Friday, March 5, 2010

Lunch Box Rules

I was given a handy little piece of advice not so long ago about what to put in lunch boxes.

Firstly, I have to say that my children aren't particularly fussy eaters. They will generally eat anything put in front of them at home, will happily try new things and even go so far as to assist me in cooking at home, and suggesting healthy meals for dinner.

My problem is that foods they absolutely love eating at home don't always go down so well in their lunchboxes. Sandwiches for example. Perhaps my children have developed such a keenness of taste that they can only eat fresh sandwiches. Either way, they refuse point blank to eat sandwiches at school however will scoff them down at home.

I have had to come up with varied ways of tantalising their tummies lunch box style.

The lunch box rule is:-

1 fruit, 1 sweet treat, 1 savoury treat and one 'big lunch' item.

The fruit part is easy. My kids have to take crunch 'n sip to school. It's a Government incentive to give kids a 5 minute breather around 10am so they can get some fruit into them and some water. Apparently it rejuvenates them. Teachers have told me it really does work, and they also have a piece of fruit in the classroom and read the kids a book at the same time. They say their classrooms just work so much better with that short break. I also usually give my kids an extra piece of fruit for their little or big lunch (their choice) or a dairy item like yoghurt or cheese.

Sweet. That can be anything from muffins to cookies/biscuits, slices, cakes, fruit bread, scones, pikelets etc.

Savoury can be chips, popcorn, crackers and cheese, rice crackers, savoury scones, cheese sticks etc.

Big Lunch could be a sandwich, wrap, savoury muffin, pinwheel, crackers and cheese and olives, quiches, home made pies, pasties, cold slices of pizza, sausages and bread, foccaccia, damper/mini dampers, bread sushi sandwiches or 'normal' sushi, boiled eggs, antipasto (cheese cubes, ham, pineapple, cherry tomatoes etc), caesar salad, garden salad, cheese scrolls, puff pastry with ham, tomato and cheese baked or dates/celery with cream cheese, cooked pasta with tuna and cheese, tuna pasta with corn and mayonnaise etc.

Some things take a little prep work, but when I thought about it, I realised that I have taught my kids to love food, varied food and of course they're not going to want the same thing every day. I know I certainly wouldn't.

They get to choose their sweet, savoury and fruit and I vary the Big Lunch every day. I make sure they know what must be eaten first (ie yoghurt and cheese generally doesn't like being left in a warm lunch box). I add those mini freezer blocks in if anything needs to be kept cold. Handy little gadgets around these days :)

I have cookie dough and mini muffins ready to go in the freezer for those days when I literally need to throw things in their lunchboxes if we're having a rare 'off' morning. Thankfully they come few and far between.

Here's to happy kids, empty lunch boxes and full tummies :D

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