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Share your top tips for packed lunches with Flora and you could win a £200 John Lewis voucher NOW CLOSED

(128 Posts)
AngelieMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 11-Oct-13 09:26:39

The team at Flora have asked us to find out about Mumsnetters' top tips for packed lunches.

Here's what Flora have to say, "We know a fair bit about sarnies at Flora but we understand that making them perfect for healthy lunches can be a challenge. We're keen to help you keep the peace at lunchtime, so whether youre tussling with fussy eaters or just trying to broaden their taste buds we would love to hear your thoughts!"

So what are your top tips for making packed lunches for your DCs? Do you try to get some variety with different types of sandwiches and wraps? Or maybe you keep it simple? What about snacks? Do you try to keep them healthy with a portion of fruit? Or perhaps you add a chocolate bar as a treat?

Whatever your top tips for packed lunches are, Flora would love to hear them.

If you're looking for ways to make packed lunches a bit more fun, why not enter Flora's Facebook competition for a chance to win a sandwich cutter in the shape of your DC's best piece of art!

Everyone who posts on this thread will be entered into a prize draw where one winner will receive a £200 John Lewis voucher.

Please note your comments may be included on Flora's social media channels, and possibly elsewhere, so please only post if you're comfortable with this.

Thanks and good luck,


CheekyChimpsMummy Fri 11-Oct-13 10:19:59

My favourite topic to talk about... food! But I'll try not to ramble on!

DS takes a packed lunch every day to school. As a newbie starting reception this year, I had to make the tough decision about the pro's and cons to school dinners v packed lunch. Needless to say packed lunches won mainly so I can continue to monitor what he eats and know how much he has eaten throughout the day.

DS takes what I consider to be a standard lunch.

A sandwich (with a variety of fillings although if it was down to him, it would be plain bread and butter (flora) as that is his ultimate favourite 'filling'!!)

Fromage frais yogurt


Fruit, (grapes, strawberries, raisins, pineapple)

& then I alternate with extra things like cubes of cheese, cucumber sticks, salted popcorn, pieces of chicken breast, or a dairlylea triangle that he eats straight out of the foil (bleurgh!!)

Top tip has to be packing lots of little bits of different types of food. My DS is a real nibbler, so this really tempts him into eating more than if i put a few basic ingredients in his box

He is only 4 so he obviously doesn't eat all of what is in there, but I like him to pick and choose what he fancies.

asuwere Fri 11-Oct-13 22:49:03

I make packed lunches for DS1 and DS2 (as well as myself!) I tend to make it pretty much the same every day, with just an occasional change. The flavours do change but generally a sandwich, drink, yogurt and fruit plus an extra snack type thing.

I would say top tip is to make it in the evening so it's ready for morning. Also, be realistic with portions; think about what they would eat at home. With DS1, I thought the box looked a bit empty so kept putting more in but then he'd always bring stuff home!

Theincidental Sat 12-Oct-13 08:47:29

Packed lunch is always done the night before in my house.

Soup is the favourite with sandwiches and a yoghurt. I make a big pan of soup on a Sunday and it lasts a few days.
Quiche is also popular.
Sandwiches, and a salad pot also quick and easy to prep.

pickofthepops Sat 12-Oct-13 08:56:13

Having booked school dinners for DS , joined new school y1, He told me he didn't like most of the food, only Friday fish and chips. So now doing packed lunch. Only problem is he has a strong preference for ham (am worried about too much processed meat). The rest is easier to get some variety in to. A strawberry squashim, little pot of yogurt or fromage frais. Apple or banana, cherry tomatoes or grapes, a baby gingerbread man or hot cross bun, maybe some cubes of cheese. with apple. Not allowed to send soup or crisps or chocolate. Any tips on alternative sandwich fillings much appreciated btw!

rootypig Sat 12-Oct-13 09:10:29

My LO is still far too little for packed lunches. But I have memories of my mum making the same thing for me every day for years! tuna sandwich on brown bread, fruit, raisins. I can still eat tuna mayo breakfast, lunch and dinner grin

I think sandwiches are a bit boring and sweaty in packed lunches. I'd rather send leftovers that won't taste the worse for being a bit warm. DH takes lunch to work and I make evening meals with a view to that - I imagine will do the same with the DC. eg left over pasta bake and a piece of fruit. I've worked in India and really like their tradition of tiffin boxes. It's nice to have a proper meal at lunch.

