Back to school lunch ideas, that are not processed meat (and why to Avoid It)

Be Healthy

We have made it to the last school term of 2020, and if you are feeling like me (after a long and weird 2020) then you are in need of some lunch box inspiration! But let’s step away from the deli counter…….

Processed meat is a food that I find is not often talked about in infant or childhood nutrition guidelines (or not talked about enough) and I am yet to find a child who doesn’t like processed meat. So, what are the current recommendations and should we include processed meat in our children’s diets? Processed meat is any meat that has been transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking, or other processes; this includes hot dogs, ham, turkey, salami, fritz, prosciutto as well as canned meat. Processed meats are certainly convenient and most kids love them, but they high in salt, high in fat, and they also contain chemicals that are confirmed to cause carcinogenic compounds when consumed (YUCK!). 

– The Australian Cancer Council recommends “avoiding ALL processed meats such as Frankfurt’s, salami, bacon and ham”.
– The Australian Dietary Guidelines for children recommend “limiting consumption of foods high in saturated fat, including pies, processed meats and commercial burgers, among other foods.”

So here are some great sandwich filling ideas to serve instead of processed meat:

  1. Cheese and Tomato Sandwich
  2. Grated cheese and grated carrot wrap
  3. Vegemite and cheese bagel
  4. Tinned tuna, mayo and cucumber sandwich
  5. Tinned salmon, avocado, and cheese sandwich
  6. Left over roast chicken (or chicken schnitzel) and lettuce sandwich
  7. Falafel wraps with hummus, tomato, lettuce, avocado
  8. Brioche with veggie burger, tomato and avocado
  9. Flat bread ‘sushi’ wraps – avocado, tuna and mayo, and cumber
  10. Lunch Burrito – tortilla with scrambled egg, tomato and cheese
  11. Pizza top English Muffin – English muffin cut in half spread with tomato paste, melt cheese, sliced olives and pineapple
  12. Egg sandwich – boiled egg, mayo, lettuce
  13. Cream cheese and tomato bagel
  14. Peanut butter and sliced apple sandwich (one for the weekend as most schools in S.A are nut free)

For more information, ideas and recipes for all things baby, kids and family nutrition follow Anna on

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