I can remember back to my time at school where day after day I would count down the minutes until lunchtime. I would sit down, fling open my lunchbox where I would find, yet another unappealing, soggy sandwich (sorry mum!).
Being inspired to pack exciting lunches for the kids can be hard, especially this time of the year when we are all exhausted, out of fresh ideas and hanging out for the Christmas break. It is sometimes a struggle to make sure our kids are getting the right nutrients and variety into their diet – especially when we’re time poor.
I have created a Healthy School Lunch Cheat Sheet that you can download here.
Refer to the serving suggestions in each category and select an option to pack for lunch. You can stick this on your fridge to have on hand for inspiration when you’re struggling. Add in your own healthy alternatives to each category.
A handy tip to keep in mind: Eat in season fruits and veggies to enjoy fresher produce at a lower cost.
This is also a useful way to get the kids involved in packing their lunches. They can easily follow the steps and even help you prepare food for the week.
This way, they are excited to eat their lunch and it’s a fun activity that saves you time and a lot of stress.
Lunchbox tip: To keep apple slices from turning brown, add them to a bowl of cold water with 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. Soak for 5-10 minutes and the slices will stay fresh during the day.
I try to make food as fresh as possible, but this isn’t always an option. If you can, plan ahead and prepare bits and pieces in advance so you’re not reaching for packaged, unhealthy foods. For example, I keep two hours on Sunday afternoon free to cut vegetables for the week, cook my quinoa and rice, prepare meatballs and boil eggs.
Store everything in separate containers, so during the week you can take what you need and pack it straight into the lunchbox. Having this food prepared, makes it easier for busy kids to eat and saves time in the mornings.
Visit the Australian Dietary Guidelines for more information on healthy eating or to customise your own Healthy Lunch Cheat Sheet https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/