For now, Max has school dinners for his lunch at school. Then when it comes to starting year three, it will all be about the packed lunch. For now, though, I have got Chloe to pack a lunchbox for when she is at nursery. I have always struggled with putting packed lunches together. I kind of just panic and put all sorts in there. I don’t even know why! So she ends up with huge amounts of food, that most doesn’t get eaten.
I don’t really give her a choice as to what goes in her packed lunch, but I do have to think about what I know she will eat. I don’t want to think of her at nursery going hungry (though I am sure I am just being paranoid, because most of the time she eats much better for everyone else but me)!
Recently, a study commissioned by Flora at the University of Leeds, found that only 1.6% of children in England receive a packed lunch that meets the nutritional standards set for school meals. The study also found that just 17% of lunches containing any kind of vegetables or salad. Pretty shocking if you ask me! There are always plenty of things that I put in for Chloe that are fruit based (she likes things like berries and apple slices or 100% pureed fruit pouches), but I do think that it is hard to put veggies in the packed lunch.
It is obvious that plenty of other people struggle to get veggies in a packed lunch too. Which is why Flora have a lunchbox planner on their website. It has plenty of different recipes, full of healthy things to put in a packed lunch. They are packed full of veggies too. I hadn’t ever thought to send Chloe off with anything like a pasta salad, but she does like pasta for her evening meal, so why not? Then I can fill it with different veg that we have in at home.
I do find with Chloe that if her food looks a little more colourful and interesting, then she is more likely to eat it. That is why quite often I get red lentil pasta or green pea pasta that I have used here (I get both from Waitrose). I know some children are put off by colourful food but it works for her!
For this quick and easy veggie pasta salad, you will need:
- 200g Green Pea Pasta (or pasta of your choice)
- 2 handfuls of veggies of your choice
- cherry tomatoes
- spring onion
- sweetcorn kernals
- 2 tbsp Flora Light
- pinch of chopped mixed herbs
- pinch of black pepper
- All I did was to cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Then chop the veggies.
- When the pasta is cooked, drain it and mix the Flora light and herbs into the pasta.
- Finally, stir in the veggies and season. Pop it in a packed lunch box that seals well and then they are ready to go. This makes enough for two days which is always a help when you are having to do a lunch box everyday.
I think having alternatives like this every now and again, makes a nice change from just a sandwich, crackers and fruit. Hopefully it works well for your little ones too!
Have you got any tips or tricks for your child’s school lunch boxes? Do your kids usually stick to a sandwich or do you think that they’d like this kind of thing for their lunches?
*This post is an entry for the #FloraLunchbox Linky Challenge, sponsored by Flora. Check out their lunch planner and recipe ideas here.