For months we’ve admired School Lunch Box dad’s insta-worthy bento lunch boxes that would spark even Marie Kondo’s joy.
Packed to uber-cool, colour-coordinated, bite-sized perfection, Geelong super-dad of two, George Georgievski knows how to curate a school lunch that will leave the fussiest of eaters eager for 12 o’clock.
Whether your little one is eight months or eight years, this lunch box warrior is sharing five must-know tips for lunches guaranteed to fill their tummy and put a smile on their dial.
I can see a rainbow
Kids love colour. It’s proven to relieve boredom (something you definitely want to avoid with lunches) and a study by Cornell University found kids are most attracted to plates with seven different items, and six colours. So it’s no wonder George suggests a rainbow of food for his ultimate bento box. “If you can incorporate the bright colours, you’re pretty assured to have the nutrients and vitamins the kids need”, George says. The Jamie Oliver ‘Learn Your Fruit and Vege’ ambassador suggests chopping up a bunch of veggies and packing some natural yoghurt so you can ensure your little ones are getting their five a day while (bonus!) opening up a colourful spread at recess.
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The smaller the better
“Kids want easy and fun”, George says. A huge sandwich or apple can be daunting for little eaters, but sandwich fingers and fruit pieces are far less scary. Large pieces of food are also choking hazards for babies and toddlers, so keeping it small and bite size means they can practise chewing without you having to bite your nails. George recommends his signature creation – ravioli sandwiches lovingly dubbed ‘Rav-wiches’ – or ditch the sliced banana bread for a homemade, bite-sized sweet treat. George’s creations are simple, healthy and small-hand-sized, with most requiring less than five ingredients! Which brings us to his next tip…
(Little) hands on
“Give them a sense of contribution so they feel part of the process,” George says. Letting the kids choose their own fruit, sandwich fillings or yoghurt not only gives them a sense of control but shows the transaction that takes place. With $3,800 worth of groceries wasted per household each year, teaching youngsters to appreciate food is something that’ll stick with them for life, and save you time and money in the process. And George urges, don’t stop at groceries – avoid the sugar and wrappers in favour of natural, homestyle treats you can make together. Perhaps you could even whip up a batch of George’s two-ingredient date and coconut balls this weekend. Don’t look past the power of personalisation too. You can pick up a personalised bento box that’s guaranteed to find its way home to you every night here.
Find out what it means to your kids. Whether it’s a veggie patch in the backyard or dinner table rules, understanding the value of every bite means your little ones are less likely to leave an empty plate. Pack the ultimate lunch box by featuring items your kids have made or grown themselves. “…Real food takes time,”, George says – that’s why his girls nurture and harvest their own veggie patch, seeing just how long it takes to grow the carrot they dip into their natural yoghurt at lunchtime.
Don’t wait until the first day to use your little learner’s lunch box. Take the bento for a test drive throughout the school holidays so your child can adjust before they hit the playground. Whether they’re heading into day care, preschool or Year One, George says it’s “…one less thing they need to get used to”. It plays into George’s attitude of turning a chore into something special– saving you time and tears down the track.
What are your favourite ingredients to add to your child’s lunchbox? Tell us in the comments below.