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NOW CLOSED: Walkers Baked Stars would love you to share your top tips for tasty lunchbox fillers and snacks - you could win a £100 Amazon voucher(165 Posts)
Launched earlier this year, Walkers Baked Stars were designed with lunchboxes in mind and are baked for 70% less fat than potato crisps on average, contain 94 calories a pack and are a source of fibre. Available in 3 great tasting flavours: Cheese & Onion, Salt & Vinegar and Mild Sweet Chilli.
Now those friendly folk from Walkers are keen to know your top tips for making up great kids lunchboxes which make sure they get eaten! What makes a great packed lunch for your family? How do you keep it interesting and appealing?
We're thinking ahead to back to school and MN are putting together the annual emails which go out to provide tips and advice for parents whose children are moving up school or starting for the first time. Please think about the advice you think would be useful to those parents for lunchboxes and snacks during or after school. Tips posted on this thread may well be used in those emails (MN name will not be used).
We would also love to know what your general advice on snacks for children would be. For example, do you stock up on snacks? Do you let your children choose what they have? What's most popular? What's least popular?
Share your tips and advice here and you would win a £100 Amazon voucher. Everyone who adds a comment will be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win!
My kids love to get involved in deciding what goes into their lunchboxes to help keep it interesting. If we are pushed for time, then it is usually a basic sandwich with cheese or ham, pack of crisps, bottle of water and a cereal bar.
If I am feeling organised and try to do something for interesting, we add in some fruit of their choice eg grapes, apple, pear or banana (something easy to eat and not too messy or hard to peel etc).
We try to vary the type of 'bread' we use too. So somedays we will have wraps, sometimes pitta pockets, sometimes bagels, sometimes rolls and occassionally crackers and cheese instead of a sandwich.
To get the kids really excited about their packed lunch, they sometimes help to make hoummus (so simple - blend together tin of chickpeas, olive oil, parsley - fresh or dry, garlic powder, tahini, and lemon juice). They LOVE it with pitta bread, breadsticks or crackers. If they need to up their veg intake that day then carrot sticks and cucumber sticks also work well.
I am actually not too happy about them having a pack of crisps on a daily basis - but as it is such a simple thing to include and the kids love them, then it is all too easy to pop a pack in. Usual favourites are hoola hoops or walkers ready salted. So a healthier type of crisp is a big plus - i'll be looking out for those!
Well we use a range of different sandwich cutters, the children look forward to finding what shape they have each day.
Each have some fruit, different one each day of week when ever possible, they seemt to like finger size pieces so I always try to slice them.up or berries or grapes.
I always give some veg....cherry tomatos carrot, cucumber or peper sticks .
Then a yogurt they seem to prefer the one s that you squeeze, and its better for me as I dont have to keep buying and replacing lost spoons.
All I can say is variety is what is needed to keep them happy
My two really liked Baked Stars but I can't find them in the shops anymore. Ah well.
For lunches variety is best. Instead of endless sandwiches try wraps, or grapes, cheese and oatcakes.
Make batch items that can freeze well if time is limited, there are recipes for savoury muffins and scones that are a nice change now and again.
In winter a little flask of soup or stew (you can get food flasks in Aldi so price is not high at all and it means they get something hearty.)
Always include a fresh fruit, my dts love melon, watermelon, tangerines etc. The odd home baked goodie goes down well as a nice surprise.
My children have a sandwich on white bread, brown bread, pitta bread or in a wrap.
The filling is either ham, cheddar cheese, red leicester cheese, ham & cheese, marmite, peanut butter, tuna mayo, tinned salmon, cooked chicken or turkey from the deli, hummus, hummus + ham or salami or chorizo.
Or they might have crackers with philadelphia or boursin.
Occasionally, if we have any, I'll give them a few olives.
A portion of fruit, can be anything. Lately they've been having a lot of strawberries.
A carton of juicy water.
A frube or a small yogurt.
Sometimes, a packet of mini cheddars or quavers or something similar.
Sometimes, a flapjack or biscuit like a fig roll or sultana cookie.
Once in a blue moon they'll have pasta salad, but only if it is left over from the night before.
I have 10 minutes tops to get packed lunches together in the mornings, so I tend not to go overboard. They have their main meal of the day in the evening.
I love oatcakes to make a change from sandwiches and they are very practical as they usually come in their own self contained wrappers.
Rather than a boring old bruised apple or banana I think it's a nice to make your own pots of fruit salad with different things in it to keep some variety. If there is no time for that, ready cut fresh fruit like the mango fingers from Waitrose are lovely (though a bit of a rip off).
As a treat flapjacks are great!
I find variety is key, for instance different fruits and types of bread for sandwiches for keeping lunches interesting.
DD usually had a cheese sandwich cut into triangles, a squeezy frontage frais pouch, a fruit smoothie slurper, a banana, pot of strawberries, , a Cadbury brunch bar, box of raisins, (not all these things but a combination )very occasionally a cheese dipper or a pack of mini chedders.
I never put crisps in as I dont want her eating them every day.
For drink she has innocent smoothie, orange juice or squash
Imagination is not a huge requirement with ds as he is very set in his ways food wise. Any packed lunch that didn't contain a ham sandwich, cheese, carrot/cucumber and yoghurt would be met with disdain. I do include crisps but usually keep sending the same pack all week. Apparently they are time consuming to eat and use up too much of your playtime!
I give DS who's 5 almost the same thing every day, because I know the lunch will come back untouched if I don't.
