Here are some great lunchbox tips, tricks and hacks for busy families

Be Well food writer and busy mother of two Megan Wood has tried almost everything when it comes to putting together a healthy lunchbox her kids will eat. She shares her tips, ideas and tricks that have been tried and tested on her fussy duo.

Top tips

  • Encourage your kids to help pack their lunchbox
  • If something comes home uneaten ask why
  • Resist the urge to make the same thing day in and day out, even if they like it
  • Cut up large fruit like apples or oranges to make them easier to eat
  • Be a bit random – throw in a handful of chickpeas, olives or cherry tomatoes – you never know what they might eat
  • Make it fresh - making the lunch the evening before makes mornings easier but a sandwich that has been sitting in the fridge overnight is less likely to be eaten

Brain break/snack time

  • A piece of fruit is an obvious choice but if it is a dud it is getting left, so try cutting up pieces of a few different fruits so there is guaranteed to be something they like
  • If your school isn't nut-free then almonds or cashews can be a great idea, try your kid with mixed nuts first and see what they do/don't like
  • Bliss balls are a great high energy snack and you can make a big batch which means you have this part of their lunchbox sorted for the week (try these quinoa bliss balls and more recipes on Eat Well

Morning tea

  • Homemade muesli bars are a great idea and are usually very quick to bake, the kids might even help (try the beautiful bars recipe below or find more at eatwell.co.nz
  • Plain yoghurt with frozen berries – the berries keep the yoghurt cold #mumhack – prepare in small round reusable containers and save on waste
  • Veggie sticks and hummus or smashed avocado with lemon, carrot sticks dipped in peanut butter are surprisingly yum – they may not always get eaten but it feels like a huge win when they do.

Beautiful bars 

Get the recipe here.

Lunchtime

  • Sandwiches don't have to be a salad extravaganza, cheese and ham is fine, you can add balance in the rest of the lunchbox
  • Wraps make a great break from bread, choose wholemeal wraps if you can
  • Try a filled pita pocket, or toast pieces of pita bread in the oven with a little olive oil and salt and you have a healthy chip alternative
  • Deconstruct it – put all the makings of a sandwich in different compartments of a lunchbox along with some bread or a pita pocket and your kids can either build it themselves or eat the bits they like most
  • Bento it up with little bite-sized bits and pieces, in fact homemade sushi makes a great option here too (try your hand at Dr Libby's brown rice sushi, see below)
  • Some dinners lend themselves well to cold lunchbox goodies the next day.

Some ideas are: homemade pizza, fritters, falafel,quiche, vege samosas(find more recipes on Eat Well).

Brown rice sushi

Get the recipe here.

This article was first published on the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.