Check out these top tips for a successful lunchbox:
- Try to encourage your child to make decisions about what they eat and chat with them before preparing their lunch
- Think about what your child likes to eat at home and try to translate that into a lunchbox option
- Foods should be simple and easy to prepare, ready to eat and appetising after several hours storage in the lunchbox
- Foods such as sandwiches can be prepared the night before or on the weekend, frozen, then taken for each day’s lunchbox
- It is important to keep offering healthy lunchbox choices in a variety of ways, as children learn to eat what is familiar to them.
Making sure it doesn’t come home
Many school children bring their lunch home with them at the end of the day, which can be frustrating. There may be a variety of reasons why your child does not eat all the food in their lunchbox. The following suggestions may be helpful:
- The lunchbox style: your child may have an issue with their lunch container. They might prefer a brown paper bag or want the latest fashion in lunch boxes to be like the other kids. It may be difficult for them to open
- Boredom: try to pack a different lunch every day. For younger children, cut the sandwiches in different ways to add interest: for example triangles, squares or strips. You could even use one slice of white and one slice of brown to make a ‘zebra’ sandwich. You could even add a little message from you in their lunchbox to brighten their day, and their lunch if they’re not going to be happy with what you snuck in
- Too dry: if they say the filling is too dry, try leaving a sandwich uncut. Some fillings like dips or cream cheese may stay fresher this way. If your child’s appetite seems small, offer smaller servings. For example, half a sandwich might be more appropriate than a whole one.
Lunchbox Food Safety
In most cases, food is stored in lunchboxes for several hours, so the lunchbox needs to stay cool. Food safety suggestions are outlined below:
- Pack the school lunch in an insulated lunchbox and include a small freezer brick or freeze a flavoured milk and pop it into the lunchbox to keep food cool. (A thermos will keep foods such as soup and pasta hot.)
- Frozen milk or small Kefalos yoghurts not only helps to keep the lunchbox cool but if packed with a spoon can be eaten as a slushie at lunchtime
- Follow hygienic food preparation methods. Before preparing your child’s lunch box, always wash your hands well with warm soapy water. Make sure all chopping boards and utensils are clean and dry. This is especially important when food will be stored in the lunchbox for many hours before eating
- Prepare lunches the night before and store in the fridge or freezer
- Waxed paper can be a better option for wrapping than plastic. It’s easier for children to manage (and less polluting)
- Always follow the ‘Use By’ and ‘Best Before’ dates and storage advice for dairy products
- Freeze tubs of yoghurt, by lunch or break time they should be semi-thawed and are a delicious cool snack.