Pack a Punch for Lunch.
It's back to school alright! Mornings are a juggling act; breakfast is a roll call of have you got this? did you pack that? and of course there's the daily packed lunch to think about, and if you're like me it's easy to fall back on the old reliables to keep the peace and besides, being creative first thing in the morning isn't my strong point! But a good nutritious lunch can provide much needed fuel and brain food for our kids as well as helping them focus and maintain their energy levels.
So how do you pack your little darlings off to school (stress free please!) with a delicious and nutritious school lunch, which they'll actually eat and enjoy, rather than you discovering a rather mouldy mess stuck to the bottom of their school bag come mid-term? Do you stick to the tried and tested reliable old ham sandwich day in day out or do you try to pack more than a punch at lunch with some variety and fun thrown in? And then there's the delicate balance of giving them healthy food which they'll enjoy, as well as the occasional treat - after all giving them an endless supply of nuts, seeds and hummus it isn't really fun (for most kids) either! We also need to listen to our kids and give them foods which they like and involving picky eaters in the process can help win them over to experiment with new tastes, textures and flavours.
With that in mind, I've put together some of my own suggestions which are healthy, quick to make and will perk up your kids lunch box and bound to be a hit too, so everyone is happy!
- Use pitta’s, wraps, rolls and Panini’s to put some life into the solemn sandwich! Opt for wholegrain, seeded and multi-grain varieties so they're getting the added advantage of more fibre too.
- Carbohydrate based salads are super choices - such as couscous, rice and pasta salad. Just add some nice chopped herbs, vegetables or fruit and even chopped ham or chicken breast - a dash of pesto and you have yourself a winner.
- Most kids aren't fans of their greens - but if you can sneak some veggies into their lunchbox they'll start to develop a taste for new flavours and get used to the idea of eating more vegetables. Chopped carrots, peppers, cucumber and a even rocket leaves are great to munch on, so give it a go as you might just be pleasantly surprised with the results!
- Kids love a hearty bowl of soup at this time of year and it's so easy to make and fill up a flask for an instant warming taste of home. We've got endless recipe ideas for soup and you can make a big batch so you can enjoy yourself too. But if you don't have time opt for some quick and tasty options too, there's lots of choice.
- For little snacks in the lunch box have squares of cheese, rice cakes, a yoghurt, box of dried fruit, pot of custard or rice and of course lots of different fruit options.
- And as for sandwich fillers! Well, kids do love the ham option, but it's really important to add variety here so make tuna and sweetcorn wraps, cheese Panini's, chicken breast on a bagel, an egg sandwich or salmon fillers are great options too. Make a planner if you can and stick to it so you have what you need in the house for the week ahead. Make your life as easy and stress free as possible!
Please share any ideas you have too and happy cooking!