Inventive, affordable and healthy lunchbox ideas for your little ones

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Wynsors is here to help mums and dads with healthy packed lunch ideas for kids.Are Turkey Twizzlers really coming back?

If Kirsty Rogers has her way, then the answer is yes. This mum’s Change.org appeal has now garnered a whopping 27,097 signatures at the time of writing, which we imagine are making Jamie Oliver turn over in his kitchen.

Do you have your mind set on more nutritious options for your little ones?

At Wynsors, we’re always on board to help busy mums and dads with back-to-school prep and if you’ve bought school shoes with us, you’ll know that affordability is always on our agenda.

We’ve collaborated with real mums to find affordable, healthy lunchbox ideas that kids will love. Keep reading for inspiration and tips.

Make things interesting and let them choose (to an extent!)

According to Karen Langridge (founder of Really Missing Sleep), avoiding branded foods can work wonders on your wallet. Instead, she advocates preparing your own versions of well-known treats and getting creative:

“Rather than buying expensive brands, find other ways to make your child’s packed lunch look exciting. Try using sandwich cutters so your child has interesting shapes to look forward to. [You could also] cut block cheese rather than buy Babybel or similar brands, as it works out much cheaper.”

Karen’s second tip will resonate with any parent whose child lives to disagree with their choices:

“Let your child feel involved in making their packed lunch. Fill the fridge with a few different selections and let them pick out different bits to make up a healthy lunch. There will be less waste if they are involved – in this way, a child will happily eat what they picked themselves.”

We love this idea! Every child likes to feel heard, and you can still rest assured they’re eating something healthy because you decide what the options are.

Shop strategically for fresh foods and choose multipacks

School lunch ideas don’t have to scrimp on fruit and veg – here’s how to save money on fresh foods.We hear plenty of nutrition experts telling us that fresh is best, but it can be expensive and really frustrating if food goes to waste. Melanie from Melanie’s Fab Finds recommends scouring the reduced section when it comes to fruit and veg. She told us that it comes down to judgement:

“Foods that have been reduced in stores are often still fine to buy and put in packed lunches the next day. You can often find plenty of reduced fresh fruit that is still okay to eat – just judge it for yourself when you are shopping.”

Melanie also favours multipacks over individual bottled drinks:

“Buy multipacks of water bottles or sugar-free juices in cartons, as these work out cheaper than individual portions and are healthier that sugar-filled juices.”

With the pressure on parents to reduce kids’ sugar intake these days, we’re pleased to hear about a healthy hack that saves money too.

Keep slow-release energy in mind

Family Four Fun blogger Emily Foran told us that helping the kids stay energised throughout the day is a key consideration:

“I would recommend cooking in bulk batches. Rice and pasta dishes full of carbohydrates will give them slow-release energy throughout the day and are easy to prepare and keep well in an airtight container.”

We’re always on board when foods are long-lasting too.

Make the most of your freezer

There are plenty of foods that you can freeze for healthy school lunches and make sure nothing goes to waste.Speaking of long-lasting, we spoke to Pippa Wright from A Mother’s Ramblings, who said that making the most of the freezer is her number-one top tip.

Here’s what she told us:

“You can freeze sandwiches, pasta salads and the remainder of a pack of bagels, or even homemade pizza muffins and other treats you make.

“You can freeze water bottles (half-fill them and lay them on their side, then top up with water for a cool drink in the summer), juice packs, yoghurt sticks and even fruit. The added benefit of this is that it keeps the lunchbox nice and cool until lunch, as by then it is defrosted and ready for your child to eat.”

There’s nothing worse than a lukewarm drink or warm sandwiches after all.

Buy long-lasting staple foods

Preparation was a running theme while we were talking to our helpful mums, particularly when it comes to food going off. Karen Langridge also advised choosing nutritious staple foods that naturally have a long shelf life:

“Remember it’s all about preparation, making sure you have the right foods in. Boiled eggs are a great source of protein and can last up to seven days in the fridge; an easy staple to add to packed lunches during the week.”

Use the golden rule for a healthy lunchbox

Pippa Wright from A Mother’s Ramblings gave us her golden rules for healthy lunchbox ideas.If including all the right bits in your child’s packed lunch is getting you stressed (sounds dramatic, but once you start learning about carbohydrates and proteins, it can all be a bit mind-boggling).

Pippa Wright gave us the holy grail of all tips if you’d like to keep it simple.

Use her golden rule for a healthy lunchbox:

“I like to work out the lunches my children will have for four weeks, using the golden rule. One portion of carbohydrate/starchy food, one portion of dairy/dairy-alternative food, two portions of fruit or vegetables, one portion of Protein and a drink.

“So, I might decide my five carbs for the weeks are bagels, pitta bread, pasta, sandwich and pizza muffins. Then for the next four weeks, they will have those five items on different days and with different accompaniments.”

Thanks to all of the mums who took part in this post, for inspiring us with healthy packed lunch ideas for kids.

If your little one is going to school for the first time this year, why not read our guide to dealing with the emotions and practicalities of the big day, or find more tips on our Back-to-School Blog.

Started shopping for school shoes and accessories yet? Use the buttons below to shop our affordable collections.

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