My children have always had a mix of school dinners and packed lunches and whilst the lazy part of me would love them to have school dinners every day the sensible part knows that a packed lunch is often a much better idea in terms of both nutrition and cost savings.
It is easy to get boring though and give the same foods every day to your kids so every once in a while we all need a shake up and a reminder that you can make lunches fun without it being a right hassle.
Let me be upfront now though before you read on, I don't do all these amazing bento box style lunches for the kids (well not very often anyway) as I just don't have that kind of time or inclination and nor do I make my own yogurt to ensure the kids don't get to much sugar. I am all about an easy packed lunch that will fill the kids and offer them variety whilst being nutritious and meeting the government guidelines for a healthy packed school lunch.
So if like me, you are just a regular mum who is happy to put shop-bought items (as well as home-cooked) in you child's lunchbox then read on for 10 ideas for filling your primary school child's lunchbox -
1. Send in Soup or Baked Beans for an older child
Now obviously this won't work fora 5 year old as they will probably get covered but my 9 year old's love to have some warm soup or beans along with a bread roll or pitta in the colder winter months.
2. Offer a Pick and Mix box
We tend to call this kind of lunch 'bits and pieces' and it is literally that, a little of everything I have in the fridge. Cut up pitta, pot of humus or cream cheese, vegetable sticks, sugar snap peas or mini corn cobs. rolled up ham or pieces of chicken, small slices of cheese and perhaps some grapes. They kids really love the variety, it is great for a picky eater or a child fed-up of sandwiches.
3. Make pinwheels with wraps.
My girls like to have a wholemeal wrap spread with cream cheese and ham and then some sweetcorn and carrots in it, roll it up and slice it and you have mini pinwheels which look pretty and are dead easy for them to eat as well.
4. Pack a Soreen Banana Fruit or Malt Loaf
My kids have been eating Soreen malt loaf since they were toddlers but a new favourite is the banana fruit bread These ready packed mini loaves look tiny but are actually very filling and at just 95 calories each, they are a good addition to keep you little one full until they come home from school.
5. Make your own mini pasta pots
This is probably my girls favourite packed school lunch and it is so easy as I can do it the night before and leave it in the fridge ready for the next day. I coo the pasts (normally Fusilli as it is easy to eat) and either add tomato sauce and a grating of cheese on the top or pesto sauce. Sometimes they will have tuna mayo and sweetcorn mixed in or perhaps chicken and cooked peppers. Again anything you have as a leftover really.
6. Spanish Omlette or Egg Muffins
We often make an enormous Spanish omelette (eggs, potatoes, onion and any veg you fancy) and cut slices of it for dinner. Leftovers are great in lunchboxes or you can make mini egg and vegetable muffins for the kids to take it. Pack a small side salad to go with it and they have a really filling and nutritious meal.
7. Filled Pitta Pockets
Slice a pocket in two and fill it with tuns mayonnaise, sweetcorn, peppers and salad or maybe your child fancies some falafel and leftover roast lamb with salad. Pu a drizzle of mint sauce in a little pot and they will feel as if they are having a gourmet lunch..
8. Add some home-popped Popcorn
My children adore popcorn and it is so easy to pop yourself with minimal oil and then you can dress it however you fancy. A bit f cinnamon sugar s fab or drizzle some melted chocolate over it and the kids love the crunch once it has hardened. See BBC Good Food for lots of great recipes.
I hope I've given you some inspiration and made you think twice about just packing a sandwich each day. There are so many things you can do with minimal effort but a much greater effect on your child's health, enjoyment and concentration.
Have fun, Mich x
Disclosure: I am part of the Mumsnet bloggers network and I have been picked to write about Soreen lunchbox loaves. I'll receive a voucher for writing about this product but I genuinely am a Soreen customer and I write honest and with no direction from Mumsnet or Soreen as to what I should say.
If you like what you have read and want to stay up-to-date then subscribe by email for free and receive blog posts directly to your in-box - just click the link Subscribe to Mummy From The Heart... by Email or perhaps you like to keep all your blog reading in one place, if that is the case you can follow me on BlogLovin too!