PACK A PUNCH FOR LUNCH

2010-04-10 11:47

AS the school term begins again, the puzzle of what to put in lunch boxes returns to confound busy parents. The trouble is that slabs of bread every day with a limited variety of fillings are not the way to inspire your little learners to eat better, but they seem the easiest option. The good news is that making a change is simpler than you think and not that much more kitchen time either.


SNACK STICKS


Thread cubes of fruit such as strawberries, kiwi, pineapple, melon and mango onto a wooden skewer. Avoid bananas and apples as they go brown. Include a little container of cinnamon and sugar to dip them into as an extra novelty.

Or peanut butter or chocolate spread.


Other ideas for snack sticks include salad on a stick. Thread cubes of cheese (not only boring cheddar, but gruyere, gouda and even camembert), baby tomatoes, carrots, cucumber and red peppers (never green, ugh) onto a skewer.

Try a cucumber and mint or humus dip on the side. Or just plain mayonnaise.


You can also do chicken or mini meatballs, but make sure they’ll stay cool enough until lunch.


FLAVOUR CUPS


It’s easy to get tall plastic containers, so use them to make lunch and snack cups. Put cubes of fruit in the bottom of the cup with a little orange juice or granadilla pulp poured over it, spoon in a layer of yogurt, then more fruit and finish with a selection of finely chopped fruit and nuts For more adventurous kids toss in some seeds too or muesli if you think you can get away with it.


Another option is to fill a little cup with a treat like some rice pudding or fruit and custard or even make a mini trifle with a cup cake, fruit and custard. Sweet stuff made at home with good ingredients might keep kids away from the tuckshop.


STUFFED TORTILLAS


Tortillas are a more interesting option than bread. Make chicken or tuna mayonnaise, chop up some lettuce and wrap it in a tortilla smeared with humus, butter or even mild mustard. Other fillings include salami and mozzarella, ham and cheese, chipolatas and tomato salsa, mini meatballs and tsatziki.


Another idea is to buy mini pita breads, open up one end and butter. Put the fillings in little containers and allow your little one to mix and match and make her own pita lunch. Baby tomatoes, slices of cucumber, grated cheese, slices of ham or feta and olives will do the trick.


NICE SLICE


If there’s leftover pizza in the fridge sling a piece in the lunchbox or make a Spanish omelette (sauteed onion and potato cooked with egg). It’s delicious cold and is a substantial meal too.


The great thing is that you can add ingredients as you like. Add different herbs for flavour or slice up sausages or peppers and you can even add cheese.


Then slice it up cold for variety.


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