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My packed lunch challenge: healthy clean finger-food lunch box ideas

(12 Posts)
Hamandcheese Tue 10-Jul-07 20:52:17

ATM DS has packed lunch once a week. I have found a set of food he can eat appropriately.
Next term onwards he will have packed lunch 5 days a week (or poss 4 if there is one suitable school dinner). Clearly, I can't really send him in with the same thing 5 days a week, week-in, week-out.

here's the challenge:
he has singificant motor skills disorder. He can't eat messy food neatly. So our constraints are:
- non-messy food (so no yoghurt, no tomatoes, no 'dips' etc)
- no packets he can't open (I put things in little tubs he can open)
- no cutlery needed (so no couscous - we are working on the cutlery thing, he often has plain cooked pasta with a spoon or fork - he uses the fork a little bit, but then gives up and uses his fingers)
- sandwiches with 'hard' filling (eg ham, sliced cheese) get pulled apart (a bit too hard to eat whole); I'm not sure what he'd do with a sandwich with soft filling (eg marmite, peanut butter) but suspect it would be messy. So sandwiches generally out. I've been told he 'stuffs' bread from his packed lunch all into his mouth at once, so in general bread not good.
- I'm a bit neurotic about nutrition, so must all be healthy / no additives etc
- must be balanced and sustain an active growing boy till home time
- I work and have two other little children, so mustn't be too time consuming.
- he's a wonderfully wide ranging eater, but it does need to be tempting to compete with other children's lunch boxes, and not too way-out

I want to generate a list of at least 5 or poss 10 diff packed lunches.

There's the challenge - over to you - please help!

JoshandJamie Tue 10-Jul-07 21:16:55

I would go for things like:

- vege sticks like carrots, cucumber, peppers
- pieces of cheese
- strips of ham, turkey, chicken cut in strips
- boiled new potatoes chopped in half
- mini pita breads or strips of pita bread so he has to take one at a time not putting it all in at once
- fruit cut into wedges
- things like Humzingers or Apple Crisps taken out of packaging in advance and put into a tub he can manage

Does that help?

katelyle Tue 10-Jul-07 21:27:37

I wouldn't stress about variety -my brother had peanut butter and honey sandwiches every day throughout senior school. My ds has ham practically every day unless there's any salami, and dd has peanut butter, hummous or marmite in strict rotation! Grown ups like variety - children like what they know!

I think tubs of stuff cut quite small but not so small he's tempted to put the lot in at once - raw vegetables, fruit, cheese, cold meat. Then bread sticks or oatcakes.
Have you thought of sushi - or is that too way out/and or poncy? My kids love sushi-but they are called Tarquin and Jocasta

bozzaNatasha Tue 10-Jul-07 21:27:39

Would strawberries be too messy? Babybels - you could peel them first and put them in a container. Or just plain old chunks of cheddar. Large dried fruit would be easier than raisins. Satsumas seperated into segments and put in a container. Cold sausages. Cucumber chunks. Carrot sticks. Breadsticks.

Hamandcheese Tue 10-Jul-07 21:38:02

super - please keep ideas coming. Specially like the boiled potatoes and strips of chicken / ham, which had never occurred to me.
What is a humzinger? and apple crisps??

KATELYLE - how would I do sushi? can you buy it ready-made? what's the salt content like for a kid? does it keep OK in a lunchbox for the morning?

Hamandcheese Tue 10-Jul-07 21:40:20

Oh, and strawbs depend on if he's wearing the white polo shirt (which shows the pink drips) or blue jumper (which doesn't) so are OK in winter but not summer!

I am v grateful, you guys have done a good job of getting the picture.

katelyle Tue 10-Jul-07 22:28:43

Mine don't have sushi for school - as I said, they don't like variety at school lunch time! It's a picnic treat. I buy it from either Waitrose or Sainsbury's, and it keeps fresh fine in a cool bag. i just thought as you said he was a good eater it might ba a nice alternative. Never thought about the salt content - but I bet there's less salt than in a bag of crisps!

JoshandJamie Wed 11-Jul-07 06:51:22

humzingers are tubes of dried fruit

Apple crisps are dried apples that crunch like a crisp but they're just apple. These ones are dried not fried so they're literally just apple

PrettyCandles Wed 11-Jul-07 07:04:40

Falafel. They can be quite salty, but if that's counterbalanced by low-salt food then they are a very nutritious food. (If you can make them at home then you can control the amount of salt. They freeze well.)

Granola bars. Again, if you can make them at home in advance you can control the amount and type of sugar etc in them.

hurricane Wed 11-Jul-07 09:36:33

What's wrong with cherry toms? Mini sausage rolls or cheese and onion rolls. Bread sticks. Put cartons of juice in freezer and stick em in lunch box to keep all cool (will defrost by lunchtime).

BabiesEverywhere Wed 11-Jul-07 09:51:41

My DD loves Weetabix Crunchy Bran Cereal Dry mixed with raisons to sweeten it naturally for breakfast but could be offered as lunch.

We do loads of 'bitsa' lunches. i.e. Bit of this and bit of that. Usually including various fruit and veg and torn up pitta bread as previously suggested.

What about cold pasta to add to a mini salad.

You can buy flavoured mini rice cakes from the baby aisle, apple or orange as well as plain to add a treat to his lunch.

Hamandcheese Wed 11-Jul-07 15:51:57

thanks for all the lovely ideas.

babieseverywhere: 'bitsa' lunches - that's it!

hurricane - when you bite into a cherry tom, it can squirt juice or seeds onto your face / clothes. At school, no-one is going to help him clean himself up. I do include them occasionally, but they are much more mess-potential than pieces of cucumber, carrot or peppers.

Falafel great idea.
We'll try the sushi too.
Is a granola bar like a flapjack?

At present, he always has cold cooked plain pasta! Just want to ring the changes a bit, but come to think of it, most kids ALWAYS have bread, so there's nothing wrong with always having pasta!
At home I can clean him after meals, so we eat anything.

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