If Back to School pressure wasn’t hectic enough between sorting uniforms, books, fees etc, we also have to make sure they have a lunchbox filled with food they will actually eat and that will keep them going until they get home.
But before you reach for the old reliable ham sambo, here are some suggestions to make lunch a bit more fun that will not only save you time and money but that might make this job a little easier too.
One thing I really don’t like as a mother and the school run is LUNCH, every single night I say to myself that I will prepare her lunch the night before but it never happens and 7am comes the next morning and there I am standing in my jimmies looking for the lid off the tupperware (don’t say you’ve never been there before).
I have put together a list of Lunchbox Hacks to make those mornings a little easier to get ready. This will definitely be a lifesaver for a mommy of multiple kids.
First off…..the FIVE key foods our little ones need.
- Carbs – to make sure they have enough energy until home time.
- Protein – to keep them fuller for longer and to help maintain their concentration levels. It doesn’t have to be meat/cheese – try including hummus, falafels, egg or tinned fish.
- Fat – omega 3’s are called essential for a reason! They help with brain development and happy hormone levels
- Fruit/Veg – full of antioxidants to help our little ones fight infection, try to include both and vary as much as possible (think rainbow!). Grating or adding dips can help with compliance.
- Drink – Water. Even mild dehydration can cause poor concentration, tiredness and tantrums.
Another thing I would recommend is this YUMbox. It is expensive but in my opinion so worth it. It is separated into 5 sections so you can make sure you aren’t forgetting one of the key foods and then has a tiny little section in the middle for a little treat. Who doesn’t like treats?
You can purchase it HERE from miramira.ie
1. Freeze Peanut Butter Sandwiches
Now before anyone says, I know some schools do not allow nuts due to some children having nut allergies but EllaMays school does allow it. Make peanut butter sandwiches ahead of time in a Freezer Bag and freeze. Take one out of the freezer each morning and it’s thawed and ready at lunchtime. This will save you so much time each morning by having sandwiches ready to grab and go. You could even add some Nutella or sliced bananas to it.
2. Use Elastic to keep your Apples Fresh
Cut your apple into slices and basically put it back together to look like it did before and put the elastic around it. It will save the apple going brown and prevent your child from turning it away.
3.Use Drinks as Ice Packs
Freeze Capri Suns to use as Ice Packs in Lunch boxes, this frees up space in your kids lunch boxes and also makes them lighter to carry. The drinks will thaw by lunchtime while still remaining cold and helping to keep food fresh.
4. Write Secret Messages in their Banana
Here’s a fun Lunchbox Treat you can use a toothpick to write a fun message in a Banana, as it starts to brown the message will be revealed
5.Use Skewers for Meat & Cheese
This is definitely a great idea. EllaMay is a huge fan of meat & cheese (billyroll being her absolute favourite) so these are right up her street. You should also check with your child’s school to see if its ok to make these and if not you can use straws or ice-pop sticks as a “sharpness” alternative.
6.Freeze Ice inside Your Water Bottle
I always send EllaMay to school with an ice-cold drink. Especially on days when she has P.E. Some Water Bottles are hard to get ice inside, you can fill a Water Bottle ¼ of the way full and then lay on it’s side and freeze. Then you can fill with water and the water stays cold as the ice melts. You can also buy specific ice cube(cylinder) trays too that slip straight into your water bottle. You can purchase them in home-store & more.
7.Use Cookie Cutters for fun
You can use Cookie Cutters to shape your sandwiches, fruit & cheese into fun Holiday Shapes and fun Characters. This is a great way to make lunches fun and encourage kids to eat them.
8.Lunch Box Smoothies
Make Smoothies with Fruits & Vegetables and freeze them, they will have a great slushy feel by the time they thaw slightly at Lunchtime. This is a great way to sneak in Nutrients into your kids lunches. You can store these in reusable silicone moulds so they can be eaten quickly and easily or store in a Thermos to keep cold until lunch.
9.Use Cupcake cases as Separators
Add some colour to your kids lunches using Silicone Cupcake Cases, these are inexpensive and easy to wash + they help keep foods separate and create additional dividers in your kids lunchbox.
10.Use Rolls or Hot Dog Buns to Create Sliders
This is also perfect for EllaMay because she loves the slider you can get in Eddie Rockets Diner.You can make Mini Sandwiches that fit perfectly in Lunch boxes and are great for kids by using dinner rolls or hot dog buns cut in half.
Hope you all had an AMAZING summer. I hope these tips are helpful because I know I am always tuck for fun ideas for lunch instead of a boring sambo and apple!
Till next time.