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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!
Thanks for all the yummy tips and suggestions - much appreciated <tummy rumbling alert!>
Am pleased to say boomdecker wins the £100 Amazon voucher. Well done.
Toasted pitta bread cut into 'soldiers', with hummous and grated carrot is a real winner!
cherry tomatoes and "special" fruit that we don't get often like blueberries and raspberries always get a good reception. Using cookie cutters to make funny-shaped sandwiches always goes down well too, and can be used to make cheese or ham shapes
When Ive done packed lunches and snacks for kids I have often decided myself what to pack because of time. However, Ive tried to put in lots of choice, so if they don't fancy something one day they still wont go hungry. raisens, peaches yoghurts and anything sweet are winners. carrot sticks aren't popular.
General rule of thumb for us for lunch is sandwich or quiche, fruuit, carot and celery sticks, yoghurt and a pack of crisps or biscuit every now and then.
We allow a biscuit for snack time every so often and crisps are a treat if we are out and need food!
My son loves to dip. Sandwiches, bread sticks, crackers and raw veg etc all get dipped in to anything from a creamy dip/tomato salsa/hummous (home made dips are best).
Sandwiches cut into shapes work well with cutters as they are a bit more interesting.
My son also likes to make faces with food. We used to do this at home when he was very little. Cucumber for eyes, cherry tomato for a nose, ham for hair, a bread stick for a mouth etc. He likes to do it on the lunch box lid apparently so therefore insisted he has a round lunch box.
I pop a foil covered chocolate coin right at the bottom for them to find when they have eaten all the right stuff. It's 26 calories, but it seems to make sure the sandwiches actually get eaten. Note, takes training, if food is left in lunchboxes the next day the pirates don't hide anything.
It very much depends on the child DS1 likes the same thing everyday but DD likes a variety.
She usually goes for pasta, couscous salad or a wrap and for snacks, popcorn, homemade cake or cookie. Maybe cheese and mini tomatoes too.
I give my children a choice of 2-3 items they can include, I then ask them to help with the preperation. My daughter used to be a fusy eater and I found involving her in the food making process ensures she will eat it. I think she likes to have a little more control than her siblings and it came out in the form of fussy eating.
My dd is only 20 months, but loves a 'deconstructed' sandwich. Buttered bread cut into fingers, sticks of cucumber or pepper, sticks of cheese or ham roll ups and a couple of cherry tomatoes. she can eat what she wants either separately or together. Also a small pot of berries never goes amiss!
My DCs have been snacking me out of house and home this school holidays.
I have a strict time policy, no eating within an hour of a meal, and ask before eating, otherwise they don't eat proper meals, and I go to prepare meals to find all the ingredients are gone.
Mine like snacking on:
Bread and honey
Apple sauce biscuit parcels (they invented these)
Home made popcorn (plain, salty or honey)
Yoghurt (or soya yoghurt for DS)
Something from their treat boxes (whenever they have more sweets than the can reasonably eat, some go in a box for a different time - DDs is so full it won't close!)
Packed lunches for us are varied as fortunately the DCs will eat anything. Couscous, tabbouleh or pasta are quick and easy and can be bulked out with whatever is in the fridge/cupboards. Add to that a roasted drumstick/thigh and plenty of herbs to make it look colourful.
Homemade pies or sausage rolls are also quick and can be made with a multitude of different fillings.
Cheese scones with crudites and a tub of hummus are also popular in this house.
Sugar snap peas, mangetout and babycorns also work well in the lunch box.
Colour and variety are important
Snacks in this house are fruit and there is always carrot & celery sticks, cucumber chunks and radishes prepared in the fridge. Crisps and biscuits are more of a treat (plus it stops me snacking on them if I don't but them)!!
Top tip - having been a lunch time assistant for a while, please make sure that you child can get into their lunch box and close it again. There were several children where I worked who were upset because they couldn't get their box open to eat their lunch!! The same applies for any drinks container.
Frozen yoghurt pouches help to keep the lunchbox cool and keep the yoghurt fresh until it is eaten.
Sorry if I'm relisting other suggestions, have not read the thread
DD eats school lunches as they are freshly cooked by a fab cook (tiny school of 55 kids, they get spoilt!). But, I have had to do packed lunches for days away or when she was at nursery. I'm half Greek Cypriot, so a lot of my culinary experience is inspired by this. I have done homemade dolmades, homemade tzatziki/hummous and chopped pitta breads, sheftalias, halloumi and chorizo (should be loukanika, but cannot source that where I live) sandwiches, spanakopita (which I make for an evening dinner and we all have packed lunches with the left overs) etc. Have also done things like cheese pieces and cocktail sausages, cold pasta salad and roast chicken pittas. WRT to desserts, DD is fussy. She only eats plain yoghurt, but M&S do mini plain Greek yoghurts now
which saves on the tupperwares splitting at the most inopportune time. We all love watermelon, which is easy to send a slice in for afters and I sometimes pack a fruit salad of seasonal fruits like cherries, berries, grapes etc. Other fab snacks my odd DD likes are: pitted black olives, parma ham, salami, feta cheese, homemade flapjack and cream cheese and breadsticks.
