Lunchbox Inspiration

Daily inspiration can be hard to find when you’ve been on the lunchbox treadmill for a few months, I can’t begin to imagine how soul-sucking it must feel after years and years and multiple kids! Thanks Mom, you were a trooper!

I’m here as a shoulder to cry on and hopefully give you some fresh ideas and inspiration to bring back a bit more oomph and lunchbox lovin’ to our lives. This is what I’ve learnt so far…

Adjust your expectations

My son has just transitioned to Kindy (grade R) and virtually overnight his lunchbox consumption halved! I was frustrated and fed up as this was a kid who used to devour two lunchboxes at pre-school only a few months earlier. So, what changed?

In pre-school the teachers managed lunchtime and therefore eating time a lot more than they do now in “big school”. Now he is no longer required to sit down and eat family-style with his peers and it’s now at his discretion to prioritise eating his lunch over playing with his friends the whole time. Fat chance, he’s 5!

So I’ve changed things up a little…

Keep it simple

I make sure he gets a really good breakfast in each morning. To the tune of two eggs on rye bread, followed by more toast and if he’s still hungry (yes I deworm him) he can have muesli or quinoa pops. This kid can eat! Realistically young kids only ever eat 2 out of 3 meals a day anyway.  So I pack the bare basics for his school lunch, being mindful that he’s more likely to prioritise grab ‘n go food over stuff that requires sitting down to eat. When he gets back home in the afternoon I offer him any lunchbox leftovers because I’m allergic to food waste, otherwise he has to hold out until dinner.

As a self-proclaimed “Crunchy Mom” I’d love his lunchbox to be all about quinoa and kale salad, but it’s just not realistic in the world of school lunchboxes on the playground. So now I save the quinoa and kale for dinner. He hasn’t run away from home yet…

I break it up into three sections which helps me find a balance between healthy and convenience. That way I don’t feel like I’m compromising my efforts to feed him the good stuff and he doesn’t have to shame eat brusselsprout stew in the toilet. This is what I’ve found works well:

Something fresh:

  • Fresh berries*
  • Veggie crudites – carrot, cucumber & capsicum (red pepper)
  • Finger friendly salad (cherry tomatoes, baby mozzarella balls, chopped basil leaves)
  • Celery sticks stuffed with seed butter
  • Tomato wedges
  • Apple chocolate tahini boats

(I leave strawberries whole as I find they hold up better on the rollercoaster ride that is a lunchbox in a school bag. But they seem to get eaten more reliably than if I chop them up. Less chopping, more eating. Win! Win!)

Something nibbly:

  • Veggie crisps
  • Dates stuffed with seed butter
  • Popcorn
  • Rice cakes
  • Raisins & dried cranberries
  • Toasted seeds
  • Kale chips
  • Date balls
  • Dehydrated apple and pineapple rings

Something grab n’ go:

  • Wraps
  • Sourdough sandwiches
  • Muffins
  • Secret veggie cupcakes
  • Frittata
  • Bacon & egg cups
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