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Home Planning Healthy Lunches for Kids

Friday, January 2012

A carefully prepared lunch box is far more than just a healthy lunch.
When children are away from home, a well prepared ‘gift’ of food provides a reassuring and powerful reminder of family love. This is so significant that it can sow the seeds of emotional resilience. No packaged food or canteen meal can achieve the same impact or effect. We understand the benefits of good nutrition, not just for preventing disease and promoting well-being, but for its ability to support learning and concentration, which allows children to achieve their full potential.

There’s no doubt though, that providing food which is not only healthy but also appealing to the child when they’re surrounded by the many distractions of school is not easy. And for parents working full-time, making healthy school lunches five days a week can be a real challenge. The solution lies in planning and preparation, and a reliable resource of recipes and food ideas.

The Beef and Spinach Meatball recipe (below) is great for lunches because it’s very quick and easy to prepare beforehand and freeze. The meatballs travel well and the recipe’s been tested for its popularity with children! It’s also perfect for those children who refuse ‘greens’; the spinach is so well hidden they often don’t even notice it!

Beef & Spinach Meatballs (Gluten Free)

Makes 7 servings @ 4 meatballs each

  • 1lb 2oz/500g lean Minced Beef
  • 7 ½ oz/200g frozen chopped Leaf Spinach
  • 1 teaspoon minced Garlic (about two cloves)
  • 3 cups (250g) grated Cheddar Cheese
  1. Mix all the ingredients together.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to Moderate.
  3. Using about 2 tablespoons mix, roll into balls and place onto prepared baking trays.
  4. Cook for 20-30 minutes until nicely browned.
  5. Cool completely before freezing in a sealed container between layers of non-stick paper.

Defrost overnight in the fridge. These are delicious served cold; perfect during hot weather. However if you do want to serve them hot, wrap in foil and place in a Moderately Hot oven for 20 mins then put straight into the lunch-box. If you use an insulated container, and pre-heat it with boiled water, they should stay warm until lunch-time. Pack some pita bread (or rice for Gluten Free), a mixed salad and some organic Egg Mayonnaise to go with the meatballs.

These meatballs can be served hot at dinnertime too with spaghetti and an Italian tomato sauce or can be shaped into patties and served in whole-grain burger rolls with a mixed salad; very popular, yet healthy.

The growing child is developing habits that will stay with them for life; now is the time to establish healthy eating; it’s one of the greatest gifts you can give to your children.

This recipe is taken from The Clever Packed Lunch, a 78-page book, written by Hazel Key, a Steiner parent, available from: http://lunchideasforschool.com.

Submitted by Hazel Archer Ginsberg