That said, egg mayonnaise is deelish grin grin

TEErickOrTEEreat Sat 12-Oct-13 09:12:08

I am like a precision machine while making two packed lunches every morning. One for my husband and one for my son.

It's become such an ordered routine that I actually threw myself off when I made my husband's sandwich first yesterday. grin

They both get:

A sandwich (ham and cheese for husband, ham and cream cheese for son)
An apple
A Go bar

Son also gets some cheesy bread sticks, an apple juice box and his water bottle, but he also has his mid-morning snack from that.

Husband gets a bottle of water.

Son has recently expressed an interest in wraps so I may start doing those for him soon.

fuzzpig Sat 12-Oct-13 09:15:19

My main tip is to invest in decent Tupperware that's easily opened by little hands. Every day my two would have one little pot of assorted fruit, and one of veggies. This makes for easy portion control, and means we always remember to give them 2 of their 5 a day.

Occasionally they will have a third pot with something like little breadsticks/crackers and cubes of cheese/chicken, instead of a sandwich.

I also think it's really useful to chop up the fruit and veg (hence the pots) rather than whole fruit. While they will happily munch on any fruit at home, they are usually in a great hurry to get out and play at lunchtime, so little slices of fruit go down much better than a whole apple. They like variety so there's usually two types of fruit and two types of veg.

Dolallytats Sat 12-Oct-13 09:24:50

My son is very fussy and will only eat cheese in his sandwiches so I try and vary the bread used instead. He chooses from wholemeal, wraps, baguette, rolls etc. Because of this, I try and vary what he has t ogo with the sandwich. He gets a choice of apple, banana, strawberries, pear, carrot sticks and grapes. He then chooses either a biscuit or small cake (biscuits are usually shop bought, the cakes are homemade), he also has juice. The school don't have anywhere cool to store the lunchboxes, so yogurts can't be added and he won't eat custard/rice pots.

I get very jealous when I see people who can add pasta salads, soups, different fillings etc!!

afromom Sat 12-Oct-13 09:57:17

DS is in year 5 now so has been having packed lunches for quite a few years. The recipe for success in our house is variety, or he gets bored!

He has sandwiches with jam, cheese, cheese and cucumber and cheese cucumber and marmite. Wraps and pitta bread also a favourite with combinations of marmite cheese and cucumber or chicken tikka cheese and cucumber. Or sometimes he will have cheese and crackers.

With this he will always have a portion of fruit and then crisps/biscuits/cereal bar/popcorn/breadsticks.

I try to make it different everyday. He can't have school dinners as he is allergic to quite a few foods, but he would really like them!

VoodooHexDoll Sat 12-Oct-13 10:44:49


My son started reception in september so im new to the packed lunch so I did some reserch before he started.

He is only 4 but on the 98th centile and is very active so eats alot. I needed to be sure he had enough to eat at lunch. If it was up to son he would have ham everyday and he doesnt like jam, honey or choclate spread as its too sweet.

His school is a healthy school so choclate, crisp and sweats/cake are ban.

So I give him one sandwich with following fillings ;
Ham and chess
Soft chesse
Pork and apple sauce

Then a fube or baby bell

A fruit bag

One bag of dried fruit blueberries are a current fav

Crakers or breadstick

Carrot stick or cucumber or celeary

A drink of spring water with frozen berries in or pure fruit juice

PervCat Sat 12-Oct-13 10:47:07

when i used to do three a day I would bake mini muffins by the lorry load, then get a couple out frozen and they would have defrosted by lunchtime

VoodooHexDoll Sat 12-Oct-13 10:57:08

For making it fun we draw picture faces on his bananas and put drawings in his lunch box or cut his sandwichs into shapes - current fav is bats as its halloween soon. I also put something that he likes but didnt tell him about so its a suprise like a little box of rasins or a halloween style plastic ring and we talk about it on the walk home to help improve his speech.

I have also taped a picture of a bat to his drink to relable it and dh put a picture of a bum and a fart which got a lot of giggles for son! Boys! blush

I also want to get a shark shape cutter and put tuna filler in as I think it would be fun.

too much time on my hand

PervCat Sat 12-Oct-13 11:05:13

SO right - when you are back at work you will CRINGE at this kind of thing!!

