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After a very unpredictable two years, we’re tentatively shopping for new schoolbooks, checking the school shoes still fit and wondering how to make sure our little ones are properly fuelled throughout the day.  This, of course, means another year of attempted creativity with lunch boxes.

Today we’re hoping to save you the never-ending social media inspiration scroll with a few tips that have worked for us.

Our number one tip is to identify your children’s favourite food and find a way to incorporate it into the lunch box amongst other nutritious ingredients.  We’re guessing most of you are already doing this and perhaps finding it’s the only thing not left behind, but have you tried using it as a part of;

Pinwheels made with wholemeal flat breads have always been a winner for us.  Fillings like ham and cheese are regulars, but we like to mix it up and add some sweet but nutritious options like honey, cream cheese and strawberries, or banana with cinnamon and sultanas.  It also helps us when we call them ‘pancake wraps’.

Shish Kebabs are usually meat and vegetables, but you can thread mini-pinwheels on and alternate with things like fruits, vegetables or cheese.  They’re made even more special if you use a shape-cutter for fruits like watermelon and if you include a dipping sauce like hummus, yoghurt or tomato sauce (which can be home made with some extra veg thrown in and frozen in portions). Lunch will feel like a treat.  Be sure to have a search for some reusable, child friendly skewers.

Quesadillas are another easy to make lunch box surprise.  We like to make a little Mexican-inspired vegetable sauce by frying onions, capsicums, canned corn and kidney beans together before adding a little smokey paprika, some frozen spinach, a can of tomatoes and some water.  We let it cook for around half an hour (or until it’s a thick sauce) then blend it into a paste and freeze it in portions.  We then spread it on flat bread, layer on some cheese, sandwich it with another flat bread and pop cut squares in a sandwich press until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden.  It firms up once cooled and makes a delicious lunch box addition (and is great dipped in Greek yoghurt as an alternative to sour cream).

If you still find your little one is heading to the canteen window in hopes of something else, our Choc Mud Fruit Bars which are nut free and made with just three ingredients (dates, seeds and cocoa powder), alongside some berries might just curb the habit.  It’s worked for us!

We hope we’ve helped a little today, and we wish you plenty of hot cuppas in a quiet house this school term…