Struggling to come up with ideas for school lunches the kids will actually eat? Look no further. By Lisa Witepski
More than a simple snack, your child’s lunchbox goodies are all that’s standing between them having an energy-packed, fun-filled day, or battling with flagging concentration. Nonetheless, you’ve probably opened the lunchbox on more than one occasion, only to find that the sandwiches you so carefully prepared are still inside their untouched wrappers.
Try out some of these ideas to fuel their enthusiasm about breaktime snacking:
First, get the basics right. Those uneaten sandwiches aren’t a complete waste: they’re an insight into what your child doesn’t want to eat.
- Now that you know peanut butter isn’t on their top 10, look at how your food is packaged. Pinterest moms will tell you that Bento boxes are the way to go, because they compartmentalise snacks easily (no fruit dripping onto bread sticks, for example), and take away the need for fiddly wrappers.
- Give a little thought to the container itself: chances are, if you invest in a snazzy design, your child will be more eager to open it.
- Finally, don’t forget to make things easy on yourself. It’s always more convenient to prepare lunch the night before, but this means that you need to choose foods that will bear up well overnight (and that won’t become bacteria breeding grounds during the school day).
What’s in the box?
Obviously, you want to include lots of keep-awake protein, some nutrient-packed veggies and energy-boosting carbs.
- Food on sticks is always a hit, because of the novelty factor: try fruit kebabs, chunks of mozzarella skewered with tomato or chicken sosaties.
- Biltong or dried wors include a shot of protein (and, as an added bonus, the chewiness provides good stimulation for kids battling with sensory processing).
- Fritters are a good way to sneak veggies into the diet: try corn or butternut varieties.
- Dips can also shake up textures and make snacks like raw veggies more appealing: try cherry tomatoes dipped in hummus or tzytziki with carrot sticks.
- Puree fruit and stir into plain yoghurt – it’s just as sweet and creamy as the flavoured variety, but it ranks more highly on the health scale.
- Quesadillas (tortillas stuffed with cheese and chicken, for example, then toasted) are great handheld snacks, without the sogginess of sandwiches.
In her 16 years as journalist, Lisa Witepski’s work has appeared in most of South Africa’s leading publications, including the Mail & Guardian, Sunday Times, Entrepreneur and Financial Mail. She has written for a number of women’s magazines, including Living & Loving, Essentials and many others, across topics from lifestyle to travel, wellness, business and finance. She is a former acting Johannesburg Bureau Chief for Cosmopolitan, and former Features Editor at Travel News Weekly, but, above all, a besotted mom to Leya and Jessica. Lisa blogs at whydoialwayscravecake.blogspot.com and lisa.witepski.blogspot.com, and tweets at @LisaWitepski.