It’s 2016 and gone are the days of soggy sarnies, a packet of crisps and a penguin bar! Here are some ideas to help you put together a balanced lunchbox for those back-to-school days! And they are realistic ideas that even I would have time for. I know as parents, things can get incredibly busy and hectic. With any lunchbox though, you want to try and get a nice mix of carbs, protein, fruit, veg and dairy – I wish I applied this to my own lunchbox for work – eek :/
Here are some simple ideas to get you going:
• Sandwiches, rolls and wraps. For exciting sarnies, check out this post.
• Carb-based salads such as pasta salad, rice salad, cous cous or potato salad.
• Homemade pizza from the night before 😉
• Savoury muffins – these cheese and broccoli ones are yummy 🙂
Packing the Protein:
You’ve got your regular ham and tuna but there are loads of other things out there to try:
• Left over roast dinner meat, slices of chicken.
• Fish such as salmon.
• Beans and lentils.
• Quorn-based products. There are so many meat-free alternatives these days. We really like the Quorn chicken 🙂 Perfect with some lettuce and mayo!
• Yoghurt or fromage frais.
• Rice pudding.
• Cubes of cheese or a portion of cottage cheese – perfect for dipping veggie sticks in 🙂
• Dips such as hummus, tzatziki or cream cheese.
For non-dairy sources of calcium, try dark leafy greens, beans and sesame seeds. I know, I know, what on earth can I put in a lunchbox that consists of this “stuff” – that was my first reaction anyway….!! If in doubt – Cheerios 😉 114 mg of calcium in one cup!
Think rainbows, traffic lights and sunny days. The key to a lunchbox that screams “eat me” is adding a bit of colour. A cheese sarnie and a banana does little to inspire me I’m afraid. Beige, beige and more beige! Add colour by using peppers, cucumber, tomatoes and a variety of fruits.
Also, little snacks like these Wafer Wisps from Heavenly Tasty Organic work well, and they taste pretty good too!!
Another key to creating “gobble me up goodies” is presentation. Pop a few things like cupcake cases, food picks and small storage pots in your basket next time you are in the pound shop! They are easy to use and they create maximum impact – check out these fun creations for some inspiration: Harold Helicopter and Tractor Lunch.
The right lunchbox
It seems lunchboxes have come a fair way since the chunky plastic ones of the 1980s! I still remember the Rainbow Bright, My Little Pony and Ghostbuster boxes! You can pick up so many cool lunchboxes and containers in the discount stores and supermarkets these days! Take a look at my five lunchbox essentials if you want to transform your kid’s lunch from drab to fab 😉