Honor started grade 1 this year and for the first time I need to pack lunch for her to take to school. The playschool and nursery school she attended both provided snacks, which was really convenient although meant I relied on their interpretation of healthy choices. Here are my tips for healthy, easy and well-received lunch boxes!
- Buy a great quality box that is easy for little hands to open and that has a few compartments. We love this one: 3 compartments, easy to open and it fits in the little school cooler bag.
- Pack a variety of foods that will keep your child’s energy up for the day.
- Make it easy for yourself! I have a big Tupperware filled with healthy snack foods that I add in to the lunch box. I keep these for school lunches and not for snacks at home so that the novelty value remains. When I’m packing I can grab it and pick and choose, plus I can easily see when I am running low. I also shop for sandwich components and fruit on Monday to ensure I have all the necessities.
- Send some love. The lunch box itself is an expression of love for our kids and I love that it also gives me the chance to communicate with Honor during her day. I decorate her wrapped sandwich with some cute stickers (kept in above-mentioned Tupperware) and I tape a little note to the lid and sometimes cut her sandwiches into shapes using cookie cutters. These extra touches take less than 2 minutes but I know she loves them.
- Pack the lunch when you have time. The whole process only takes me about 10 minutes. I pack it the night before usually while I’m getting our dinner ready and the kids are in bed. It’s a hassle-free 10 minutes, which wouldn’t be the case in the morning before school!
So what’s in a typical lunch box?
- A sandwich: I use a good wholewheat or low GI bread and a topping I know she’ll enjoy. At the moment those toppings include cheese and ham, cheese and marmite, peanut butter, and a berry fruit preserve on
- Fruit: I fill one of the little compartments with cut up fruit that’s easy to eat, such as nectarine, figs or strawberries, or some mixed berries or grapes.
- Biltong: I add some soft biltong in the sandwich compartment.
- Snack: In the other small compartment I mix it up with a snack such as nuts and raisins, a raw bar cut up into pieces, dried fruit roll, small rice cakes, trail mix or savory crackers.
- Treat: Fridays are for treats! So I pack in a tiny chocolate or another small surprise.
I have found that I love packing the lunchbox and it usually comes back nearly finished, which I take as a big sign of approval!