If you haven’t already come across the Lunchbox Doctor I now have the pleasure of introducing her into your life.
I can promise you she will be someone you turn to time and time again for Recipe Ideas and her Blogs which are both informative and enlightening. You may even find your child will look over your shoulder and enjoy her too!
Jenny Tschiesche (Tee-She) BSc(Hons) Dip(ION) FdSc BANT. She is a best-selling author, nutritionist, recipe developer and presenter. Lunchbox Doctor started out when her daughter went to her first school in 2009. As a newly qualified nutritionist, she realised very quickly that the typical lunchboxes were far below the required nutritional standards for health, let alone optimal health. So she started combining her nutrition knowledge and advice with creating straight-forward recipes and time-saving tips to share online with other parents also wanting simple solutions in their already busy lives.
Jenny kindly wrote this article for us. As parents, that feeling of despair when you look into an empty lunch box is one that we all feel too often. All you want is for something inspirational to jump into it and transform it into a fun and healthy lunch that your child will enjoy opening - well read on and that may now be possible…….
5 WAYS TO STRESS-FREE PACKED LUNCHES
Love them or hate them (probably the latter) they must be made. Packed lunches are a necessity for some and a choice for others. We choose to make lunches because the “choices” at school are not exactly choices. So, if they must be made how can this task, which is often one of many tasks on a busy school morning, be made easier?
1. PLAN LUNCHBOXES BEFORE YOU GO FOOD SHOPPING
Writing out a plan for lunches is highly recommended. We use a template called “Lunch Bingo” in an attempt to make even this task more enjoyable and interactive. Add the items to your food shopping list. Not only will this make sure the lunches are balanced nutritionally but also that you have the right foods and quantities of foods in the house when needed.
2. PREPARE FOOD IN ADVANCE
On a weekend, during the week if you have some time or dare I say it if the children suddenly want to start cooking or helping in the kitchen.
Make a big batch of pasta sauce or two – both tomato-based sauces and green pesto tend to be well accepted by children.
Wash and chop some veggies and fruit for the next few days – wash some cherry tomatoes, chop up some mango into cubes, peel and slice some carrots into sticks, cube some melon. If you are worried about these going dry either cover in a damp tea towel or store in the fridge in sealed containers.
3. MAKE DOUBLE
Whenever you are making a meal for the family, cook more than you are going to eat then serve up the left-overs in lunchboxes the next day, either hot in a Thermos flask or cold.
Some ideas for hot leftovers include - roast dinner, soup or spaghetti bolognese.
Some ideas for cold leftovers – cooked chicken, pasta and sauce, sausages (chopped into little pieces).
4. FREEZE FOR LATER
Freezing foods for when you really need them may just keep you sane. Sliced bread and pitta bread can be helpful to defrost on a morning when you suddenly realise you’ve run out.
Hummus can be frozen too but the key to ensuring it stays moist is to cover the hummus in a layer of olive oil before freezing. Cheese can be frozen in portions. This does change its texture a little bit on the morning you need them, it’s useful to have. Homemade muffins or dough for biscuits. The muffins can simply be defrosted emergency Cookie/biscuit dough can be halved and some frozen when making a batch of cookies/biscuits then defrosted and baked fresh for lunches.
5. SAVIOUR FOODS
It’s a good idea to keep some longer-life foods in the house just in case. Wholegrain crackers in sealed packages, small bags of popcorn, jars of olives, tins of soup, tins of beans, tuna, and sweetcorn are all useful. When you get caught out and you have very little in there’s always soup – blend some vegetables and add some stock plus meat or pulses. Or if you have some left-over cooked vegetables and some eggs then individually baked frittata’s (baked in a muffin tin) make great lunchbox food.
Now you have your perfect packed lunch don’t forget to label your child’s lunch box so they get to enjoy it, not an admirer who has a less interesting packed lunch!