Lunchbox Tips For the Cooler Months
Posted by Mandy Sacher on July 14, 2015
Posted by Mandy Sacher on July 14, 2015
With the sudden drop in temperature and kids heading back to school this week, we thought it was a great time to share our favourite winter-warmer lunchbox solutions to keep your little ones nourished and energised. Now is definitely a great time to invest in a good quality, kid-sized thermos to store some tummy-warming lunches for the school day. Wholesome Child particularly loves the Thermos Funtainer, but any quality product with a “warming guarantee” of a minimum of five hours is a good option.
Soups are the perfect lunchtime choice for kids to take to day-care or school during winter, there are numerous nutritionally-packed options you can prepare for your family which will help sustain minds and bodies through the coldest of winter days. Start with the best possible soup stock you can afford – a bone broth is the perfect base for any soup, or use a low sodium and MSG-free vegetable stock. Once you have your base ready, add in as many vegetables as you can. For many children it is best to puree the veggies first so they’re not visible to tiny, fussy-eaters’ eyes.
It’s always best to work with your child’s favourite foods – if they love chicken make a chicken soup loaded with vegetables. If your children can’t get enough of pumpkin soup – enhance the nutrient content of this tasty option by adding carrot and sweet potato and other mild-flavoured vegetables such as zucchini and green beans which can be hidden easily amongst the orange-coloured root veggies. Pumpkin and butternut squash also team beautifully with coconut milk. To tempt fussy eaters to eat soup, you may want to provide wholegrain noodles or sourdough croutons which they can add to the soup themselves at school. Our favourite soup recipes include Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup and Lentil and Vegetable Soup.
Pasta is another winter warmer lunchbox favourite. Use a good quality wholegrain pasta, our favourites are soba buckwheat noodles, spelt spirals or rice, quinoa and amaranth penne. Packing sauces full of vegetables is an excellent way to further boost your children’s vitamin intake. Why not try our delicious blended home-made Vegetable Packed Pasta Sauce. And for a protein-filled lunch option, mix your vegetable sauce with Wholesome Child’s Beef and Veggie Meatballs or Spaghetti Bolognaise, which you can make in a larger batch and then freeze for easy mid-week lunchboxes. These are also great dinner recipes enjoyed by the whole family.
Casseroles are a great way to maximise leftovers, save money and transform extra dinner portions into a warming thermos lunchbox meal. Casseroles are also an excellent way of ensuring your little ones have a power-packed lunch with a wide variety of nutrients – there are also crowd-pleasing vegetarian options, such as a supercharged macaroni and cheese loaded with veggies – or our favourite tiny-tastebud friendly Orange Chicken and Thyme Casserole.
Mini muffins and mini quiches are nutritious, tummy-filling options for kids’ lunchboxes. Their shape and size make them instantly appealing to children, which is a saviour for busy parents, as you can bake them in batches, freeze them and use them over a month (or more) for an easy “grab and go” lunchbox solution. Our Salmon Mini Quiches are a perfect choice for midday meals.
Breakfast for lunch we’re not kidding! Breakfast porridge is often a favourite of our household’s little ones, so for a change why not give them a nutrient-packed hot porridge for lunch? Mix together a variety of grains e.g. brown rice flakes and quinoa flakes, together with sunflower seeds, goji berries, chia seeds and banana – and top with our delicious Apricot and Cinnamon Compote.
Toasted sandwiches can be a healthy option if you use veggie spreads and ensure some protein is included in your filling to keep their tummies full and little brains active for a demanding afternoon of maths, sports or painting! Add a thin spread of cauliflower puree or sweet potato puree to increase nutrient density. Choose your favourite preservative-free wholegrain bread, add a layer of healthy fat (e.g. coconut oil, ghee, butter, olive oil) include cheese, tomatoes, olives and/or mushrooms. If your child is not a fan of vegetables, try mixing pureed sweet potato, swede, parsnip or cauliflower to the cheese before melting. Wrap in foil and place in an insulated lunchbox to keep warm until lunchtime. Read this article for the perfect formula for healthy sandwiches.
Veggie filled fried rice is the perfect winter warmer and a great tummy filler. For more protein add egg, meat, lentils or fish according to your child’s preference, and plenty of diced veggies such as carrots, peas, cauliflower, broccoli and tomato. If your child does not like mixed textures then start off more simply by reducing the number of ingredients. If you struggle with your little one picking out the protein, cook the rice in bone broth to boost its nutritional value and add one or two favourite veggies, plus a healthy fat to keep them full for the whole afternoon.
Additional winter lunchbox inspiration is available in Wholesome Child:A Complete Nutrition Guide and Cookbook or book your space at the upcoming winter warmer Lunchbox Solutions Workshop.