Looking for some inspiration for back-to-school or even back-to-work lunches? Our food writer Libby Kimber has you covered with some delicious, nutritious and simple ideas to try as we jump into 2021.
It can be hard to keep lunchtime fresh, exciting and interesting – especially if you’re making lunches for the kids at school. George Georgievski – or ‘Lunchbox Dad’ as he is known through his Instagram @schoollunchbox – has shared a few tips for creating lunches and snacks the kids will love.
George suggests starting to use the lunchbox before the term starts, especially if your little ones are going to school for the first time: “there are too many daunting new things at school, and you don’t want their lunchbox to be one of those.”
When it comes to preparing for their lunches, take the kids grocery shopping, where they can choose the fruits and vegetables they’d like to eat for the week.
“Let them see what’s on offer to spark their curiosity about food and eagerness to try new things,” says George. “It also teaches them respect for fresh produce.”
If you can, it could also be fun to try and grow your own produce such as tomatoes to include in the kids’ lunches.
“Teach them early just how long it takes to grow fresh produce, they’ll appreciate them much more!” says George.
He also recommends using familiar favourites like two-minute noodles: “I like to wrap them around baked veggies for a delicious crunchy delight!” George uses the two-minute wholegrain noodles from Maggi to ensure the kids are getting some fibre.
In terms of ‘fun’ foods, try to keep away from things like chocolate bars and chips. Instead, give low-salt popcorn or pretzels a try, or even fruits like passionfruit. George says he often bakes some treats to include in his kids’ lunchboxes, because “the best school lunches are ones made with love!”
Remember the number five – pack three types of veg and two types of fruit in the lunchbox each day, keeping it simple with things like carrot sticks, mini cucumbers and cherry tomatoes.
“This will ensure they get their nutrients and vitamins for the day,” George says.
“Make a rainbow – incorporate colour into the kids’ lunchboxes that will entice them, as kids eat with their eyes – think bright fresh produce (not snack wrappers).”
Sandwiches are, of course, a great option too, and you can definitely get a bit creative! George sometimes makes little sandwiches in the shape of spring rolls, dumplings and ravioli with different fillings.
It can also be a good idea to pack lunch in a cooler bag with an ice pack to keep everything cool and fresh, especially in the warmer months.
For keeping cool and staying hydrated throughout the day, you can’t go past a bottle filled with good old H2O for the schoolyard, office and everywhere in between.