After the long, lazy days of the school summer holidays, the return to early morning starts can come as quite a shock when the new term begins. Being prepared is essential, especially when it comes to preparing a healthy, fun packed-lunch.
Children can be very good at changing their minds – one day they can’t get enough cucumber, the next day they can’t bear it – so it’s a good idea to involve them in the shopping and preparation process as much as possible so they know what to expect in their lunchbox.
Most importantly, a good packed-lunch should leave your child satisfied and ready for an afternoon of work and play at school, and since no-one likes the same old sandwiches day in, day out, make sure to offer them a wide choice. Ready-made supermarket lunchbox fillers are designed to save time, but can become very expensive, and the packaging can be harmful to the environment. Preparing food from scratch is usually more nutritious – and can save money too!
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Use a cookie cutter to make fun sandwich shapes, such as stars or dinosaurs
- Slice and core an apple, then put it back together as a whole and tie a rubber band around it to stop it from browning
- Cold pasta salad with ham, prawns, cheese or eggs makes a nice change from sandwiches
- Chewy, nutty flapjacks, packed with protein, will stop little tummies from rumbling
- Homemade fruit muffins, carrot sticks with hummus, or unsweetened popcorn with a drizzle of dark chocolate to make it decadent, healthy (and cheap!) snack
- Forget cartons of juice and pack your own fruit-infused water in a reusable bottle
- During the cold winter months, keep soups and pasta hot in a mini thermos
Mealtimes should be fun, especially at school, so be sure to invest in a bright, colourful lunchbox. Bibetta’s range of lunch bags open flat to act like a placemat, and are big enough to fit a lunch box, drinks bottle and a mid-morning snack. The thick neoprene material also insulates to help keep food at the right temperature for longer, and is machine washable – ideal for those inevitable messy yoghurt leaks!