Back to school! An exciting time for everyone, but let’s face it lunchbox preparation can be frustrating. These back to school lunch ideas are a winner. I have scrolled Pinterest and cooking blogs to find tried and tested lunchbox ideas. Remember, you can substitute things like flour with almond meal and milk for almond or soy varieties. Read on for 5 ideas to get you started. Choose one for each day of the week and substitute ingredients from week to week. The tools you will require are: novelty cutlery (for example a spoon with a funny handle), a cookie cutter (perfect for cutting shapes out of sandwiches), ziplock bags (picky eaters dislike soggy food) wooden skewers (for presenting your food in a fun way), post-it notes (leaving lunchbox notes is a great hit!), gyoza molds are a fun and alternative way to present sandwiches and cupcake paper holders for organising or separating items in a larger lunchbox.
Idea #1 – Fabulous fruit
In general, your kids probably prefer chopped fruits over whole fruits. Prepare your fruit early on in the week by chopping them up ready to put into lunchboxes throughout the week. Here are some suggestions:
- Oranges and mandarins can be chopped up into wedges.
- Berries are a convenient go-to as they are easy to nibble on.
- Remove stems from grapes.
- Golden kiwi fruit can be washed and cut into cool shapes – it is a great source of Vitamin C.
- Melon balls are also a winner – use watermelon, rockmelon and honeydew for different colours.
- Thread fresh and dried fruit onto wooden skewers and present them as bright fruit kebabs.
Idea #2 – Sandwiches & wraps
Kids love something they can use their hands to eat. Sandwiches and wraps are a great way to ensure they receive plenty of energy in the form of protein and carbohydrates. Protein fills kids up and low glycemic index carbohydrates provide a slow release of energy throughout the day. Do you need a dentist that can discuss good foods and sometimes foods with your kids? At Riverstone Family Dental we make this a key priority in our check up appointments with little ones. Call us on 8678 3538 to schedule your family today. In the meantime, here are some more ideas:
- Choose wholegrain sandwiches or wraps as they are very filling.
- You can get creative with the type of protein in your sandwiches and substitute the key source of protein from week to week. Examples include: meat, chicken, tuna, salmon, eggs, cheese, beans, lentils, chickpeas.
- Chickpeas and beans can be made into a paste and placed in wraps. Another way to get kids to eat more legumes is by making baked beans and cheese toasties.
- You can also deconstruct your sandwiches and place them on a wooden skewer. Kids love food on a stick so cut up small square bread portions, spread mayonnaise or hommus one side, thread on skewers with ham/other meat, cucumber slices and cheese.
Idea #3 – Incorporate novelty cutlery
Kids love colourful objects which they can play with. Transform a boring spoon into a colourful eating tool by being creative. Alternatively, you can buy these online. It will get kids excited about their lunch and is great for young, picky eaters. Here are some food ideas that will get you using cutlery:
- Yoghurt is a great source of calcium and protein. Store with a small ice-pack or freeze fruit like grapes in a ziplock bag and place over the yoghurt in your child’s lunchbox. Aim for low sugar varieties and add fruit on the side. Note: there are soy and coconut based alternatives for kids who are lactose-intolerant.
- Fruit salads are also a great idea.
- Choose salads with vegetables that your child enjoys eating. Cherry tomatoes and feta are usually a hit. Incorporate shaved pear if they like their fruits better. Salads are great but kids may become bored – so try changing your dressing from week to week. Ranch, tatsziki, hommus, guacamole can all be placed on the side of a salad to add flavour. Give your child the option and responsibility to mix it into their salad – great for picky or independent eaters.
Idea #4 – Baked goods
Get kids involved in the making of their food by baking together on a Sunday. This will allow you to bond with your child and can allow you to skip buying pre-packaged baked goods with lots of icing and excess sugar. My recommendation is to make savoury muffins packed with fibre and vitamins from vegetables and protein from cheese. Here are some suggestions to get the ball rolling (click on food to go to recipe):
- Pizza rolls
- Spinach and cheese savoury muffins
- Sundried tomato and feta muffins
- You can also use ripened fruit to bake your own fruit loaf
Idea #5 – Nibble food
Where possible, nibble food should be eaten during mealtimes and low in sugar. This is to allow your saliva to buffer any acids in between meals. Aim for these snack items:
- Vegetable sticks such as carrots, cucumbers, celery
- Corn cob or corn kernels, green peas
- Wholegrain crackers, pretzels, popcorn
- Roasted chickpeas are a great alternative to nuts
- Dry roasted muesli
- Raw energy balls
- Corn thins, rice crackers
At Riverstone Family Dental we know life is about more than just teeth. This is why we talk about other aspects of life that contribute to overall wellbeing. We offer after-school and Saturday appointments. Call us on 8678 3538 to book your family in for what will be their favourite dental experience!