Depending on where you are in the world, some kids are back to school this week, while others will be returning in the coming weeks, which means it’s time to dust off the ol’ packed lunch making skills. We know younger family members can be notoriously hard to please, when it comes to providing a healthy lunch that will actually be eaten. So, here are six tempting ideas to help you get the job done:
- Give bento a go. Invest in a bento box or lunchbox with compartments and fill each section up with something fresh and colourful. Some options included edamame beans, cut up fresh veges, such as carrots, cucumber and cherry tomatoes, wholegrain crackers, a bread roll, pita wedges, wholemeal cooked pasta, falafels, slices or cubes of cheese, nuts, cut up fruit, berries, yoghurt, hummus and bliss balls. Check this out for more bento inspiration.
- Think small. Young children can find big portions of anything (except maybe pudding) off-putting or intimidating. Cutting up sandwiches into four, selecting smaller pieces of fruit or cutting them up, choosing cherry tomatoes, spooning yogurt and berries into a small container and making mini muffins or tarts are all ways you can serve up healthy, pint-sized portions that are too cute not to eat. Try these super easy blender muffins.
- Involve the kids. Make some time after dinner to get lunchboxes for the next day underway and recruit help from your children. If they’ve had a say in what goes in the lunchbox and had a hand in making it, they are more likely to eat it. Also, you can use it as an opportunity to teach them a bit about healthy food preparation, in a positive way.
- Use a thermos. Packed lunch doesn’t always have to be cold. You can pack a warm meal, such as soup or vege-packed noodles, in a thermos, so the kids can enjoy a satisfying cooked meal. A perfect recipe for this is Alphabet soup, which kids love.
- Make it fun. Eating the same food day in day out is boring for anyone. Appeal to your kid’s fun side by cutting food into cute shapes. You can use cookie cutters to make sandwiches into stars or cut cheese slices into hearts. If you’re really artistic, try a freehand creation. Or write a note to slip into the lunchbox. It could have a joke on it or could just say something nice to let your child know you’re thinking of them. Don’t forget school can be a tough environment. Reading a few nice words from Mum or Dad halfway through the day can really make a difference.