Snog Sat 12-Oct-13 11:30:56

I get inspired by the Japanese to make themed bento boxes with fancy sandwich cutters and rice moulds etc bought from ebay - like

Offred Sat 12-Oct-13 12:29:23

We are very boring I'm afraid. Dc have brown seeded bread sandwich with ham/egg/tuna, a yoghurt, sometimes an egg, some fruit and some veg - cucumber, carrot etc.

Offred Sat 12-Oct-13 12:32:31

I freeze the yoghurt tubes so they defrost and keep the lunch cool till lunchtime. That's quite a good tip I think.

meep Sat 12-Oct-13 12:36:31

When dd1 first started school I used to cut her ham sandwiches with a cake cutter in cute little heart and star shapes. But she hardly noticed and now gets boring squares! Both dds like the Warburtons sandwich thins - helps fussy dd2 eat more as there are no crusts. Then they get some sort of cheese, fruit/cucumber and yoghurt/fromage frais. They get a wee treat on a random day of the week - a few crisps/mini choc fingers/jelly babies. It is never on the same day each week and they never both have it on the same day. They love the excitement of not knowing when it is going to appear!

GaryBuseysTeeth Sat 12-Oct-13 12:41:31

Offred, that's a great tip! I'll have to try that!

Popcorn is great because it's so cheap and you can do anything with it, ds1 loves popcorn with chilli flakes.

Going on the bento-esque theme; melting chocolatr into moulds always makes it a little more special (nice for holidays or birthdays)!

InMySpareTime Sat 12-Oct-13 12:55:03

My tip to get round the lunchbox rules for homemade things is that it's not what something is , it's what it's called that counts.
Homemade cakes should be called "bread" (eg apple bread, raisin bread, lemon bread)
Biscuits should be called "scones" or "crumpets"
Flapjacks should be called "oat flips" or "oat bars"
Make sure you reinforce the "school name" for these items with your DCs as lunchbox police can't do anything if the item is called something that's not on the banned list.
It's a bit crazy, but a lot of the lunchbox rules are crazy anyway, banning entire types of food for allegedly being high in salt/sugar/fat while allowing foods far higher in these.

ouryve Sat 12-Oct-13 13:00:00

In the keep it simple camp, here. Both boys have ASD and my first concern is that they actually eat at lunchtime. DS2 is very difficult to get any fruit or veg at all into, so I regularly bake cakes with less sugar than typical shop bought cakes, which also have a bit of fruit or veg in them. This week, the freezer is full of banana muffins. Last week, there were fresh blueberry muffins and some leftover pieces of a butternut squash and ginger tea loaf. I put the cakes into the lunch bag frozen, so they keep things cool, but first I make sure that everything in the bag has been chilled overnight, including drinks. fruit, raisins etc. That way, everything survives the school's fierce central heating!

dahville Sat 12-Oct-13 13:15:19

For my son is is all about variety - we will put in grapes or a banana, raisins, a mostly plain sandwich (cheese, tuna, or egg), a fromage frais or yoghurt, and some cut veg. Sometimes there's a treat like some mini buttons or crisps.

LaTrucha Sat 12-Oct-13 13:20:24

Small boxes of little things. Mine are very small and get bored munching through a sandwich. They like to have a variety of little bits.

googietheegg Sat 12-Oct-13 13:22:01

My top tip is to make any leftovers from dinner into mini pasties. Kids and grown ups go crazy for them!

All the family favourites work well - Bolognaise, chicken stew, even just some strong cheddar and a bit of mash potato if that's all that's left.

I buy sheets of ready made pastry, cut round a little plate (even a ramekin if there's only a spoonful of something) then put the leftovers on one half and fold over.

They can be frozen like this too, then baked when you need, but I usually bake them straightaway and either put them in the next day's packed lunch or freeze. Then you can just pack them straight from frozen and they're defrosted by lunchtime.

Frugal, tasty and very, very easy. Win, win, win!

I used to make little quiches in jam tart tins for the dds. Another thing they liked was little pies made also in jam tart tins (but with tops, like mince pies) - the filling was fried up onion, peppers and carrots, some spices and either chickpeas or lentils.

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