Getting the kids ready to go back to school after the Christmas break can be a daunting task! Between organising school uniforms and after school activities, it’s easy to leave the kids’ lunch boxes to the last minute. Here are our top tips and tricks for planning and preparing healthy lunches that will ensure a stress-free start to the school year.
Setting aside the time to come up with lunch box ideas for the week ahead will not only keep you organised, it will also save you time on those mornings when you are rushing out the door.
- Allocate 1 hour on the weekend to write out lunch box ideas for the week ahead. You can do this by manually drawing out a plan or using a planner App.
- Choose meals and snacks that keep well in lunch boxes – some examples include savoury muffins, protein balls, wholegrain crackers and pasta.
- Structure lunch boxes around the three key macronutrients: carbohydrates, fats and protein. See the image below for a visual guide on how to fill your kids lunch box.
- Make sure you include variety – children may grow tired of the same foods, so it is important to incorporate some different lunch options! A good way to do this is by changing up their snacks and rotating between different fruits and vegetables.
Once you have planned out the children’s lunches for the week ahead, set aside time to shop, cook and portion out meals on a Sunday as this will ensure you are prepared for the week ahead.
- Allocate 1-2 hours on a Sunday to prepare meals and snacks.
- Batch cooking is an efficient method that can be used to prepare many meals at once. Pick some of your child’s favourite recipes and double the quantities to increase the number of serves.
- For easy grab and go snacks, wash, pre-cut and store vegetables and fruit ahead of time.
- Freeze any leftovers as these can be used at a later date.
Hide extra nutrients in food
If your children are fussy eaters and struggle to eat their vegetables or a variety of foods, a great way to include more nutrients in their lunchboxes is by hiding them in their favourite foods.
- Grate or blend vegetables such as carrots and zucchini into sauces.
- Add chia seeds or ground flaxseeds into yoghurt.
- Choose wholegrain breads that have visible seeds and grains.
- Blend spinach into egg mixtures.
- Add a scoop of Kids Good Stuff into baking and smoothies – click here to explore some kid friendly recipes!
Get the kids involved
Do you cook with your kids? It may seem overwhelming, but It doesn’t have to be stressful. Getting your children involved in the act of meal preparation not only provides valuable skills and education, it also exposes them to different foods.
- When planning out lunch box ideas for the week, sit down with your kids and let them contribute ideas. This will ensure they will enjoy their meals more and actually eat them.
- When preparing food, get the kids involved with the washing, sorting and assembling of ingredients.
- Baking is a fun and exciting hands-on activity for kids. Try a healthy take on your favourite classics.
- Encourage the kids to help you pack their lunch boxes. This can be an activity that gets the kids excited about their lunches!
For more tips of how to pack a healthy lunch box, click here