Protein can be one of the hardest things to pack into lunchboxes, but it's one of the most important. Protein keeps kids fuller for longer and provides much needed brain food to help them concentrate until the end of the day.
We've put together a list of protein ideas to pack in lunchboxes to help inspire you and provide new ideas (hopefully you will find something your kids like!):
- Yoghurt: pack a good quality Greek yoghurt for a yummy protein hit! Buy the plain style tubs in bulk, and add your own flavours with fruit and honey. To pack it easily, use a reusable food pouch alongside the lunchbox.
- Eggs: hardboiled is the obvious way, but how about making little egg frittatas with some bacon and tomato? Perfect as a breakfast on the run too!
- Scrolls: a less obvious protein source, bulk them up with cheese and meats for extra protein.
- Sushi/Rice Paper Rolls: filled with tuna or chicken, they're another fun way to add protein as the main part of the meal.
- Meatballs: send them cold in the lunchbox or use an insulated food jar to keep them warm until lunchtime! Add a dipping sauce and some Stix to add to the fun.
- Seeds: while nuts are often not allowed in lunchboxes, seeds are and they're a great source of protein. Sunflower, pepitas and chia seeds can easily be added to bliss balls or homemade muffins/muesli bars in place of nuts to add a protein crunch!
- Chicken Nuggets or Strips: make a batch of homemade chicken nuggets and send them to school in an insulated food jar.
- Chickpeas: roast them or purchase the pre-made chickpea snacks from the supermarket. You can also use them in baking to increase the protein level.
- Edamame: are high in protein, so roast them with a sprinkle of salt for a crunchy savoury high-protein snack!
- Leftovers: got some leftover spaghetti bolognese or butter chicken and rice? Perfect! Pop it in an insulated food jar and send that for lunch.
- Smoothies: make a yummy smoothie with protein in it, and pop it in an insulated smoothie bottle to take to school for a quick, filling protein hit on the run.
- Protein-rich veggies: yep, some veggies actually have a good amount of protein in them so ad them in wherever you can - for example, sweet corn, spinach, potato and broccoli.
- Hummus: a dip that's generally liked by kids, add it to the lunchbox for dipping veggie sticks or carrots, or add to sandwiches, or scrolls with some cheese.
- Beef Jerky or Biltong: a simple meat snack that boosts protein and doesn't have to be kept cold/warm.
- Brown Rice: a non-meat option, make fried rice with veggies and some scrambled egg for a yummy, filling lunch.
Protein is essential for growing kids and will keep their bellies fuller for longer so why not try and add more of it into their lunchbox!