It’s hard getting kids to eat healthy things, and it’s disheartening when they come home with lunch boxes full of left over food with only the “treat” item eaten. Step beyond the sandwich with some easy, affordable ideas for a delicious and nutritious packed lunch. Here are my 7 heavenly healthy kids lunch box snack ideas
As an alternative to a sandwich, try lunch-on-a-stick. Go for a “traffic lights” approach with three different colours. Thread ham, cheese and cucumber onto wooden kebab skewers, or try cherry tomatoes, baby bocconcini and fresh basil.
These work well with grapes, as well as blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. Thread them onto cotton thread to create edible bracelets and necklaces.
Make a regular sandwich with a softish filling such as mashed avocado, egg mayonnaise, or ham and cream cheese on a single slice of bread. Roll it up, and cut up like sushi.
Pastry and sandwich cutters can be used on other foods too such as cheese slices. If kids are bored with carrot sticks, make carrot stars or flowers. Healthier, grain-rich bread sandwiches are also more likely to find their way down the hatch if cut into a teddy bear shape first. Also try corrugated cutters for carrot sticks and cucumber slices, it might just nudge them into the “yum!”-zone.
Ants on a log
A classic favourite: a stick of celery filled with cream cheese, with sultana “ants”. Or try filling with hummus and cranberries or other dried fruits. Hollowed out cucumbers, carrots and even apple also work well as an alternative to celery.
A mini-muffin pan and pre-made short crust pastry can be used to create a myriad of sweet and savoury treats. Beat an egg with half a cup of milk for a basic quiche filling that can be used over anything: cheese, mushrooms, chopped bacon, spinach. You can mix and match, and find out what your child likes best. For an egg-free option, cream cheese smooshed up with smoked salmon and optional chopped herbs bakes well. Or use a teaspoon of jam or nutella for a sweet treat.
If you always run out of fresh bread, or your child complains about things getting soggy, try crackers instead. These can be vertically stacked with cheese slices, ham, cucumber, sliced chicken in a round tub. Or you can do chips-and-dips with some hummous or yoghurt: food that children have to play with, or assemble themselves, is always more fun.
With the Nude Food movement discouraging pre-packaged snacks, it’s even more important to come up with fresh and interesting meals. All you need is tupperware and your imagination!