It’s back to school this week and in our house, it’s a bit of a double-edged sword. I am delighted to send them off into the classroom again so that I can have a bit of time to go to the toilet/ eat my breakfast/ drive the car without someone shouting in my ear or a Lego missile flying by my head. On the other hand, it’s back to uniforms, after-school activities and worst of all; making school lunches - the bane of mine and every other mother’s life that I know.
I do not like making school lunches. There are 183 days in the school calendar so that equates to 549 school lunches in my house. That’s a lot of lunches to make when you don’t like making them. It’s that constant search for something healthy, quick, easy, nut-free and palatable that drives me bananas and nuts. And how come everything I want to make for lunches has nuts in it?
To make my life a little simpler, I have a few rules I follow when making my three their lunches. Here goes :
- Always make them the night before. This way, you have more time to plan what’s going in there and won’t be as tempted to fill it up with jam sandwiches!
- Try to always include at least one vegetable in whatever form you can. Suggestions include raw carrot, cucumber and pepper sticks, grated carrot in tuna mayonnaise, diced cucumber in sandwiches, little container of tomatoes or peas or vegetable soup.
- Vary the bread for sandwiches but always err on the side of wholemeal. If your child won’t eat wholemeal bread, make a sandwich with one slice white, one slice wholemeal and gradually phase it in that way
- Let them make their own with the ingredients you provide. This works a treat with two of mine but inevitably there is one who “forgets’ to make their lunch until bedtime (insert eye roll here!).
- I make a batch of filling on a Monday that could last until Wednesday or so. This helps me sleep better at night knowing I have this done! Examples include tuna and mayo with at least one veggie or chicken and cucumber.
- if I’m cooking chicken, I often save a breast and boil it for chicken sandwiches the next day.
- if I have leftover (wholemeal) pasta, I pop it into containers with some peas for an easy, healthy snack.
- pop your own popcorn and use it as a base for a trail mix - including chocolate chips, dried fruit or coconut shavings
I hope these tips will help ease you back into the joy of schools lunches! If you have any great hacks that you use, please let me know!