When it comes to packing lunchboxes for kids, there’s a lot of pressure to ensure the food is ‘nude’, raw, organic and homemade. If you’re like a lot of parents, this can be tricky. Things like work, other children, illness or even access to these kinds of foods can all play a role in what types of food your children receive in their lunchboxes each day.
Rather than stressing about all the different rules, maybe it’s best to keep it simple? Here are some tips from Fleur, who is a primary school teacher…..she knows!
- Keep it colourful– add carrots, capsicum, cucumber and cheese. As long as there’s lots of naturally colourful foods then you’re on the right track!
- Get the kids involved in making their own snacks on the weekend. These could be muesli bars, muffins, fruit & coconut balls, yoghurt dipped fruit or try Julie’s delicious homemade roll ups! Getting the kids involved will not only keep them interested in what they eat, but it also helps them learn about how foods are made, what types of foods are healthy and provides them with a sense of ownership over what they’re putting in their lunchbox. Another great part of getting kids to help with cooking is that it’s building their numeracy skills through measurement.
- Limit lunch orders to once every two weeks. Save lunch orders for those days you really have NOTHING in the house. Keep in mind that often schools will have functions such as sports day, swimming carnival, casual clothes day and so on. Usually at these functions the kids have access to sausage sizzles and lollies so this might be your “lunch order” day.
- Worry more about what’s IN the lunchbox, rather than what type of lunchbox it is. Check out the Little Bento World range for a huge variety of products with prices starting from as little as $8 for the EasyLunchbox range.
- Pre-package food in re-usable zip lock bags or reusable food pouches. At the start of the week divide a bunch of homemade or healthy purchased snacks into several small zip lock bags so that you can grab these quickly and not have to wrap up items each day.
- Be organised. This will benefit you in SO many ways. It’ll help keep the kids lunchboxes interesting and save you time each morning. Plus, you’ll reduce food wastage and, even better, save you money! Our faves over at Little Bento World have this cool sandwich filling printable and (for a cheeky little treat now and then) freezable cookies printable to help you keep things interesting.
- Say bye to fancy fruit. I’m sorry, but after maybe one term in Reception, the kids just do not care if their fruit has a fancy face on it, has been cut into a slinky, is sliced into love hearts or is the shape of their favourite transformer. They MIGHT glance at it before they eat, but chances are they won’t even notice your efforts before shovelling it into their gobs.
The key to packing lunchboxes for your kids is to remember the golden rule: Kids want to play.
They don’t want to spend their entire recess or lunch break unwrapping beautifully designed food from the gardens of the Prince of Organic Land. They want to be on the soccer pitch. They want to be creating a new dance routine. They want to be King on the Handball court. They want to be with their friends! So take the stress out of lunchboxes. Just make it healthy and easy. Better for the kids concentration, dental health and energy levels, and better for your time management, stress levels and hopefully this will result in less wasted food too!
And if you’re after some more ideas, here’s our personal favourite “go to” lunchbox inclusions
Roxy: I’ve started adding a little tub of snacks to her lunchbox to help with the afternoon munchies. This week it’s banana chips, yoghurt buttons and coconut flakes.
Tip: did you know most banana chips are VERY high in saturated fat and sugar. I hunt down dehydrated kind (our local health food shop sells them) and only include a few in a tub this size.
Jenn: You can’t beat a homemade sausage roll for hidden veggie goodness! There are lots of recipes online but we particularly love these vegetable and bacon ones that are delicious hot, or cold in the lunchbox.
Julie: Homemade fruit rollups with 100% fruit are a hit at my place, especially mango & apricot. They’re really easy to make and you can experiment with any fruit you like.
Click here for instructions on how to make these yourself