Thursday, 4 August 2016

Tips for Easy and Tasty Packed Lunches

I've been making packed lunches for Zachary to take to school for the last 5 years. Charlotte gets a free school dinner under the free school lunches initiative here in Scotland, which is great, because I know she's getting the chance to try different things and eat something that is nutritious and tasty. Zachary also has a school dinner once a week because I have found that packed lunches can become quite mundane. It can be hard to think of fun lunches 4 days a week that are tasty but also healthy to keep Zachary energised and focused for learning.

Packed lunches can also take time to prepare so the biggest tip I can give is to prepare it the night before. Anything that can be kept inside the packed lunch box inside the fridge can go in that night and all the cupboard items or dried items can sit on the kitchen counter, so they are ready to put in in the morning before his lunch box goes in his bag. Invest in some good ice packs to place inside the lunch box to keep everything cool; there's nothing worse than hot yoghurt!

Getting clever with your storage is another tip. I have stackable Tupperware which enables me to add little bits of fruit, vegetables or cocktail sausages and saves space in the lunch box.

I try and change up his packed lunch every week so that he has something different to try and so he doesn't get bored of eating the same things. Here is what Zachary will usually have in his lunch box:
  • A sandwich with cheese
  • A banana
  • A yoghurt
  • Raisins
  • Grapes
  • Cocktail sausages or a Pepperami
Occasionally I will add in a packet of cookies or crisps as a treat. Zachary really only likes a cheese sandwich unless I've got the "good ham" in then he'll take some of that with a bit of lettuce in Caesar dressing. You can mix it up a bit by alternating what bread you use, for example, I usually buy 50/50 but I've given him seeded breaded, wholemeal bread, pitta bread, wraps, bagels and sandwich thins. Fillings can be anything from ham and cheese to tuna with mayo, chicken, many combinations to make for a tasty lunch. 

Zachary can be quite fussy when it comes to fruit and will only really eat a banana and grapes. He likes an apple every now and again but he wouldn't eat a whole one at school; he's too eager to get outside. And from working in a school, the kids are so keen to get out to play, keeping the packed lunch to small, quick food bits means they are more likely to eat everything. Things like slices of cheese, grapes, strawberries, carrot or cucumber sticks with a humus dip and even a boiled egg are good, healthy snacks. 

These are just some of the bits I like to add to a packed lunch.

Hartley's have a great selection of small pots of jelly (115g) that make for a really tasty treat whilst having no added sugar.These are a great alternative to yoghurts; my Mother-in-law has one every day for her packed lunch at work to mix in with her strawberries and raspberries. My two love them because they love having a jelly to themselves.

Hartleys are offering you the chance to collect 12 green lids from their jelly pots and exchange them for a Hartleys lunchbox and stickers. This is such a bright and fun lunch box that kids will love personalising with the stickers. Charlotte has already made hers her own by spelling out the names of horses she loves. It's such a sturdy lunch box too which means a lunch inside won't get squashed whilst in your child's bag like a material lunch box might.

This post is an entry for Britmum #HartleysYourLunchbox Linky Challenge, sponsored by Hartley's Jelly.

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