Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Lunchbox planning for the new school year

We have completed our first few weeks of the new school year and we're just about settling into a nice routine. This includes the daily job of making lunchboxes to keep Freddy fed and watered for the school day. There has been a lot of talk recently regarding the healthiness of kids' packed lunches from home, and a recent survey commissioned by Flora concluded that only 1.6% of packed lunches are meeting food based standards for UK school meals. Only 17% of lunchboxes contain any vegetables or salad and 60% contain too many processed sweet and savoury snacks.

In response to this, Flora are investing in an initiative to inspire parents by distributing thousands of Flora lunchboxes via retailers, containing healthy lunchbox recipe planners.  They have also launched an online guide with useful tips and recipes for parents. There are some some great recipes and ideas for lunches, including a five day vegan lunch plan using Flora Dairy Free.


It is all too easy to fall into the habit of making a quick cheese sandwich and throwing in a bag of crisps and a chocolate biscuit for a child's lunch. We often find ourselves in a lunchbox rut, but this school year I'm determined to do better. So being organised and planning ahead is really important to keep up the motivation to provide healthy lunches with kid appeal to keep Freddy happy.

Typically, Freddy has a sandwich, a wrap, a panini or something baked like a vegetarian sausage roll or a cheese twist. He also has a portion of fruit such as strawberries, grapes or an apple, and a portion of veggies, such as cucumber or carrot sticks. A carton of fruit juice or a bottle of water complete his lunch. I know fruit juice is high in naturally occurring sugars and acid, but I prefer him having that than a sugar-free, chemical laden drink. Like Flora, I am a big advocate of the 'Powered by Plants' ideology!


To change things up, we sometimes bake some Quorn Chicken Style Nuggets or Linda McCartney's sausages (we pop them in the oven the night before while cooking dinner) and serve them cold with a ketchup dip. It's fun and high in protein. Add some breadsticks, fruit and veggies to the lunchbox for a balanced meal.


For a special treat, I make some individual pots of vegetarian jelly in little lidded tubs. They are low in calories, refreshing and Freddy loves them!  Making them yourself is so much cheaper than buying supermarket versions, and you can easily add some chopped fruit as part of their five a day quota.


Investing in a little flask allows them to take soups to school. Coupled with a chunky slice of wholemeal bread spread with Flora Dairy Free, it makes a lovely meal, especially as the colder weather sets in.

I firmly believe that we are what we eat. Freddy is still a bit set in his ways when it comes to food, but with encouragement he is enjoying a wider range of foods and becoming more adventurous. I aim to keep his lunchboxes varied, balanced and appealing and hope that his appetite and enthusiasm for food continues to grow!

“This post is an entry for the #FloraLunchbox Linky Challenge, sponsored by Flora. Check out their lunch planner and recipe ideas here. ”


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