Learning to Love the Lunchbox

When Miss ND started school last September I was concerned about many things, one of them was what was she going to eat at school.  I know they will teach her reading, writing and arithmetic (although they are probably called something else these days!) and many other things but her health and wellbeing was most important to me especially as she had barely turned 4.

Lunchbox-ideas

I read the school menu and  wrote over 1000 words for a post about it but have a lot of respect for the school cook, so it still sits in my drafts folder.  It wasn’t the improved Jaime Oliver school lunch experience I had hoped for but Miss ND loves her food and will try anything once.  So for the first school year she had school lunches and came out at 3.05pm so hungry that she hoovered up the snack box I made for her daily.   I wasn’t best pleased to hear about the small portion sizes and the time allowed to eat their food. Miss ND has a very healthy appetite and we all know that the little ones need time to eat and hopefully finish their food without getting indigestion or a stitch, I remember those!

The menu changes around October time for winter fare but I’m not holding my breath for any improvement (but would love to be surprised!) so I will be tackling the Lunchbox from September.  Believe me I don’t need the extra stress this may provide but replacing the days she really doesn’t like anything on the menu twice a week will be a start.  She is so excited to take one of her many lunchboxes in, to a 5 year old it is like a mini picnic with foods she enjoys.

Lunchbox Talk

Last  week I attended a bloggers event in London hosted by Making Sense of Sugar, along with Pediatric Nutritionist Ana-Kristina Skrapac and Chef Manju Malhi.  you can read about the event here

Chef Manju

It was useful to brainstorm about food choices and the struggles we are facing when sending in a Lunchbox
into school.  I know how to balance a meal and I also know what nutrients my child needs to grow and have enough energy to last through the school day but it’s also about packing a lunchbox with food that she likes too (and has time to eat!).  I want to see that lunchbox empty at 3.05!  

Here are my girl’s (mummy approved) recommendations, we’re starting with simple but healthy choices:

– Sandwiches with oat bread, butter or coconut oil (she loves coconut oil), filled with flaked tuna mixed with crème fraîche and black pepper or egg and watercress or cheese and cucumber.   Wraps would just unravel at this point and I always overfill them, maybe next year! 
– Frittata – freshly made the night before (with added hidden vegetables) and lunch for mummy too!
– Pasta salad, tossed in coconut oil (she loves it straight from the spoon!) with flaked tuna and diced cucumber.
– Carrot and Cucumber batons with homemade hummus (always have some on the go, so easy to make).
– Cheese, Cheddar, Gouda, Edam in any form, sliced, blocks, etc.
– Fruit pot, apple, blueberries, grapes (nothing that turns to mush with a bit of lunchbox shaking, e.g. raspberries!)
– Banana – bananas contain around 50% naturally occurring fructose, as well as glucose, sucrose and maltose. But they also contain valuable potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and manganese as well as good amount of vitamin C.  Bananas are even a source of omega 3!
– Greek yogurt with berries/banana, etc
– Homemade bars and balls – nut free versions (recipes coming soon) or if pressed for time Organix Carrot Cake bar.
– Plain Popcorn (we love).
– Savoury homemade muffins, with bacon and cheese or sweet potato or courgette and goats cheese (these are sugar free too).

Balanced, filling and easy to eat in the allotted time!  That’s the plan anyway, 

As the colder months approach I will want to send in hot food but if our school does not have any reheating facilities I either have to send in a flask or think again.

I would love to hear what your children love to see in their lunchboxes too!

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