One of the main essentials for back to school season is a lunch box. Preparing a school lunch box for our children can be quite a challenge. Every mum tries to offer her kids healthy options, that are quick to make in the morning, and that her children will actually eat and enjoy. Making a school lunch box while trying to balance these three concerns can be very hard. First, don’t worry, you are not alone in this. And second, worry not as we give you every little detail you need when preparing your children’s school lunch box.
Are school lunch boxes really that important?
Children spend around 6 hours at school five times a week. This means that they need to have at least one full meal and a snack to keep them healthy and energized. Many parents and working mums used to rely on school cafeterias and canteens to offer meals and snacks for their children during the school day. However, getting back to school after Covid era changed that. If you are living in Dubai, then you know that many schools are going to put off serving full meals to students as a precaution to protect them against Covid-19.
There have been new mandatory instructions that every student needs to have his or her own lunch box with their own meals prepared from home. So, to answer our initial question, yes – lunch boxes are really that important. And if this is your first time preparing lunch boxes, you really need to keep on reading.
What to look for when buying a school lunch box?
Again, we understand that school lunch boxes might baffle you. So let us start with the first and easiest step which is buying a school lunch box or a school lunch bag. And here are the main things to keep in mind:
There are plenty of sizes when it comes to buying a school lunch box. Choosing the right size depends on your child’s needs. You need to pick a lunch box that comfortably fits the foods and snacks you are sending with your kids to school. Some mums prefer lunch boxes that have compartments as they have certain spaces for all kinds of foods like sandwiches or snack bars. On the other hand, some mums like to send two separate lunch boxes. This works well when your child has two breaks during school.
When buying a school lunch box, make sure that the materials are safe and eco friendly. For example, you can go for BPA free lunch boxes, or a stainless steel lunch box. Both those options are safe, eco friendly, and you can rest assured that they are leak proof and easy to clean.
3| Shape and design
When buying a school lunch box for your children, you need to include them and let them pick. This will ensure that your children love their lunch boxes and will not forget them. Having your children pick their own lunch boxes will also encourage them to eat during school.
Keep in mind that even lunch boxes come in trendy designs. Most girls like unicorn lunch boxes that are pink and glittery. While boys will want a lunch box with their favorite action figure on it like Spiderman!
So, check out what is new and trendy when it comes to a school lunch box, and let your kids make the final choice.
An insulated lunch bag or an insulated lunch box is the best option when making cooked meals. The insulation feature keeps foods nice and warm till lunch time. A thermos lunch box does the same. It is also great to have an insulated lunch bag when sending cold foods like fruits or yogurt. If you live in Dubai, then you know how important it is to have an insulated lunch bag for both hot and cold foods.
There is a wide variety of accessories that are included with lunch boxes. For example, some lunch boxes come with a bag, a water bottle, utensils, a sandwich box and sandwich cutters.
Anything to avoid adding in my kid’s lunch box?
While we believe the sky’s the limit when it comes to preparing a school lunch box – there are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind. Here are some things that we do NOT recommend putting in your children’s school lunch boxes:
Children like to share their lunches with their friends. Some children have severe nut allergies that they do not know about. So, it is best to set aside the nuts and keep them for snacking at home. We recommend doing the same for spreads that contain nuts like Nutella and peanut butter.
A homemade lunch box must not contain junk foods like chips. Not only is it bad for your kids, but some schools actually have a policy which bans chips and other kinds of junk snacks.
Everyone loves chocolate, and a little won’t hurt. However, if you live in a place with high temperatures like Dubai, the chocolate will melt by lunchtime and will get all over your child’s lunch box and school uniform. So it is best to pick snacks that won’t melt and cause a mess.
Preparing your children’s lunch boxes means you can manage how healthy their meal is. Candies are filled with harmful sugars and artificial coloring that you do not want inside your child’s body. Also, avoiding adding candy to your kid’s lunch box will help protect their teeth from decay.
Check out toys that encourage children to eat healthy.
Although popcorn is a very healthy snack, we do not recommend sending any to school with your kid. It can cause a choking hazard especially for younger children.
We covered what to avoid, so what do we put in a lunch box?
