Lunchbox Struggles, They Are Real!
In this fast life, it’s hard to stay on top 100% of the time. I’d life to brag about how I make all of my own food and my children are on spectacularly healthy diets – But I would be lying. Packing lunch is a routine thing yet I still have days where I struggle.
It’s normal to forget things in the shopping, run out of ideas and things that the kids like. It’s normal to hit the wall and sleep in, leaving lunches being thrown together in a hurry. I notice the final term of the year is the worst for me, with extra awards ceremonies, Christmas concerts, preparing for holidays and more – I am very time poor.
I have put together a list of some of the foods that help me get through busy times. These foods are not sugar-free, but they are a lot better in comparison to some of the foods we are often tricked into buying through marketing and store specials.
If you have run out of fresh food and you need to rely on the pantry, these are the items you want to permanently keep in your mind as the “go to” snacks when you are running short on lunchbox supplies. I know you can give your child tuck shop money, but tuck shops are not always open.
Besides, not every kid will eat Carrot sticks. Some kids refuse to even eat their fruit at school. My child eating is my first priority, watching their sugar intake is my second.
Instead of packing cookies and biscuits consider dry cereal or rice crackers. I recently discovered packing a small serve of dry cereal from the health food aisle had half the amount of sugar than the packets of cookies in the heavily marketed lunchbox snack aisle.
The other upside to cereal is you get a lot more for your money and thrown separately in some sandwich bags they make a great snack for when you have run out of snacks! I have one horrendously fussy child who always wants chocolate cereal or fruity rings.
Freedom Foods make a couple of products that look a lot like “other” brands – but some have less than half the sugar content. We love the Nut Free Crunch Bars & cereal products.
The Crunch bars have 3.4g of sugar per serving, while the “other” popular alternative has 7g per serving. That’s under half the amount of sugar! I recently tried the new caramel flavour on behalf of the brand and I personally think it tastes better, it tastes like actual food.
Fruit For Fussy Kids
One of my children hates eating her fruit at school. She will eat fruit at home just fine. So, often I feed her fruit in the morning and pack her something else. But what do you replace fruit with if you have run out or they won’t eat it?
Dried fruit is an alternative, it lasts in the pantry. Dried fruit is high in sugar, I am not suggesting it is AS healthy. But I think we have to be realistic. If you are putting a snack in place of fruit, obviously a tim tam or a packet of chocolate cookies is not a better alternative.
Some cereal, a small handful of sultanas and some rice crackers are all things you can keep in your pantry and still make a decent lunchbox snack. Keep these items handy and you won’t be stuffing emergency food from the servo in your lunchboxes on the way to school.
I had a period where I couldn’t pack enough for my oldest child. He goes through growth spurts and turns into a walking food bin. I started buying long life coconut & almond milk. I keep a bag of chia seeds in the pantry and I started making him smoothies in the morning for after breakfast.
This was often consumed with his fruit break and the amount of “snack food” he consumed then decreased. This meant less packaged food and fewer trips to the shop. To keep the smoothie cold I just packed good quality ice bricks in an insulated lunch box.
Smoothies Might Seem Like A Lot Of Work…
One product that has come my way from the brand is Mavella Superfood Powder. I get a lot of free samples, I can’t possibly mention them all, but this is something that I will be purchasing myself in the future. I have been using this product with coconut milk and sometimes a piece of fresh fruit – but you don’t have to add anything other than the powder.
Ditch The Packets Of Chips
I find the serving size of packet chips so frustrating. If I do buy them it’s usually in a big bag and I separate them into zip lock bags myself. This also gives me more control over the brands I buy as healthier options often don’t come in lunchbox size packages.
Does Your Child Eat Popcorn?
It’s cheap and quick to make. I know popcorn can get boring, you can flavour it yourself easily. There are packaged popcorn brands but if you keep a jar of corn in the pantry you won’t run out of snacks anytime soon.
Crackers, Not Cookies.
Rice Crackers, Ritz & Jatz are a better option than packets of cookies. They are cheaper, less sugar and less rubbish waste. My daughter recently discovered the mini sauce bottles which I put jam in for her to squeeze on the crackers herself.
You Can Afford Healthier Options
I think marketing has had a lot to do with convincing us we cannot afford healthier options. Sometimes its hard to keep an open mind when doing the shopping. I know sometimes I feel stupid managing sugar levels, then allowing my child to eat a chocolate muffin.
The reason he is allowed to have a chocolate muffin is because he has made better food choices through the rest of the day – so we should not feel bad about managing our lunchbox content even when its not 100% home made.
Here is a price overview of the products in this article. These are based on sale prices as I shop around for the best price.
Disclaimer Some of the products I have trialled courtesy of the brands, however, I am not obliged to write about them in my articles whatsoever. Nothing in this article has been sponsored with cash payments.
Freedom Foods is very well known to me and has played an active part in different diet solutions for my special needs child over the last 5 years & the Mavella product is absolutely worth recommending.