I have 4 different ages, so snack and lunch boxes vary. They all love fresh fruit and veg, especially melon, strawberries, grapes, blueberries etc, which are easy slice into mini tuppaware pots. Wraps are very popular too especially with tuna and salad, as are breadsticks with something to dip. They like to take slices of quorn ham and cheese and roll them up together to eat them! For special days I use cookie cutters to cut out sandwiches- last time was jungle animals! On Fridays they have a treat, which is usually a large cookie, cake or muffin. They do sometimes have crisps too, but only if they are baked or something like mini cheddars.
For snacks, they have free access to the fruit bowl, but have to ask permission for anything else. They will munch endlessly on corn cakes and pull chunks of bread off a fresh baguette when I get them. They get through loads of yoghurt and yoghurt drinks and even more milk.
I'm not too sure how we can actually tell whether a lunch has been eaten (I distinctly remember discretely disposing of my sandwiches and buying chocolate cornflake cakes instead when I was at school)...
That said, anything with a picture of a character that my DS likes printed on the side will be devoured quicker than you can say 'hurrah'. Thomas the Tank Engine yoghurts for example are a highly prized possession.
Bagels and pitta are a bigger hit than bread. Anything that requires concentration - dipping / construction etc is also a winner.
My kids love sausages. Its a shame there isn't a healthier version of a pepperami.
I'm sure other mums have mentioned the extra credence given to sandwiches cut into interesting shapes - dinosaurs etc.
Cheese scones, and cheese and spinach muffins are also a frequent request.
My dd liked to have the same thing. Every single day. For most of the 7yrs of primary.
That was one thing she could control that the other children and teachers couldn't affect
I buy Innocent fruit tubes and freeze them. If you put them in a lunchbox at the beginning of the day they have melted by lunchtime but are still nice and cool instead of warm and icky. You can also then buy loads when they are on half pric offer. I couldn't afford them otherwise!
We have on of those lunch boxes with different compartments. In them I put
Orange or banana
Cheese or ham sandwich
DC tend to ask for something and then we have I give them two options. They love their fruit and tend to pick that above any sweets or chocolate.
We bought some egg moulds on ebay really cheaply - they cost about £1 - just pop in a boiled egg when it's still warm for a few minutes/overnight in the fridge & you have a star or heart shaped egg.
We also got some rice moulds from ebay too. Mix some warm boiled rice with smoked salmon and pop in the mould and out pops a bear! There are loads of shapes around.
Google bento boxes for inspiration - some are amazing, but really it's a great way to use some portions of leftovers. A nice change from bread/sandwiches.
DS1 had school dinners through reception and year 1 but this year he wants packed lunch twice a week and DS2 who will be starting in reception this year wants packed lunch everyday (he is having school dinners on a Friday though as I work on this day and I want an easy life!)
DS1 is really adventurous on his tastes whilst DS2 likes familiarity so we will try new things at home then stick to the basics for school.
DS1 loved ham and cheese muffins as a change and cheese, grated carrot and hummus in a pitta when he used to have packed lunch. DS2 would happily have ham and pickle everyday.
During term time snacks are usually fruit, bread sticks, oatcakes and the organix range type snacks. They love the kiddylicous fruit crisps as a treat. In the holidays DH is at home and likes biscuits!
I will be trawling mumsnet for more ideas though!
Packed lunch works so well here, I could do it in my sleep - takes 3 mins tops to prepare:
1. We use those sistema boxes which fold out with a section for the main event, usually sandwiches, and two sections for salads, fruit and treats. They keep the meal intact, save them from being squished. I once looked after a friend's son whose drink spilled over his foil wrapped sandwiches and treat...
2. We stick to sandwiches and wraps - I tried to get creative but found it made planning and preparing a chore rather than a quick task. Also, they have limited time to finish their meal.
3. The kids always get 2 or 3 fresh raw veg items. They are adventurous veg eaters, so sometimes includes red cabbage, bean sprouts, courgette.
4. Pudding is usually just fruit - cake, flapjacks, dates, muffins, raisins are an occasional treat. I always make sure the fruit can't get bruised.
5. I avoid pre-packaged food as we're trying to reduce our packaging waste at home.
My advice is keep it simple, filling and healthy - kids don't get bored as easily as adults!
They always report back on the much better treats in other lunch boxes.
The trick with my kids is having plenty of variety. I try to have at least 6 or 7 different sandwich fillings as well as a variety of bread/wraps which I rotate during the week. After that the lunchbox gets some form of fruit (apple, satsuma, berries, grapes), yoghurt, cheese sticks, and occasionally a small treat of some description (they love yoghurt raisins).
Obviously not all the above in each lunch, but a selection from that list is normal!
My two like wraps better than sandwichs, humous, bread & carrot sticks, tube yougurts, which I freeze before putting in lunchbox (tho this will stop when they go to high school in Sept, as they will get "frubed",= squirted with the content!) grapes, paket of baked crisps/wotsits/sticks, cocktail sausages, savory mini-eggs, pot of homemade coleslaw, pot of coronation chicken/rice.
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