I daren’t calculate how many lunches I have made in my lifetime. The fact is that for the best part of two decades I have begun the day with a roll of lunch wrap and a scowl.
My first waking thought every morning has become “what will I put in their lunches”.
I could just buy the lunch stuff – pre packaged, lots of people do – it’s a multibillion dollar industry. But I won’t. Not only is much of it junk food, it’s simply too expensive to waste and we are, truth be told, a family of “lunch leavers”.
My brother in law Vic’s older siblings inducted him into their secret lunch dumping club at an early age and nephew El’s collection of uneaten lunches sparked a health alert when spores from mildewed sandwiches nearly blinded someone. My own shameful collection of school lunches were skitched under the bed and periodically hooked out by my outraged mother with the head of the broom. And my Jack, lovely boy, hasn’t eaten lunch in 9 years. 2012 isn’t likely to be any different.
I only pack him lunch so I don’t get visited by child services. I know he won’t eat it and I regularly see lots of kids at school dumping complete untouched lunches into the bin with casual familiarity.
My Bella though – always eats hers, loves that I draw faces on her hard cooked egg and likes when I put avocado in her ham salad sandwich – perhaps she was swapped at birth?
Whether they eat it or not we still have to pack it and filling the lunch with treats won’t make them eat it either, so have a few things you can just snatch and grab, that don’t need spreading or wrapping or stuffing. A healthy lunch is cheap to make and you probably have most of the ingredients already so forget spending up on pre packed treats and prepare your own.
My snatch and grab lunchbox stuffers are prepared in our kitchen on Sunday night.
- Make individual jellies with fruit in re-useable containers – better for the environment and cheaper than the store-bought ones. Suitable fruits are peaches, pears, banana, apricots and berries – fresh pineapple and kiwifruit can make the jelly runny – something to do with acid I think
- Prepare some similar containers of yogurt so you can alternate
- Make Home popped corn and pack in snap lock bags
- Home baking – mini muffins are ideal as they’re a more appropriate serving size of what is essentially cake and mini’s go such a long way
- Home-made muesli bars or some other bar or slice – flapjack made with rolled oats is cheap and tasty and really easy to make
- Freeze small scones, savoury or sweet, that can be pulled out of the freezer as required
- Muffins small or regular freeze well and will be defrosted by morning tea time – we bake a batch each week and freeze them
- You will need a “main event”- sandwich, roll, crackers, sushi, rice salad, left over pasta salad or noodles, piece of quiche or pizza from a previous meal, cold sausage or one of my mighty cheese scrolls…