Keep these 7 tips in mind to help you pack a school lunch with a healthy and creative punch.
1. Colour is the spice of life. Colour means nutrition, so keep your kid’s lunchbox colourful with all colours of the rainbow. Orange carrot slices, red tomatoes or pepper slices, green avocado on their sandwiches, blueberries on their yogurt or a skewer of pink strawberries. After all, we also eat with our eyes and kids are no exception! (no artificial colours please)!
2. Involve your Kids in the Preparation. Kids are more likely to eat their food if they were involved in the process. Let them help prepare the sandwiches or have them choose from two bowls of veggies and fruit options which ones they want to pack each day.
3. Don’t forget Your Veggies. Kids love eating hand held veggies, especially if there is a dip involved. Add some pureed sweet potato to a store-bought dip or stir in chopped herbs or even pureed fruit. Ants on a log with nut free sunflower seed butter or cream cheese with raisons, currants or cranberries are always a hit with kids.
4. Spice up your sandwiches. Try different breads, flatbreads, pitas, wraps, bagels or English muffins to keep it fresh, and mix and match the fillings with different cheeses, egg, leftover meat, veggies, chutneys, dried fruit and veggie fillings. Or why not keep the sandwich fillings separate and let them do the building at school?
5. Keep Cool. Skip the sugar laden fruit juice and pack a partially frozen water bottle inside their lunch box to keep their items cool until lunch. If they don’t love water add some berries or a touch of honey to their water to sweeten it. Use partially frozen bread for the sandwiches to keep their lunches cool and their sandwiches fresh and crunchy.
6. Leftovers are your friend. It’s a long year of making lunches and dinners every day so why not you make it easier on yourself and cook large portions for dinners to always have leftovers on hand? Homemade chicken or fish fingers make a great lunch with a honey mustard dipping sauce, or cut up meatballs to put in a salad; try a thermos of warm soup or chili or sliced cold leftover chicken or beef with cheese slices.
7. Packaging is everything. Kids love opening packages and small containers in their lunch boxes are no exception. Purchase some single serving containers for chopped tropical fruit, plain organic full fat yogurt sweetened with honey or blueberries, homemade dips, trail mix of pumpkin seeds, dried fruit and coconut, leftover meat, cheese slices or a healthy mini cookie or two.
Skip the expensive store bought versions and make your own natural version your kids will gobble up!
5 large apples, peaches or pears
1.5 cups strawberries, blueberries, bananas and/or citrus fruit
1 cup water
- Peel and core the apples, peaches or pears slicing thinly.
- Chop bananas, berries or citrus.
- Place all fruit in a pot with the water and place a lid on.
- Cook until soft and then puree with a hand held blender.
- Line a tray with baking paper and pour the fruit mix onto the baking tray.
- Spread evenly and thinly.
- Place in the oven and turn on, setting the temperature to 120°C.
- Prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon.
- This dehydrating process can take anywhere from 2 hours to 10 hours depending on the type of fruit and the level of moisture left in the mixture.
- Have your kids help slice and cut using animal shaped cookie cutters.
Sweet Potato Cookies
Nutrient packed cookies with a natural sweetness you can feel good about giving to yourself and your kids.
½ cup rolled oats
½ cup flour of choice
½ cup ground sunflower seeds
2 tbsp. coconut oil or butter, melted
¼ cup apple butter
¾ cup cooked and mashed sweet potato
2 tbsp. cane sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon powder
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl, shape cookies and lay them on a greased baking sheet or with parchment paper
- Bake at 300°F for 20-30 min