BY MANDY SACHER
Now that winter is here, it’s a great time to adapt your lunchbox offerings for the colder weather to ensure little tummies are tempted when lunchtime rolls around. These are some of our favourite lunchbox solutions to keep your little ones nourished and energised. Invest in a good quality, kid-sized thermos to store hot lunches for the school day. The Thermos Funtainer is a great choice, but any quality product with a “warming guarantee” of a minimum of five hours is a good option.
The perfect lunchtime choice for kids to take to day-care or school during winter. 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, pack in as many vegies as you can. It’s always best to work with your child’s favourite foods. If they love chicken make a chicken soup loaded with vegetables, and if they are a fan of pumpkin soup enhance the nutrient content by adding carrot, sweet potato and other mild-flavoured veggies 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, add in wholegrain noodles or sourdough croutons which they can add themselves at school. Our favourite soup recipes include Wholesome Child’s Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup and Lentil and Vegetable Soup.
Another winter lunchbox favourite. Use a good quality wholegrain pasta; our favourites are soba buckwheat noodles, spelt spirals and rice, quinoa and amaranth penne. Add a veggie-packed sauce to boost your children’s vitamin intake, such as Wholesome Child’s delicious blended home-made Vegetable Packed Pasta Sauce.
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 two are also great dinner recipes which can be enjoyed by the whole family.
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 – with crowd-pleasing vegetarian options such as a supercharged macaroni and cheese loaded with veggies – or a tiny-tastebud friendly Orange Chicken and Thyme Casserole.
MINI MUFFINS AND QUICHES
Nutritious, tummy-filling options for kids’ lunchboxes. Their shape and size make them instantly appealing to children and 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
Yes, really! Breakfast porridge is often a favourite of the little people in our households, so for a change why not give them a nutrient-packed hot porridge for lunch? Mix together a variety of grains such as 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.
CLASSIC TOASTED SANDWICHES
A healthy option if you use veggie spreads and include some protein in your filling to keep little tummies full and little brains active for a demanding afternoon of maths, sports or painting!
Add a thin spread of cauliflower puree, sweet potato puree or Vital Veggies Supercharged Veggie Powder 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.
VEGGIE-FILLED FRIED RICE
Another great winter warmer and keeps little tummies full. Add in egg, meat, lentils or fish 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 and add a healthy fat to keep them full for the whole afternoon.
Mandy Sacher is a certified Paediatric Nutritionist and SOS Feeding Consultant. Find out more about Mandy and the recipes on Wholesome Child HERE