Summer school holidays are coming up, and we see a lot of our mum-friends beam with delight as they say “thank God, I don’t have to make any more lunches for a while”. The truth is that for a very long time we felt the same way because preparing a lunch box when we were rushing to get out the door felt like a mundane and laborious task, until we decided to change that. Read on to see how we reinvented our kids’ lunches and how you can too!
If you’re stuck in the vegemite sandwich phase, you’re not alone. There are days when everyone in the family is time poor and aiming to get to school and work on time, so slapping two pieces of bread (wholemeal we hope) with a little butter and vegemite can be a time saver for sure. But with a little effort we managed to transform our kids lunch boxes; here’s how we did it and with some of our recipes that are now their favourites.
YOU CAN DO THIS
We’ll be honest, the guilt made us do it! There is nothing worse than having your child brag about their friends lunch, highlighting how vastly different it is to the (same) one you prepare every day. We decided to change their lunches because we knew that too much bread and not enough variety was not a healthy option for our boys. So we spent some time online researching what would work and got tonnes of inspiration and the perfect lunch boxes from The Toddler Ingredient. So yes, with a little planning and excitement, you can do this too!
AVOID THIS MISTAKE
Trying to find lunch box ingredients in your fridge or pantry in the last minute is frustrating and never works, because the ingredients you’re looking for are…not there! Getting organised by making a shopping list of ingredients is the only way to do this, so we make sure we have everything we need by Sunday afternoon.
Here are our favourite healthy lunchbox snacks…
Making cute and funny faces out of food is a clever way to introduce some really important food groups without your children realising it. Better yet, our boys now want to help us make their lunch so that they can design their own funny faces, so we often prepare these the night before.
You’ll need a choice of spreads; ricotta, Philadelphia cream cheese, organic peanut butter or pesto paste work well, and a choice of toppings; sliced carrot, cherry tomatoes, blueberries or even alfalfa sprouts. You can also add avocado, corn kernels and beneficial seeds like sunflower of flaxseeds.
Gather your ingredients, and get creative!
MINI COB ROLL DIP
Kids love dipping, and you can hide goodness of fruit or vegetables and most kids won’t even know it. Grating a little raw zucchini, carrot or even pear is sneaky but so effective. Combine this with sliced vegetables and you are on a winner.
Simply add a dip of their choice; our boys love the taste of refreshing tzatziki especially on warm days. Remove two thirds of the roll making sure it stays whole and keep those pieces for dipping. Accompany with fruit and veg; it’s really that simple!
STAR FRUIT SKEWERS
Cookie cutters are not just for cookies. Use them to cut shapes out of fruit and watch as your kids go crazy asking for more! Slice watermelon, rockmelon and pineapple in half and lay them sideways on a chopping board. Use your cookie cutters and press firmly on to the fruit to create your shapes and then thread on to a skewer, making a pattern of your choice.
Serve with yoghurt!
ANTS ON A LOG
This is a classic take on a childhood favourite; celery sticks with smeared peanut butter along with sultanas or blueberries that resemble a trail of ants on a log! You can vary this recipe and use hummus, or ricotta as your spread, and pumpkin seeds or sliced grapes.
For a sweeter touch you can even drizzle some honey.
Get creative, and you’ll soon be making instagram worthy kids’ lunches!