The race is on, school really is just around the corner and it’s time to think about lunch boxes. Packed lunches have come a long way since most of us were kids, and whether your little ones have adventurous palates or enjoy foods of only one colour and shape, then we have some great suggestions for you.
When it comes to lunchbox fillers we could give you a slew of bento boxes and fruit carved into your kid’s favourite cartoon character, but to be honest, it’s far from baby heirloom tomato toothpick kebabs we were raised. The most important thing is to give your child a packed lunch that will sate them from breakfast right through to when the bell rings at home time. If that means that you give your child the same lunch day in, day out, then that’s fine!
Just like family dinners, planning lunchboxes makes family life infinitely easier. Take few minutes each week to chat to the kids about what they’d like to eat at lunchtime, and apply a rule of one ‘main’, one fruit or veg and one snack to the discussion. ‘Mains’ can be anything from a wrap to a pitta to a sandwich to some fritatta – whatever they like to eat is a go, as long as it has some protein and carbs to keep their little engine running. Fruit doesn’t have to be an apple – buy some of those little containers and chop up a fruit salad to pop in their box. If you are worried about fruit going brown, just spritz it with some lemon juice before popping the lid on. Cliona from Lean Mean Momma adds pots of apple purée to her kid’s lunchboxes, and it goes down a storm. If your kids prefer veg to fruit, then check out some of the mini veggies on sale in the supermarkets – Lidl sell delicious mini cucumbers and carrots that are ideal for stacking in a lunchbox.
Treats are out these days, when it comes to school lunches, and it is also extremely important to be aware of any nut allergies in the school – often it is a good idea to steer clear of nut butters and nut snacks in the classroom, but take advice from your own school policy. In our school, kids are allowed to bring a treat in every Friday, preferably home baked. If you are stuck for time, whip up a batch of cookies and freeze them after you bake them. That way you can throw a frozen cookie into the lunchbox at breakfast time and it will be defrosted (and have kept the rest of lunch cool) by break-time.
The main thing is lads, go easy. Your children are not going to magically start eating things the haven’t eaten before if you draw a smiley face on it. Feed them good, healthy, nutritious food, and they’ll have enough energy to get through the day. For more info and inspiration, check out our collection of lunch box recipes here.