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How I pack a nutritious school lunch box

Been sharing quite a few of the lunchboxes I make for Jet on my instastories recently (@brownpapernutrition) and I’ve had so much lovely feedback, so I thought best to just pop them on here for reference.

As a nutritionist and having been in clinic with children I am most definitely aware of how different kids are with eating, what pleases one may not please the next and to be honest may totally disgust another. But, that doesn’t mean we give up and simply serve them just what they’ll eat to ensure they eat.

If you don’t expose your kids to new foods you’ll never know if they’ll try it and even if they hate it one week, the next week they may see one of their mates eating it and decide they’re open to it and then the game changes. Make sense?

Consistently show your kids a variety of foods so they are exposed to them, so that they learn, try, sometimes reject, but try again and ultimately one day they like it.

Also, don’t take on parent guilt if your lunchbox isn’t ‘pure’, ‘perfect’, ‘organic’ just get good quality foods in there, and experiment a bit, aiming for less of the processed foods. Yes there are a lot of terrible foods marketed to parents and kids alike, and yes there will be the purists, but if you just do your best for a healthy balanced lunch you’re on the right track.

You’ll see a bit further into the blog and images below we have some packaged foods in our lunches, but sometimes I, like lots of other parents, don’t have the time to make snacks, or it’s reaching the end of the week so we have a few back ups in the cupboard to see us through.

Plus by not trying to make the lunchbox too pure (per se – I’m not sure how else to put it!)  it means kids don’t feel that wretched resentment that they’re missing out on something. Best to expose them to all foods and let them know they can enjoy them, and in the long term give them the independence to make the right food choices for themselves. You hear me? Just do your best. We parents grew up in an era where there wasn’t as much processed and refined foods available and our parents made our lunches as so – revisit those ideas yeah?

Alright so here goes some of our lunch boxes:

Note: The larger box is Jet’s main lunch the small one morning tea / recess, it’s probably a bit heavier than a plastic one, but I prefer less plastic in our lives. Oh and these ones (they’re called Lunchbots) just look awesome too, so I kind of have a bit of fun packing them!

LUNCHBOX #1:

Morning tea: cherry golden tomatoes, tamari seeds, rice crackers, home made fruit wraps

Crunch n sip: carrot sticks

Lunch: wholemeal sandwich with vegemite and cheese plus a mandarin. Jet recently decided he liked vegemite and cheese which was bizarre because until now he’s hated vegemite. He tried one of his mates lunches at school and boom there was the interest! Random right?!?! So is that combo, but each to their own. Vegemite in my world is fundamentally weird. One of my lovely community / followers mentioned they make their own vegemite using tahini and tamari – I’m yet to try!


LUNCHBOX #2:

Morning tea: Jelly gummies honey and lemon, apple, cheese, homemade oat and raisin cookies

Lunch: kind of a picnic – organic beef sausages, rice crackers, carrots, olives, tomatoes. Admittedly the lettuce came home, I’m ok with that though as the rest was eaten and Jet loves greens otherwise.

Crunch n sip: red capsicum – it’s one of the sweeter vegetables and the perfect way to get veggies in

 

LUNCH BOX #3: 

Morning tea: fresh strawberries, jelly gummies made with watermelon juice and the other is raspberry coconut milk, cherry tomatoes, home made cookies, Chobani yoghurt (this isn’t a sponsored post) which is one of our few packaged items we keep to pop in lunches

Lunch: Wholemeal sandwich with tuna and avocado, lettuce and kiwi fruit. Lettuce eaten today – Jet seems to like the ice berg more than other curly lettuce, maybe the crunch factor!

Crunch n sip: carrots

LUNCHBOX #4:

Morning tea: orange, homemade muesli cookies (Jet actually gave me feedback he prefers less of the dried fruit in the cookies and like more the plain oat and sultana or good ole anzacs), cucumber, jelly gummies

 

Lunch: wrap with feta, tomato, lettuce, piece of cheese and some persimmon.

Crunch n sip: carrot sticks

LUNCHBOX #5

Morning tea: class put on the morning tea so it was just lunch needing packing

Lunch: tomato, feta, spinach sandwich on the charcoal buns leftover from our catering (Brown Paper Kitchen) olives, cheese, snow peas, dried apple

Crunch n sip: mandarin and cucumber

LUNCHBOX #6

Morning tea: homemade anzac cookies (winner all the time) made with olive oil as I didn’t have any butter on hand, olives, home made fruit wraps, carrot, Chobani

Lunch: Toasted cheese, rocket and tuna sandwich on sourdough, apple

Crunch n sip: cucumber

LUNCHBOX #6: how our lunches sometimes look as the week ends and we are low on home made snacks

Morning tea: popcorn, yoghurt, mandarin

Lunch: toasted cheese and pesto sandwich on sourdough, I found a sprouted sourdough and Jet wouldn’t have known, carrot sticks, and tomato cut in a star because fun food is often better received – try it!

Crunch n sip: capsicum sticks

LUNCHBOX #7

Morning tea: olives, capsicum, honey and lemon jelly gummies, apple

Lunch:organic sausages, charcoal bun with organic butter, tomatoes and lettuce

Crunch n sip: carrots

Afternoon tea: tamari almonds, home made fruit wrap, trying out the puffed chickpeas (Jet loved them, nice solution for a lil protein pick me up for arvo tea!) and a banana. The arvo tea didn’t go to school with him, it came to work with me, so that when I picked him up I had it on hand for snacking before sport. Unfortunately but also understandably for allergy reasons, nuts are not allowed in Jet’s school so I try to get them in outside of those hours.

LUNCHBOX #8:

Morning tea and crunch n sip only featured here as we did a lunch order for lunch. Lucky to have a great school tuck shop that serve up chicken stir fry, surfs up lunch boxes with boiled eggs and veggies, or pesto pasta (no nuts)

Morning tea: tomato, fruit wrap, kiwi fruit, yoghurt.

Crunch n sip: carrot sticks

Jelly gummies you’ve seen featured throughout vary based on what ingredients we have in the house. An abundance of lemons from my parents tree recently meant honey lemon were on, but if oranges and watermelon are in season we’ll use those. If we are running low on fruit and have frozen berries in freezer then we’ll defrost and use them! Same ratio for all of them and in particular in winter or cooler months they last just fine in the lunchbox. There are recipes over HERE for them…  The varieties below are watermelon and the other is coconut milk with raspberries. We’ve made them with greek yoghurt and some honey to sweeten before too – they were delish!


Jacqueline Alwill

Jacqueline Alwill, is an accredited nutritionist, author, founder of Brown Paper Nutrition and recently launched vegetarian meal delivery service Brown Paper Eats She is passionately committed to improving the health and wellbeing of individuals and families. Jacqueline is mum to her 8 year old boy - Jet.

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