The best winter food options you can pack into your children’s lunchboxes.
If you’re thinking it’s getting harder to get your children up in the morning, you’re probably right. The colder months are looming large, and the task of exiting the comfort and security of a toasty warm bed is becoming more unwelcome for all of us—especially our kids. With our winter food tips, we’ll try to make the whole ordeal just that little bit easier.
This time of year causes more than a few headaches for parents. Not only are there the ubiquitous tantrums that come with the “Time to get out of bed!” wake-up calls; but the subsequent conundrum of food preparation for the rest of the day. No parents want to get to their lunch breaks wondering if the kids are currently trading their English homework for Sally’s quinoa.
There are a couple of aspects to consider when deciding what winter food should go into the lunchbox smorgasbord. Firstly, there is that pesky health factor—making sure the foods are nutritious and will stave off illness—otherwise known as ‘responsible parenting’.
Then there is the far more challenging component: packing items your kids will actually eat.
So, with the freezing time of year just around the corner, we’ve managed to tear ourselves away from the other winter that’s been coming (the final season of Game of Thrones) to divulge these ‘cool’ lunchbox lessons for the colder weather. #westeroscoffeecup #notsorryforthepun
Food for thought
Choosing children’s lunches with health in mind is essential—and only more so during winter. You want to try and maintain optimum immunity from germs and colds for their own good—not to mention your sanity. The last thing you need in that big meeting is a phone call from the school indicating your little one is in sickbay with an epic case of the sniffles.
So, what sort of winter foods should be on the menu? First up, salmon is a fantastic choice for protein and vitamin B—which helps to normalise mood and provide oodles of energy.
Sweet Potatoes will give vitamin A and potassium, while the good old regular potato is a great source of vitamin C and B6. You could also combine them into a delicious mash for use with a washable bamboo spoon—or even try a recipe for Sweet Potato Sausage Cheese Balls like the one below!
Really want to be in your children’s good books? Try a thermal flask and give them the option of hot food like noodles, rice or even pizza (healthy pizza that is).
And if you’re after a solution with less fuss, the humble sandwich is still a great choice. Wholemeal or multi-grain bread is best, with a selection of salad options and sensible amounts of an egg for iron and protein—as well as dairy for more of those much-needed vitamins and minerals to build healthy bones and teeth.
Polish this all off with some snack-sized fruit and vegetables like apple pieces and carrot sticks; which are easy choices for that all-important Vitamin C.
Mix all this in with a dash of luck, and hopefully you’ll have the recipe for children who bring home empty lunchboxes every day.
The eyes have it
Another great tip is to jazz up the presentation of the winter food in order to make it visually appealing. This will hopefully entice children to eat said lunch—the whole point of the exercise! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder after all.
This technique may feel a tiny bit deceptive—but if you’re happy keeping the Santa Claus story alive, then we’re going to bet you’re more than okay with a little sleight of hand.
Try things like cutting fruit, vegetables or sandwiches into fun shapes; use foods of different colours to dazzle the eye; or even let your children contribute to the selection of food (within reason of course). And the easiest thing of all? Pack everything into a vibrant, personalised Stuck On You Bento Box so the kids can really make lunchtime their own!
Winters are grinners
There you have it! Getting through winter lunches with any number of mini-humans doesn’t have to be a thing of absolute dread.
Now all you have left to think about is what they should wear? How early is too early to get a flu shot? Why do they keep wearing muddy shoes into the house when you have asked them repeatedly not to? Why…? Well, you get the idea.
When is it summer again?
Recipe: Sweet Potato Sausage Cheese Balls
- 1 x small chorizo sausage or any vegetable option.
- 2 x medium-sized sweet potatoes.
- 1 x handful of grated cheese.
- 1 x pinch of spice mix (½ tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp ground ginger, ½ tsp nutmeg, ½ tsp allspice, ½ tsp ground cloves).
- Cook the sweet potatoes until soft.
- Mash in a small bowl with some butter and allow to cool.
- Crumble and cook chorizo sausage in a small pan (chorizo may be swapped out for corn/peas/pork sausage or whatever your kids love to eat).
- Combine chorizo (or replacement) with sweet potato mash, a handful of grated tasty cheese and spice mix.
- Combine well and roll into bite-sized balls.
- Place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes at 180 °C.
Have these tips been helpful for your kids’ winter food lunchboxes? Then let us know and share this article below!