What’s for lunch? (Thinking outside the box)

Let’s work on the kids lunchbox now. It’s not an easy place to start, is it?

Have a look in most kids lunchboxes and there is something in a packet of some sort – much of it processed. Packets are easy to throw in of a morning and you really don’t have to think about it.

Then there is the sandwich. Your child has probably had a sandwich, wrap, cracker or some sort of grain in their lunchbox since kinder or childcare. Their familiarity with bread probably even goes further back to when they started on finger food and teething. So there is a LONG history of grain in the lunchbox for some kids and this may prove to be a challenge to change.

It can be mind blowing for a child to think there is not going to be the sandwich in their lunchbox tomorrow. Start talking to them about what is going to happen when you change things over. They want to know what is happening and what the reasons are behind the change. Routine is a big thing as well. So having that sandwich at lunch EVERY day and suddenly its no longer there could be an issue. Some children might not take to it as quickly and easily as others.

It’s helpful if you don’t perpetuate the need for bread. Shift the perspective. Get the kids used to eating differently.

When we started only one of my girls wouldn’t have a bar of it. She basically started the same day as me, but didn’t realise it. She was my best eater at the time, (her sisters have nearly caught up to her now) and would eat anything I put in front of her. The first comment I got when I said “once the bread is gone that’s it” was a cry of despair from my oldest. “What are we going to eat if there’s no bread?”

You want to change things around but what is left?

When you look at all the paleo and primal recipes, that one little three letter word stops you every time. Yes NUTS!

A hard one, as here in Australia almost every childcare, kinder/preschool, and school has a “no nuts” policy. Understandable, of course, and I really am very careful about abiding by it. There is such a big campaign about nuts in school that, at one point, one of my kids thought they were the one that was allergic to nuts. Now they jump on each other every time one of them grabs a handful in the morning. “You cant have nuts at school!” Its great that they are looking out for their fellow students. But it can make it hard to go on the paleo path…..or does it?

I have found that it hasn’t really stopped us. From a traditional lunchbox and recipe point of view yes, it has stopped a lot of the normal substitutes. It just means thinking a bit more outside the lunchbox…..literally.

What I do?

My girls can be pretty set in their ways and like the same things day in and day out. I do try and mix it up a bit and I get different reactions to different things, but then we all have our own tastes. So I bear with it. Having said that, I’m not a short order cook either, so all the lunches are pretty much the same with little variations here and there for personal tastes. It also depends on the season and weather.

Foods for the lunchbox

  • Salad (lettuce, tomato, olives, cheese etc)
  • Whole carrots
  • Whole fruit ie apples, oranges, kiwifruit, mandarins etc (blueberries are a favourite in our house)
  • Fruit salad (yoghurt can be added for a variation)
  • Mini fritattas  https://livingforlife.me/2012/07/07/lunchbox-fritattas/
  • Apple and banana muffin (make a batch and freeze)  https://livingforlife.me/2012/08/02/apple-banana-muffins/
  • Banana bread (make a loaf, cut up and freeze)  https://livingforlife.me/2012/07/29/banana-bread/
  • Mini meatloafs
  • Egg salad
  • Cold sausages
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Celery and carrot sticks with dip (dips can make for a lot of choice)
  • Stewed fruit with yoghurt
  • Coconut butter with dried fruit
  • Coconut oil (in winter – I think in summer its just going to be messy)
  • Cheese
  • Soups in winter (I use a thermos to transport it)

There is a huge variety of things you can add to the kids lunches. It’s all about thinking outside that box.

We’d love to hear about your adventures (challenges, flops, wins) with providing a healthy lunch for your kids. It would be great if you could post something here for all our readers. This way we get to help one another.

Please leave us your comments or questions.

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