I have two children: a two-year-old daughter and a four-year-old son. Both love being in the kitchen and happily ‘help’ me to prepare dinner most evenings. We also make pizza dough and usually bake at weekends. Sometimes we even make chia puddings and overnight oats for breakfast!
Due to their healthy, nutrition-focused upbringing, I was nervous when my son changed nurseries and there was only a ‘school dinner option’ for lunch. To be fair to the nursery, most lunchtime meals appear to be nutritionally balanced. They offer organic fish on Fridays and a vegetarian menu for the rest of the week, with no refined sugars in their desserts. However, the food can be repetitive, which I’m sure is a common issue in nurseries and schools.
So when my son went on a school trip to the National History Museum this term, I relished the opportunity to make him his first packed lunch (you can see the finished product in the photo above).
I used a LunchBots stainless steel lunchbox, so no need for wrapping or plastic packaging, and I packed it with the following (all homemade):
- Parmesan-crust, organic chicken strips (which my son made with me the night before);
- Vegetable crudités (carrot and cucumbers);
- Breakfast cookies (free from nuts and refined sugars) with haricot beans – see here for recipe;
- Wild blueberries and grapes.
Not only did my son help me prepare all the components of the lunch but there were batches left over for further meals. The lunch also contained high quality readily absorbable heme protein in the chicken and was low carb – no sandwiches! The oat cookies provided low-GI slow-release carbohydrates, antioxidants were abundant in the rainbow vegetables and fruits and a healthy dose of ‘good’ fats were in the chicken, Parmesan and coconut oil (in the cookies).
It was a genuinely fun experience to make it with him and the leftovers from the batch cooking did my daughter’s lunches for the rest of the week.
Try it yourself. What’s in your child’s lunchbox today?
Karen Preece Smith at The Nutrition Guru