Love lunchtime – plan, prepare and pack!
Lunchtime with children can be tough – especially when school returns. How can you make sure their lunch is healthy and nutritious, but not boring? How can you save time in the mornings? Healthy food can be expensive, what can you do if you’re sticking to a budget?
There are many challenges that come with being a parent, feeding your children can be one of them. As parents, cost and convenience often take the top spot, but ensuring your child is eating healthy food is not always easy.
Read our tips for tackling tantrums, shopping smart and swapping stress for satisfaction.
Keep it fresh
When you find something your child enjoys, it is easy to do the same thing every day to save time and effort. But lunchtime doesn’t need to be boring! There are plenty of lunchbox ideas online that dedicate whole sections to family feeding – set aside time at the weekend to do some research and write down any recipes that take your fancy. (Our favourite is Jamie Oliver’s Family Food).
After jotting down the recipes that grab your attention, think up any other meals that you know your child enjoys eating. Write them down. On another page, write down all the days of the week and assign a lunchtime meal to each day, along with any other snacks and drinks.
Once you have all of the meals planned, write a shopping list! Write down everything you need for a week’s worth of lunchboxes. Make it neat, make it pretty – add tickboxes and colours if you like!
Now is the time to head out to the supermarket! Get your plastic bags, pen and list ready and only pick up the things you’ve written down. It’s the offers and the impulse purchases that often make the food shop expensive!
Choose loose fruit and vegetables to avoid waste and save money. Pick up own-brand dry goods as these are often much cheaper than well-known brands. For fresh food, take note of the use by dates – so many of us waste food as a result of food ‘going bad’.
Prep and pack
On Sunday evening, prepare meals in advance. Pack your child’s lunchbox up until Wednesday, then repeat the process Wednesday evening. This will save you so much time in the morning – hopefully you will be feeling rested, inspired and ready for the day!