Lunchbox hacks for a healthy start to 2022

Nectarine muffins for your child's lunchbox

By Renate Engelbrecht

Thursday, Jan 13

As everyone started preparing to go back to school at the beginning of the week, the fact that I had to start packing a lunchbox for our eldest this year, hit me hard. What am I going to pack and how will I keep it fresh? We’ve been so blessed at previous school with them preparing all the meals but as I’ve soon come to realise, come Grade RRR, mom needs to be on it!

Luckily, I had just received some inspiration from Juicy Delicious and seeing that stone fruit is in season, the first day’s lunchbox (as well as the planning for next week) was a quick fix.

Keep up with the season

Keeping up with what’s in season might help a lot when it comes to picking healthy, yet affordable snacks for your child’s lunchbox. Stone fruit (plums, peaches and nectarines) is currently in season and it packs a nutritious, yet yummy punch. It’s also a great alteration from the usual apple or banana. As Catha is still only four years old (has it really been four years already!?) I cut them in smaller chunks and put them in her lunchbox, which comes with convenient sections ideal for separating healthy snacks like these from her sandwich or nutritious biscuits. Well, that’s what I did this week, but tonight I’m baking muffins! What muffins? Nectarine muffins, of course.

Stone fruit is currently in season and the perfect lunchbox treat
Stone fruit is currently in season and the perfect lunchbox treat. Image: Supplied

Keep what’s in the lunchbox fresh

You can keep your kids’ snacks and lunch fresher for longer by investing in a quality lunchbox such as the BPA free Addis Clip ’n Seal lunchboxes which come in different sizes and various colours. And, the clip guarantees an airtight and leak-proof seal. It’s also produced in South Africa, which means you get to support local. Depending on what you plan to pack into your child’s lunchbox, ensure that it is big enough. I’ve made the mistake of buying a lunchbox that can’t hold a small bucket of yogurt, which means I now need to pack that separately.

Keep it practical

I know, it’s hard not to want to be the supermom who fills her kids’ lunch boxes with all sorts of fun favourites. At least not being allowed to pack anything with too much sugar shortens the list of options considerably already. Don’t make things too hard for yourself. When you go grocery shopping, think creatively and look for easy items – easy to pack in a lunchbox, but also easy to eat by hand for your child’s (and the teacher’s) convenience.

First Choice Power Cup
First Choice Power Cup. Image: Renate Engelbrecht

A quick and easy lunchbox

If you really want to keep your child’s lunch box original and add a special mom touch to it (as we all do), bake a couple of muffins over the weekend, or a banana loaf or healthy blueberry flapjacks. Cheese squares, biltong or droëwors, dried fruit, nuts, cucumber disks, carrot sticks, rolled ham, oatmeal or sugar-free oatmeal or muesli biscuits are all quick and easy options to add to your child’s lunchbox. Also, don’t forget about popcorn! You might not be allowed to pack chips, but popcorn is a healthy and welcome alternative. The good old Melrose Cheese triangles are also one of my definite go-to lunchbox options this year. And, if there’s space (or pack it separately then, because it’s that good), First Choice’s Power Cup is a great dairy snack to include in your child’s lunchbox.

If you do happen to make your own mini mushroom wellingtons over the weekend, that’s also a super healthy and yummy lunchbox treat to add to your child’s lunchbox.

In the end, I guess it’s all about trial and error (especially when it comes to toddlers and their taste buds). Still, I do hope that these lunchbox hacks gave you some food for thought and if you were able to take one idea from this post, I believe I’ve been successful. Happy lunchbox packing, mommies!


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