inspire the nation’s parents and show mums and dads the best things to buy at their local Aldi.

Keris – who co-founded the fitness website Fitter365 and has penned books including Fitter Food: A Second Helping – said many snacks and meals that children love can easily be cooked and prepared from scratch with healthy ingredients from your local supermarket. Oatmeal raisin cookies with instant oats She explained: “This lowers their consumption of processed and pre-packaged and in doing so decreases the amount of additives, preservatives, added sugars and other artificial ingredients in their daily diet.”

Below, Keris has looked at nine of the most popular lunch box items and offered her top tips on healthy swaps mums and dads can make to guarantee their youngsters are enjoying a tasty and nutritious meal. Healthy oatmeal cookies for toddlers Swap #1 – Chocolate out…nuts in

Swap chocolate bars for homemade trail mix, with mixed nuts, coconut flakes, dried banana, sultanas and a few squares of dark chocolate. Homemade oatmeal cookies recipe This will increase the healthy fats and proteins which help keep blood sugar levels stable. Quick and easy oatmeal raisin cookies The nuts also provide essential minerals for bones like magnesium and calcium and the dried fruit is a great source of vitamin C and antioxidants. Raisin oatmeal cookies Swap #2 – Cereal bars out…homemade flapjacks in

Swap cereal bars for homemade flapjacks with rolled oats, butter, apple juice, mixed nuts, seeds and dried fruits. Great oatmeal cookies With homemade versions you can use rolled oats which contain more fibre and thus are a slow-release carbohydrate. Chocolate chip oatmeal pecan cookies Processed oils can be replaced with butter which is a rich source of vitamin E and a small amount of apple juice and fruit will provide natural low glycemic sugars. Raisin cookies no oatmeal Swap #3 – Biscuits out…oatcakes in

Swap biscuits for oatcakes topped with peanut butter and serve with a sliced banana. How long to cook oatmeal cookies Peanut butter is a nutritious source of protein and healthy monounsaturated fat. Oatmeal raisen cookies Spread on a crunchy oatcake, they are the perfect biscuit substitute – minus the hidden sugars and artificial ingredients. Ridiculously healthy banana oatmeal cookies recipe Bananas will provide some natural sugars, fibre and a healthy dose of potassium. Oatmeal raisin cookies with nuts Swap #4 – Fruits drinks out…homemade smoothies in

Many commercial soft drinks and milkshakes are loaded with added sugars and artificial ingredients. Recipe for oatmeal cookies A homemade smoothie with coconut milk contains healthy fats – known as medium chain triglycerides – which boost energy levels naturally. Oatmeal no bake cookies Swap #5 – Cake out…pear in

Swap cake for a sliced pear. 3 ingredient oatmeal raisin cookies Many baked goods offer little nutrition other than refined carbohydrates and processed oils. Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with coconut flour Swapping in a pear provides a tasty snack with plenty of fibre to keep blood sugar levels stable. Baking oatmeal cookies Swap #6 – Mousse out…yogurt in

Swap a chocolate mousse, which often contain E numbers, emulsifiers and sugary syrups for some natural yogurt that boast calcium and vitamin K2 for healthy bones and teeth. Banana and oatmeal cookies Sweeten with immune-boosting honey and fresh berries for vitamin C. Oatmeal raisin cookies recipe quaker oats Swap #7 – Sweets out…fruit in

Swap bags of sweets, that usually contains lots of added sugars, E numbers and artificial ingredients, for a pot of chopped pineapple containing lots of enzymes that support healthy digestion. Oatmeal chocolate cookies Check out Aldi’s latest Super 6 offers on healthy fruit and vegetables. Oatmeal raisin cookies no eggs Swap #8 – Salad out…lettuce wraps in

Not many kids get excited about a boring old salad, so spruce up their greens with some DIY lettuce wraps. Oatmeal cinnamon raisin cookies Give them a large iceberg lettuce leaf and a choice of fillings so they can put together their favourite combination of cherry tomatoes, sliced peppers, grated carrot, boiled eggs, grated cheese, cooked meat or fish. Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies best If your kids like salmon, try this recipe which combines it with grapefruit for a tasty salad. Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies smitten kitchen Swap #9- Crisps out…party sticks in