health

7 school lunch box problems, sorted.

DAIRYLEA
Thanks to our brand partner, DAIRYLEA

Lunchtime stress, be gone.

Nothing thrills me more than unpacking my children’s school bags and feeling the lightness of an empty lunchbox. It’s exhilarating.

On the flipside, any parent knows that when their kids reject their lunchbox efforts, it’s not only frustrating, but heartbreaking. Yes, heartbreaking. But I’m here to help with that.

Mamamia recently asked our readers to submit their parenting problems for us to “hack”. Based on the feedback we received, it seems school lunches are causing a lot of you headaches.

So here are seven solutions to school lunch box dramas, to make the morning rush a little more bearable.

1. Fruit Ninja.

My kids are at the age where they have wobbly teeth and find it hard to eat apples – but when I cut them up, they go brown in their lunch box. So now when I cut them, I put them back together and secure them with a couple of rubber bands. The kids love them. Why does cut fruit taste better than whole fruit? It’s a mystery…

“Why does cut fruit taste better than whole fruit? It’s a mystery…”

2. Bento Boxes.

My daughter will normally eat her lunch as long as it is in a Hello Kitty container. For other picky eaters, invest in a couple of Bento Boxes – those lunch boxes with lots of different sections. You can put ham in one, fruit in another, cheese in a different section and some crackers in another section. If you’re lucky, they’ll eat out of at least two, and that’s a win as far as I am concerned.

“For other picky eaters, invest in a couple of Bento Boxes – those lunch boxes with lots of different sections. You can put ham in one, fruit in another, cheese in a different section and some crackers in another section.”

3. Culinary Cryogenics.

All this means is USE YOUR FREEZER. Fill up water bottles the night before and freeze them. They thaw out during the day, allowing kids to enjoy nice, cold water instead of yucky room-temperature water which is obviously unacceptable to their sophisticated palettes.

4. Deputise them.

Don’t try and think of interesting school snacks and lunches all by yourself. Sit your kids down and ask them what they want. Then make them come shopping with you. If they’ve chosen the foods themselves, they are more interested in eating them. They like a bit of control over what goes on, especially as they get older, and by talking to them about their preferences you’ll have a heads up for when they decide to reject something on a whim.

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5. Food Art.

Just say you have a ham sandwich, some sultanas and a cheese stick to pack for your child’s lunch. Sandwiches make awesome houses, sultanas are a great garden and cheese sticks make for a brilliant roof, if you prop two together. Have fun with your child’s food. Pack them in creative ways. Remember to use smaller containers when making your creation so they don’t move around too much.

“Have fun with your child’s food. Pack them in creative ways.”

6. Dinner Degustation.

The school lunches that are always, always eaten are the ones that comprise of dinner leftovers. Green bean salad, frittata, vegetable patties, meatball sandwiches…as long as you pack them straight away and put them in the fridge and accompany them with an ice pack, they make a perfect – and most importantly, eaten – school lunch.

7. Theme time.

My daughter was very impressed when I packed her orange food only for lunch. I put oranges, cheese and carrot sticks in her lunchbox and she thought it was so creative, so I pretended I had done it deliberately and gave her green foods the next day – grapes, cucumbers and capsicum sticks. No, not all of my children eat so many fruits and vegetables. Giovanni is a fan of beige, which makes his colour theme easy – sandwich and crackers – but sometimes I pop a little toy in his lunchbox, like his favourite toy car or one of his Minecraft cards.

“My daughter was very impressed when I packed her orange food only for lunch. I put oranges, cheese and carrot sticks in her lunchbox and she thought it was so creative, so I pretended I had done it deliberately and gave her green foods the next day – grapes, cucumbers and capsicum sticks.”

What are some other quick, easy and healthy kid’s lunch ideas?

Here are some other ways to entice children to eat more healthy (and not just at lunch time).

Want more? How about:

BEC: Dear schools. Stay out of my daughter’s lunchbox.

You’re spending about $2000 a year on buying your lunch. Here’s how to save that cash.

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