Sandwich of cheddar or cheese spread or jam on Best of Both bread, a carton of orange or apple juice and one of the following:
cubes of cheese or Babybels, and grapes
a packet of cheddars or Walkers squares
a small box of raisins and a cheese string
a small apple and a digestive biscuit
Yes, it looks like a lot of cheese, but he refuses to eat any cold meat or fish, and I won't put yoghurt in his lunchbox as it may curdle before lunch.
Generally everything gets eaten every day, so I'm not too fussed.
I shun the sandwiches approach as all my children dislike sandwiches and more often than not they come back uneaten. So the week before school broke up my children had on day one slices of pizza that we'd made at home day before and I heated till really hot in microwave and then wrapped in foil. By time it is eaten is still lukewarm. Served with cherry tomatoes and cucumber chunks.
On day two I did turkey schnitzels cooked fresh in morning - just stuck in oven - nohting fancy or time consuming. Were ready by time kids had finished breakfast and dressed. Added lutkas again cooked in oven and wrapped in little foil dishes and put plastic cutlery and small pots of ketchup and mustard ( mild).
Another fave is flask of pasta sauce and cheese.
Top tip for fruit which is obviousl really but every time I forget the fruit comes back again - put peaches or soft fruit in a box - Asda sell great child friendly range of pots - that way they stay fresh and not bruised etc.
Bananas in a banana keeper = that long plastic thing that keeps them fresh and hard.
Put water bottles in freezer night before and leave in lunch box to defrost so kids get nice cold drink rather than lukewarm water.
I get dd, 20 months, to help make it, even if it's choosing a yoghurt or putting the tomatoes in a Tupperware.
Really consider portion size. A portion for a child is palm sized, so 1 slice of bread, 1 small banana, handful of grapes and half a bag of crisps.
Children rarely eat all their lunch box but if what you put in is the right portions they will eat it in time to play
Little one has just discovered wraps and is loving them. We use them for a replacement for sandwiches and also use fruit inside them.
Our packed lunches always follow the same format: fruit juice/smoothie, sandwich/roll/pitta, fresh fruit and a treat which is usually something like homemade cake. I want them to have full tummies and lots of energy when they're at school so I consider this when choosing the items to go into their lunch boxes. They understand that they should eat the sandwich and fruit first and if they're too full up, the treat waits until after school.
My tips would be not to put too much in. It's daunting and they just want to eat and get out to play. Also, if I'm not going to be there to jolly them along, I have to rely on other clever tricks so I am very careful with presentation and packaging. I cut off crusts because then I can just remove a tiny sliver at the edges vs the dc coming home having taken a single bite from a sandwich and announcing that they've 'only left the crusts'. I make sure that everything is packed carefully so that nothing gets squashed.
I use 50/50 or Best of Both bread. Wholemeal and Granary bread didn't go down well at all. (Can't say I blame them!)
By the time they get home they're 'starving', so some fruit keeps them going until dinner is ready.
Frozen frubes keep the lunch box chilled until lunch time.
Left over pasta from tea the night before.
Always put in raisins and 1 fresh fruit.
Give them a packed lunch that you know they'll eat. SAve new ideas for home.
Don't stress about it, it's lunch fgs!
We found that for our 4-year-old, a good packup was a plain sandwich (cheese, ham, beef) a drinking yoghurt (probiotic type, plus straw!), a tub of low-acid fruit, cucumber sticks, and a cheese brick. He'd also have a banana for mid-morning snack. All fits nicely into a lock&lock.
We have to have low-acid fruit and definitely no raisins as he's got no enamel on some teeth: we have to offset fruit with yoghurts or milk as recommended by the dentist. Not allowed fruit juice!
Sometimes we varied it by having quorn eggballs, or a mini tub of houmous with pittas instead of the cheese blocks.
I also used little refreezable lunchbox coolers and an insulated lunchbag as the nursery didn't have fridges. If it fitted into the lock&lock then it was about the right size lunch. We usually got back the crusts
Not allowed any chocolate or crisps at all.
Mine make their own lunches, so Nutella sandwiches and, err, I think that is it. I do make sure they have a lovely healthy snack and supper in the evening
so I am not that awful a Mother
One of ds's favourite sandwich alternatives is filled Yorkshire puddings. You can get them cheap from the freezer at the supermarket (usually less than 50p for 12 value range ones) and they take a couple minutes to cook in the oven. I leave them til they're cold and then fill them with various things such as tuna mayo, egg mayo, cheese and onion etc. His favorite filling for these is left over roast chicken and veg mixed with cheese. I also find that some puff pastry cut into small pieces and covered in cheese then baked always go down a treat.
My main tip is put in what will be eaten as they need steady blood sugar at school, add some extras in snack packs which don't have to be thrown out if not eaten to avoid waste. Lunchboxes always contain sandwiches with whatever filling is currently being enjoyed, an easy peel fruit such as satsuma or banana, plus a packet of crisps and a snack pack of something like Cheddars as extra calories if they are having a hard day. (The crisps and Cheddars often made several journeys before being eaten.) Occasionally a home-made cupcake or slice of cake. Water is the drink of choice.
rather than "interesting" I stick with safe foods. Far less likely to be mistrusted and rejected. As interesting as I make it for DS1 is washing a few grapes and putting them in a bag. With any luck, they might get eaten instead of squashed. It's the same odds if i put a piece of cake in. DS2 has his simple sandwich (ham, cheese spread or houmous) and a fruitus bar every single day. If he's hungry, he eats it.
My money saving tip is rather than bicsuit bars, just put a couple of ordinary biscuits in a plastic tub.
My healthy tip is to convince them that it's really difficult to put salad into a sandwich, and then they want it all the time!
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