Making kids lunches interactive and less soggy is also important. Separate dry and wet ingredients such as dressings, sauces, spreads and slices of tomato for crackers and sandwiches in mini containers, and let them engage in some of the construction of the food.
Mix up textures of smooth yogurt with crunchy pumpkin seeds, or gluten free sandwiches with contrasting fillings of creamy avocado, “hairy” sprouts crunchy slithers of celery with a homemade mayo.
Soups can be frozen in single portions and then heated and placed in a thermos for lunchbox use. Incorporate leftovers into lunch the next day. Grains, meats, vegetables, eggs and undressed salads make excellent additions to a lunchbox.
When it comes to drinks, rather than providing a reconstituted fruit juice, why not try a “green monster”, blending green veggies such as spinach, celery and cucumber with apple, pear and lemon juice for an exciting, eye-catching addition or try a green slushie. If you child doesn't like anything green, then flasks of chocolate milk can be made at home with rice or oat milk or banana smoothies help them feel full for longer too.
My favourite smoothie to make for the kids is a Very Berry Shake. It's also a good one when you need breakfast on the run. This shake will provide ample energy when time is short.
Always remember to encourage your child to drink water, it hydrates, regulates body temperature, and helps prevent constipation and urinary tract infections. It is also important for your child’s oral health, their immune system, digestion and weight management. Make it fun for them and give them a straw, add some ice and squeeze fresh lemon in to or a mint leaf give it a hint of flavour. You could even drop a couple of frozen berries in.
Investing in a water filter is preferable to tap water. If you’re still having trouble getting your child to drink more water set a pee challenge! The lighter the pee the better.
Here’s a Supercharged Tip: Keep pre-cut sticks of celery, carrot, cucumber, and capsicum in the fridge for incredibly quick last minute snacks or as a colourful addition to lunch boxes.
For healthy lunch boxes, it’s a good idea to always keep a variety of fresh fruit and veggies in stock. Having raw fruit and veg that can be simply cut up is the easiest way to ensure that kids are snacking on fresh, nutrient-rich foods.
And for a delicious after school snack that the kids will love, why not try my Chocolate Popsicles, they're a big hit at home (even with the adults!)
- 2 bananas
- 65 g (214 oz/14 cup) nut butter
- 60 ml (2 fl oz/14 cup) coconut milk or coconut water
- 2 tablespoons cacao powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon honey or sweetener of choice
- 4 iceblock (popsicle/ice lolly) moulds and sticks
- Whizz all the ingredients in a food processor to combine.
- Pour into the ice block moulds and add the sticks, then freeze until set.