Spill the beans... on cheap, nutritious back to school lunchboxes

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  • dizziblonde
    dizziblonde Posts: 4,276 Forumite
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    sassyblue wrote: »

    A tube of yoghurt (can't believe the mess a small yoghurt pot makes when it's shoved back in his lunchbag :eek: )

    I remember when a lad in year 6 discovered what a nice high quality mess a tube of yoghurt made when someone hits the end of it and fires a yoghurt cannon across the dinner table...
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  • jellyhead
    jellyhead Posts: 21,555 Forumite
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    lilian1977 wrote: »
    Here are some good ideas - I also have her book but as DS is only 20 months I don't need to really be looking at it yet!

    http://www.annabelkarmel.com/recipes/lunch-box


    http://www.annabelkarmel.com/bookshop/lunchboxes

    Thanks for the links. I am trying to work out whether my son should be allowed anywhere near skewers, but these look good http://www.annabelkarmel.com/recipes/lunch-box/kid-lunch-box-lunch-stick
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  • When DD is at college or was in secondary, she used to have combinations of:

    wraps
    chicken pieces
    rice/pasta salad
    sandwiches/rolls (bought loaves cheap then froze for the week)
    sausage rolls
    quiche slices
    fruit (apples, raisins, tinned fruit, grapes etc)
    yogurt
    juice boxes or water
    cookies/flapjacks
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  • Buttonmoons
    Buttonmoons Posts: 13,323 Forumite
    My 6yr old is fussy, but she does a combo of school dinners & packed lunch throughout the week, depending on the school dinner menu. She only eats one kind of sandwich and that's tuna mayo. So when the school serves that she goes on those days too (although they do it on white bread which boggles me but there you go)

    Her usual lunchbox is:

    Tuna sandwich on seeded bread
    Tub of strawberries/cherries
    Yoghurt
    Milk/Squash

    Occasionally she gets a cookie or a mini muffin or something, as if she was school dinners it would be something like chocolate fudge pudding with cream...
  • jasmin10
    jasmin10 Posts: 905 Forumite
    What a brilliant thread for ideas etc.

    I must admit I hate it when people saying dont have this that and the other because it can cause/do xyz. I have now been free of an eating disorder for just over a year and understand only too well what it can do to someone when you keep telling yourself that xyz are completely off limits. Depriving yourself completely of something can cause so many issues. Thanks to counselling I have now taught myself (and teach my 6 yr old) that chocolate, cakes biscuits etc are ok as long as you dont have them all the time, just every now and then (moderation etc).

    My DD (6) was a nightmare eating her packed lunch, so much so she went onto school dinners. Now that our financial situation has changed so much we cant really afford to do this all the time. so we have said to her that she can have SD on Mondays and Fridays and we can make her own lunchbox together the night before.

    I have got some sandwich cutters which are fab and she loves her dinosaur sandwichs. I also bought some egg moulds, so she has Hello Kitty shaped eggs and I paint them with food colouring (bow and eyes etc). Instead of buying Dairy Lea dunker things I slice little bits of cheddar into a pot along with some Ritz biscuits and then she has some chopped pineapple in another tub along with a yogurt. Obviously we change things a little. But she says her dino sarnies and egg makes her the envy of eveyone at school lolol

    And most importantly, she finished the last term loving her lunchbox (now has a hardcase one like from the 80's as I struggled cleaning the fabric ones when yogurt was splattered in all the seams, and washing in the machine ruined them) and eating everything in it.

    Oh and her treat if you like is the pudding she has at school on sd days as its usually chocolate sponge or something.
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  • jasmin10
    jasmin10 Posts: 905 Forumite
    Just wanted to say what a fantastic post, so many ideas - thank you.
    Fire_Fox wrote: »
    Try to look at the whole day as well as the lunchbox (which I appreciate is the point of the thread). I find it helps to look at the number of portions of different foods that should be eaten and you should find there is no room left for foods that should not be eaten. Concentrate on wholefoods, items that have been messed around with as little as possible. Remember a key recommendation is a wide variety of different foods; so whilst wheat is not a 'bad' food it really should not be eaten three times a day (eg. cereal, bread, pasta). Ideally we'd all be eating seven to nine portions of fruit and veg a day so I base all meals around that - this supplies potassium which helps balance out any sodium (salt). Kids/ teens generally like a bit of fruit in their salads for sweetness, and kids often like the 'traffic light' bright colours in a meal.

