Michael van Straten
Michael van Straten

Packed Lunches

Young bodies need good nourishment to get them through the long school day. But childrens' brains are even hungrier than their bodies, voracious in their need for oxygen, for energy and for key nutrients - especially iron, magnesium and the B vitamins. If these demands are not met, children will find it a struggle to learn, to remember, even to pay attention.

If "school dinners" are appalling, here are six great packed lunches which will make sure your youngsters avoid the artery clogging burgers and chips and get all the body and brain boosting nutrients they need to keep them going through the rest of the day.

1. Hummus, alfalfa sprouts, 2 teaspoons Barleans Fortiflax and chopped tomato in a wholewheat pitta bread, a small packet of raisins, a tangerine and a carton of unsweetened fruit juice.

2. Salmon or Tuna, cucumber and mayonnaise wholewheat sandwiches, a bunch of grapes, a muesli bar and unsweetened juice.

3. Peanut butter, banana and honey wholewheat sandwiches, packet of nuts and raisins, a small piece of cheese, an apple and a carton of juice.

4. Wholewheat roll with cold chicken, tomato, lettuce and mayonnaise, a small bar of Green & Black's white organic chocolate, a pear, a small carton of their favourite yoghurt and a carton of juice.

5. Wholewheat sandwiches with cream cheese, seedless raisins, shredded lettuce and a sprinkle of sprouting cress, a muesli bar, an apple, a small bunch of grapes and a carton of juice.

6. A wholewheat pitta with tuna, sardines or salmon, sweetcorn, red pepper and mayonnaise, a banana, a slice of carrot cake and a carton of juice.

There is now such a wide range of good breads available, even in the supermarkets, that you can easily ring the changes using wholemeal baguette, ciabatta with sundried tomatoes, cheese breads, olive breads, rye bread and many more.

You'll find all the information you need on the healthiest way to feed your kids in “Superfoods for Children" by Michael van Straten and Barbara Griggs, published by Dorling Kindersley at GBP 9.99


300g/10 1/2 oz of good quality unsweetened organic muesli: preferably without nuts
pinch of nutmeg
115g/4oz brown cane sugar
1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon
175g/6oz runny honey
175g/6oz fresh or semi-dried dates (not the sticky ones in Christmas boxes), stoned and chopped
3 ripe bananas, thinly sliced
juice of 1 lemon

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4.

In a big bowl, mix the muesli and spices. Put the honey, sugar and butter in a small pan and heat slowly till all the sugar is dissolved. Mix thoroughly with the muesli. Put half of the muesli mixture in a greased 33cm x 25cm/13 x 10 inch shallow baking tray. Mix the bananas, dates and lemon juice, add on top of the mixture, then cover with the rest of the muesli mixture, smooth over and bake until golden - about 25-30 minutes.

Leave it to cool in the tin, then cut lengthways down the middle, and divide each half into 6 substantial bars.


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