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Lunchbox Legend

It’s a bit of a palooza, the lunchbox thing.

Pre-school mamas are experts at packing up little snack sized, energy rich morsels for their little ones to nibble on.  Little finger-foody, healthy, raw yummies to keep their bubbas happy and entertained.  Nothing fixes the supermarket whinges like a mini compartment snack box, right?

But what to do when it is time to send your kid off to school?  What do you need to think about?  Does the lunchbox-fashion-du-jour matter as much at school as it did at daycare?  Is it okay to send them along with their old and serviceable Peppa Pig box?  Should you insulate?

- See more at: http://www.nic-nac.com.au/blog/#sthash.VOuzTNp1.dpuf

It’s a bit of a palooza, the lunchbox thing.

Pre-school mamas are experts at packing up little snack sized, energy rich morsels for their little ones to nibble on.  Little finger-foody, healthy, raw yummies to keep their bubbas happy and entertained.  Nothing fixes the supermarket whinges like a mini compartment snack box, right?

But what to do when it is time to send your kid off to school?  What do you need to think about?  Does the lunchbox-fashion-du-jour matter as much at school as it did at daycare?  Is it okay to send them along with their old and serviceable Peppa Pig box?  Should you insulate?

- See more at: http://www.nic-nac.com.au/blog/#sthash.VOuzTNp1.dpuf

It’s a bit of a palooza, the lunchbox thing.

  Pre-school mamas are experts at packing up little snack sized, energy rich morsels for their little ones to nibble on.  Little finger-foody, healthy, raw yummies to keep their bubbas happy and entertained.  Nothing fixes the supermarket whinges like a mini compartment snack box, right?

  But what to do when it is time to send your kid off to school?  What do you need to think about?  Does the lunchbox-fashion-du-jour matter as much at school as it did at daycare?  Is it okay to send them along with their old and serviceable Peppa Pig box?  Should you insulate?

I canvassed the Mums I know and these are the things they recommended for lunchbox purchasing:

 

  • Assess the lunchbox situation over summer and at the end of each term. 
  • Throw out or re-purpose old, scratched and mismatched lunch ware. 
  • There is something very special about a new lunchbox and starting school for the first time ever definitely warrants one. 
  • Despite what we would like life to be like, little kids do mock other little kids for having ‘babyish’ lunch boxes at school.  Unless your child is begging for a ‘character’ box, go plain.

 
  • Choose a lunchbox with an attached or hinged lid.
  This will save you hours of sifting through the smelly and mouldy lost property box for the gorgeous lunch box lid that lasted a day before it was left languishing in the playground for someone else to pick up. 
  • If you don’t have a lunchbox with an attached lid, name both the lid and the box.

  Use a large label.  The larger the better.  And if you can, write your child’s class on the label or box in permanent marker, this makes returning it to your child more likely in the event of the above.


  • Choose a lunchbox with compartments so that you can pack recess time portions of fruit, baking and other items without having to use wrap.  Many schools have rubbish reduction policies, so these types of lunch boxes are sensible.

Bake and freeze ahead.  Even sandwiches can be made a frozen ahead if they are well wrapped to avoid freezer burn.  Though, I wouldn’t suggest fillings that include fresh veg if you are freezing.  I make up sandwiches a week ahead and store them in separate boxes in the freezer, so it is easy to identify which child they belong to.  Mine are fussy about what they have in their sandwiches and my girl would have a conniption if she got my boy’s hummus sandwiches, no less than he would gag given the vegemite!   By the way, have you seen the Organised Housewife’s awesome recipe for bulk freezer biscuits?  Check out this clever little time saver.  http://theorganisedhousewife.com.au/recipes/100-cookies-from-1-mix/ I love it cos it makes me look like one of those efficient Mums if the teachers are ever scrutinising the lunchbox contents.  Ha-ha
  • Colour coordinate your child’s lunch boxes with their drink bottles, or choose one colour for all children so that there is no fuss about whose is whose.

Drink bottles just have to be no-spill!  There is nothing worse than a soggy homework book, or worse, finding a school reader swimming in the bottom of a school bag.  That’s why we sell the very best drink bottles for school.  No spill, one handed, bright and shiny contigo drink bottles.  Both my kids will only  drink from these drink bottles now, and the insider information is catching on.  I counted growing numbers in my son’s class last term.  If you like to send your child to school with soups or hot leftovers (oh yum to the humble mac and cheese!)… we’ve got that covered at nic-nac too.  **See the Contigo range here.

  • Buy two lunch boxes and two Contigo drink bottles, for each child.  Inevitably things will get lost. This way, when the teacher asks “but what did it look like?” your child can pull out the emergency set and say “like this!”.  They are also useful if you need to wash one/ use one.  Let’s face it… not all of us get around to turning around a load of dishes in one 24 hour period.  S’truth. 
  • We recommend the Contigo Swish 500ml water bottle for ages 5-9, and the Contigo Madison 750ml from ages 9 and over (it has a groovy caribiner so they can hang it off their school bag), or indeed the Contigo Kangaroo which is also 750ml, includes a caribiner AND handle, and best of all - has a kangaroo pouch for storying money for canteen treats, key card, key, notes for the teacher etc.  Very cool!


  • Let your child choose at least one of their snacks each day. 


  • Make sure there is always something ‘favourite’ in the box. 
  • 

Try to include each day: a fruit snack, a veggie snack, a savoury snack, a baked item, a lunch ‘main’ and a lunch fruit.  If that is too much food, adjust in discussion with your child.


  • Write little notes and leave them in the lunchbox, randomly.  Or put stickers on their wrapped food.  My Mum used to draw elaborate pictures on our brown paper punchbags.  We thought we were the shizzle with those bags.  Little personal touches are sweet and heartwarming for your kids.   You can write on the inside of their lunchbox lids with chalk pens or whiteboard markers and they will wash off for a new message or smiley face the next morning.  Sometimes, I use a pencil to write on the skin of a banana.  It browns only where you have written and my little boy loves it.  ‘Eat me’ is a favourite message.


  • Depending on your school’s policy, be a little bit naughty sometimes and throw in a little random lolly or special treat.  Life’s too short not to have a little bit of naughtiness once on a while!
  • 

And should you insulate?  Food safety recommendations suggest that if the lunch includes meat or dairy products, you should include an icepack or insulate.  I always figure if I would be happy to eat after it had been in a lunchbox in the sun for half a day, then it’s okay.  But if I would hesitate… insulate. 
  • If your child likes to take fruit salad, rice, or left over casserole, then use a Contigo Scout food jar which keeps food hot AND/OR cold and are simply briliant. 

Hope these tips help you become a Legend in your own Lunchbox.  :-)

 

Guest blogger for nic-nac - Rachel Faith Cox - lunchbox legend maker, awesome mumma, wife, mum of 2 delights, blogger, writer, teacher




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