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Lunch box ideas

Lunch box

When I opened up my last lunch box on my last day of school, I remember thinking “Thank goodness I never have to see one of those ever again”…well, that was until I had children of my own!

Packing a lunch box for school or when you are out-and-about does not have to be a huge affair. Keep it simple and healthy and it will only take you a few minutes to prepare.

Come the beginning of term, the excitement levels are high and even you are feeling inspired about what to make each day for their lunch boxes. But, we all know that feeling that comes over us by the end of term, it is really difficult to put together lunch box ideas that are exciting to the children or motivating for you. The idea is to mix it up when you want to and stick with the old favourites when you are bored – either way, you will find a routine that works well for you, and that is all that matters!

Here’s where to start:

  • Choose snacks that are made from whole-grains, are low in sugar, with few preservatives.
  • Fruit is full of fibre which helps little ones avoid tummy pains, and proteins give long lasting energy to see them through the day.
  • Too much sugar will lead to short bursts of high energy activity, followed by a “downer” which can lead to lethargy and crankiness.
  • A nice balanced lunch box will leave your child feeling energised, happy and ready for play and learning.

It’s all about finding the right balance for your own children, with food that is good for them and also food that you know they will eat. It’s important to combine food groups so that they get a good balance of nutrients. Remember the time of day you are preparing a lunch box for. A 10am snack need not be a smorgasbord of meatballs, samosas and smoked salmon. Keeping it simple means it will be healthy, appropriate for the time of day and will take you a short amount of time to prepare.

Here are some ideas for combinations of what to pack for a mid morning snack:

  • 2 Provitas with a smear of unsalted butter, Bovril and a slice of cheese. Tub of prepared paw paw, a few yoghurt coated rice cakes
  • 2 Crackerbreads with peanut butter and honey, peeled naartjie and a little tub of raisins
  • 1 slice sandwich (with the crusts cut off) with unsalted butter and a slice of ham, a tub of blueberries and a couple of unsalted dry roasted cashew nuts
  • Mini savoury cheese muffin, tub of washed grapes and a mini yoghurt drink
  • Cheesesticks with a little tub of humus to dip, cut up sweet melon and a little slice of banana bread

Always have a drink included in their snack box. Water, instead of juice, is always the preferred option at snack time. Children tend to fill up on juice instead of the healthier snack that you have prepared, so if you are battling to get your child to drink water, make sure you thoroughly dilute the juice and choose juices that are 100% juice. Much of what’s sold on the market as apple juice tends to contain a lot of sugary pear or grape juice to make it taste sweeter, so check your labels.

Children are more likely to eat the contents of their own special lunch box so make a fun occasion of going out to choose it.

Bon appétit!

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