There is one question that strikes fear into the heart of every mother of school aged children on the planet: “What will I put in their lunchboxes?”
Between school rules of no eggs, no nuts, no wrappers, only wrappers, every child should have a macrobiotic organic hand picked peach from the beaches of Narnia and the constant mummy wars of bento boxes of food art perpetuated by pintrest (seriously who has time to carve faces in sandwiches? And do not even get me started on those themed bento boxes! Lord give me strength!), it’s ok to have a small melt down every time Monday morning rolls around.
I admit that I do not have school aged children, Lady A is still a toddler, which means she will turn her nose up to anything I present to her and my husband is far less picky than a 5 year old, so lunch boxes are less of a stress for me.
But I do have certain food rules I adhere to (no gluten, no dairy, low sugar) that mean your standard soggy sandwich is out, much to my husband’s dismay.
So how do I pack a healthy lunch?
My top tips for packing a school lunch:
Try to stay away from plastic. Many lunchboxes are made from cheap plastic that leaches toxins into the food. This goes double for plastic wrap.
Instead opt for a lightweight metal box. Planet boxes are the ultimate, but there are many options out there that are just as good. I have a small lunchbots one for Lady A and some larger round Country Road tiffin boxes for us grown ups.
Having an insulated bag for your box can mean the difference between a warm lunch that won’t get eaten (and may give someone a bit of a tummy ache/food poisoning) and a healthy, happy tummy and fully consumed lunch.
Add in a frozen box of coconut water or bottle of homemade smoothie too keep everything cool and for a slushy snack
It may sound strange, but try and change up the way you cut things, it can make all the difference for fussy eaters, trust me, it’s a pain in the a**, but it works, sometimes.
Think outside of the box when it comes to lunch foods. Sandwiches are boring. So instead pack a lunch box full of goodies your kids actually want to eat. Having a lunch box with compartments makes it easy for you to fill each one with something different.
Some nut free, gluten free, dairy free things to try:
-Veggies sticks such as cucumber, capsicum, carrot and celery
-Fresh and dried fruits
-Hard boiled eggs
-Dips such as hummus
-Mashed avocado with lemon juice and olive oil (to stop it going brown)
-Cans of tuna
-Cold meats such as ham or smoked salmon
-Left over cold veggies or meat from the night before
-Cooked cold rice noodles
-Cooked peas or edamame beans
Want to be a little more creative?
-Bake your own mini “egg cups” – grated veggies mixed with eggs and baked in muffin tins. You could even use bacon as the “cup” in the tin or add some cooked quinoa too.
-Wrap sandwich fillings such as ham and cucumber sticks in lettuce leaves
-Make extra pancakes for Sunday breakfast and pop them in the lunch box
-Containers of home made chia pudding – Just 2 tablespoons chia seeds, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 can coconut cream left in the fridge overnight and then divided up.
-Thread cubes of cucumber, capsicum, cooked meat – anything onto wooden skewers to make “kebabs”
-Pack smoothies (too keep cool) or soup (to keep warm) into a thermos
Still not enough?
Then Check out my new cookbook , available at The Chiropractic Place or here for $49.95 + p&h for more lunch box friendly ideas like:
Quinoa apple cinnamon loaf – substitute coconut milk for almond milk to make it nut free
Zucchini Bread Pancakes
Green Goddess Omelette
Foolproof buckwheat crepes (awesome substitute for wraps)
Chai spiced quinoa slice - substitute coconut milk for almond milk and leave out the almonds on top to make it nut free
Banana Bread - substitute tapioca flour for almond meal to make it nut free
Spiced Sweet Potato Muffins - substitute coconut milk for almond milk to make it nut free
Vietnamese Cold Rolls
Quinoa and silverbeet patties - substitute tapioca flour for the LSA to make it nut free
Roasted Veggie and Quinoa Salad - leave out the almonds to make it nut free
Burger in a bowl
Chocolate Crackle – no nuts
Instant Chocolate Chia Pudding
Seed Crackers – leave out the LSA to make it nut free
Simple Silky Pate
Creamy Avocado Dip
Sprouted Spelt Bread (low gluten)
Looking for more healthy snack ideas? How about baking a nut free cake for the lunchboxes? Check out my paleo cake e-cookbook. There are recipes for a lamington cake, a humming bird cake and a double chocolate cake complete with icings and decorating tips FREE here.