Packing the perfect lunch box is a daunting challenge – especially standing in your nightie in the kitchen at 5h30am! Here are some fresh ideas and guidelines to make you a three-Michelin-star lunch box chef!
Bento boxes are all the rage when it comes to lunch boxes! Unfortunately it is quite hard to find the original Bento in South Africa. The bento box hails from Japan and first hit the scene in the sixteenth century. The current trend of bento lunch making is a cuteness overload! The food is often shaped into animals, flowers or cartoon characters and usually compartmental, colourful and fresh!
What to pack
Depending on your kids age – a good ratio to work with would be:
1 x fruit, 1 x carb for younger kids, 2 x carbs for older kids and 1 x protein.
A good guide to go by is: does this look like it came from a cow? Hard cheeses and cottage cheese is a great addition to the lunch box and gives your kiddo a diary option for the day.
Tip: Add a little bit of honey to the cottage cheese if your little one is not 100% sold on the cottage cheese idea.
Again: does this look like it came from nature? Think more leftovers and less cold meats. Processed cold meats are not that great – so rather add meat left over from the braai, a drumstick or frikkadel than processed ham. Biltong is also a great snack and kids love it! Kids are very visual – use leftover meat and fresh veg to create a colourful sosatie!
Tip: make some extra! Keep the lunch box in mind when preparing dinner – you will be thanking yourself the next morning!
Often overlooked as a lunch box item, raw veggies are a great way of adding crunch and texture and also super easy to prep! Carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes and cucumber slices can be paired with hummus for a yummy extra in the lunch box.
✚ Fruits and Nuts
Skip the dried fruit and rather add a fresh fruit or an extra container with cut up soft fruits like strawberries or kiwi. Guava and oranges are a great source of vitamin C! Mix banana and yoghurt in an extra container as a mid-morning snack. Raw tree nuts like almonds, walnuts, cashews and pecans are also a healthy choice.
Goodbye store-bought peanut butter! You can make your own nut butters with a blender – see recipe here.
✚ GO GO H2O!
Fruit juices contain a lot of sugar and a leak can cause lunchbox pandemonium! Infuse water with berries, cucumber or lemon to make it more attractive! We love this fruit-infusing water bottle.
Tip: Start a water challenge at home! For every glass of water kiddo gets a sticker on the water watechart and when a certain amount is reached, the family can do a fun activity together as a reward. Pack a big waterbottle for school (counts as 2 stickers!)
✚ Lunch box hacks
- Freeze a half-filled water bottle on its side to keep the water cold when kiddo is in the classroom.
- Use cupcake liners to separate fruits, nuts and hummus in the lunch box.
- Freeze sponges to create your own freezer packs.
image credits: crazycouponlady.com