Jet’s lunchbox this week and more lunchbox friendly ideas
As a mum and nutritionist, I aim for nutrient balance throughout the course of the day, if I know Jet’s had eggs for breakfast and we’re having a good source of protein for dinner such as fish, then I’m happy to pop a lesser amount of protein in his lunch, whilst still ensuring there is some – fava beans, chickpeas to nibble on, cheese or greek yoghurt for instance.
If protein has been absent in brekky in favour of something like porridge or toast then I ensure it’s present in lunch – leftovers from last night’s dinner such as sausages or tuna salad.
There are always plenty of veggies in Jet’s lunch, fibre is one of the most important nutrients to help stabilise and slow the release of energy throughout the course of the day and the majority of Australian kids actually don’t eat enough of it – now especially when there are so many processed foods available and ‘convenient’ to pack.
Speaking of veggies – Jet’s school does CRUNCH N SIP which is an initiative encouraging kids to enjoy fresh vegetables, fruit and water at specific breaks during class as nominated by the teacher and I think its wonderful, not to mention the kids really enjoy it! If it’s not at your school, look into the government initiative and maybe you can be the one to action it. It’s a great reminder for parents on their snacks for the day too. If packing for the kids, why not pack some for you so you’re not caught out?
As you’ll see, I still include treats – home baked cookies, slices, muffins or cupcakes, jellies, loaves, bliss balls. Because how bored and deprived of your childhood snacks would you feel without them?!?!?! We’ve all been kids, treats are important to them, heck they’re important to everyone! I bake or make something on a Sunday that will essentially last the week and have a few extras in the cupboard for when I run out.
Finally – not everyday is salads and sourdough sandwiches, just like you I run out of food or haven’t been as organised for the week at times. I have back ups for these days such as Rye or Buckwheat Cruskits, Vita Wheat, Corn Thins, frozen bread to make toasties etc or it’s lunch order day and again because the worst we can do is be hyper strict on our kids food from too young an age (this will ONLY MAKE THEM REBEL AGAINST US when they have the time – trust me) I let Jet make the choice on lunch order day. Make food fun – whether it’s the nourishing food on the week’s you’re super prepared, or on the days when you actually don’t have your s#[email protected] together – because parent life is just frankly like that sometimes – let them have some ownership and fun with it too. 80/20 is a great rule for life!
Now without too much more waiting – here are a few of the yummy lunches and ideas and recipes I’ve been using to make them. Hover over the titles for recipe links.
- Fruit and vegetables or at least one feature then we make a treat to have in there with it
- Blueberry Banana Bread (made with spelt flour)
- Anzac cookies
- Hidden veggie cookies
- Nut free lunchbox friendly choc muesli bars
- Sweet potato brownies (never pick that there’s sweet potato!)
- Lunchbox friendly berry crumble muesli bars
- Banana oat cookies
- Jelly gummies
- Fava beans
- Toasty chick peas
- Piece of cheddar
- Some pieces of organic tofu – Jet loves it.
- Always vegetables in there – no negotiation on that
- Current favourites – steamed potatoes (when potatoes are steamed and cooled they are great source of resistant starch to fuel the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut) with salad and a protein – this week we’ve gone with tuna on day and leftover chicken schnitzel on the other (just pack a freezer block into the lunchbag to keep cool and fresh)
- In the salad plenty of greens, red capsicum which is a bit sweeter, and a source of healthy fat such as extra virgin olive oil or avocado
- Other sandwich favourites are :
- avocado and cheese
- carrot / cheese / sprouts
- tuna/sprouts / avocado
- tomato, rocket and avocado
- toasties with cheese, tomato – I do these in the morning then wrap in foil
- Cruskits or vita wheat with vegemite on the days we are a bit short!
- Sushi with avocado, tuna and cucumber – I use combo brown rice and white rice sushi and mash some avocado into it to make it more sticky, I usually pop edamame in there if I have on hand and Jet loves Kale chips even if they’re soggy from cooking the night before
- Any leftovers that we can throw into either salads or sandwiches work a treat too, or the picnic style with sliced sausages, cooked organic tofu, cauliflower schnitzel ( mad for it! It’s super tasty but we also don’t make it often so it’s kind of a treat too…) frittata or pieces of cheese with some vegetables and plain crackers.
- Pasta salad with chickpeas or butter beans – love butter beans, bit more juicy than lentils and easy for finger food (I cringe at the dirty little fingers picking through food but anyway…) we usually use a spelt pasta or a combination brown rice and quinoa penne as the pulse pastas don’t seem to keep that well cold.
I hope this has given you a little inspiration – just do your best, it’s not always going to be super adventurous but we really can have such an impact on the nutrition and way our children experience food by being creative with their lunchbox so I encourage you to aim for some more explorative lunches at school throughout the week when you can – pack yours while you’re at it too – wins for all!