September is a great month for change and getting back in to routine as the holiday period is usually over and lots of little ones are back in or starting school, crèche etc.
Depending on your specific situation your little one might need a lunch box everyday with a healthy lunch or snack to keep them going. This can get a bit repetitive as the year goes on so here are some great tips & ideas that hopefully even the fussiest of eaters will like.
- Little hands can already make things a little messy so try and invest in a lunch box that has different areas or compartments. Bento-style lunch boxes are great for this as it gives your little one lots of different tastes and options.
- Have everything prepared in advance. This might sound obvious but make sure everything is peeled/chopped up into easy to hold, bite size pieces. If your little one is in school or crèche remember that there are lots of other kids at lunch and if every child has an orange that needs peeling – they can be waiting a long time!
- Vary things up. We would get bored with the same thing every day so plan ahead and try to change up every few days – even 1-2 items.
- If you are trying something new – make sure to try it at home first – in the evenings or at the weekends. That way you can gauge your little ones reaction and get them used to it.
- Check with your school/playschool/nursery/crèche etc. Some may have policies about certain foods – eg. Another student may have an allergy or they may have a healthy eating policy etc. You don’t want to send something in by accident and leave your little one without if it is taken during a lunch box inspection.
- Sandwiches – the stable of any lunch box. Try and mix it up with different more unusual fillings like avocado, salmon, grapes, and breads like pittas, wraps and bagels. Also you can try cutting sandwiches into fun shapes (if you have the time! 🙂
- Salad – A great alternative to a sandwich (particularly if your little one is fussy about sandwiches), salads are a great option. Make sure to try and include protein, carbohydrates and vegetables in salads – so meat, chicken or fish with lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, broccoli, broad beans etc. and you can add things like pasta, rice, cous cous, potato, squash etc to bulk it out.
- Vegetables – raw carrot sticks, peppers, celery, cucumber etc are all great options raw. You can give them a little tub with some hummus if they find them too plain by themselves
- Fruit – Berries, raisins, grapes, pieces of mango, orange, apples etc. are all great options for pack lunches. Bananas can also be a good option – but do need to be peeled. It may be best to leave more messy fruits like kiwis for home.
- Other lunch ideas would be a piece of quiche, pitta pizza, omelette or frittata, Flask of soup (older kids), scone, crackers or breadsticks, cheese or yogurt (many schools do not allow these as they can be messy).
- Drinks – Water is the best option. Other alternatives would be milk or diluted natural fruit juices with no added sugar.
We hope you find these ideas handy and would love to hear what your little one brings for lunch – just leave a comment below!
Also check out our article on lunch ideas for toddlers.