Sometimes it can get hard to keep thinking of new ideas when it comes to packing your little one’s lunchbox for the school day. So many children don’t get the required amount of fruit and vegetable to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and we frequently hear the statistics that children are eating far too much fast food, contributing to the rise in unhealthy habits of Australian youth. Therefore, it is imperative that parents take the responsibility to pack a nutritious lunchbox for their kids to nourish them during the school day. Here are some ideas to prevent you from getting repetitive when it comes to ideas:
Have A System
Even though it’s important to switch up recipes, and keep a variety of different foods in your little one’s lunchbox so that they don’t get bored, having a similar formula you use to put everything together can be extremely useful! For example, have a system of having 2 parts fruit, 2 parts vegetable, 1 part dairy etcetera so that you are ensuring your kids get a balanced diet, and making school lunches easier to plan all at the same time. You could even draw up a meal plan, and have a designated lunch for each day of the week, or fortnight, so you can prep in advance!
Make Them Freezer Friendly
One great way to ensure you have lunches ready in advance is to make them freezer-friendly. That way, you can get things ready when you have time on the weekend, rather than throwing things together last minute which is likely to result in a reduction in quality. Kylie Archer from Kidgredients explains this:
“When it comes to packing fun, healthy and delicious fun lunchboxes, your freezer is your best friend! The more you prepare in bulk and then freeze, then the more variety you will have immediately on hand for lunchboxes. Lunchboxes don’t have to be time consuming. This list of 20 awesome freezer friendly lunchbox ideas from Kidgredients will get you started.”
Do The Cooking On The Weekend
Getting the bulk of any cooked food you need to prepare done on the weekend is one way to save yourself an inordinate amount of stress in the days to come. For example, cooking some chicken breast and having it ready in the fridge for sandwiches on Monday, saves you that extra step in the morning. Similarly, if you want to bake any sweet treats for your children, such as muffins or cupcakes, get a batch in the oven on the weekend and you have a dessert option or snack on hand for days. You can even make these healthy by making pumpkin muffins, or other tasty treats that have health foods snuck into them.
Cheesy Ham & Corn Lunchbox Tarts
Joanne Bowskill from Get Kids Cooking explains why you should get your kids involved in the kitchen work and has provided a recipe to get you started:
“Being involved in the preparation of a meal is a great way for kids to express themselves, and over time, start to develop healthy eating habits that they carry with them throughout life.
Here is one of our favourite recipes that we’ve pulled out of our pantry that’s easy for kids to make (depending on age with little or no help from mum or dad!). We hope you enjoy it too!
Get Kids Cooking Cheesy Ham & Corn Lunchbox Tarts:
1 tin corn kernels
1/2 cup grated cheese
6 slices ham
Salt and pepper to taste
Mini muffin pan
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees
2. Crack eggs into bowl and whisk
3. Drain the corn and add to eggs
4. Chop the ham and add to egg mix
5. Add cheese & salt/pepper to taste to egg mix
6. Gently stir all ingredients together
7. Spray mini muffin pan with oil to prevent sticking and spoon mix into the pans
8. Bake for 8 mins until puffed and golden
9. Sprinkle with parsley for decoration
Eat warm or pack cold for lunch boxes
Freeze well if made in a big batch (If they last that long!)
To get more fantastic ideas, follow Get Kids Cooking on Facebook!
Make Sure To Include A Snack
Rather than only packing lunch, remember to also include an extra snack for your kids, to keep their energy up during the long school day. If you don’t pack a healthy option, such as an apple or banana, children are likely to turn to buying packaged options, such as crisps, which ruins your attempt at keeping them nutritious by sending along food from home. Other than fruit, you can consider nuts, sultanas carrot sticks, or any other small food items that can be easily nibbled on when your little ones get peckish throughout the day.
So get organised and get to work planning this week’s fresh, healthy school lunches, to keep your children nourished after a long day of studying at school and then coming home to play!