When I used to have a packed lunch when I was at primary school the contents were simple – sandwich or roll filled with ham, small packet of crisps, chocolate mousse, chocolate covered biscuit and a piece of fruit. I know some of my friends used to have jelly cubes straight out of the packet. There were no insulated lunch boxes and you wouldn't dream of drinking any water during the day except for what was provided in the metal jugs in the canteen.
Of course in the last 30 years the way people live their daily lives has changed considerably. Back then everyone seemed to walk to school and we all had a homemade cooked dinner in the evenings. Although we still adhere to this routine it's not possible for everyone so that's why every meal is much more important now.
At one point on our daily walk to school and back I would regularly see a bags of lovingly prepared sandwiches and fruit thrown away on the path. So you could think you are giving your child the best possible lunch but in fact it doesn't even make it to school let alone get eaten! The trick therefore is to get some understanding of what your child really wants for lunch and then coming to a agreement with a selection that is good for them. Easier said than done...
Recently Flora have done some research into what is going into the packed lunches of primary school children. Shockingly they have found that only 1.6% of the packed lunches that are being sent to primary schools are meeting the nutritional standards for school food. I know that opting for the cooked meal at school isn't necessarily the answer either with burgers, sausages, pizza plus fish and chips appearing on the menus of my children's school lunches.
Flora have been doing their best by offering a range of spreads which are lower in saturated fat to butter as well as being plant-boosted. Rather than being dairy-based Flora products have 100% of their oils from plants. They have also been busy putting together tips,a meal planner and a range of recipes to get those lunchboxes filled. To get your children not only eating a nutritious lunch but just eating something here's some more ideas to keep things interesting and healthy.
Different types of bread – Having the same type of white bread everyday isn't going to get many people looking forward to lunchtime. Today my daughter has gone to school with a multi-seeded roll. Keep a selection in the freezer so you can pull out what you need the night before.
Soup – If your child can take a flask to school think about a portion of warming soup. We make vegetable soup in the slow cooker that can be quickly heated up in the morning. By making a batch of it we can all have it at lunchtime.
Pasta – If can't take a flask think about some pasta in a tub. You can go simple with a classic mix of tuna and sweetcorn. Alternatively use up leftovers from the night before with a tomato sauce with vegetables in it.
Add extras - We have an allotment and have been lucky this year to have a near constant supply of freshly picked fruit and vegetables. It also means we've need ideas to use up gluts. Recently some of the other allotment holders gave us a cabbage and large onions. I added in some carrots and after quick whizz through the food processor and we had the base for coleslaw. You can have that on its own or as an extra in a sandwich filling.
Do you find packing a lunchbox a challenge? What are your tips for keeping them nutritionally balanced?
This post is an entry for the #FloraLunchbox Linky Challenge, sponsored by Flora. Check out their lunch planner and recipe ideas here.