BLOG: Better school lunches

feb school lunch blog

Back to school, for most, means back to school lunches. My two boys are in preschool 2 days a week, and I aim to come up with healthy, original ways of filling their lunch boxes.

I try to stick to these basic guidelines when preparing the boys' lunches.
* at least 4 serves of fruit and vegetables. At this time of year I usually pack a selection of carrot or cumber sticks, cherry tomatoes, slices of red capsicum, and some fruit such as a banana, a piece of stonefruit, some berries, an apple or grapes.
* some form of carbohydrate, either vegetable carbohydrate like sweetcorn, cold roast potato or kumara; or carbohydrate from sandwiches, salad wraps, a piece of pizza or crackers.
* a portion of protein such as a peeled, hard-boiled egg, or some meat such as a cold sausage.
* dairy such as yoghurt or cheese; eaten at morning tea time so it is still reasonably cold. Tubes of yoghurt are available which are designed to be frozen, thawed in the lunch box, and eaten later in the day.
* and of course a big bottle of water. My kids drink water at any temperature, but if I know its going to be a very hot day, I add a few ice cubes in the bottle before they head off to preschool.

By following these guidelines I know my kids are getting a well balanced day of food.

It is the height of sweetcorn season at the moment, which means it's an inexpensive, flavourful addition to any lunch box. Cooked 1/4 cobs go well in lunch boxes, and corn is a great addition to pizzas, wraps or in sandwiches; mixed with a teaspoon of mayonnaise and some canned tuna.

As for the actual lunchbox, while there may be a number of fancy ones to choose from these days; I find the basic, large lunchbox with flip top lid is the most versatile. It will fit a number of smaller plastic containers, which protect the food from being damaged, as well as minimising the use of plastic wrap.