Does the whole school lunch thing drive you mad? It’s a complicated business – we have to make sure it’s healthy, doesn’t go soggy and won’t give anyone salmonella! Then throw into the mix a fussy kid or two and a school policy on nuts and it’s the mums who are going nuts!!
My kids are a 14 and 11 and usually take a sandwich, two pieces of fruit and something else. They take filtered water to drink. The Natural New Age Dad also takes a packed lunch every day, so there is always lots of lunch making going on at our place!
♥ Let’s talk about sandwiches first. I try to make sure that the sandwiches contain protein and salad on a good quality grainy bread or wrap. I often make our own bread – we like Cyndi O’Meara’s bible bread and Tania’s GF Chia and Almond Bread. Sorj or Mountain Bread are the best brand of wraps I have found that contain no artificial stuff.
As far as protein goes, we gave up deli meats long ago. They just contain too many chemicals and are heavily processed. Find out some more here. Occasionally, I will buy some organic ham, as this one doesn’t contain sodium nitrates.
What I do instead is cook up large joints of roast beef, pork, lamb, chicken or corned beef, usually in the slow cooker, every week or two. Woolworths stock an organic corned beef now that is free of chemicals. It’s really tasty and not very expensive. After cooling in the fridge, the meat is sliced up or shredded in the thermomix. Then I freeze, label and date it in portions to suit two days worth of lunches. It’s easy to just pull out a portion the night before to let it thaw in the fridge.
To add a bit of variety, I also use boiled eggs with my homemade mayonnaise or tinned salmon or tuna (in springwater only) with mayonnaise. Sometimes the kids just feel like having my homemade nut butter – in which case the veges are ‘on the side’ in a little snack pack. We sometimes use organic butter but never, ever use margarine. Organic avocado is our choice of spread on sandwiches. It adds lots of other nutrients as well!
Sometimes they like to mix it up and take something else, besides a sandwich. Here are our other favourite healthy things that don’t involve bread.
♥ Fruit is an easy one. We try to eat mostly organic fruit. If we can’t, we give it a good wash off before eating! Fruit salad in a container with yoghurt on top is nice for a change.
♥ Something else – is not always so easy! My normal routine is to bake a couple of large batches of healthy muffins, cakes and slices, loaded with fruits, nuts and seeds. They are all portioned up and frozen. They thaw out by lunch time in the lunchbox. Here are some ideas:
Six Healthy Biscuits for Lunchboxes
What about choc-hazel bliss balls, carrot, pineapple and zucchini muffins or healthy cake?
If haven’t baked treats, then the kids (and the big kid) take things like:
Home-made airpopped organic popcorn (use Herbamare to keep the salt content down)
Vege sticks and cherry tomatoes with homemade dip
Dried fruit and nuts (make sure your dried fruit is safe)
Sometimes a packet snack sneaks it way in there for a treat. You can find some good packet snacks.
There are loads of ideas around the web too. You could try Vegie Smuggler’s amazing Cheese Puffs, Mamacino’s Really Easy Banana Bread or Feeding Fussy Kid’s Iron Booster Balls.
I always think it’s a good idea to get the kids involved in the lunch making too. The more input they have and ownership they take for their lunches, mean it’s more likely to get eaten. What doesn’t get eaten for lunch, gets eaten for afternoon tea at our place! Quality, organic food is not cheap and I hate waste.
I would love to hear what your lunch box ideas are. Leave me a comment and let me know!