Preparing packed lunches for your family or yourself can become a chore and more often than not it appears we look into the pantry and fridge to find next to nothing we can put in them. However with a little planning and a shopping list you can organise stress free lunch box fillings without blowing your grocery budget on last minute runs to the bakery on the school drop off run, or buying expensive lunches on your break at work.
Three years ago, I prepared what I now call "grab and go lunches". Mostly high in sugar processed foods including, wrapped bars, small packets of chippies, dried fruit, a piece of fruit and a pot of yoghurt. Easy to put together, low in nutrition and foods that do not encourage the sustenance required for a full day at work or school.
The potted diary food in this lunch box is something I no longer buy but my older daughter purchased these for her lunches and didn't want to use them so to avoid waste Jeremiah had them in his lunch box that week. Try making homemade yoghurt with fresh fruit - its fun to do and there are lots of recipes on you tube to try.
A compartment lunch box is essential for nude lunches to minimise waste. These usually come with smaller containers that fit inside the lunch box.
The shopping list for high nutrition lunches can include enough fruit for 2 different types per lunch box, nuts, fillings for sandwiches including cheese, ham, peanut butter, pesto spread, cream cheese, cucumber and honey. Avoid high sugar and processed foods like chocolate spreads, jams, packet or wrapped bars and snacks. I also stopped buying margarine so butter is also a must on the shopping list. The budget for my weekly lunch boxes is $15 for one person with an extra $5 per person.
Sunday Night is my home baking night. I have five recipes I rotate. These include kiwi fruit loaf, banana loaf, mandarin or orange loaf. I also have a cookie recipe that I rotate different ingredients into like plain chocolate using cocoa, chocolate chip, nuts or raisins.
Leftovers are also fantastic for adult lunch boxes or older children and teenagers you can heat their lunch at school.
Vinnie works full time and Denise manages the Home, Garden and Household budget as well as being designer at Denise H Label & Eco Boutique NZ