I have two very different children when it comes to food. My eldest has always loved his sandwiches, ever since he was old enough to eat them. Lunch time was never a problem with him. We would give him a variety of sandwiches with different fillings, a yoghurt and some fruit and every now and then a bag of Pom Bears. We didn’t need to think too hard about what to give him as he pretty much would eat whatever you gave him. Then along came M, my youngest and he was a completely different kettle of fish. He’s a good eater and not overly fussy but the problem was that he didn’t like eating sandwiches and still to this day prefers hot food for lunch.
Then along came M, my youngest and he was a completely different kettle of fish. He’s a good eater and not overly fussy but the problem was that he didn’t like eating sandwiches and still to this day prefers hot food for lunch.
It meant that we had to think outside the box a little about what to give him for lunch and before he started nursery it wasn’t too much of a problem because we could give him a hot meal at home. When we upped his nursery days last year it meant he would be going to “lunch club” so I needed to try and come up with some different ways of putting something in his lunchbox that he would eat.
Sandwiches were still a no-no for him so we tried various different rolls, bread and wraps before we found something he liked and would happily eat. His packed lunch would consist of a cheese wrap, cocktails sausages, some cucumber and carrot sticks and a yoghurt.
Here are some of my lunchbox tips to get your children to enjoy eating their packed lunch.
Find the right lunchbox
This made having lunch at nursery much more exciting for my youngest. I bought him a Paw Patrol lunchbox which he was so excited about it that he couldn’t wait to take it to nursery to show his friends. The lunchbox should be the right size to fit all your lunch items in and if possible, be insulated to keep items like yoghurt cool.
Break food into smaller portions
Seeing large amounts of food in front of them can be really off-putting for children. It can overwhelm and ultimately deter them from eating at all. Children like to graze so small bite-size portions work well. I like using small plastic containers to put things like carrot and cucumber, mini breadsticks and cheese cubes in.
Give a variety and change it up
It can be easy to give them the same thing because you know they will eat it, but one day they will get bored and refuse to eat what you have been giving them at all (been there done that!) So try different varieties and change things up. My youngest loves tortilla wraps and would only eat them with grated cheese in, but I eventually managed to persuade him to try bread rolls and even bread!
Include one each of the main food groups
Last year I attended a #PackedLunchLove workshop with the lovely Grace Hall from Eats Amazing and one of her top tips was to include one each of carb, protein, veg, dairy and fruit for an all-round healthy lunchbox.
Involve your children
This may not be practical when preparing packed lunch for school but I found that by letting M make a jam sandwich (for example) he was much more likely to eat it because he made it himself. If you have a fussy eater this could be a great way of introducing new food and textures and for them to explore different flavour combinations too!
Make it fun!
Kids are drawn to bright colours so try to make their lunchbox pleasing on the eye. I don’t think you have to go all out and create masterpieces because we don’t always have the time, but splashes of colour by using different coloured cupcake cases to separate items could instantly make a packed lunch look more fun. Cute sandwich cutters are an easy way of making sandwiches fun too. We have previously a dinosaur and star shaped cutter for sandwiches which I bought off eBay.
So those are my Packed Lunch tips – what do you think of them?
Hartley’s Jelly Pots are currently running a Back To School campaign where you can claim a free Hartley’s lunchbox and stickers (like the one pictured). To do so, you simply have to collect 12 special edition green lids from the No Added Sugar Jelly Pots.
This post is an entry for BritMums #HartleysYourLunchbox Linky Challenge, sponsored by Hartley’s Jelly
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