kids

"My trick to the perfect school lunchbox takes 10 seconds."

LCMs
Thanks to our brand partner, LCMs

Most of us love eating the same foods over and over and OVER again and I’ve noticed as I get older, my food choices are even more repetitive.

I eat like a toddler – small frequent meals made up of the same handfuls of foods – and I am perfectly happy like this.

My kids do this too. They get used to eating their favourite foods for months but then their desire for a particular food will just stop. They don’t actually tell me they don’t like that particular food anymore. I end up figuring it out after the 17th juicy red apple remains untouched in their lunchbox.

There is a clinical term for this, which I learned when my son who has autism and associated food sensitivities was doing food therapy (which sadly didn’t work for him). It’s called “food fatigue”, which isn’t a problem for most kids because they will simply replace that newly rejected food with something else.

Bananas instead of apples. Crackers instead of pretzels. Wraps instead of sandwiches.

"Wraps instead of sandwiches." Image: iStock.

With other kids, those with a more discerning palate (fussy eaters) it can be really annoying. Some days you haven't had time to go shopping.

Some days you don't have a perfectly ripe banana to go with their sandwich.

But I've been dealing with the INSANITY of child food preferences for almost 13 years now. I have three children aged 12, eight and seven whom I have successfully fed all that time.

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More often than not, they even eat the entire contents of their school lunch boxes. My trick to ensure that lunch boxes come home empty takes just 10 seconds and is all about the lunch box add-ons.

Here's how you do it:

You start with a basic, healthy, filling lunch which you have decided on together. Chat to your kids and come up with a couple of wholesome sandwich or wrap choices that become their staples.

Choose whichever fruits or veggies your kids like that week. Image: iStock.

Then, each day accessorise their lunch boxes with an interesting snack or two.

For Philip, 12, it looks like this:

Tuna sandwich or ham roll with either cucumbers or carrot sticks and a cheese stick and an apple or whatever fruit I know he likes. Then I add in something a bit interesting like an LCM or a cheese snack pack.

For fusspot Giovanni, eight:

A plain roll or wrap bread with nothing in it. I know, not good but I am just happy he eats anything. Then he has a banana, pretzels or crackers, no vegetables for him because he refuses to eat them, and then an LCM but only the chocolate ones with rainbow sprinkles.

He refuses to eat any other. If I don't have those it's a chocolate dairy dessert or a couple of sweet biscuits.

Caterina, seven, has:

A ham roll or ham wrap. Then pitted black olives, cucumbers or carrot sticks, fruit preferably a peach, nectarine or strawberries and then a little packet of sweet biscuits or strawberry or vanilla yogurt.

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When they start to get sick of some of the snack foods I just mix them up by purchasing different shapes and flavours.

Now here's how I ensure it only takes me 10 seconds per child to create the perfect lunch box.

Jo Abi with her children Philip, 12, Giovanni, eight and Caterina, seven. Image: Supplied.

I do all of the hard work on the weekend. I ask each of them which fruits, veggies and snacks they like that week and then I buy them and prep them for the whole week, including the sandwiches which sit in the freezer. Then each morning I throw it all together and we race out the door.

Like me, you may have noticed new LCMs Oaty Bubble bars. They now contain oats but taste almost exactly the same and have 25% less sugar*.

Other snack ideas to create the perfect lunch box include:

  • Dried cereal in little snack bags;
  • Left over dinner items like baked chicken;
  • Home made jelly cups
  • Cheese in so many different shapes and sizes. It's incredible what they can do with cheese these days;
  • Little containers of dip with crackers or veggie sticks.

Many children's lunch box snacks are being made much healthier these days, which is good to know but I am happy for my kids to eat treats sometimes, as long as their overall diet is balanced and they are physically active.

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*Compared to LCMs Original bars which contain 30g of sugar per 100g.

What do you pack in your kids lunchboxes?

This post was written thanks to our brand partner LCMs.

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