As a mom of 3 primary school kids, I only know too well the daily stresses of lunch boxes. ‘I don’t like this…’ or worse you go to great efforts and the lunch comes back. The biggest mistake many make is giving up and buying food you’re child wants, or what you have been led to believe by clever marketing is good for your child . With picky eaters, this can be so frustrating. People often say to me I’m so lucky to have good eaters, but honestly this did not happen overnight. My main advice here is keep trying and set good example by eating this food too,

I have 3 lunchboxes with variations daily but all are willing to try new things. I have a few simple suggestions below.

If your child is really really picky, then I would suggest hiding fruit and veg in the form of smoothies and soups. Sometimes with kids its just seeing the food and they make their mind up they don’t like it. Having in a blended version will give their palate an opportunity to develop. I’m a firm believer in small rather than drastic changes. So below are some simple changes I would suggest to initially start off with:

1)Swap over white bread for brown bread or wholemeal wraps. The benefits here are a less processed flour , providing more nutrients, greater fibre and this will break down slower in the body preventing high sugar spikes, it also is more beneficial for your gut.

2)Add in one new item to their usual sandwich eg tomato, cucumber, onion, lettuce , carrot or herbs like parsley/basil/coriander. Start off with a sprinkle and build up.

 

3) Does your child get a daily treat? Try and swap this for a healthy energy seed ball. recipe below. I make these on a Sunday and pop them in the freezer. They are a great nutritious snack. I make mine using seeds as opposed to nuts due to several nut allergies in the school.

Energy Balls

  • 50g Oats
  • 50g dessicated coconut
  • 50g chopped dried mango
  • 50g sunflower seeds
  • 50g pumpkin seeds
  • 50g sultanas
  • 100g dates (soaked in boiling water for 10 mins then drain)
  • 1 tbsp (solid coconut oil and then melt)
  • 125g 70% dark chocolate
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  1. Blitz all ingredients except the chocolate in a food processor.
  2. roll into balls. this mixture will make 25. pop in frezzer for 30 mins.
  3. while in freezer start melting your choclate wih a tsp coconut oil.
  4. remove balls from freezer and coat with chocolate. The cold balls will solidify the melted chocolate quicker.
  5. put back in the freezer and take out as required.
  6. These are extremely versatile. If there’s something in ingredients above you don’t like swap for something else. Other options include dried cranberries, dried pineapple, dried apricots, chia seeds, seed mix.

Check out my social media pages for my reel on making these!

 

4) Dips like hummus, guacamole, tzatziki and pesto are great lunchbox fillers and a super way to incorporate veggies  for dipping with eg sticks of carrot/cucumber/peppers

Hummus is a big hit in my kids lunchbox . Very easy to make. If you want to buy instead choose a high quality version with a low salt content.

Hummus

  • 1 tin of chickpeas, (rinse and drain)
  • 1 clove of garlic chopped
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 dessertspoon tahini

Blitz everything together and store in fridge

other options here would be to add in roasted peppers for a roasted pepper hummus; or 1 chopped cooked beetroot for beetroot hummus. Store in fridge

  • If you have a food flask you could send your child in with a homemade smoothie. These are so versatile and extremely nutritious depending on what you add. I never add honey to mine as the fruit is sweet enough. Packets of frozen fruit in the freezer are extremely handy to have and help with making the smoothie nice and cold. For added nutrient you could add in some seeds/oats. Recipe below.

Berry smoothie

  • 200 ml milk
  • 2 desert spoons of natural yoghurt. I choose a live probiotic like Glenilen  for better gut health
  • 1 banana chopped
  • 1 desertspoon oats
  • 1/2 cup or fistful of frozen berries

Blitz all the ingredients together in your food processor or nutribullet. If too thick just add more milk. Again this is extremely versatile and fruit could be varied. If you want to incorporate veggies,  frozen cauliflower is good option as it gives the smoothie a creamy texture.

 

5) Pizza wraps are a very quick and easy thing to do. I make up my own pizza sauce using a tin of tomatoes, garlic, parsley and you could add in mushrooms and peppers also and blitz in a food processor. Using this as your base, add ingredients like cheese, tomatoes, onions, ham etc grill or bake and pop into lunchbox when cooled

6) Veggie puff pastry rolls. These are a really good way to hide veggies. So simple, so tasty and a welcome change for kids.

All you will need is to buy a sheet of ready rolled puff pastry. You’ll find in the fridge of most supermarkets. Lay flat and spread cream cheese, scatter onions, spinach, tomatoes, peppers. grated courgette, grated carrot and sprinkle cheese on top. roll up, Cut into slices and bake at 220c for 20 mins. When cool, add into lunchbox or make these afterschool.

Again these are extremely versatile.

7) Salads aren’t for every child but kids can surprise you! My eldest daughter would never have eaten salad before but now other kids in her class are eating them, and so the trend begins 🙂

Main message here is never to give up and keep trying. Kids will eventually eat more fruit and veggies, just expose them to it all the time!

 

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