Don’t let school lunches be such a chore, involve your kids in choosing and preparing their food and also, in picking out their lunch gear.
By now most of the kids are back at school and everybody is starting to get into a routine. I know most moms have a goal of packing healthy lunches all year long. It often seems that by the start of the second term, their lunches barely resemble lunch.
One of the problems is that kids are fickle. One day, they love a certain granola bar or fish paste sandwiches and the next day they despise it, for some odd reason. They tire of foods faster than you can say “healthy school lunches”, and it is often a chore to keep lunch interesting
Involve your Kids
So, involve your kids. Let them come up with school lunch ideas, after all they are the ones who are going to eat them.
Depending on your child’s age, have them cut up veggies, grab an apple out of the fridge, pack crackers, you get the idea. By having your kid help, you are teaching them to navigate the kitchen as well as boosting confidence and knowledge. Let them make suggestions to add to your shopping list.
You can also take the opportunity to teach them about healthy foods and macro-nutrient balance with each lunch!
Don’t forget to tell them about the “old days” when your lunch was a marmite or fish paste or jam sarmie and maybe some of the leftovers from the previous night.
We spoke to a few moms and put our heads together to come up with some ideas to help you keep your kid’s lunch boxes healthy and interesting.
Plan your School Lunches
This all comes down to planning. Mornings are already such a rush so don’t complicate them even more by leaving lunch packing for mornings. Prepare everything the night before or even at the beginning of the week where possible. Also buy ingredients that can be used in a variety of dishes – for example salad ingredients can turn into sandwich ingredients.
Consider making extra for dinner each night and pack leftovers for lunch. Or, make big batches of healthy roti, muffins, waffles, pasta, and rice & beans and store in the freezer. Take out what you want to pack the night before to defrost and pack it into your kid’s lunch the next day.
Keep Nutrition in Mind
There is always a balance of carbohydrates to keep the kids energized, protein and healthy fats for strength and focus. Remember fruit for their vitamin dose and a healthy treat so they don’t feel like they’re missing out.
Use “Convenience” Foods
No, not starchy salty fast foods, just “packable” real foods like cherry/grape tomatoes, pitted olives, defrosted frozen peas/lima beans/corn, organic berries, naartjies, provitas, grapes, hard boiled eggs, biltong, and drinkable yogurt.
Freeze a few “Emergency” Meals
For those occasions when you have a late night and have to scramble for a lunch the next day, consider freezing a few lunches that you can grab and go. Some school lunch ideas include: bean burritos/rotis, whole wheat sarmie. Add a piece of fruit or a packet of nuts and raisins and a drink, and you’ve got yourself a balanced meal for your child.
Don’t forget the Drinks
The best liquid you can fill the water bottle with, is water. If you want to dilute some fruit juice in the bottle you can do that, but watch out for the sugar.
Getting the Right Lunch Gear
Now we get to the most important part of school lunches – the lunchbox and water bottle. These range from standard to high tech.
While there are literally dozens of portable food gear products out there, you want to find lunch supplies that are:
- made with non-toxic materials
- dishwasher safe
- leak-proof (or mostly leak-proof)
- easy to pack
- durable and not breakable
- keep foods heat/cold as appropriate
At Household Plastics we have a wide selection of lunchboxes, juice bottles, water bottles and all kinds of containers you could possibly need to school lunches.