My biggest hack is trying to think of new creative and healthy ideas to pack for the kids for lunch. I have been on hundreds of websites for ideas, and to be honest with you, I know that if I packed those things for my kids they would come back home after school. So here are my suggestions.
Points to keep in mind when choosing snacks for school.
We live in a fairly warm climate and often school bags are left outside the classroom in the sun. Nobody finds a warm soggy sandwich appetizing.
Our children do not have access to microwaves, so last night’s dinner may not be great when it is cold.
Keep it simple, if you give them too many options, they will end up wasting. The common answer from a child when you ask them why they did not finish their lunch is that they did not have time. The reason is that they have the same amount of time to play and eat, so if they spend less time eating, they have more time to play and this is almost always the choice they will make.
Pack things individually so that if they do come home, they are not waisted. Twinsaver sells a pack of 100 plastic bags, they are not very expensive and they work nicely. I like to buy a big bag of items and then individually pack them, I find this is much cheaper than the individual packets, it also gives me the opportunity to pack smaller quantities.
Try and include the following:
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Fruit/Vegetables: These are always better served raw and fresh, you can either cut up pieces of fruit and put them in a separate Tupperware or you can add a banana, apple or naartjie’s and oranges. Fresh vegetable sticks are always a winner with a dipping sauce, if your child will eat them.
Dairy: yoghurt and cheese are great options for a lunch box, they are easy to package and provide all the dairy necessary. I love the gouger individually packed cheeses as they stay fresh for longer. Try and stick to full cream dairy products as the children need the fat. Fats are an integral part of every cell, they are used to make vitamin D and hormones, they protect the entire nervous system, and they also help to transport some vitamins into our bodies. The fat also aids in brain development.
Meat or Fish: This is where your child will receive most of their protein requirements from. Protein is known as building blocks and is needed to help the body grow. This also includes nuts and seeds. Eggs are a great source of protein, but not a great option for a lunch box. Rather choose chicken, tuna, ham, and sausages.
Complex Carbohydrates: Often a lunch box consists of sandwiches, but ensure that you make the correct choice when it comes to carbs. We get plenty of simple carbohydrates from milk fruit and sugar. Complex carbohydrates are also known as starch. Choose whole grain options as this will keep your child fuller for longer. This will also decrease sugar highs and lows. Instead of bread, you can always replace it with rice cakes, Pro Vita’s, whole grain snacker bread, Matzo’s, or home made muffins. I also like to use pita bread and fill it with chicken mayo or tuna mayo, it does not go soggy like sandwiches do. I also like to occasionally throw in a mini sausage roll, I keep them in the deepfreeze and cook them in the morning so they are still fresh. Individually packaged croissants are a treat for the kids and you can keep them in the deepfreeze until you need them.
Whole grain energy bars are also a great snack and they provide lots of energy, especially before sport.
Remember time is of the essence and so try and prep as much as you can the night before. If I am giving my children a hot dog in their lunch box, I like to wrap the sausage separate, cut the roll, and place a plastic knife, mini butter and sachet of tomato sauce in the lunch box so they can make it when they are ready instead of it going soggy.
If you find the lunch box continually coming home full, find out if you are giving them too much. If it is because they don’t like what they are getting, let them help you choose the items from your selected list. They will only have to do this once or twice before they find out that it is just easier to get what they get and don’t be upset.
Rather send water bottles than juice bottles, the quicker they get used to drinking water, the better chance they will have of liking it. I know I am also guilty of giving my children the odd soda, but remember the reason they should not drink soda is not just because the high sugar content, but the phosphoric acid in it. Phosphoric acid stops the absorption of calcium and furthermore it actually depletes the bones of calcium. Another scary fact about Phosphoric acid is that it is strong enough to clean a blocked drain or even a car battery, so imagine what it is doing to your child’s insides.
I hope you find this useful and your daily hack gets better. Plan ahead as it is far easier and saves a lot of time. If you need a little help with lunches, I came across this company and they look great, click on the link to find out more. The Lunch Box Company.
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