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We are nearing the start of the school year and back to thinking about the dreaded school lunches. For those that have children starting Kindy or returning back to school it can be overwhelming coming up with new ideas to ensure that the kids get some variety. Did you know that you end up making around 200 school lunches each year!
The process of trying to figure out how much food to send, how to keep lunches exciting with variety while also ensuring you meet healthy guidelines can be challenging.
Some Helpful Tips for Lunch Box Making:
- To eliminate stress and panic in the mornings for everyone, try and pack the lunches the night before.
- Use leftovers from dinner by cooking a little extra. Things like pasta and fried rice make great additions to the lunchbox.
- Plan a baking day. Cooking batches of goodies such as muffins, slices and biscuits to freeze will be your saviour. Pull them out in the morning and pop in to the lunch boxes. Some people have been to known to freeze sandwiches, but with this you must note that they can usually only be frozen for a maximum of a week so not everyone is a fan of this idea.
- When packing your child’s school lunch, remember they only get about 10-15 minutes to eat, so try and keep school lunches simple, and remember not to pack anything they can’t open. Kindy kids generally can’t open glad wrap so try not to wrap sandwiches; otherwise the teachers spend all morning trying to open them. Most schools now have adopted the Nude lunchboxes so this should make it easier and with the added benefit of doing your part to minimize single use plastics.
- For those with children starting in Kindy, don’t pack too much. For the first few months the lunch boxes will most probably come back home untouched. Starting school is exciting and they will be often more excited to be talking to new friends and distracted by play; so keep things quick and small to eat.
- Also, remember food hygiene, try and keep the lunch in an insulated box/container, or ensure that you put an ice brick or frozen water bottle in with the lunch to keep things cold.
- Add in a surprise everyone now and again the children will love you.
What should be included in a Lunch Box?
Created by the Cancer Council the healthylunchbox.com.au has an interactive lunch box builder with recipes and ideas that enable parents and kids to plan.
Some Quick and Easy Ideas for the Lunch Box to add Variety
The Organised Housewife has a great recipe for 2 ingredient super quick scrolls with a variety of fillings.
Use pita bread pockets instead of sandwich bread. Cut the pockets in half and fill with any of the following to create your own tasty combination:
- Low-fat cream cheese
- Mashed avocado
- Sliced tomato or cucumber (not too much as these can make the pita soggy)
- Cheese (grated or sliced)
- Lettuce or sprouts
- Tuna, ham or chicken
- Left-over vegetables such as pumpkin, sweet potato or corn
- Mashed or sliced hard-boiled egg.
Sushi Bread Sandwiches (via the Bega website)
Chicken and Veggie Pasta
To add a little variety from sandwiches make a batch of this easy chicken and veggie pasta sourced from Kidgredients. It will do a couple of lunches.
Cheese and Ham Quiches
These quick and easy cheese and ham quiches can be made up the night before and can be frozen and pulled out when ready.
Another great alternative to sandwiches and to ensure your children are getting some extra vegetables try this recipe from CrunchandSip.
Happy Tummies have gathered a list of kid friendly, nut free ball recipes
No Bake Muesli Fingers
Quick to make, full of goodness and nut free the Womens Weekly have a great page of school ready slices
Use whole grain wraps and ricotta/cream cheese, roll up some fruit to make a delicious sweet snack. Crunchandsip
Snack Ideas (Brought or Pre Packaged)
- Fresh Fruit
- Yoghurt Covered Berry Balls
- Crackers and Cheese
- Hummus and Vege Sticks
- Boiled Eggs
- Corn Chips with Avocado Dip
- Wholegrain Cereal Bites (or Messy Monkeys)
- Cheese Sticks
- Kids roasted Fav-va Bean
- Milo Energy Snack Bars
- Uncle Toby Fruity Bites
- Milo Drink (4.5 star rating for every now and again)
Please see below for some further links to great sites for recipes:
Batch Cooking 50 Freezer Friendly Recipes: Stay at Home Mum
Back to School Lunch ideas from: Goodie Goodie Lunch Box
Woolworths – Healthy Lunch Box Ideas