If you find yourself in panic mode leading up to the start of school, wondering what to pack in the kid’s school lunchbox everyday – you are not alone. Having an empty lunch returned at the end of the day is a big challenge. Not to mention meeting school guidelines around being litter-free, nut-free and healthy. Combine all that with fussy eaters, a busy life and the temptation of pre-packaged options and any parent would struggle!
Lunchbox preparation should focus on variety. Try to incorporate fruits and vegetables, wholegrain breads or crackers and some protein with only the occasional sweet treat. Branch away from boring old sandwiches with tempting alternatives like wraps, rice paper rolls or easily homemade dips with veggie sticks.
Make a plan and back it up with a fantastic shopping list to ensure you have all the necessary elements to avoid daily stops at the supermarket. Try out creative ways to present the food, such as bento lunch boxes. They are great for cutting down on plastic containers and packaging waste. Involve your kids in the decision making, test recipes out on the weekends and learn their favourites.
Better still…get the kids involved. Start trialling some recipes and ideas as a fun “holiday activity” so that you can actively involve your children in the process.
Get started with these inspiring ideas:
- Get your school interested in the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation programs which teach kids positive food habits, practical garden skills and all with links to the curriculum.
- Check out taste.com.au kids healthier lunch box ideas recipe collection for some delicious lunchbox options
- Raisingchildren.net.au has a straightforward guide to packing healthy lunches for children
- Subscribe to Healthy Little Foodies weekly email where a mum qualified in food science and marketing and teaching shares a recipe index, videos, ebooks, lunchbox tips and more.
- Visit Sunshine Coast Libraries YouTube channel how to make beeswax wraps for a sustainable, environmentally friendly way to pack lunches.
Explore these resources for more lunchbox inspo.
Reserve these titles and collect from your local library:
- The lunchbox effect: How today’s lunchbox foods are impacting your child’s learning, behaviour and health, and what you can do about it by Belinda Smith
- Lunchbox express by George Georgievski
- Lunch box: lunch ideas for kids & adults by Australian Women’s Weekly cookbooks
- Simply bento: delicious box lunch ideas for healthy portions to go by Yuko Yagi
- Sandwich free packet free lunchboxes by Anita Rossiter, Micheline Andrews
- Lunch on the go: over 75 delicious and healthy dishes for kids and adults alike by Alice Sambrook
- Stealth health lunches kids love: irresistible and nutritious gluten-free sandwiches, wraps and other easy eats by Tracy Griffith
- The lunch box by Kate McWilliam
- Lunch box: 70+ healthy meals, snacks & treats for on the go by Pete Evans
- The feel-good family food plan: everything you need to feed your family well, every day by Joanna McMillan
Fill those lunchboxes with ideas from these eBooks:
- Real food kids will love: over 100 simple and delicious recipes for toddlers and up by Annabel Karmel
- Half hour hungries: 30 recipes that kids can make in 30 minutes or less by Sabrini Parrini
- Best lunch box ever: ideas and recipes for school lunches kids will love by Katie Sullivan Morford
- The best bake sale ever cookbook by Barbara Grunes
- Gluten-free family favourites: the 75 go-to recipes you need to feed kids and adults all day, every day by Kelli Bronski
Borrow up to 30 eBooks on your device. To get started download the ePlatform by Wheelers, RBDigital and Libby apps. Select Sunshine Coast Libraries and enter your member number and password. Need help setting up your device for eBooks? Watch this video tutorial.
Get inspiration with these eMagazines:
- The Australian Women’s Weekly Food
- Super Food Ideas
- Healthy Food Guide
- Your family
To get started using free eMagazines download the RBDigital app, select Sunshine Coast Libraries and enter your member number and password.
Stream these kids and food Kanopy documentaries:
- Cafeteria man: School lunch reform
- Nutrition: meeting the needs of children
- Feeding frenzy: the food industry, obesity and the creation of a health crisis
To set up a Kanopy account to access more films for free: First time customer: select "Add Library Card" and enter your member number and password. Create a Kanopy account, then verify your email address. Repeat customers: login to Kanopy using your email and Kanopy password.
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