January 27, 2016

The holidays are over and school has begun again. Normal routines have finally returned and even though most parents are relieved to have their children back to school, we are now faced with the hard task of what to pack in their lunchboxes.  It can be difficult trying to think of healthy, convenient and delicious food for their lunches each day, plus what do you give them when they come home starving from school?

The shopping aisles are filled with little packets of this and that to put into the lunch boxes however many are filled with sugar, salt and fat. Finding time to home bake can be difficult, but not impossible. Allocate a bake day say once a month and make muffins, pikelets (try these delicious Savoury Pikelets), cakes and my low fat corn chips. Your children will reap the healthy rewards and so will your budget. You can freeze all these items except the corn chips, which will keep fresh for weeks in a well-sealed container.

If you really don’t have time to bake, then take time to read the labels on the packets you buy and try to choose the lower salt and sugar varieties. Some ideal snacks are rice crackers, yoghurt, fruit, dried fruit and, for the older kids, nuts. Dips with celery and carrot sticks are a great snack for kids at school or pack a salad but keep it cool in a special cooler bag.

You can’t beat fresh fruit and with the wide variety available at this time of the year it is easy to tempt them. I think making fresh fruit salad is so nice and more appealing, and if their piece of fruit is coming home in the lunch box then dicing the fruit may help tempt the little ones. If the fruit is still in the lunch box when they get home from school, why not make a fruit smoothie for them.

If your child is carrying excess weight, then get them active; turn off the television and computer and get them outside. Get them involved in some type of sport or go for a walk with them and you will find that with a healthy diet and exercise their weight will naturally balance out. Also try to avoid giving your children too many sugary drinks.

Eating habits are set in the first few years of life so if you encourage good, healthy food then hopefully your children will take these habits into their adult life.

  • I like that the kinder here doesn’t allow anything but fruit for their snack. All the kids eat fruit and it’s what’s best for them, as well as no one gets upset about having to eat it rather than something “yummier”. Sets them up for school! After watching a doco on sugar recently, I’ve become aware of how bad it is so the less sugar the better. Like it said in the doco, nature gave us the perfect sugary treat in the form of an apple. Smoothies can be troublesome in large amounts. So much fruit in one hit, when eating an apple or something would fill you. Everything in moderation!


  • great post and helped me to think of new ideas


  • Our kids help pack their own lunch boxes so they are happy with their content. To save some money, I buy big packs of dried fruit and nuts and let the kids make their own fruit medley in small dishes. This is their back up food if they are still hungry after their sandwiches and fruit. Rice crackers, savoury muffins and wraps are a popular alternative to sandwiches in our house too.


  • We go fresh with occasional treats. Healthy food simply is better for you and keeps stomachs full for longer.


  • We try really hard to make and pack and freeze healthy snacks. It certainly makes the morning rush a bit easier. Some favourites are pikelets, pumpkin scones and mini cheesy muffins.

    • i never thought about freezing pikelets


  • yeah i do love the idea of having a bake day and then freezing it. even if you only make muffins once a week and freeze them, that is great


  • Thank you for some great tips. We’re not at school age yet but I still find it difficult to know what to feed my little ones even for everyday snacks at home or out and about.


  • I also send healthy food for miss 3 when she goes to creche. Fresh beans from the garden, Apple, etc


  • We try to avoid prepackaged snacks, but gee it’s hard to find enough healthy stuff they like to give them variety too.

    • It can be hard and there’s so much marketing hype around products that the kids want what others are having. My Symply Too Good To Be True book 4 has a party food section and many of these things are just the right size for kids and many are suitable to be frozen. This may give you a few ideas. :-)


  • I always pack sandwiches, a piece or two of fruit, and water. It’s easy, nutritious and filling. After school snacks might be an ice-cream, a muffin, yoghurt, nuts, or a combination. Kids need exercise, but more important is portion control.


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