Keeping school lunches interesting for the kids needn’t be a difficult task.
CityLine.ca turned to the Sweet Potato Chronicles gals, Ceri Marsh and Laura Keogh, for some lunchtime inspiration — and we found it!
“You can really look at a kid’s lunch as a mini buffet table, where you can fill it up with lots of cut vegetables, fresh-made hummus, pita, maybe a side of cold pasta salad left over from the night before, and some fruit,” Keogh says. “Kids can get a little ho-hum with their lunches, as much as we can with making them.”
Adds Marsh: “You want to make sure you’ve got some fruit, and yes it might come home or it might go in the garbage, but, send it. Then you want to include water. I’m not interested in drinks. If you pack a canteen full of cold water, it will help insulate, but also I just think that’s what kids should be drinking.”
That’s not to say you can’t pack the odd sandwich, but make it interesting — something you’d want to eat yourself. For instance, a tuna salad wrap with fresh avocado, carrot, and tomato, or this blueberry spelt muffin cake sammie.
“When you go to work every day if you’re ordering your lunch from the same sandwich spot every day you get bored of it really quickly. Kids are the same way,” Keogh notes. “(My daughter) Scarlett loves little spanakopitas – which are easy to do. You can buy spelt or whole-wheat phyllo dough in the freezer section. Roll that with a little cheese and some shredded frozen spinach and bake those. Keep them in your refrigerator. Pop two or three of those in with some tzatziki on the side. That’s also how I like eating, lots of little noshie things.”
One thing to always be aware of, particularly if you’re packing perishable items, is making sure they’re kept cool.
“Get a mini ice pack, or get a few so that they can be in rotation,” Marsh advises. “You really want to be mindful of food safety, especially if you are doing a sandwich with mayonnaise or egg. You have to get in the habit of packing a little ice pack. Let your kids know that it’s got to come home with the lunch kit every day. There are some fantastic lunch kits that have great compartments for all this stuff now.”
Make sure you leave yourself enough time to really pack a healthy lunch for them, and don’t forget about snacks to keep them fresh throughout the day. Whether that means getting elements ready the night before, or doing it morning of is up to you. As Marsh says, “I think every family has to decide how they’re going to handle it.”
If your kids are picky eaters, get them involved in the lunch-making process — as many parents will tell you, the more familiar they are with it, the more they’re going to want to eat it.
“That’s what we’ve built the site on,” Keogh says. “We firmly believe that if you get the children involved. It’s like anything they do, they take pride in it and they’re more likely to partake in it.”
More lunch ideas from Sweet Potato Chronicles:
We’re big believers in two-for-the-price-of-one meals. Make a meatless chili on Monday night and pack it up in a thermos for Tuesday’s lunch.
Add a wholewheat roll and a piece of fruit next to a thermos of this soup and you’ve got a perfectly well-rounded meal.
A sandwich doesn’t have to mean meat and cheese! We love this fruity little sammie!
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