Score top marks with these delicious, nutritionist-approved ideas

Dubai, UAE: With the summer somehow almost over and thoughts turning back to school, Kcal, the UAE’s original and best-loved health and diet-focused restaurant and meal delivery service, is here to lend a much-needed hand.

Kcal’s specially created, highly-nutritious Kids Menu offers a fantastic, fuss-free solution for busy parents. All Kcal dishes, the Mini Chicken Quesadillas, Coconut and Almond-coated Chicken Nuggets with homemade BBQ sauce and Spaghetti Bolognese (featuring plenty of hidden veggies) are all prepared from scratch, using fresh, high-quality ingredients.

The experts at Kcal know that packing kids’ lunchboxes on a daily basis can feel like a daunting task. With that in mind, here are the brand’s expert tips, ideas, hacks and insights making it easy to put together healthy, nutritionally balanced lunchboxes that kids will love.

Aim for balance

In order to help little ones to thrive, lunchboxes should offer a mix of complex, slow-energy release carbohydrates (think sandwiches made with wholemeal bread, wholegrain pasta and wraps), a protein-packed element (lean meat or fish, eggs), portion of dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese) and serving of nutrient-rich fresh fruit and vegetables.

With this formula in mind, mums and dads will be well on the way to lunchbox success which frees up time for getting experimental with fillings, ingredients and options.

Keep things interesting

The key to getting kids excited about their lunch is to focus on variety. This doesn’t necessarily need to mean lots of different ingredients or recipes, it could be as simple as varying the presentation (cut sandwiches into interesting shapes, offer wraps or mini baguettes rather than regular bread) or even providing all the elements for them to assemble their own mini meal come lunchtime.

The Kcal team love these ‘build your own’ ideas for little people:

Fruit and veggies the fun, Kcal way

Serve bright and colourful crudites (celery, cucumber and carrot batons or avocado slices) with a little pot of yogurt, labneh or hummus for dipping, cut cooked corn on the cob into rounds that are easy for kids to pick up or try making crunchy homemade baked veggie crisps (beetroot, kale, carrot and sweet potato all work well). This really helps encourage them to tuck into more fruit and vegetables – and gets them excited about doing so

When it comes to fruit, focus on easy-to-eat options. Peel satsumas or clementines and separate into segments, cut grapes in half, slice apples into wedges (toss with a little lemon juice to prevent them from browning).

Rainbow fruit kebabs are always popular too: thread melon and kiwi chunks, raspberries, strawberries and pitted cherries onto mini skewers or make banana ‘sushi’ by spreading a peeled banana with nut-free peanut butter, rolling in chia seeds, crushed cereal or finely chopped dried fruit and cutting into bite-sized pieces.

Win at after-school snacks

It really pays not to underestimate how hungry children can be when they return home from school. Having a healthy option on hand is a great way to manage demands for sugar or fat-laden snacks and keep them satisfied until dinner time.

Some of the Kcal team’s favourite tried and tested suggestions include:

Think creatively and conveniently

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking a few shortcuts with meal prep – in fact, it’s the smart thing to do. Try turning last night’s dinner leftovers into lunchboxes fillers: extra pasta or rice is brilliant as the base for a salad, make a meatball sub with leftover meatballs and spaghetti sauce, slice frittatas or pizza into pieces and serve cold or offer summer wraps or spring rolls filled with crunchy veg and shredded roast chicken or flaked salmon.

Lastly, while in the back-to-school rush it can be all too easy to do so, parents can’t forget about themselves! A fantastic way to ensure energy levels are at optimum, while eating a balanced diet is with one of Kcal’s tailored meal plans. To make it even easier to do so, there’s a brilliant deal running from Monday 22nd: try a two-month meal plan for just AED625 per week (price is based on the 40-day success plan, for more information or to place an order visit: https://kcallife.com).

About Kcal

Founded in 2010, Kcal has paved the way for healthy eating in the UAE with its flavourful dishes that keep you nourished and energised throughout your busy week. With Kcal, making the right choice is as easy as glancing at the label. Whether you visit or order from a restaurant or signup for a meal plan, our healthy and delicious food lets you to stop worrying about your nutrition, focus on what’s important and live your best life.

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