When you are pushed for time and not sure what to make for your kids packed lunch in the morning and want to offer something healthy in your primary school or teenagers lunchbox, you needs some basic premises to rely on. Also, let's be honest, sometimes we are lacking inspiration first thing in the morning, and for lots of us, clarity doesn't magically appear until at a couple of cups of tea or coffee!
If you want to cut to the chase, and avoid any unnecessary froth, we will let you into a secret - are you ready for this revelation?!?
healthy = vegetables
Yes, that's right, if you are looking for a starting point for a healthy pack lunch idea, keep it simple and just have a look at what veggies you have in the fridge or cupboard. Healthy snacks are normally comprised of vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and not messed around with too much.
Keep it simple! Take a carrot or cucumber, wash it, cut it, put it in a small pot and put it in your lunchbox. There, instant colour, instant good healthy part of your or your kids meal.
Now, you are off to a great start, add some fruit. There is no harm in mixing some fruit and veg together in the same pot. Your kids may enjoy the variety of texture from grapes and carrot or sweet pepper and olives. Or put in an apple or cut it up if they prefer that. Ok, so now you've covered the basics, you can prepare something carby such as a sandwich, wrap or similar. Perhaps sneak a few salad leaves into the sandwich while you are at it!
Now you can sit back and admire the healthy meal you have prepared for you girl or boy and you can just finish it off with a treat such as a chocolate biscuit or piece of cake.
If your kids are fussy eaters, create lots of sections with dividers and pots to make a bento style lunch box. This allows the child to clearly identify what is on offer and to choose what and how to eat it, one thing at a time. This will also help with identifying what went well or otherwise, by looking at what came back home again.
If you start with the vegetables and fruit, you know that the chance if it being a healthy meal is high, and you can then fill it out in a more straightforward way.
If your kids are a little more adventurous, why not include some toasted seeds (check you schools policy on allergens) or dipping sauce or salad dressing in a small pot inside the lunchbox?
Give a try and see if it comes back empty!