10 great tips for thinking outside the lunchbox

With school back in full swing and mothers, fathers and carers working back into a routine the weekly lunch menus are now up for debate. Now, just hearing that our nation’s lunchbox staple the vegemite sandwich has taken a kick from nutritionists for its lack of sustenance and nutritional value for our growing children, it’s a challenge for all parents to come up with healthy ideas that don’t come in colourful crackly plastic.  So while the clock ticks and amongst the morning hustle and bustle in getting out the door here are a few lunch ideas for the whole family to enjoy.

If you would like even more information come along to one of my specialised cooking classes for inspiration.

We have demonstration and hands on classes with ‘Kids Cooking in the Kitchen’ Booked Out (7 April), ‘Kids cooking’ and ‘Thinking outside the lunchbox’ (14 April and one for adults 15 April), and ‘Food for picky eaters’ (14 April).

Click here for my cooking class schedule.

Here’s my tips for healthy, interesting lunchboxes:

1. Make a plan, set up a menu and get organised.

2. Avoid highly processed meats, cheeses, and drinks.

3. Opt to save the lollies, dried fruit bars, chips, chocolates for special occasions on the weekend and encourage your family and children to eat healthy better choice foods during the week.

4. Mix up the breads with rye lavosh wraps. Corn, pink or green vegetable tortillas are great for colour. Seeded and multigrain breads and bread rolls and mini bagels are handy and not so messy.

5. Rice paper rolls and sushi are a great alternative and can be made the night before. Fillings can include chopped chicken, grated apple, avocado, lettuce with a light mayonnaise, curried egg with spinach, tuna mixed with sour lite cream and corn, diced vegetables and salsa.

6. Instead of sugary jams and chocolate pastes opt for firm ricotta blended with banana and cinnamon or whole nut spreads with sultanas and lettuce.

7. Other bread spreads ideal for a savoury lunch include hummus, tzatziki, salsa, pesto and low fat cream cheese.

8. Use left over vegetables and meat. Dice up and mix with rice, pasta or cous cous for a healthy salad.

9. For snacks, try toasted pita bread, rice crackers of corn thins with low fat dip, cubed cheese and cherry tomatoes; home popped pop corn, savoury muffins, vegetable slices or whole meal fruit muffins.

10. I encourage you to get your children involved in the baking of muffins, healthy slices and to select and create their favourite healthy snack to take to school.

Variety in all aspects of the lunch box is the key to keeping you and your family happy, and healthy too. I’m sure you will discover that the lunch box chore will soon become a pleasure.

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