At the beginning of every year, the mums who work in the clinic are sharing ideas about what to put into their kids lunchbox. So we have been pouring over the photos in the ebook “The Clever Packed Lunch.” The photos are of full of lunchboxes with a mixture of home made food, deli items and some plain salad food. We think it should be straight forward to come up with a plan because we’ve been feeding the child their whole life but it’s not easy. It’s got to be something that won’t go off by lunchtime and something your child will want to eat. What we want is quick, appealing, healthy and we want to try to avoid packaging. And for parents working full-time, making healthy school lunches five days a week can be a real challenge. First of all, the solution lies in planning and preparation, and a reliable resource of recipes and food ideas. Probably easier said than done.
Some of our “packed lunch” thoughts inspired by the book:
You don’t want to overdo the preserved meats and ham because of the preservatives
Easy to manage – button mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, chunks of cucumber, crunchy capsicum, little carrots
A balance of all the food groups
Deli items – olives, dates, dried figs
Bliss balls – lots of yummy healthy recipes available at the moment
For some children they are likely to be more hungry at morning tea than lunch, pack more food for then. Have a snack ready for school pick up. Essentially, go with the flow for when they are most likely to be hungry, and make sure they have a good amount of food during this time
If they want the same lunch everyday then offer that. They are more likely to eat it then
Little containers of left-overs from last nights dinner are great in a packed lunch (cook extra and even think about freezing portions)
Rubbing lemon on cut apples will help to stop them going brown
Don’t forget containers of soy sauce or sweet chilli if that’s what your child likes
Take the stress out of eating. Don’t create a fear of foods, because there’s so much about what we should and shouldn’t be eating
Consequently, our clinic likes to recommend the ebook The Clever Packed Lunch by Hazel Key because it offers a simple, efficient system for providing healthy packed lunches for busy families. Edited and approved by a Nutritionist, the book includes 25 recipes and a complete two-week lunch menu, all photographed in colour. Here is one recipe from the book.
Chicken and Sesame Toasties
This recipe makes up to 18 servings.
500g (1 lb. 2 oz.) lean minced chicken, not previously frozen
2 cloves minced garlic
2 teaspoons fresh minced ginger
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (fresh leaf coriander)
2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
1 large loaf sliced multi-grain wholemeal bread (our note: you can use gluten free bread of course)
3/4 cup sesame seeds
- Combine the chicken with the next four ingredients listed
- Divide the mix between the slices of bread and spread to the edges
- Spread sesame seeds on a flat surface and press the bread, chicken side down, into the seeds to coat the chicken
- Freeze them in their own, separate, sealed container in layers with non-stick baking paper between the layers (raw meat must not be stored in the same container as cooked foods
- Remove from the freezer 30-60 minutes before cooking
- For cooking there are two options:• Toasting (preferred): Place the toasts, chicken side down in a lightly oiled pre-heated sandwich toaster (or under a medium grill) until the chicken is cooked through and browned a little. Frying: Heat about 2 tablespoons oil in a frying pan on a medium-high heat until hot. Shallow fry, chicken side down first, until golden, before lightly frying the other side. Drain on absorbent paper.
A growing child is developing habits that will stay with them for life; now is the time to establish healthy eating; it’s one of the greatest gifts you can give to your children.
Easy recipe for meatballs with spinach (which are great for a lunchbox) is in this blog: Guidelines about how to pack a healthy lunch.
A yummy blueberry egg pudding/muffin recipe: Are school lunches the key to academic excellence