Ok so the scenario is this, I am a nutritionist giving a talk on lunchbox ideas at Source Bulkfoods in Balgowlah in March. The ironic thing is, is that my kids are not lunch box eaters and have particularly fussy palates. The majority of the time the lunch box comes back ant ridden with squashed bananas, bruised strawberries and deconstructed cheese and crackers. Those delicious spelt Easter buns were eaten by a brush turkey who also happens to know how to undo zips and get into the school bag.
Does that sound familiar? Apart from being too busy to eat at breaks, two of my kids are very limited in what they like to eat. This makes lunch boxes a very mind bending experience. No matter how many discussions I have the questions go like this….
What would you like in your lunch box?
What do the other kids have in their lunch box that you would like?
Would you like to pack your own lunch box today? Here are a few ideas.
I figured if they put their own lunches together then they would eat it, but yet again a miserable fail. It keeps coming back whole.
Then when I find something that they like, I am so excited that I give it to them day after day only for them to get totally sick of it. I hear the words “mum, can I not have fried rice in my lunch today please”
So what do I do? I am not alone in this equation. After speaking to some other mums this is what I have come up with.
Accept the fact they are not lunch eaters and make sure that they go to school with a good breakfast and come home to healthy snacks and dinners - thanks Bonnie
Suggest that they eat their lunch when they get home or in the car on the way home from school before they are allowed anything else- thanks Rusty
Avoid having anything that is quick and unhealthy in the house as they will hunt them down after school. - thanks me
Keeping leftovers in the fridge is perfect for those humongous after school appetites. Spaghetti bolognese, fried rice, healthy apple crumble or even a chocolate avocado mousse are great options that you can have in the fridge where you can hide lots of goodness in the mixture without them even knowing! It all depends on how much time you want to spend in the kitchen and how creative you want to get.
So in an ideal world what would a lunch look like?
For me, I love bento boxes. The food looks amazing and it takes away the boredom of sandwiches.
I always like to fill them with a good balance of macronutrients: Protein, carbohydrates and fats that wonderful balance to keep their minds alert and their bodies still.
Some protein ideas might be: mini frittatas, homemade sausage rolls, wraps with leftover roast meats, salad and mayo, cheese and biscuits, protein balls made with oats and seeds, shredded meats, sliced turkey rolled up and perhaps a thermos with leftovers from dinner the night before.
Carbs might include some chopped up fruit, chopped up vegetables, homemade muffin or wholegrain bread….
Fats might be a serve of plain greek yoghurt to have with the fruit, cheese, boiled egg, avocado etc….
I try to limit anything sweet, because I figure that this will cause their blood sugar levels to spike which can lead to a whole lot of learning challenges. My rule of thumb is: If they don't eat their lunch there are no yummy homemade cakes and fancy breads or healthy muesli bars in their lunch box. They can have that when they have had something healthy to eat.
Lunch boxes all depend on your kids food choices. I celebrate any child who will eat a salad for lunch. I just wish they were mine then this blog would be a bit different.
My life saving grace is the canteen at school. I am so lucky that they make all the lunches there from butter chicken to chia pudding and fortunately my kids love nearly everything that they make. Yes, I am incredibly lucky. After spending a few shifts helping out, I came to the conclusion that they are really cooking and making beautiful food for the kids.
So with that in mind, it has taken the angst out of what to have on some mornings of the week, the rest of the time I just make sure that they go to school with a good breakfast in their belly and something in their lunch box that they like whether it be fried rice or leftovers in the thermos, cut up fruit, cheese and cracker or spelt hot cross buns. I just hope the brush turkey isn't around.
I am Krys Lojek, Nutritionist at 2/294 Sydney Rd, Balgowlah. I see people from all walks of life and help them to learn about great food choices that will help them feel and think so much better. Check out www.kryslojeknutrition.com or you can book an appointment with me using this link https://calendly.com/krys-phn
Krys, Lojek Nutritonist