You might think by now that things are getting harder. But don’t. Again, the sky’s the limit when it comes to preparing your little one’s school lunch box. Here are some quick suggestions that are perfect for a school lunch box:
- – Sandwiches and pastries
- – Fruits and vegetables
- – Yogurt – whatever flavor your child likes
- – Dried fruits
- – Cooked meals – especially when your child does not like sandwiches.
Also read 8 Healthy Lunch Box Snacks for your Child.
Ideas that make a great school lunch for your children
Here are some ideas for healthy snack and meals that are really good for your child’s lunch box:
- – Hummus sandwiches with cherry tomatoes.
- – Mini pizzas.
- – Veggie sticks and dip.
- – Rainbow Parfait.
- – Mini pancakes with your child’s favorite toppings.
- – Chicken salad sandwich.
- – Muffins.
- – Air Fried nuggets or fries.
Keep things interesting with these pre packed snacks
Sometimes children lean towards pre-packed snacks more than the meals mums make at home. As long as you choose healthy snacks that are nutritious and filled with vitamins that is OK. these school snacks are great additions to your child’s school lunch box:
Steps to making perfect school lunch boxes
To prepare the perfect school lunch box for your children, we recommend following those steps:
1| Shop smart
Having a weekly lunch schedule makes everything easier. It will help you buy everything you need for your children’s school lunches, and you won’t have to wake up worrying about what to make for lunch. Have a conversation with your children when planning your weekly lunch schedule, they will have many helpful inputs.
2| Provide healthy options
Make small adjustments to make your children’s lunch box healthier. For example, switch to whole wheat bread to ensure your kids get more fibers. Also, instead of giving your children candy, switch to fruits – both fresh and dried. This will also encourage your children to eat healthy for the long term.
3| Have a “lunch box station”
Pick a corner in your kitchen and turn it into your own lunch box station. Have everything you need there from lunch boxes, bags, water bottles, knives and cutters, and everything else. This will help you save time and everything you need is at the reach of your hand – so no morning hassle!
4| Prepare ahead
Prepping a few things a night before makes it all so much easier the next morning. For example, if you are giving your children vegetables, cut them a night before and save them in the fridge. All you have to do in the morning is to get them out and arrange them in the lunch box. You can make many foods the night before as well like pancakes, muffins, sandwiches. Just get them out of the fridge in the morning, heat them up if needed and place them in your children’s school lunch box.
5| Be creative
When you plan your children’s school lunch box creatively, your child will always be excited for it. Give them different foods, snacks, and healthy candies to keep things interesting and encourage them to eat well.
After school, check your kids’ lunch box. Look at what they ate, and repeat it. And always have a fun, delicious and healthy snack in their lunch box.
6| Include your kids
Including your kids means that they will eat, and your efforts won’t go to waste. Let them help you plan, prepare, and put their lunch boxes together. This can be a great way to introduce them to healthy foods and healthy eating as well.
7| Don’t forget the snacks
Some children care about their snacks more than anything else in their school lunch box. So make sure to pick the right snacks whether made at home or pre packed.
Check out these best selling lunch boxes at Mumzworld
Eazy Kids Bento Lunch Boxes are compact and can easily fit in all standard size lunch bags. This lunch box has 6 compartments with top silicon leakproof layers that can be removed along with the lower lid which makes it easy to clean. It includes sandwich cutters, veggie cutters and animal shaped fruit picks to make meal times fun!
This thermal food jar makes it easy to have hot or cold food on the go. Food stays warm for over 6 hours and cold for up to 12 hours. It come with a matching “fork/spoon” to encourage little one’s early feeding independence. These food jars are high quality, durable and light.
This lunch box looks cool and stays cool and fresh when taking lunch. The interior has high quality cell foam insulation and a durable, easy-to-clean. All materials are 100% PVC-free. The padded handle is comfortable to carry, and the zipper makes it easy to access all the healthy goodies inside.
This practical kit includes a lunch bag, lunch box, and a water bottle. With this lunch kit, getting lunch ready for nursery or school will be a breeze. And the best thing: you can personalize it! Simply add your child’s name to make this the most fun lunch has ever been.