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