Article by boka
20th February 2018
How to pack healthy lunchboxes your kids will actually enjoy
It’s not easy packing lunches for kids, is it? Journalist and mother of four Rosie Millard shares her secrets for a successful lunchbox that’s healthy, but which they’ll actually enjoy eating…
Of course the lunchbox is, in theory, far simpler than the school dinner. And far more nutritious, because you can cook things which your offspring can eat, hot, at lunchtime. Just like they do in, er, France. However, it’s not that easy.
Believe me, if there is a healthy lunchbox idea out there, I have tried it. Thermos flasks full of chunky soup. Larger Thermos flasks full of pasta. I even tried interlocking tiffin boxes. It was only when tipping away the fifth box of congealed pasta that I realised my plan was failing.
Hot food will go cold by midday, unless there is some reheating appliance at school, and can you really see your kid saying this: ‘Please, Sir, my mum says can my Pasta Pesto be reheated before lunch?’
Furthermore, after Week One of the Hot Lunchbox experiment, who has time to be cooking pasta over breakfast?
Anyway, kids don’t like to be different in the lunch hall. They don’t want hot noodles, or weird minestrone soup with things floating in it, and they don’t want complicated. Children, particularly little ones, can be quite slow eaters. It can take 20 minutes to conquer an apple.
So make it simple. Give them an apple chopped up (and wrapped in foil so it doesn’t go soft). Covering the main food bases does not require Michelin training. Tuna or ham sandwiches; cheese wraps; a small tub of hummus and a carrot chopped into batons, plus a banana is perfect. A yoghurt if you don’t mind losing every single teaspoon in the house (‘Of course I’ll bring it home, Mum.’ Yeah yeah).
I don’t go for crisps but I do sanction a small chocolate biscuit or health bar. Treats? Treats are great, but go for a slice of sponge cake rather than a jam sandwich. If you make a cake at the weekend, wrap a slice in foil for the next day.
The huge bonus is that kids love repetition. Once you have hit on success, stick there. My youngest child has gone to school with an egg mayonnaise sandwich every day for the last FOUR YEARS. Can’t get enough of them. He is probably singlehandedly keeping the North London egg industry afloat.
The other lunchbox treat? A smiley face or a heart, written by you on a scrap of paper. Takes two seconds. Yes, unashamedly cheesy. Children love it. Honestly. It’s good for everyone.
Rosie Millard is a journalist and mother of four teenage children. Well, the youngest is 12. Two girls, two boys, they are all still pretty fussy in their food choices but she is undeterred in her mission to get them to eventually appreciate avocado. Or, actually, anything green.
Boka bars are the only cereal bar snacks with four green traffic lights – meaning your kids are good to go! Perfect for the lunchbox treat, then.