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Packed Lunches: Keeping them interesting & the kids interested

packed lunches

Packed lunches can be a nightmare especially if you have fussy eaters or those who won’t/don’t eat their lunch.

The one rule I have insisted on with my children is if they don’t eat their fruit, they have to eat it that evening (if I am quick enough) for their after school snack, but otherwise after tea.

So I try and vary things a bit not sandwiches every day. Here are just a few examples:

  • rolls
  • wraps
  • pitta bread,
  • crackers,
  • bagel
  • sausage rolls
  • some days, a hot school lunch.

I’m not sure mine would be keen, but others I know have little tubs of pasta or cous cous, or even a flask of soup.

Other things I add are:

  • cherry tomatoes
  • cucumber
  • pepper
  • carrot sticks.

Even the things that are not their favourites I include a little bit of.

With fruit I have one child who will really only eat satsumas in the winter (or very occasionally a pear). In the summer it’s bit easier as a little pot of raspberries or strawberries are ok. The others are less picky and will eat kiwi or dried apricots. (Funny as they will all eat fruit salad with a whole mix of all the things above in.)

Usually I add a fromage frais, or other yoghurt dairy based item. And I must say I am a fan of the ones in tubes as I get so sick of picking out pots not-quite-empty that have been shaken around in the lunch box or bag….YUK!

Finally I include a treat a biscuit or piece of cake or a packet of crisps. In a good week I will try and make something like a tray bake, cup cakes, flap jack but other times a cereal bar or other lunch time biscuit.

If, at times, they are growing or have a sports activity and tend to be hungrier they will have sandwiches and maybe some cheese and crackers as well.

One thing I did notice was that if the sandwiches are white bread the kids came out hungrier after school. Generally sandwiches are wholemeal although sometimes I compromise and we have 50:50. In the same way we have filling cereals before school such as Ready Brek, Weetabix or Shreddies etc but in the holidays we might buy Coco Pops because they don’t seem to fill them up for long.

This is what we do but as always all children are different including those in the same family so its finding what works for you.


Beckie is a mum to three kids, and works in the Cambridge area as a coach. Feel free to get in contact for a no obligation discussion.

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