Judy's Lunchbox Ideas

Needing some inspiration for your child's lunchbox?  Judy Kavanagh, mother of 2 and food writer, gives some kids lunchbox ideas from her house and explains what works and what doesn't for her family.

The components of my children's lunchboxes are the same every day and within that formula I change the ingredients. They always contain:  1 bottle of water, 2 pieces of fruit or 1 piece of fruit and some vegetable sticks, 1 yogurt/actimil, 1 sandwich or pasta salad.

On a Friday I’ll put in a treat maybe a slice of Banana Cake Bread or a scone.  Never chocolate and nothing with nuts.

Here are a few of my lunchbox tips:

#1. Vary the bread that you use. 

Some children want cheese every day and won’t eat anything else.  Try using homemade brown bread (watch out for my recipe next month!) and giving them an open sandwich.  You can add lots of seeds to your basic recipe which will up the nutritional value and provide a crunchy texture

#2. Prepare the fruit for the child. 

Cut strawberries, half kiwis and include a spoon. Make an incision at the top of the banana so it’s easier to peel.  I don’t slice apples, as they will discolour.  You could also make a fruit salad the night before and toss the fruit with a couple of tablespoons of the stock syrup that I included in the June recipes or the juice of an orange.

#3. Try Some Veggies

I often include vegetable sticks for my younger daughter, red and yellow pepper and cucumber are always welcome.

#4. Try Small Yoghurts

Glenisk Organics are now making small pots of yoghurt ideal for lunchboxes. I include these or Alpro Soya yoghurts, which I alternate, these are great especially if your child’s diet contains huge amounts of dairy and you’re trying to provide more balance.

#5. Reuse Water Bottles

If you’re giving water it's better to have a bottle that you can re-use rather than the small plastic bottles, for the sake of the environment.  However, if you are using the plastic bottles remove the plastic seal before putting it in the bag.

#6. Keep It Simple

I keep my sandwich fillings very simple, you know what your child likes and it’s more important that they eat their lunch than view it as a culinary experiment.  I’ve just asked my 4 year old what her favourite sandwich for school is and she said “Cucumber and cheese.  Cucumber, red pepper and cheese.  Cucumber on its own”.  That’s me told.

Have you got good suggestions for variety for your child's lunchbox? Tell us in the comments below!

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This website was created by Jill Holtz and Michelle Davitt, both of whom are mothers of young children. Jill and Michelle decided to create this resource themselves, and launched in 2007.