School lunches top tips on what to pack

When I first started to pack school lunches, I would have a mild panic attack about what to put in the lunchboxes! Then I still had to balance that with what the kids would actually eat, and what the school allows!

Now, a few years into the lunch world, I have become quite good at it! I also get ideas from the kids. Just ask yours what the other kids get for lunch!

Here are a few handy guidelines:

  1. It must be easy for the kids to eat. Kids would rather play than eat!
  2. Make sure the kids can open the packaging. For example: peel the naartjies, and if you give fruit sticks, put them in another container, as the fruit sticks are too difficult to open.
  3. Buy a little ice pack for the cooler bag. It helps to keep the food cool, especially during the hotter months.

What to pack:

  • Sarmies/Provitas:

Two years ago, my kids would only eat butter sarmies. That was a long few months for me! Now, luckily, as they have gotten older we have expanded our sarmie base!

I usually pack a brown bread sarmie with ham and cheese. I like this combination as the kids really enjoy it, and I know they are getting protein at lunch. I also sometimes send provitas instead of bread, also with ham and cheese. To make things more exciting you can cut your sandwich into a shape.

On a Friday I will make chips rolls or a hotdog for the kids. Hooray for Friday!

  • Fruit:

I have learned over the years, that not every fruit is equal when it comes to being packed in a lunch bag!

Apples just don’t work for us, as they usually come back half eaten and brown. (The parrot gets that apple, so he is usually happy on those days.)

A banana is a hit and miss, as if it is not eaten, it can go brown after being in the bag the whole day!

My son absolutely loves mango in his lunchbox, and I usually pack him some mango and add in a serviette!

My favourite fruit to add is grapes. They are a high-energy food and really easy to eat. If the kids don’t finish them, they don’t go off in the lunch box.

  • Dried fruit:

Occasionally I pack dried fruit. The sugar content is usually high, but if the kids are having a long day with extra mural activities, then it is a great snack, as it has a lot of energy, and is easy to eat. Raisins also work well as a dried fruit snack.

  • Protein:

A very easy protein is biltong or salami sticks. Often this is what they will eat on the way home from school.

Occasionally I will try my luck with a boiled egg.

Twice a week I will pack a yoghurt. I find that my kids don’t eat it if it is packed everyday! Remember to pack a spoon!

  • Other snacks:

With the other snacks, my kids vary quite a bit. For my daughter, who is 6, I will pack a rusk or a granola bar on a dancing day, as she finishes quite late.

My son, who is 4, will prefer a small white cheese, cucumber and carrots.

The mini rice cakes covered in yoghurt also make a wonderful and easy snack.

I will also pack some popcorn for the kids twice a month

  • Juice or water:

Once a week, on tennis day for my daughter, I will pack a fruit juice for her. Otherwise they get a big bottle of water for school everyday.

How to pack the bag:

I tend to feel super accomplished once I have packed the cooler bags!  I first pack the lunch box in first then pack around! It is like a game of Tetris!

Make sure that you use containers that the kids can open. Some of the cheaper containers are very tricky for kids to open without using their teeth! I find tubs with a screw on/off lid works well.

Mark everything so you can find your containers in the lost and found!

Good luck!

Contributed by Charmaine Papazian of Clamber Club Babies Craighall Park
Cell: 073 165 4759
Email: craighallbabies@clamberclub.com 
Website: www.clamberclub.com

 

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