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Should kids be low-carb?
Everyone benefits from reducing their sugar, processed carbs, and junk food.
Many critics are confused and think when we say low-carb kids we mean NO carbs kids. It is also a myth that eating low-carb is restrictive, difficult, and lacking in nutrition.
Simply going back to real whole foods is what we are suggesting. It’s a great option for both you and your children. Quality protein, healthy fats, and nutrient-dense carbs from vegetables, nuts, seeds, berries, and low-sugar fruits.
You will notice from the images below, that some of the lunchboxes contain items that are higher carb than you and I may have in our day, but my emphasis is on whole food that is lower in carbs.
Whilst most children live off a diet of bread, juice, chocolate, granola bars, fruit yoghurt, goldfish, crisps, and sugary drinks, the lunch boxes below are a far cry from that and are based on unprocessed food with nutrition, quality protein, and healthy fats.
The effect of sugar on our kiddos
When children aren’t on the sugar roller coaster, concentration is more sustained, behaviour improved and their nutrition is phenomenal.
There are so many hidden sugars in foods these days (see below), especially ‘health’ foods. Sauces, cereals, muesli bars, dried fruit, and all the other “standard choices” are high sugar sources.
The World Health Organisation recommends no more than 12g sugar a day (3 tsp) for children, but this is exceeded each morning on cereal or toast alone, let alone toppings you might add.
It is the accumulation of sugars throughout the day that are concerning experts. Diet has a huge impact on brain development. We don’t realise how much sugar our children are consuming, but the effect it will cause is still unknown.
How much hidden-sugar is in your children’s lunch box?
These fabulous graphics are from “That Sugar Film”. One man embarks on a journey of high sugar diet by eating “healthy foods” but are actually laden with hidden sugar such as low-fat yoghurt, muesli bars, juices, and cereals.
We buy low-fat healthy products in the belief they are better for us, but take a look at the label of some health products and prepare to be amazed.
Healthy options of juice and smoothies are also laden with sugar. Fruit juice contains as much sugar as fizzy drinks.
I know parents already have enough on their plate, so my goal with these low-carb lunches for kids is to make healthy eating extra-simple.
Always check labels for hidden sugars such as dried apple syrup, honey, coconut sugar, corn syrup, concentrated fruit juice, dried fruit, fructose powder, HFCS.
In fact, there are more than 50 names for sugar.
How to pack a quick healthy lunchbox
These low-carb kid-friendly meals are easy to put together. You can even mix and match items from the list below to create a bento box of sorts.
I always pack the protein in my children’s lunch boxes first. It makes up the majority of their lunch box then I plan and pack the other vegetables, fruit and snacks next.
Read more: What does 30g protein look like?
Read more: The Ultimate Guide To Vegetables
- cherry tomatoes
- carrot sticks
TOP TIP: Try to cut your veggies in different ways. Your children might just love carrot sticks, but not carrot slices. Or how about shredded carrots instead? Cucumber sliced or sticks. Cherry tomatoes whole or halved.
Read more: The Ultimate Guide To Fruit
- frozen berries
- small apple
- small pear
TOP TIP: grapes and tropical fruit such as pineapple and mango are much higher in natural sugars. So be mindful of how much your children are eating. Sugar is sugar.
Expert tips and tricks
- Leftovers are KING!!! Try and make double dinners, or put a tray of chicken strips or sausages in the oven when the oven is on, then lunch is sorted for the next few days.
- I often use meat as a wrap with the filling inside. My children have started to love huge slices of lettuce for the ‘bread’ with cheese or ham inside.
- Processed meat – there is a lot of controversy regarding processed meat. There are many studies that are for/against nitrates/nitrites found in meat. We eat meat that has been processed as little as possible. Buy ham off the bone rather than the shaped luncheon slices, buy bacon with no preservatives and sugar, and buy meat as close to nature intended it.
- How low-carb you want to go depends on what your goals are. Those who are diabetic will restrict their carbs more strictly. Those who want to help their child lose weight or other health issues will set their own goals and limits. It’s all about being “carb appropriate”.
- Nut allergies – remember to check if your school has a nut-free policy. My 8-year-old is at Primary School so is not allowed to take nuts, whereas for my 11 and 13 yr old it is permitted. The lunch boxes above are from all 3 children and abide by their school policies (I wish there were a sugar-free policy).
If your child attends a school that has a nut-free policy, I have created an entire coconut flour recipe index for you.
Leave a comment on what you add to your school lunches, we’d love to hear:
Best lunchboxes to use
Which lunch box you choose will be dependant n the age and dexterity of your child, and whether they prefer a hot, cold, or room temperature lunch box.
These are my favourite low-carb lunch box gadgets.
1-month healthy lunch box planner
You can see the images of the lunchboxes I packed over the past few weeks.
