By Carey Haupt RD (SA) Registered Dietician, mother of 2 small angels, one of whom is a renowned sleep monster, lover of a great read and founder of the wonderful Family Kitchen.
Lunch box ideas:
Packing school lunches day in and day out can be such a bore! But imagine if it was you having to eat that squashed up mixed fruit sandwich every day! Here are some ideas to help you turn the same old lunch into something a little more healthy and fun.
The actual lunch box:
- Let your child choose their own lunch box.
- Ensure it is a strong container that will protect the food from being squashed!
- Have smaller containers available for dips, sauces or cut up fruit.
- When choosing a juice bottle make sure that it will be easy to clean. Some juice containers have a removable ice pack that you can use to keep the drink cold. This is great for milk or smoothies.
- You can place your child’s lunch box in a soft cooler bag and use frozen water to keep the food cool. This is especially important for food usually kept in the fridge with the bonus of cold water later in the day!
- Wash out the lunch box daily!
Inside the lunch box:
Here are some healthy and tasty staple ingredients that you should keep on hand:
- Whole grain bread or crackers
- Whole-wheat wraps/ pita/ rolls/ tortillas and bagels
- Tuna, chicken breasts, sliced turkey and peanuts
- Peanut butter
- Fresh/ dried fruits
- Fresh vegetables that can be cut up into sticks or added to fillings
- Dips for veggie sticks (cottage cheese, peanut butter and plain yogurt)
- Yoghurt and milk (if you are able to keep them cold)
Change these golden oldies with some fresh ideas:
|Golden oldie||Fresh Idea|
|Cheese and tomato sandwich||Use the same ingredients but serve them picnic style! The cheese can be cut with a cookie cutter to make interesting shapes and served with baby tomatoes (no more sogginess!)|
|Peanut butter sandwich||Banana and honey (OR with peanut butter!)Cream cheese and spring onions. Tuna, cucumber and carrot. Spicy chic-pea and cucumber wrap|
|Mayonnaise||Mustard and lettuce|
|Left over’s:Mince Chicken||Toasted sandwich/ jaffel Chicken pasta salad (don’t forget the spoon).|
|Polony/ viennas||Turkey/ chicken breasts or sliced ham|
|Apple (usually packed in as it is sturdy and does not get squashed easily)||Softer fruit like watermelon, kiwi fruit or berries. (Cut up in to smaller pieces and place in a small container for added protection).|
Why not write a love note and place it in the lunch box
Remember that children like to be involved in what they eat, and it is important to respect their food preferences. A great way to get kids to buy into what you are making, is to let them help choose what‘s on the menu. Some children feel safe with the same predictable sandwich while others are adventurous with their food choices and will love variety.
Always make sure that your child has enough food for the day. Think about if it he needs a meal or snack as well as if there are any extra mural activities after school!