Thursday, October 6, 2011

lunch box life lines

Like I mentioned in a previous post I've had a few light bulb moments lately on the lunchbox front. Here are a few things I like to send along. Our school has a strict no nut or fish policy.

Small food choices seem less overwhelming and more exciting to children so try reducing portion sizes and increasing options.
1 shelled boiled egg
8 grapes
1 thick slice of cheese sliced into 3 sticks
3 cherry tomatoes
2 slices of ham
1 lettuce leaf rolled up into a cigar shape
1 slice of buttered bread cut into two small sandwiches
3 rice crackers

Something else I've discovered is that my littles really like having a bit of a grown up lunch too. Leftovers like rice, beans, some thinly sliced spring onion and a creamy dressing all mixed together are always happily eaten up. Be sure to send a fork or spoon!

A small container of baked beans can sub in instead of a sandwich if sandwich fatigue is becoming a problem. Other sandwich sub ins can be sushi (if you practice it becomes really easy to make), tortilla sliced up into pizza shapes with a small side salad, corn chips with hommus and so on. I try to think of the nutritional equivalent and let my imagination flow.

To get my littles to eat salad successfully at school I've found that compartmentalizing each veggie leads to a win. A mish-mash of carrot, lettuce, tomato and sprouts looks icky to some little kids but if it's arranged into containers or zip lock bags suddenly it becomes exciting and they have the choice of eating what they like when. Doing it this way also stops the tomato from making everything soggy and limp. Apply the same thought to fruit salad. My favourite containers are the sistema klip it range. I buy mine from my local supermarket when they are on sale.

I like to pop my own pop corn too! Popcorn is really quite healthful it's just the junk that gets sprinkled on top that makes it wicked. So I popcorn then mix some dried cranberries through it to make it a little fun. A teeny tiny dash of cinnamon sugar will make it smell really sugary sweet but you know that it's just a little pinch. It tricks the nose and kids go crazy for it!

Finally try using a cookie cutter to make sandwiches look more fun. Use it on fruit and veg too! Your littles will appreciate the effort and imagination.