Pack a punch with a healthy lunch!
It’s a challenge many parents complain about - how to find the balance between a lunchbox that kids will enjoy, and one that is good for them.
Since long before I was at primary school, kids have traded lunch items, stretched the truth about what they really ate and tried to bribe their way to the school canteen.
Try to avoid this age-old dilemma with these simple hints:
Involve your kids
The more you involve your kids in the process of packing their school lunchbox, the more likely they are to delve in. And the less likely you are to go into battle each morning.
You might like to negotiate on everyday and weekly items and draw up a 7-day menu for the pantry door, so that expectations are managed along the way.
Aim to prepare and cook food items together like banana muffins that can be kept in the freezer. And encourage their help at your home sandwich bar in the mornings.
Even though it’s not necessary to have the hottest character emblazoned on their lunchbox, it can pay to have one that young kids get excited about.
And remember that keeping food chilled and protected from the "squish factor" is mandatory - nobody wants to eat a squashed banana!
- Alter sandwich bread with wraps, rolls, foccacias, bagels and herb breads
- Use lots of variety in fillings and add flavour with chutneys, relishes, mustards, chopped parsley or low-fat mayo.
- Offer dips with rice crackers and vegetable sticks, mini chicken drumsticks or whole hard-boiled eggs for a change to the good old "sanger".
- Nutritious extras include a tub of yogurt, fruit or muesli bars, cheese, homemade popcorn, fruit snack packs or a simple piece of fresh fruit.
- For kids with finicky appetites,. go for bite-size or mini servings of the lunchbox regulars like sandwich fingers, strawberries or grapes, plus a few pretzels or cheese cubes to nibble.
- For a drink, stick to water, or occasionally, plain or flavoured reduced-fat milk.