Quick-lunches

How To Combat The Return Of The Untouched Lunchbox

Are you spending value time and cash on school lunches only to have lunchboxes returned untouched? It’s a reality many parents face and we know that most kids would rather play around than eat – yet sometimes, it’s not about that.

RELATED: The Ultimate Morning Routine For Kids (And Parents)

In some cases, kids just can’t stomach the same lunchbox foods over and over again. It’s as simple as that. They might ask for peanut butter and jam sandwiches for a few days in a row, but when it’s what they receive every day for a week or longer, it gets monotonous. So what can you do to make them actually eat their lunch?

Coming up with a new appetising lunch every day can be a really tedious task. Especially when you get back full or half eaten lunches. That really doesn’t give you much incentive to put any more effort into it than you already are. However, if you want that lunch box returned empty that’s part of what you need to do.

Additionally, you need to involve the kids because after all, they’ll be the ones eating it. Don’t give them an entire menu, though. Your kitchen isn’t a restaurant and you really don’t want them to get used to ordering food like they do at a school tuck shop. Ideally, give them a choice from a few different options. Purchase the type of healthy foods you know they’ll eat, even if they cost you more. This will actually save you money in the long run because you won’t be throwing it out (hopefully).

If this doesn’t bring any joy and you continue to get back a full lunchbox, you might have to look at supplying on-the-go finger foods. Things like carrot or celery sticks with dip are great lunchbox alternatives. Plus they won’t take you too much time to organise in the morning if you pre-cut them, place them in water and leave them in the fridge.

This brings me to my next tip. PRE-PREPARE!!! Mornings are hectic, horrible times. So trying to get complicated foods in that dreaded lunchbox as well as get everything else done is a recipe for disaster. I’ve reduced the chaos by having a specific lunchbox container that the kids go to and select what they’d like to eat that day. It’s filled with a variety of fruits, nuts, veggies and a few treats. This not only encourages them to prepare their own lunch, but to also select what will actually get eaten.

Yes, it does cost a bit to fill a container with small packages of foods. I know I could pay less for the same foods in bulk, like yogurts, custards, tuna, crackers, etc. However, if it gets eaten rather than thrown out, I figure I’m saving money. In addition to on-the-go snack type foods, we also discuss what type of wrap or sandwich they’d prefer. I mix it up by having plastic containers filled with leftovers. These are great to take to school and once again, they can be easily prepared the night before.

Finally, getting kids to eat their lunch at school isn’t rocket science. Getting back empty lunchboxes is pretty simple just as long as your organised, supply a range of things they eat and most importantly get them involved.

Image via mumsgrapevine.com.au

Office Lunch Ideas

Variety, really, is the spice of life. So, instead of packing yet another sandwich or last night’s left overs; why not try some alternatives. It won’t be as time consuming as you may believe, either. In just a few minutes you’ll have a tasty lunch, which will have your colleagues salivating!

Related: Sunday Breakfast Ideas – Minus The Fat

Essentially, you’ll need to invest in departmentalized, lunch containers. They have some great designs with high functionality. Plastic wrap is for 1980s school yard lunches, which just isn’t going to cut it! These containers can give you inspiration to think outside the square and get creative. Plus, they are excellent for chopped foods which you can eat on the run. Not everyone can have an uninterrupted lunch break, so something you can pick up and eat while you work can be the difference between having lunch and going hungry.

If this sounds like you, avoid bulky foods like sandwiches or thick, awkward wraps.  You need quick and easy, bite-sized foods like grapes, cubed cheese or fruits, rolled sandwich meat, olives, etc. That will be far more satisfying than going hungry and making up for it during the evening meal or hitting that 3.30 mark and pulling out the chocolate bar.

If you do have the opportunity to have a more relaxed lunch break, the sky’s the limit! When you go shopping, think of tasty treats that you can put in your new containers. You might want a different type of cheese or a yummy looking bread roll, covered with some type of topping. The choice is endless. For colder days, you might want to choose something you can warm up. Soups are excellent because they are usually vegetable based, which will add to the 5 serves you should be eating each day. Remember to buy containers for various food options. If you can’t pack a soup, you won’t have the option.

For the warmer days, go with a salad. There is something very refreshing about eating salad on warm days. There are so many varieties, that you could literally choose a different selection, each day of the week. You can either choose to make your own or buy a ready made one. Either way, it will still be cheaper and healthier than scrambling to buy your lunch from a busy, overpriced, strategically placed vendor.

At first you may be a little timid about the types of things you will put in your containers but, after time, you will get much more creative. SHESAID has some great lunch recipes, which freeze well and will fit in your containers. Maybe have a bit of a cook up and prepare foods for the week, or even a month, in advance. Your lunches will become famous around your office and the only thing you’ll need to do is keep it safe from the boys in accounting!

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