I’m going to tell you a secret, I didn’t always love food and I was as fussy as they come as a kid. I knew all the tricks in the book and that’s why I’m best equipped to give you the down low of hacks to keep them hooked on lunch.
Fuelling our kids with food that is going to give them energy and fight off the nasties is a true art. It can be time consuming and anxiety building, but we can remedy that by getting educated and being prepared. A few easy hacks to keep in mind are colour wins, bitesize is always more inviting and fresher is best. But it doesn’t stop at trying to get them to eat a good wholesome lunch, a good water bottle with a built-in straw is a proven way of getting your small person to top up their hydration throughout the day. Here are my meal planning suggestions for a few of the most common lunchbox archetypes.
The Fussy Eater
I’m talking about little miss or mister beige, who likes to cross examine the surface area and maybe even the internal secrets of her daily sanga. Keeping ingredients in separate sections may be a good move here too, as if she finds one of the ingredients isn’t to her liking the last thing we want is whole lunchbox ‘contaminated’ by the offender. But let’s look on the bright side tantrums and tears are exhausting so do wonders for their appetite. A lunchbox could consist of: nut butter and banana rye sandwiches, cheddar cheese cubes, veggie burger, grapes, yoghurt, bean mix and corn on the cob.
I love seeing a kid shuck an oyster or get tucked into a bowl of olives and this doesn’t need to stop when they leave a restaurant. Not only will it expand their palate, but may even inspire their peers. A lunchbox could consist of: salmon sushi rolls, deli turkey slices, olives, pickles, cherries, vegetable curries and grain salads.
This is when the crystal maze style lunchbox comes in handy, with lots of little sections for little hands to grab whatever and whenever they fancy. A lunchbox could consist of: egg muffin, mini falafels, cheese and crackers, berries, pepitas, hummus, radishes, apple slices, vegetable crudités and dark chocolate almonds.
Yes, they may eat you out of house and home, but to me there is nothing as wonderful as a ravenous child – appetite means they are well. Complex carbohydrates, abundant protein and good quality healthy fats are going to be your friend here. A lunchbox could consist of: chicken wrap, pasta or potato salad, banana, muesli bar, homemade pizza slices and boiled eggs.