By Kylie of Kidgredients
Life is so easy when the kiddies are still at home that you get lulled into a false sense of lunchtime security. If they don’t eat a sandwich you can give them leftovers, if they refuse that you can serve them up yoghurt and fruit. It’s when they need a lunch packed for them that things start to get tricky. I realised quickly with my pair that I need to give them variety. Enough variety that they will eat at least some of their lunch.
At least once a week someone comments on my lunch photos on instagram or facebook and asks “how do you have time to pack a lunch like that?”. So I’m going to let you in on a few secrets. Let’s just say, the perfect lunchbox isn’t made in the morning before school. It’s the culmination of an effort that involves, the fridge, the freezer and the oven, whenever you’ve got a spot of extra time.
Here are my top lunchbox tips:
- Bake in bulk, freezable items that can defrost either in the fridge overnight or in the lunchbox during the day. Think mini muffins, slab cakes, scrolls, pretzels.
- Prep veggies and fruits the night before or once a week and they will keep good in airtight containers in the fridge. Soak apple in pineapple or apple juice to keep it from browning.
- Sushi is easy to make in the morning (takes 4 minutes) precook the rice the night before and use a sushi maker, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to do! Would you like to see my 4 year old making sushi?
- Break it down- if they won’t eat a sandwich split it up, give them the fillings separately and try different types of carbs. My son won’t eat a sandwich but will eat flat breads, so I give him those. He will also eat sandwich sushi (flattened bread with fillings rolled up).
- Pack fruit break separate to lunch. That way you can rest assured that fruit break isn’t the only thing eaten.
- Make your own popcorn- in a sealed container it will last a week and is much better for you than the packet stuff and much cheaper. I do mine with coconut oil. If you want to flavour it, you could try nutritional yeast or cinnamon and butter.
- Use resealable yoghurt pouches for yoghurt- then you don’t need to rely on kids yoghurt (saving you money and reducing sugar intake).
- Always pack some favourites. That is my golden rule! Even if something new is going in the lunch, make sure there are some favourites so they have something familiar.
- Find a lunch bag that can hold the lunchbox and some icepacks. Then you don’t have to worry about keeping it cool and the leftovers can be eaten for afternoon tea.
- Don’t get caught up in trying to make your lunch cuter than anyone else’s. It isn’t a competition, it’s about packing a healthy, satisfying and yummy lunch for your kids.
I hope these tips help you to pack an awesome lunch for your kids!
For some great lunchbox recipes, head over to www.kidgredients.com.au