Packed lunches for kids

Bored of making cheese sandwiches but never going to be the sort of mum who gets up at 5am to make fresh date, olive and parmesan rolls fashioned into teddy bear shapes? Here are a few useful tips to make packed lunches a bit more varied without taking any more time to prepare. Share your idea for healthy kids’ packed lunches

Plan ahead when shopping. You can’t pack a torpedo-roll for a change unless you thought to buy one.

Collect together a few very small, cheap containers. It’s easier to include fresh things if you can just pop a few small bits into a small container.

Buy some different types of bread. These might also inspire you to use the matching filling: bagel (cream cheese), pitta bread (houmous), soft “hot-dog” rolls (sausage & ketchup).

Even ordinary sliced bread sandwiches can be made more interesting. Use a slice of brown on top and a slice of white underneath to make a multi-coloured sandwich. Cut into triangles, small squares, fingers  …

Kids will generally eat lots of small things better than one big thing. So ditch the door stop. Include one or two small sarnies and add a few nibbles: cheese cubes, breadsticks, mini sausages, mini quiches, mini-spring rolls, mini-pasties, felafel, cheese straws, crisps, vegetable crisps.

Don’t forget leftovers. “Fridge-food” can make easy, tasty additions: cut up sausage, omelette square, cubed roast chicken, pizza, small baked potato, pancake.

Pasta/rice/couscous salads are quick if you think ahead. If you are making pasta bolognese for tea, chop up a little extra raw veg, add in some of the cooked pasta with a bit of mayo. Hey presto – pasta salad ready for the next day.

Once or twice a week make something completely different. Veg strips and breadsticks with houmous, cheese and crackers, soup in a flask, tortilla wraps, pitta pockets, cold potato wedges with cream cheese dip.

Add a little pot of veg: carrots, cucumber, sugar snap peas, mangetouts, mini-corns, cherry tomatoes, peppers.

Add a little pot of fruit: raisons, dried apricots, mango, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, tinned fruit.

Keep a crib list. If you suffer from a serious inspiration deficit at 7.30 am, keep a crib list of things the kids will eat and can be made into a packed lunch in less than 10 mins.

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