All over the country this morning there are little people shrugging on brand new uniforms as their parents look on, not believing that their tiny people have become this big. It’s a familiar scene to us here at I Love Cooking, and while the tears are at bay (for now), we are turning our attention to lunchboxes, and making them as fun and enticing as possible.
Nationwide, schools have adopted a healthy eating policy, which means no cakes, sweets, crisps or sugary drinks. This is good news for the country’s tiny brains, and by packing your child’s lunchbox full of fun and delicious healthy treats, you can be sure that they will stay the pace of a day at big school.
So, what to put in?
Sandwiches are the obvious answer, but with a twist. We love to make sandwich pinwheels, with fillings like egg mayo, or cheese and ham. Wraps are always a hit – but buy wholegrain for maximum energy release. Fillings that float our kids’ boats include leftover roast chicken or beef, hummus with roast vegetables and turkey with sliced tomato and salad leaves. Cram a BLT bagel with lots of salad leaves, and smooth chicken and stuffing onto brown bread for a wholesome bite. Little kids will be entranced by the simple act of these cookie cutter sandwiches, made with our usual cookie cutters and filled with ham and cheese, jam or chicken and stuffing.
Fruit is important. Alternate dried fruit like apricots or raisins with fresh fruit like bananas (carve a message like I Love You into its skin to make your little one feel special), apple slices doused with lemon juice or mandarin segments.
A sugar-free yoghurt will add protein to the mix, just be sure your little one has a spoon that is easy to use included in their lunchbox.
Fluids are important to small children, so make sure to include water or milk in a flask or bottle, that is both easy to open and non spillable.
Finally, good luck. Today will be hard on everyone, but it’s the start of your tiny person’s journey of independence. Good luck to you and them, from all at I Love Cooking.