    Sandwich-ish
    - Wholemeal pitta, granary bread, rough or cheesy oatcakes, Ryvita. If you keep the bread separate from the filling you can do open sandwiches so get more salad/ veg in but that might not work for really little ones

    - Fillings/ toppings: chicken or prawn and avocado, fish pate - simply canned pilchards or salmon with all the bones in mashed with flavoured soft cheese and sweetcorn. homemade chicken liver pate (will freeze) and sliced tomato, houmous and grated carrot, flavoured soft cheese and grapes/ apple, peanut butter and banana/ grapes, egg mayo spring onion and red pepper.

    - A large portion of one of the mixed salads.

    Substantial one pot salad
    - A modest portion of canned chick peas or butter beans or green lentils OR leftovers of steamed brown basmati rice or steamed pearl/ pot barley. Flavour the rice/ barley cooking water with Marigold reduced salt vegetable stock

    - Two small portions of different proteins because it makes salads more interesting! :p Chicken, frozen prawns, canned pilchards in tomato sauce, canned wild pink salmon, goats cheese/ blue cheese/ cheddar/ feta/ parmesan, hard boiled egg, any nuts or seeds. Occasionally reduced salt ham or bacon or tuna in spring water.

    - at least three salad items/ vegetables/ fruits: one red/ purple (tomato, red pepper, red onion, dried cranberries, red cabbage, black grapes, raisins soaked in red grapefruit juice, fresh cherries, frozen blueberries), one yellow or orange (sweetcorn, yellow/ orange pepper, carrot ribbons, canned ruby red grapefruit), one green (avocado, cucumber, spring onion, Granny Smith apple, baby spinach, cos lettuce, broccoli florets, green grapes). Don't waste energy making kids/ teens eat salad leaves unless they are a strong colour, there is little nutrition in iceberg lettuce and an 80g portion is HUGE.

    - a dressing based on: yoghurt/ soft cheese/ French mustard, tomato paste and garlic, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil, olive tapenade, pesto.

    Often you can make half the salad the night before and just add the dressing or items that go off easily in the morning.

    Dips & crudites
    - Two of: houmous, lentil pate, guacamole, tomato salsa (Loyd Grossman pasta sauces!), full fat soft cheese dip, etc.

    - At least three different colours of raw veggie sticks (carrot, sliced red peppers, brocolli or cauliflower florets, button mushrooms, celery hearts, asparagus tips, baby sweetcorn, sugar snap peas).

    - Ryvita, oat cakes, wholemeal pitta fingers if wished.

    This can be relatively low in calories or protein so be sure to give kids/ teens something calorie dense like a homemade flapjack or nuts that day.

    Mixed salads
    - Homemade coleslaw (red or sweetheart cabbage, carrot ribbons, red onion). Can add grated cheese.

    - Grated carrot, orange, raisin, sliced almond salad (soak raisins in orange juice)

    - Waldorf salad (celery, Granny Smith apple, walnut, black grapes). Can add chicken.

    All three as a meal or one with a sandwich. All last a few days so can be made in bulk.

    Snacky things
    Mixed nuts and dried or fresh fruit
    Cheese portion and dried or fresh fruit
    Plain yoghurt sweetened with chopped dried fruit or frozen mixed berries, topped with a mix of seeds and Grape Nuts cereal or granola/ crunchy oat cereal
    Homemade flapjacks with dried fruit, natural sugar substitute (xylitol, stevia) and creamed coconut in place of at least half the butter
    Savoury cheese, wheatgerm, jumbo oats and nut flapjacks
    Naughty treat: chocolate 'cornflake' cakes (not too sugary/ diabetic dark chocolate, own brand fruit'n'fibre, any chopped dried fruit).

    HTH. :A
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  • retepetsir
    retepetsir Posts: 1,236 Forumite
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    mozzy10 wrote: »
    nzmegs post is the only post I have seen here with healthy choices...

    Who the heck thinks cakes are healthy???

    Dropping wheat from my diet has cleared up my IBS and I have gone from being pre-diabetic to normal.

    Don't be too quick to scoff at someone who is only trying to help!

