Lunchboxes are a pain in the backside aren’t they. Not just because you have to peel out sticky, yoghurt coated pieces of rubbish and mouldy tangerine peel at the end of each day but also because filling them can be a daily struggle. Fussy little eaters, confusing and ever-changing nutritional standards and tight purse strings can make filling a lunchbox a bit of a minefield.
To top it off, my boy hates sandwiches. Sure, I could stand my ground and insist he eats a good and filling sandwich each day but we all know the lunchbox would return home untouched or he would have swapped said sandwich for someone’s Monster Munch. Like any parent, I want to be sure he eats a healthy and filling lunch each day so I hold my hands up and admit that yes, I pander to him.
After many years of lunchbox packing, I have gotten used to creating sandwich-less boxes of goodness for him. I tend to plan ahead but often I will just use up basics from my cupboards such as fruit loaf or cheese and crackers. Once a week I will bake a batch of something lunchboxey (not a word) such as cheese & ham muffins or homemade healthy sausage rolls but if I’m having an off week it can be a nightmare doing all that preparation.
This is what a week in his lunchbox typically looks like at the moment:
It may be about to change however as this week, I am working with Flora on the #FloraLunchboxChallenge. Reading their latest study has surprised me a bit.
Did you know that only 1.6% of children in the UK are receiving a lunchbox that meets the nutritional standards set for school meals?
1.6%?! I’m surprised by how low that number is. So if 98.4% of us are getting it so wrong, what exactly is it that should be going into our children’s tummies at lunch time?
The NHS website states that
A balanced packed lunch should contain:
- starchy foods – these are bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and others
- protein foods – including meat, fish, eggs, beans and others
- a dairy item – this could be cheese or a yoghurt
- vegetables or salad and a portion of fruit
Starchy foods are a good source of energy and should make up a third of the lunchbox. But don’t let things get boring.
Instead of sandwiches, give kids bagels, pitta bread, wraps and baguettes. Use brown, wholemeal or seeded bread, not white bread.
Good news for sandwich haters then!
Flora are working with parents to change this quite frankly pathetic 1.6% statistic and as someone who has been using and enjoying Flora Light for years, I was pleased to get involved. Not only do they have tons of easy lunch recipes for you to try out on their website but they have also produced a handy lunchbox builder to help you plan it all out.
I’m a bit taken with this meal planner as it takes the hard work of planning the lunch box out of my hands. I was also impressed with the woman’s en pointe Mum bun but that’s by the by.
To say I was impressed with the meal planner is a tad bit misleading because I actually just gave it to Zak to choose his own lunch menu. I was safe in the knowledge that he would only be choosing from healthy options and he was suitably impressed about the level of lunch control he had suddenly been handed. Win win.
He decided on a wholemeal pasta salad with veggies and sliced turkey (we had run out of tuna!). It took me all of ten minutes to prepare the night before school and he scoffed the lot. Result! You can watch me making it here if you want to see how easy it really is.
If you are struggling to think up decent lunchbox ideas then I’d suggest you head on over to the Flora website where they have a ton of hassle free recipes and ideas for lunchboxes. I’m going to be trying out lots of the recipes myself over the coming weeks so head on over to my YouTube channel for weekly inspiration or just to check on how we are doing keeping it healthy.
What do you put in your child’s lunchbox? Do you have any favourite recipes to share? Let me know in the comments box below as always.
This post is an entry for the #FloraLunchbox Linky Challenge, sponsored by Flora. Check out their lunch planner and recipe ideas here