Back to school brings mixed emotions amongst kids and parents. Parents are happy for some 'Me time' and kids to be back with their friends. The sadness of many kids can be felt with back to the ‘nine to three’ grind stuck in a classroom….. and worst of all, back to the same-old boring packed lunches of sandwiches, a piece of fruit, and maybe (hopefully) a treat.
I remember my primary school lunches as clear as day. It meant saying goodbye to the yummy and unique meals like curries and noodle dishes my Mum would prepare for me and reuniting with salad and cheese sandwiches and processed protein. Not to mention, we had to stick to the strict ‘healthy food guides’ that our teachers would hand out at the start of each term.
But lunch at school doesn’t have to boring… It can be delicious, different, and most importantly… healthy! Here are some of Spice Zen’s top tips to keep kids interested in lunch:
1. Start planning those lunch boxes early
The fastest way to fall into the routine of packing boring lunchboxes is a lack of planning.
Draft up a plan for the next few weeks of what you’re going to put into your child’s lunchbox. Once you get a plan going, it gets easier to just use the same variety of lunches, on rotation.
This also makes sure you know exactly what to buy in your weekly grocery shop, can budget accordingly, and guarantees that there is always a fun variety of food for your child to enjoy.
What to pack, do you ask? Health Victoria recommends operating on ‘Picking & Mixing’ 6 different food varieties for a healthy and well-balanced meal. They recommend packing 6 of the following:
- Vegetables, legumes and beans
- Dairy - milk, yoghurt, cheese or an alternative
- Lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds and legumes/beans
- Grain foods (i.e. cereal)
2. Think Out of the Box (Literally)!
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of a lunch box? Probably the usual cut fruit, yoghurt sachet and sandwich. But what if you went further than this ‘sameness’?
Though unconventional, pack your kid’s lunches with the same thing you’d serve them over the holidays! “But pizza or butter chicken?”, I hear you asking.
I say, why not?!
Sure, the food might be cold. But hey, it’ll still be delicious. Here are some ideas for unique lunches that are sure to please the kiddos:
Pizza is super easy to make, and you can add any toppings that you like. You can even get the kids involved in helping to prepare it! Sprinkle a little bit of Spice Zen’s Italian Herb Blend on top for extra flavour!
Get rid of processed meats and opt for some fresh chicken. Chicken thigh and breast take less than 15 minutes to cook and when chopped up, makes for an easy and mess-free protein for your child’s lunchbox.
What to season the chicken with, you ask? For kids who may be less adventurous, we recommend a simple pinch of Aussie Salt and Pepper, a simple blend of three Australian native ingredients. For kids whose tongues are a little more developed, try seasoning with some of Spice Zen’s spice blends.
Muffins are a super yummy, sweet or savour treat that is easy to prepare in bulk. Not to mention, you can freeze them, so they last a lifetime!
Did you know that we have sweet spice blends as well? Try out Spice Zen’s Apple Pie Spice Blend in your muffin for a delicious apple-cinnamon muffin. Spice Zen also has a Pumpkin Spice Blend if that tickles your fancy.
3. Spice It Up!
We are called Spice Zen after all and believe that adding a touch of spice to anything makes any meal just ‘that’ much better!
Our spice blends are designed so you’re not spending ages at the grocery store picking out each spice for a recipe - only for the leftover spices to never see daylight again for a year. Our spice blends are organic and are bound to make your child’s lunchbox one part healthy and one part delicious.
Did you know that there are a bunch of recipes on our website? Feel free to use these for inspiration. Or, if you have any recipes you’d like to share, do contact us and we’ll pop it up onto the website!
And finally, drinks! Quite likely the most neglected part of the lunchbox. Whilst water is always the number one recommendation, high schoolers may want to bring along with them a flask of tea for those early morning mathematics classes.
We have a huge range of caffeine free, organic herbal tea blends from floral, earthy to fruity infusions which can also be chilled after brewing.