    Cake isn't bad if in moderation, as with anything. It also won't directly cause Type 2 diabetes (and certainly not Type 1, of which I am). One of the main causes of Type 2 is being overweight or obese, consuming wheat based products doesn't automatically lead to diabetes. Again, all in moderation.

    There's no reason to cut out wheat from a childs diet, its important for fibre (particularly wholegrain) and carbs and 'hopefully' most kids would burn the energy off with suitable play or exercise :)

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  • jellyhead
    jellyhead Posts: 21,555 Forumite
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    jasmin10 wrote: »
    But she says her dino sarnies and egg makes her the envy of eveyone at school lolol

    And most importantly, she finished the last term loving her lunchbox (now has a hardcase one like from the 80's as I struggled cleaning the fabric ones when yogurt was splattered in all the seams, and washing in the machine ruined them) and eating everything in it.

    Oh yes, dinosaur sandwiches are always much admired when my son has them :) I got the cutter from poundland but I think Betterware sell them - or you could use biscuit cutters. When my eldest started school there was a girl on his table whose bread had been stamped with a heart and 'I love you' by her mum :)

    I know one mum whose daughter wants sandwiches sometimes, but bread makes her tummy swell up, so a sandwich cutter means they think they are getting a sandwich but are only really getting the bread of half a sandwich. She cuts it from the dry bread and uses the crusts as crumbs to coat fish, but another mum I know makes the entire sandwich before cutting it out, and wastes the leftovers! I make the sandwich, cut it, then my son has the leftovers as part of breakfast, with a boiled egg.

    Anyway, I just thought I'd second the cutters as they might persuade a child to eat sandwiches, instead of refusing and making their parents pay £10.50 a week for school meals. It's also helpful for a child with a tiny appetite/slow eater, so they can have a smaller sandwich and get out into the playground before lunchtime play has ended.
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  • Fire_Fox
    Fire_Fox Posts: 26,026 Forumite
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    edited 31 August 2012 at 2:57PM
    jasmin10 wrote: »
    I must admit I hate it when people saying dont have this that and the other because it can cause/do xyz. I have now been free of an eating disorder for just over a year and understand only too well what it can do to someone when you keep telling yourself that xyz are completely off limits. Depriving yourself completely of something can cause so many issues. Thanks to counselling I have now taught myself (and teach my 6 yr old) that chocolate, cakes biscuits etc are ok as long as you dont have them all the time, just every now and then (moderation etc).

    You are absolutely correct, but unfortunately this thread amply demonstrates that many people's idea of moderation is more generous than the official guidelines. :( Part of this is the perception of what constitutes junk/ treats - I rather suspect those who mention mini sausages, sausage rolls and homemade cakes are not mentally slotting them into the same category as crisps, biscuits and chocolate.

    My experience with clients is that it is far more effective to concentrate on what you can and should be eating - loads of fruit and veg, oily fish, wholegrains, dairy - junk and processed food automatically becomes an occasional treat. :T I am really not convinced that it helps those who are interested in keeping their family healthy to bang on about five portions of fruit or veg a day because this is misinterpreted as the holy grail. I wonder if we need to be telling the public that the research supports NINE portions - as many other countries do - and also how to make this achievable. This is certainly effective with my clients.
    retepetsir wrote: »
    Cake isn't bad if in moderation, as with anything. It also won't directly cause Type 2 diabetes (and certainly not Type 1, of which I am). One of the main causes of Type 2 is being overweight or obese, consuming wheat based products doesn't automatically lead to diabetes. Again, all in moderation.

    Cake is not cheap and nutritious, which is the title and premise of the thread so arguably should not have been mentioned in any post. The reality is that many children are overweight/ obese these days - euphemistically described as puppy fat - and that type 2 diabetes is appearing in children and teenagers, it is no longer simply a disease of middle aged. In some ways it's more important to manage weight in childhood because kids will make more fat cells setting them up for a lifetime of struggling with weight. This is because fat is metabolically active tissue, it produces hormones and chemical signals it doesn't just sit there.
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  • themull1
    themull1 Posts: 4,299 Forumite
    My older daughter takes £2.00 a day to school, she either gets a wrap/salad bowl/fruit bowl, and a drink, they don't seem to eat much at high school!!. My younger daughter always takes a sarnie with turkey/chicken or ham, carton of fruit juice, cheese string and a couple of jaffa cakes, occasionally i'll swap cheese string for a yoghurt.
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