Then I came to NZ and discovered my new pet peeve: the lunchbox. Lunch should not be in a box. Lunch should be set free. How was I supposed to feed hungry boys healthy food if it could not be re-heated and supposed to be eaten in 10 minutes? (try to explain to a 6 years old that when the bell rings, the right choice is to finish your food, not run outside to play with his mates…good luck). Another difficulty: 3 children mean 3 different sets of taste-buds, and I am NOT cooking 3 different meals. By trying to think outside the (lunch)box, we adjusted and judging by the empty boxes that come back everyday, I say we are doing well. So here are my tips to an easy and healthy lunchbox:
1. Include the children, if not in the preparation, at last in the decision making of what they are going to eat by giving them 2 alternatives. And get them to agree on the same thing. If they prepare it, they eat it. Simple but effective in our household. And you spend time together while doing it, and they get to learn than a pizza does not grow on tree.
2. Home-made is best. Making a quiche or a savoury muffin takes about 10 minutes with a food processor. With these 2 recipes, you can create hundreds by changing what it in it. I get to hide soooo many vegetables, even beetroot! Even pizza can be healthy if homemade. I even make the cookies (if my husband doesn’t put his hands on it first that is).
3. Sauce is important. My children do not have the same taste. But, when I make vegetable nuggets for exemple (another easy recipe to feed them vegetables), I give them their little sauce to adjust it to their taste buds. Yoghurt and lemon for the eldest, ketchup for the middle one. The youngest is not worthy of sauce yet…
4. Explain to your children the importance of good nutrition. No matter how much they love the food I give them, they want to fit in and asked why they don’t get to have crisps and orange juice or sweets like some other kids. If they understand what they are eating and why, it makes them more opened to the concept of healthy food
5. Give a treat now and then. I am not than mean to my kids and I am not obsessed about healthy food either. Not everyday anyway. And food should be fun so once a week they get a sandwich or a piece of chocolate in their lunch box. To be honest it is so easy to do and they think I am the best mum ever.