Dear Mummy, I may only be at nursery at the moment but I know you enjoy making pack lunches for our days out. BritMums (a parenting network) have challenged bloggers to take part in the #FloraLunchbox Challenge in an effort to spread the word about healthy lunches (excuse the pun).
The aim was to create some healthy options for my lunch boxes, but I know you are clueless and haven’t the time to create ‘bento type’ masterpieces everyday! You are looking for ideas on how to make simple, healthy and cheap lunches for me, day-in day-out, so when I go to school next year you can hit the ground running. You want to make them fun and something that I look forward to eating.
A recent study conducted by the University of Leeds in partnership with Flora discovered that only 1.6% of lunches in the UK meet current nutritional guidelines and a massive 98% of the lunch boxes they studied were unhealthy. Flora wants to change that! I don’t want to be an unhealthy statistic either.
It’s hard to come up with lunches each day that are easy, healthy and exciting for little ones, no-one likes a dull lunch. I know you would hate for me to reject what I’m given and turn my nose up at your efforts. I’m not a picky eater but I like my food to look inviting and taste varied. I think your heart would sink if I came back from school having not even touched my lunch.
So here’s out tips for creating simple, healthy and cheap lunches for children – lunches that they want to eat and parents want to make!
Parents – Have a routine
Try and make the pack lunches the night before. Don’t rush on the day. Keep it in the fridge ready to go. My mummy likes to get all the ingredients together and add fresh bread or wraps in the morning. If she doesn’t plan out the night before, then she struggles, panics and grabs the most convenient thing in the morning for our rucksack which usually includes crisps and processed food snacks. It’s all too easy to get stuck in a rut and reach for the default opinions which aren’t the healthiest of choices.
Lunches – Have a beginning, middle and an end
Kids love eating in an order – back to front or front to back. Believe it or not I love having a structure to my lunches, I don’t usually request anything in particular and don’t seem to have favourite tastes or food groups at my age yet. I’m a relatively good eater and I’m open to eating anything that gets placed in front of me. Lunches are usually 1 x sandwich or wrap with filling, 1 x piece of fruit, 1 x sweet or biccy, 1 x yoghurt or jelly, 1 x water or juice. I normally eat my way through the journey of my lunch box, starting off with the sandwich and ending on a high with the sweet!
Kids – How to pack with a picky eater
Get them involved with making their lunches or ask them for a theme and incorporate it into their lunches. Let them take ownership for their choices (within reason – a chocolate lunch isn’t suitable!) Occasionally I like to help my mummy make lunches and I like wrapping sandwiches in shiny foil. One time I made a little silver heart and was proud to tell my pre-school friends that I helped pack my own lunch.
Parents – Keep looking for ideas and inspiration
Flora have developed a website full of hints and tips, as well as a lunch box packing guide to help parents create healthy lunch boxes for their children. We enjoyed browsing through the site and picking our favourite ideas. We can’t wait to try the Flora lunchbox recipes. Flora has created a meal planner to help you put together tasty and nutritious lunchbox combinations too – this makes it easier for my mummy.
Parents – Keep it balanced
My mummy is a firm believer that everything should be in moderation. Keep it balanced with fruit, veg or salad, dairy, meat and a sweet. Unfortunately a lot of people are making unhealthy choices for their children’s lunch boxes and don’t get the balance right. The study found that only 17% of children’s lunches contained any kind of vegetables or salad; while 52% of lunch boxes contained confectionery; 46% contained sugary drinks and 60% contained crisps. I know that one thing my mummy isn’t fond of is sugary drinks but sometimes its hard to spot the difference, so if in doubt check the sugar content (even on water based juices). Why not swap crisps for popcorn?
I can’t wait to start school next year and my mummy has a year to master the art of a perfect pack lunch for me, lets just hope its enough time and that I’ve caught her in time to change her mind on what a healthy pack lunch is all about.
Love Bella xx
Disclosure. This post is an entry for the #FloraLunchbox Linky Challenge, sponsored by Flora. Check out their lunch planner and recipe ideas here. All opinions are my own.