Lunchbox tips

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Mention lunchboxes around parents and you’re likely to hear a few sighs, some despairing groans and maybe some unexpected exclamations. You’re also likely to spark a lively session of tip swapping as moms and dads share what works for their children and what doesn’t. Here are some ideas for packing lunchboxes.
 
How you pack lunches can be as important as what you pack.
 
  • Keeping food separate is a good idea. Try using silicone cupcake moulds to keep berries, grapes or nuts from rolling around the lunchbox. You can also use stackable lunchboxes, or those with built in compartments.
  • Use airtight containers so that food stays fresh, especially when it’s made the night before.
  • If you’re packing finger food, include a plastic or wooden fork, or a toothpick. You can also include a slightly damp cloth or wet wipe in a sandwich bag.
  • Some foods can spoil quickly, so keep lunches fresh by using a mini cooler bag, or including an ice pack in the lunch. A DIY ice pack idea is to soak a kitchen sponge in water, place in a plastic bag, seal and freeze.
  • Make yourself a lunch packing station in your fridge. Use a deep tray and some spare containers to store all of your lunchbox foods. When it’s time to make lunches, you can pull this out. Everything is on hand so you don’t forget anything, and you can see if you’re running low on anything in time to stock up.
 
Foods that are too complicated, take too long to eat, spoil quickly or are too messy just won’t be eaten.
 
  • Use cherry tomatoes instead of cutting up big tomatoes.
  • Avoid using foods that are going to oxidise or go brown, like avo and lettuce. Or if you want to include avo, rub some lemon juice over it.
  • Keep any seasoning or salad dressing separate.
  • If you cut up an apple, slice it down each side, and while it is still in its shape, place an elastic band around it.
  • Score orange skins by tracing a knife around the orange a few times, so that it’s easy to peel.
  • Using tomato on sandwiches? Place it between the ham and cheese, or other ingredients, to stop the bread from going soggy.
 
Keeping up the interest levels in lunch can help ensure children eat (almost) everything.
 
  • Cut sandwiches into fun shapes.
  • Try using wraps or pita pockets as a substitute for bread.
  • You don’t need to overwhelm children with too much choice, but packing a few different foods, or packing something different every day or two, can help.

Comments

Sula wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

This is what I do and my son looks forward to opening his lunchboxes: sula1968.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/lunch-box-mini-boxes/

Sonia Billson wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

I often use lettuce for my daughters sandwiches - the trick is to use a whole leaf or tear with your hands into smaller pieces. This way the lettuce remains crisp and so far I have never had it go brown. I'm not sure why cutting or shredding with a knife makes lettuce brown.

Sharona wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

The tip on apples is very useful. My little one refuses to eat it when it is cut and a touch of lemon added to it. Also, I have found that dried fruit and nuts, popcorn and home-made trail mixes are a welcome addition to snack time at school. Thank you for the great work at Child magazine!

admin wrote 6 years 37 weeks ago

We're glad to hear you found the tip useful. And thanks for your kind words.

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