In just a few short weeks our kids will be heading back to school and the task of packing a lunchbox that is not only healthy, but something our children will actually eat, starts again. Thinking of new ideas and keeping up the variety can be a real challenge but there are some things that can make it easier (parents rejoice!)
The key is planning. The more prepared you are the less time it will take and the less likely it is that you will be to be caught out with nothing decent left in the cupboards to pack! So, here are our top five tips to get organised and start off the new year school year right.
Get your child involved: Sit down with them and talk about what types of things they would like in their lunch boxes, ensuring you guide them in making healthy choices. Get some inspiration by researching on the Internet, borrowing recipe books from the local library or asking other parents for ideas. Make a big list of snack and lunch ideas that you can add and refer to throughout the year. This is really useful when you start to lack inspiration as time goes on.
Make your own: Try to steer clear of pre packaged goods as they are often filled with unnecessary sugar. Instead, try making your own healthy snacks from scratch. Again, get your child involved. Things like muffins, slices and loaves are easy for kids to help make and great to make up in big batches, cut up and freeze as individual serves to pull out as you need them. Try setting aside some time each weekend or every second weekend and have a big bake up!
Pre Pack: Every parent knows that school mornings can be crazy. Trying to get your kids out of bed, fed, dressed and out the door on time is enough of a challenge without trying to pack lunches as well. So, prepare what you can the night before. Fill up drink bottles, make sandwiches, cut up veggies and pack fruit then store in the fridge overnight. Just don't forget to grab it before you head out the door!
Consider the weather: Check the weather forecast the night before. An insulated lunchbox or bag is always a good idea to keep food fresh and on particularly hot days you can freeze your child's drink bottle and store it near items like dairy and meat to keep it cold. Also, talk to your child about what order to eat their food so that these perishable items aren't sitting in their bag until the end of the day (or consider packing something different that will keep well on exceptionally hot days).
Use leftovers: Try making a bit of extra food at dinner time to have leftovers that your child can then take for lunch the next day. Things like fried rice, home made pizza and cooked meats are all delicious served cold and are a nice change from sandwiches.
If you're after some more inspiration, information and recipes ideas to keep your kid's lunch boxes healthy and exciting you can attend The Organic Place's Healthy Lunch Boxes Workshop on Sunday 22nd Jan 2017 at 12pm. Bookings are essential, tickets available here (link removed as no longer available).