Thursday, March 22, 2007

School Lunches..... How Do I Keep Them Exciting?

Growing up I always had the ‘boring’ school lunch! My siblings and I were NEVER at risk of having our lunch stolen from our lockers – I mean who wanted pieces of last nights amazing roast chicken dinner placed between two huge slices of home-made bread, home-made cookies or cake or perhaps a piece of home-made apple pie plus a piece of in season fruit. Are you kidding……who doesn’t!!!!! Sadly, at the time, we (my siblings and I) didn’t realize how blessed we were. Instead we wished for Donna Statlers chocolate pudding and other processed ‘goodies’ in her lunch bag. Our view was clouded by the fact that our mum MADE everything and that when it came to our brown paper bag, she scrunched the tops down rather than gently folding ‘like the other mum’s!!!!
How funny that today I find myself doing everything I can to make lunches similar to those my mum made me. And, strangely enough I get many questions about school lunches and what I put in them. I take these questions as a HUGE compliment as I pride myself in preparing healthy school lunches for my children. It’s important to me and important to their health and well being. Below are a few ideas that will hopefully help you when and if you find yourself stuck and in a rut.

School Lunch Ideas:

• Salads are a great alternative to sandwiches. Sophia (my eldest) has NEVER been a sandwich person so I’ve had to come up with new things all the time.

• Wraps are great both the lavash bread and lettuce wraps.

• The good ole hard-boiled egg (must be left in the shell and shelled at school outside by the bins). Sophia loves the egg option and could care less about any offense it may cause.

• Canned baked beans or spaghetti.

• Bagels with cream cheese.

• Tuna/Chicken/Egg Salad – mix with mayo and a little salt and pepper and onions if you can chop them small enough to hid them (adds great flavor). Put in a little Tupperware container.

• Popcorn

• I give heaps of chopped veggies in zip lock bags (cucumbers, grape tomatoes, carrots, celery, sugar snap peas etc.).

• Fruit – apples/bananas/peaches/pears and other fruits you can chop and put in containers such as: watermelon, rock melon, cantaloupe, grapes, etc.

• Another really good option (if you have time) is muffins. I make oversized muffins, which is a great substitute for sandwiches. Little muffins are great for morning and afternoon tea as well. Remember muffins don’t have to be sweet – savory muffins are yummy!

• Homemade rice pudding (way better than the bought and it’s so easy to make) just go easy on the sugar and it can almost be eaten like a meal. Chuck in some sultanas or whatever fruit you want and you’ve got a meal made for a Scottish King. All you need to do is pop your left over rice in a pot with some milk and let it simmer away whilst you clean up after dinner and zip, zap, zoom it’s done.

• Olives and feta (if your children like).

• For the avocado lover send the entire thing with a plastic knife and spoon. This is a very filling option.

• Homemade sushi – this is for the more adventurous. Although seemingly time consuming sushi is surprisingly easy and quick to make (we will post another sushi recipe very soon to help).

I think I’ll stop for now. I hope this has helped you ‘keep it exciting’. I would LOVE to hear back from you through our comments – remember something you do may really help someone else.


Susan xoxo


Anonymous said...

Thanks for these GREAT ideas. I read so many articles, etc., about school lunches and most of the suggestions they give are totally unachievable. Your suggestions however are achieveable which is a nice surprise. I love the muffin idea - how strange that i've never thought of that on my own. As the old saying goes, 'you learn a new thing everyday'.

Anonymous said...

These are really good ideas.
My kids are the same, they love the veggie sticks and boiled eggs, just make sure the eggs are well cooked, Giorgia had a disaster last week when an extremely soft boiled egg went to school and made itself known!
Muffins are fabulous, my kids are have never liked sandwiches either but they will eat soft rolls with salad in them (tuna, cheese whatever)
Quiche also works as a left over in the lunch box and often whatever was last night's dinner gets put in a tuppaware container and popped in with some fruit and cheese and
It's not hard to get the good stuff into them and we just have a rule that they don't get chips and sugary muesli bars etc as these are party foods....


Anonymous said...

THANKYOU. Like you Susan, I grew up with the most amazing lunches. It is great to have dome new ideas. I must say I have alway found "lunchbox" and "healthy" to be diametrically opposed.
Could you post some muffin ideas/recipes for us please?


Anonymous said...

Fantastic blog girls. Loving everything.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes finally some good suggestions that make sense/cents. My kids will get a surprise tomorrow.
Thanks Susan.

Anonymous said...

As we dont eat bread, or do preservatives or additives in our house. We started adapting school lunches about 18 months ago. My husband makes his own lunch every morning. His latest creation is baby spinach leaves, rocket, 5 bean mix, shallots, tuna and his own secret dressing. As he works in a Preschool he wishes the children ate as well. For our Brianna I try nad cook etra the night before so she can take it for Lunch the next day. Today she had Moussaka(made from scratch no dairy, no preservatives.He favouite lunch is cooked rice with garlic and lentils, very filling and very nutritious and no nasties. I also try and bake one night a week whether its a glutenfree/dairy free carrot cake, muffins or a slice. That way we always have a treat on hand that is healthy. Take the time to look outside the box when preparing Lunches, there are lot's of alternatives to the humble sandwich.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comment. Your 'out of the box' ideas sound fantatic. I sent my kids to school today with gluten free pasta, home made sauce and a few 'extras' that comforted their palates during the day. It's amazing how creative we become when necessity knocks.
Make sure you keep commenting.

Anonymous said...

the bagels with cream cheese are really yummy mummy

love from Sophia xoxo

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