The task of creating a healthy school lunch is now easier for Northern Beaches parents…
Lunch tips to get you through the last term of 2019
The kids are getting ready for the last term of the school year, and it is very easy to get stuck into a rut of providing the same food everyday. Lunches don’t have to be boring – here are some ideas to provide some variety and freshness into your child’s day.
- Great packed lunches come from being prepared. Keep a list of what your kids love for lunches, snacks and afternoon teas and make sure you always have a selection of them to hand.
- In summer keep lunches cool with some icy cold items, such as a container of frozen grapes, pineapple or blueberries, freeze yoghurt or a drink bottle the night before. Another favourite is to pop some fruit chunks into a water bottle before freezing it.
- Save money by buying in bulk and splitting them into small containers for use over several days. This is perfect for small items such as cheese, crackers, dried fruit, chips etc and is also a good way to keep variety in the lunch boxes.
- Make it colourful, add fruit salad in a container (prepare a huge container on Sunday night and take a little each day to save time), grate some carrot or add baby spinach to their sandwiches with some cherry tomatoes or snow peas on the side – brightly coloured food is always appealing.
- Try new things. Us adults get bored with eating the same food all the time and so do our kids. Mix it up regularly and try popping in something they have never tried before occasionally. You never know, they MIGHT just like that little tub of broccoli!
- If your child likes dips, make some homemade hummus or tzatziki and keep a supply of carrot, celery and cucumber batons chopped and ready in the fridge. This is another great one to prepare on the weekend and then it’s just ready for you each day.
- Batch bake items such as cookies and muffins in advance and keep them in the freezer.
- Make lunch boxes fun. There are lots of lovely accessories available now, and an amazing range of really popular lunch boxes available such as bento boxes. But you don’t have to spend a fortune to make a lunch box fun – purchase some cheap silicone muffin patty pans and use those to create sections in a plain plastic box and your kids will love it.
- Gone are the days when lunches consisted of soggy cucumber sandwiches, a yoghurt and an apple! Why not shake things up and use last night’s leftovers or perhaps some items that look more like a picnic such as rice or pasta dishes, frittatas, quiche, cooked chicken or drumsticks, or some for a real treat – cold homemade pizza. This is a great way to get some extra hidden nutrition in too.
- Get the kids involved? They can’t complain they don’t like their lunch if they have had a hand in choosing and preparing it!
- Reduce sugar as much as you can – we know our kids love a sweet treat but we also now know just how much sugar can negatively affect their health, behaviour and concentration. Reduce sugar in your baking (do it slowly and the kids won’t even notice). And if you prefer to use store bought foods, make sure you’re reading the labels and be alert for high amounts of hidden sugars. Stick to water instead of poppers, and in particular avoid those juice drink bottles with pop up lids as dentists attribute them to increased dental decay.
- Save a fortune by stocking up on your favourites when they are on special. Check out supermarket specials and also sites such as Groupon and Grocery Run which often have some great deals on offer.