Kid Friendly Lunchbox Tips
My two girls could not be more different when it comes to what they like to eat. One loves the usual kid ‘staple’ foods, whilst the other loves to try anything I am eating. However one thing they are both brilliant at, is avoidance tactics at the table - can I have another drink? I need a pee, It’s too hot, I don’t like it, I’ve had enough, can we watch TV, can I have ketchup? I have pins and noodles (yes thats what they are called in my household), I can’t do it. You get the jist, so when I know they are off for lunch at school or nursery I have to pack very wisely, otherwise I get back a box full of mouse nibbled food. So here are a few of my favourite tactics
Gone are the days of a sandwich cut in 4 and shuffled in a box. I have sussed that if I make the sandwich look interesting and fun, they wolf it down. No fancy filling required, just a a variety of cookie cutters that you can use to shape your sandwich into something fun. For ideas, just log in to pinterest and search for ‘lunchbox sandwiches’. I also make wraps, pitta pockets, pizza rolls (pizza dough in a ball stuffed with their favourite toppings) and different breads, such as my favourite banana bread, made with coconut flour, no added sugar or dairy.
With my youngest, she loves dressings, so I make her little salads with a dressing. No, I am not talking lettuce and tomato etc, but onion, cabbage, carrots, sweetcorn etc. Or I make them vegetable kebabs, with a little toy stuck on the end of the little sticks. I add a dip, such as humous, sour cream and chive etc
As none eaters, I have to pack something I know they will pick at. So I swop the crisps that they would love to have for a little tub of nuts that they like, popcorn, vegetable crisps, pretzels or oat cakes. If I am doing fancy sandwich shapes, sometime these items help finish off the design too - like pretzels as legs, cheese biscuits as eyes etc
Fruit can be tricky as they will eat it at home, but when left to their own devises at school, they want to get playing at the end of the meal, so dash off, leaving an apple with one bite out of, or a squashed banana. So I regularly make them a little fruit salad of their favourite fruit, or fruit kebabs dipped in dark chocolate, or I even cut them into fancy shapes.
Sneaking protein into a kids lunch box can be tricky, but little bits of meat with their favourite seasoning on, or sliced cheese with their name cut out (using cookie cutters again), a yoghurt, or a home made smoothie/milkshake
Over time I have been making healthier puddings for them to try, such a cereal bar, fruit cakes, black bean brownies etc, so I can bake a batch of a few, cut it into portions, and freeze it, grabbing a portion the night before to thaw, as well as one for myself as a mid morning snack!! They also like some of the shop bought options - Trek, Nakd and Eat Naturally, or some dried fruit with dark chocolate buttons in.
These suggestions are by no means exhaustive, and I would love to hear what works for you. It may take a bit more planning and a bit longer to make, but at least I pick up a child who isn’t teary and tired because they are hungry having not eaten their lunch!!