It is back to school this week and the Harvest Launceston Community Farmers’ Market stallholders are a great resource for fresh and healthy packed lunches. Lunch boxes that are so good, mums and dads will soon be packing lunch for the office too.
Harvest Market Manager Caroline has some tips on how to ensure your kids’ food stays nude, fresh and delicious.
First up she recommends finding compartmentalised lunch boxes as this keeps yummy treats and nibbles separate without the need for single use plastic wrap or snap lock bags. This is great news for the environment as it keeps plastic out of landfill. “If you had told me 3 years ago that I would be sending lunches to school each day with no packaging I wouldn’t have believed you… there’s that mindset, and I guess in a way peer pressure, that you need to put some “treats” in their lunches for energy, when in fact those sugar spikes are no good for concentration and sustained energy” Caroline ponders. “Even fruit can be a double edged sword as kids really only need about 2 serves of fruit a day, but as parents we tend to put things in their lunches that we think they will eat, which often makes us steer clear of vegetables. When I switched to more vegetables, I assumed the kids wouldn’t eat them, but they absolutely proved me wrong, as kids so often do! ”
“Many of the dietary recommendations coming out now have moved more towards ratios. So for every 2 portions of fruit kids have they should be having 5 portions of vegetables. This way they don’t end up eating too much fruit as they’re not hungry after all the veggies”
Caroline’s next trick is to ensure enough variety to keep the kids excited about what is in their lunchbox each day. She notes that the kids love being involved in choosing and packing their lunch, it gives them ownership and is a great opportunity for them to learn about the role food plays in keeping young bodies and minds healthy and full of energy. “We grow a limited amount of salads, vegetables and tomatoes in the garden, which they are always keen to have in one compartment of their lunchbox.” Caroline also suggests ideas like carrot, celery, capsicum, cucumber sticks or flatbread with hummus or tsatziki, natural greek yoghurt bought in bulk and decanted into reusable containers, boiled eggs or nuts (if allowed at your school), home popped popcorn, simple salads and fruits such as apples, pears, oranges and grapes which are a great size for school lunch boxes. “The rainbow carrots you can get at Harvest are always fun as they add a bit of colour and fun to lunchboxes.”
The final tip Caroline shares is to pack lunches, with the kids’ help, the night before. This way it’s not a mad rush and the kids can take their time to plan their “nude food” lunch boxes. “Give yourselves some time to have fun with the process, it’s so important that we foster that positive relationship with healthy fresh food whilst kids are young!”
If you pack a photo-worthy healthy harvest lunchox, we’d love you to tag us on instagram #harvestlunchbox