It’s hard enough thinking about what to have for dinner, let alone coming up with ideas for lunchtime too – here’s some handy ideas.
Health and wellbeing is really important for our tamariki’s learning and development, so it’s a great idea to plan ahead to ensure your little ones get nutritious and delicious lunchbox items. This can be done with locally-grown fruit and vegetables to create nourishing kai (food) that’s easy on the budget.
“Eating what’s in-season is an affordable and healthy way to fill a school lunchbox,” says 5+ A Day’s Carmel Ireland. “At the start of Term One, summer fruit like nectarines, apricots, peaches and plums are delicious and good value. They’re also conveniently packaged by Mother Nature so you can pop them straight into your child’s lunchbox without having to chop or wrap anything.
Tuck them in with wraps or sandwiches so they don’t get bruised.
“Other great options are cherry tomatoes and carrot sticks with hummus, which are always favourites for little hands to snack on.”
Carmel says eating at least five servings of fresh, locally-grown fruit and vegetables is the most nutritious and affordable way to support the health of your whānau.
“Ministry of Health guidelines state children should eat two servings of fruit and at least three or more servings of vegetables every day for optimal health and development. The resources we’re providing will help make filling the lunchbox with healthy kai each day a much easier task!”
USE THE FOLLOWING SEASONAL FRUIT AND VEGETABLES IN LUNCHBOXES THROUGHOUT THE SCHOOL YEAR:
10 Fun Snack and Lunch Ideas
- Cut sandwiches into interesting shapes using a cookie cutter or try a sealed sandwich maker to keep bigger fillings inside the sandwich.
- Make mini foods such as mini muffins, mini quiches, mini cheese and vegetable tartlets, and meatballs.
- Cold cooked rice, tossed with chopped celery, sultanas, orange segments, capsicum and some French dressing makes a nice change from sandwiches.
- Use wraps or pita bread filled with grated salad ingredients as a change from your usual sandwich bread. Or spread a little vegemite or pizza sauce on a pita bread with some mozzarella cheese and put under the grill to melt.
- Create a triple-decker effect using brown and white bread and fi ll with ham, cream cheese and lettuce. Slice into fingers and pack on their sides so your child can see the layers.
- Make sliced bread into ‘rolls’ by removing crusts and flattening slightly. Use a thin spread like vegemite or cream cheese and ham and roll up. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, refrigerate until chilled, then slice into rounds about 1cm thick.
- Make tasty salads from cold noodles or pasta – just add bitesize bits of any leftover vegetables from last night’s dinner. Yum!
- Mix chopped cooked potatoes with mayonnaise, spoon into a lettuce leaf with chopped hard-boiled egg, tomato and cress.
- Cut up carrot sticks, celery, red pepper and serve with hummus, pita bread and crackers.
- Sushi is super-easy to make these days and makes great finger food in a lunchbox.
For more tips and recipes head to 5aday.co.nz and follow @5adaynz on social media.