Sunday, November 24, 2013

healthy lunch box

Safcol Tuna in springwater, whole egg mayonnaise, english spinach, seasonal fruit and homemade chocolate and nut biscuits.

Free range chicken, whole egg (cage free) mayonnaise, english spinach in a Mountain bread wrap, seasonal fruit salad and wholemeal crackers (no preservatives) cream cheese and sultanas (sulphur free).

Preservative free ham, cheese and english spinach on wholemeal; apple and grapes; homemade simple muffin with butter.

The first year of Kindy is almost over and I thought it would be a good time to reflect on Max's lunch box. When Max started school I had an almost 2 month old baby so I wanted to make sure I could still put together a healthy lunchbox that was preservative free, easy to make, free of wasteful packaging and delicious enough that he would eat it all.

I bought a special lunch box from here to mark his milestone of going to school like a big boy. It's free of nasty chemicals, has compartments to divide food in to and comes with sheets of "cool" alaphabet and picture stickers for your child to put on the lid. There is no need for clingwrap so this solved the packaging issue.

Max is an energetic child and a big eater and loves all kinds of food so most of the time his lunchbox was empty at school pick-up or he would finish leftovers in the car. More often than not I would have to bring him a snack because he would be "starving" straight after school.

Keeping it real: There were a few things I compromised on, such as buying washed mixed lettuce and sliced cheese (no preservatives). Prior to Archie I would never even think of such conveniences or the added expense and would wash all my lettuces and cut my own cheese. I am not a moring person and with a new baby I had a lot more to do in the morning. This was a convenience I was willing to pay for to make those rushed early mornings a little easier and still prepare a healthy lunch with variety.

Our school has a Nut Free Policy so I had to stop making sweets with nuts. I was use to baking with almonds, pecans and walnuts. Nuts are so good for dry skin amongst other benefits and add an interesting texture and flavour. I believe children adapt a sophiscated palate if they are given real foods from the start. Real food can taste good and be fun. I believe food marketed at children are often inferior products and my child is not inferior and neither is yours. (Not a dig at mamas but at the food companies!) Okay, getting back to the nuts, instead I would make blueberry and carrot muffins.

I envisioned getting back to bread making and cooking big pieces of meat for lunches but often I manage to select the best pre-made food and combine it with what I made at home. I'm proud of what I have accomplished this year and proud of my son's compliments and gratefulness.

More realness: There were many times I had to put a lunch order in through out the year and one time every day for a whole week! Thankfully, there are some decent options and the lovely canteen lady makes fresh batches of anzac biscuits daily. I don't believe in denying my son sweets as he eats a wide variety of foods and I don't have to manipulate him to eat his dinner. He just eats dinner because I taught him that dinner is a part of life and it is a good thing, a happy thing to enjoy. Although, he's still a child and occasionally tries his luck for ice cream at breakfast.

Next year I will make cold snacks for the warmer months, such as fruit yoghurts with these. In winter I would like to send him to school with hot soup in a thermos. In this country, there is no such thing as an indoor cafeteria area. In a snow region it would be very useful to our school but instead the children eat at their desks in winter on really bad weather days; otherwise they eat cold meals outside on cold concrete! 

Warm food is very beneficial and nourishing to the body especially that time of year when cold and flu's are prevalent. Once again I would take advantage of ordering my son a hot lunch from the canteen. But many times I would "homeschool" him when he had the sniffles...

Warm nourishing pumpkin soup. Winter, June 13

 Learning to read Waddle Giggle Gargle by Pamela Allen and hand drawn illustration of the book cover. Making wrapping paper by painting nature stencils. Summer, Nov 13

Thank you for staying tuned in to a very long tale. I really appreciate it! Please tell me about your children's lunch boxes and does your child's school have an indoor cafeteria?


  1. I wish someone would pack my lunch like that. Instead, I have to pack/make or buy my hubby's lunch and take it to him, otherwise he just would not eat (we work together in our car business). All the boxes looks so yummy - I must try making tuna or salmon/mayo salad for mountain bread or pita pockets - something different. Well done you for keeping it all preservative free. Thats why I love making our bread rolls, I know just what goes in them!

    Cheers - Joolz xx

    1. Hi Joolz, I really must start making bread rolls for my family like you do. I shouldn't of asked what people make for their children but for their loved ones!

  2. Zena, my little granddaughter is just finishing Kindy and I hope her lunch box is as healthy as the ones you make. I am not sure what my girl put in it on Kindy days. At least they are not allowed to swap their food at Kindy but school is a different matter. :-)

  3. It is good to see and read that you are helping your son learn healthy eating habits. I did not eat broccoli...and then with tons of 'not good for ya' cheese, until I was 25. The 'veggie' at our house growing up was corn. My son (now 25) was eating broccoli without cheese at two. He was raised to eat what was given to him. He never fussed about anything, although I do find it hard to believe a child of mine does not like chocolate...LOL.

    I would eat your made me hungry reading this post;-)

  4. Beautiful work,keep it up,its worth it,the craft,the gardening and sewing!!