Here is your plan for 1 month of low-carb lunch box ideas.
The handy table shows you what to include in 1-month lunch boxes:
|1||Chicken drumsticks||Cucumber slices||Strawberries||Cheese & pork rinds|
|2||Pepperoni & cheese kebabs||Carrot sticks||Blueberries||Grain-free granola bar|
|3||Pizza chaffles & pepperoni||Cherry tomatoes||Raspberries||Natural yoghurt|
|4||Almond flour bread & sliced meat||Cucumber sticks||Grapes||Fried halloumi “chips” & salsa|
|5||Salmon & cream cheese bites||Yellow pepper slices||Small apple||Coconut flour choc chip cookies|
|6||Spinach and feta pie||Lettuce chunks||Strawberries|
|7||Lamb kebabs & dip||Carrot sticks||Blueberries||Grain-free granola bar|
|8||Pepperoni & cheese kebabs||Asparagus spears||Raspberries||Cream cheese dip|
|9||Keto bagels & cream cheese||Cherry tomatoes||Small pear||Natural yoghurt|
|10||Chicken drumsticks||Yellow pepper slices||Strawberries||Coconut flour choc chip cookies|
|11||Salmon & cream cheese bites||Cucumber sticks||Blueberries||Sugar-free Louise slice|
|12||Lamb kebabs & dip||Red pepper slices||Raspberries||Grain-free granola bar|
|13||Cheesy chicken meatballs||Celery, cream cheese and walnuts||Small pear||Nut-free “peanut butter” cookies.|
|14||Meatloaf cupcakes||Cherry tomatoes||Mandarin||Cream cheese dip|
|15||Chicken nuggets||Celery, cream cheese and walnuts||Strawberries||Cheese sticks & salsa|
|16||Ham & egg cups||Asparagus spears||Blueberries||Cheese cubes & olives|
|17||Pepperoni & cheese kebabs||Cherry tomatoes||Raspberries||Natural yoghurt|
|18||Salmon & cream cheese bites||Red pepper slices||Small apple||Grain-free granola bar|
|19||Cauliflower sushi||Lettuce chunks||Mandarin||Fried halloumi “chips” & salsa|
|20||Pizza pockets||Celery, cream cheese and walnuts||Strawberries||Keto pizza scrolls|
Get your FREE 1-month lunch box planner
Printable list and recipes
Below are the recipes for the 1-month lunch box packing plan.
LUNCHBOX – PROTEIN RECIPES
- Chicken drumsticks – 4 ways
- Pizza chaffles
- Almond flour bread
- Salmon and cream cheese bites
- Spinach and feta pie
- Lamb kebabs and dips
- Keto bagels
- Cheesy chicken meatballs
- Meatloaf cupcakes
- Chicken nuggets
- Ham and egg cups
- Cauliflower sushi
- Pizza pockets
LUNCHBOX – “EXTRAS” RECIPES
- Pork rinds
- Grain-free granola bars
- Coconut flour choc chip cookies
- Sugar-free Louise slice
- Nut-free “peanut butter” cookies
- Keto pizza scrolls
Low-carb kids FAQ
Again, the best options are sometimes the most simple ones. I am a big fan of flavoured water for school-aged children.
A stainless steel container with a built-in straw is an eco-friendly, healthy option for any age.
If you really want to jazz it up, you could make something such as this berry chia fresca. I would recommend this as an occasional treat rather than the day to day norm, however.
An insulated lunch box or a thermos will help keep lunch warm (insulated) or cool with a chiller block. That being said, all of the lunches above work well even at room temperature!
Sure thing. You can join my FREE Low-Carb Lunch BOX Group. I post what I pack and daily tips and tricks.
Free resources and guides
Keto kids guides – the complete series
- Low-Carb Kids Page
- Low-Carb Kids 1 – tips and tricks
- Low-Carb Kids 2 – a printable guide to get your children involved.How to plan your lunchbox each day.
- Low-Carb Kids 3 – 2 weeks of school lunches and how to plan them.
- Low-Carb Kids 4 – how to make a low-carb lunchbox
- Low-Carb Kids 5 – healthy sugar-free after school snacks
- Low-Carb Kids – free printable PDF healthy sugar-free after school snacks
- Low-Carb Kids 7 — My guest post on Diet Dr, â€œHow To Raise Children On Real Low-Carb Foodâ€.
- Low-Carb Kids 8 – How to help your child eat real food – with an action plan
Free lunchbox group
If you are just starting out and are beginning to pack healthy sugar-free lunch boxes, you’ll need lots of help.
They are packed with fun simple ideas and helpful practical tips
Come and see what I pack every day in my closed group – Low-Carb Lunch Boxes.
Come and join in the fun. I’ll see you there.
As you can see, creating healthy, wholesome low-carb lunches for kids is simple, delicious, and fun! Enjoy.
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