This article ‘Simple healthy lunch ideas for busy mums’ is a collaboration between Baby Bento and Little Peeps Eats.
I can’t believe how long I’d been neglecting my own health and nutrition. Especially when I place so much importance on ensuring my kids eat a healthy, balanced diet. Particularly at lunchtime! Why is it that I will stand there for 10 minutes to prepare a variety of healthy lunch foods for my kids, and then make a quick piece of toast for myself? It makes no sense. It’s almost embarrassing, but I’m all about being honest and I figure if I do this, chances are there are some other mummas that are in some bad habits also.
This year I’ve focussed a lot on self care, making sure that I’m not just looking after everyone else in the family – but myself as well. Starting with lunches!
I work part time – so you’ll see some of the simple healthy lunch ideas below are suited to mums at home, and others suited to working mums also.
Simple healthy lunch ideas for busy mums
Tip 1. Eat what your kid eats!
It sounds so obvious right? But this isn’t something that I was previously in the habit of doing. If you are preparing a healthy, nutritious lunch for your kids – chop some of those veggie sticks up for yourself also!
My kids enjoy lots of little bits and pieces to pick at from their plates. Their lunches will often include some chopped veggie sticks, a boiled egg, a sandwich or crackers and perhaps some fruit.
I will often turn these items into a lunch for myself and adapt it to my own tastes. I might put the fresh veggies sticks and boiled into a salad with a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon. If I’ve got some leftover meat from dinner – even better!
Tip 2. Dinner leftovers make an awesome lunch
I generally always have leftover dinner. I think its because recipes that typically serve four people, I add a stack of extra veggies to which makes it stretch even further.
Dinner leftovers are generally a whole lot more nutritious than something I would make myself. This makes it a great simple healthy lunch idea, that may only require a quick reheat!
Some of my favourite meals to enjoy leftovers for my lunch the past few months include Super Power Spaghetti Bolognaise, Roasted Pumpkin, Cauliflower & Carrot Soup, Slow Cooker Lentil Bolognese and Quinoa Con Carne.
If you need to keep your leftovers warm, check out the Oasis Insulated Food Flask. It keeps the contents hot for up to 7 hours! For only $20 it’s fabulous option for keep your hot food hot, or cold food cold! It holds up to 450ml which is a great size for lunch.
Tip 3. Pack yourself a lunchbox for work (or day out with the kids!)
Lunchboxes aren’t just great for kids – they are great for us mummas too!
I pack my son’s lunchbox the night before school. Whilst I’m at it, I like to pack one for myself for work the next day. I fill it with most of the same things that are in my son’s lunchbox – some chopped veggies and fruit, cheese, and either some dinner leftovers or a sandwich/wrap. It’s almost always healthier than what I’d buy for myself as a work lunch… and a whole lot cheaper too!
I like stainless steel lunchboxes, they are BPA free and don’t contain nasty chemicals often found in plastic. These stainless steel rectangle lunchboxes are bento style and I just love being able to put things in the different sections, eg some salad in one side and cheese and crackers in the other. They are also leak free which is important for me. At $24 I think they are excellent value.
Some of my favourite things to pack in my work lunchbox are:
Tip these are all things that I pack into my sons lunchbox also!
Tip 4. A freezer stash of ready made sandwiches/wraps are a mum’s best friend
When it come to simple healthy lunch ideas, you can’t beat a good old sandwich!
There is nothing more convenient than having a freezer stash of ready made sandwiches that you can grab when there is nothing else planned, or you are strapped for time. Every few weeks, on a Sunday afternoon I like to make up a variety of wholemeal sandwiches and wraps, and put them into the deep freeze.
My favourite fillings that freeze well include:
- Ham, cheese & dijonaise
- BBQ chicken, cheese and mayonnaise
- Roast pork & apple sauce
- Sliced meatballs, salsa & cheese
- Tuna with mayonnaise & sweetcorn
- Grated cheese tends to freeze better than sliced.
- Things that don’t freeze well like lettuce or tomato can always be added after removing from the freezer.
I like to wrap my sandwiches and wraps in beeswax cotton food wraps. I’ve been really trying to reduce waste in my house, and found these a great way to start doing so. They are not only are they great for wrapping sandwiches. You’ll also find them useful to wrap around half of a tomato left in your fridge, put over a bowl of leftover food, etc. They will cost you $15 for a twin pack. This may feel like an investment but you will find so many great uses for them, and mother nature will thank you!
Tip 5. Get your smoothie on!
Ok confession time. Some days that my son is at school and I am at home, it gets to pick up time and I realise that I’ve been so busy doing house work and other chores, that I’ve forgotten to have my lunch. Not a good habit at all I know.
Whilst I certainly don’t condone skipping meals, what has been a lifesaver for me on days like this is whipping up a quick smoothie to drink in the car on my way to pick him up.
I can pack a smoothie with a whole lot of nutrition!
You do need a good quality wide mouth drink bottle to drink a thick smoothie on the run. I’m currently in love with the Montii range, They are insulated with double walled stainless steel – which keeps your drinks cold for a long time! The colour range is pretty awesome too 😍. They are $30 which is excellent value for a drink bottle of this quality. Some of my favourite smoothie recipes are here.
I hope these simple healthy lunch ideas inspire you and help you focus on your own nutrition, not just the kids!
All of the products featured in this ‘Simple healthy lunch ideas for busy mums’ article can be purchased from Baby Bento.Use code littlepeeps to access 10% off!
Rachel Cassidy is the author of this article and the founder of Little Peeps Eats. She is a passionate food blogger and brand ambassador, but her most important job is being a mum! Little Peeps Eats helps families take the stress out of mealtimes by providing healthy, kid approved recipes, as well as fussy eating tips and tricks. Their website hosts a directory of nutritionists, resources and mealtime products to ensure that you have everything you need at your fingertips when it comes to feeding your family.