The month of September signifies the start of the new school year and for me, this is also the start of the dreaded school lunch box drama. Both boys will be having packed lunches as that's what they prefer but, they are both so fussy and it's hard to keep creative an not just stick with the same options all the time.
Sandwiches are great and all, but they do get boring after a full week of eating them. This is why Iceland have asked me to get creative as part of their #PowerOfFrozen challenge. I've decided to get to work creating a new lunch box meal that is still as quick and easy as making a sandwich, but is different and more visual, to give the boys a change. That's where wraps come in.
Wraps are an amazing way to give your child a good quality meal, still being able to pack everything in to it, but giving a quirky and more fun way to eat. Chicken is probably the most loved meat on the planet and so chicken salad wraps are a perfect alternative.
They are super easy to make too. I use Iceland Ready Cooked Chargrilled Chicken Breast Strips which come in handy so much in my cooking. Even more so in this as they are already cooked so I just taken a handful out the night before and let them defrost before serving.
I simply grab a wrap (I have used Iceland Tortilla Wraps), chuck in a load of diced tomato, cucumber and some lettuce, then top with the chicken strips. Then comes the folding. I tuck the bottom in and then fold each side in one at a time, trying to get a tight but even cylinder shape.
You can use a toothpick to keep it all together but I have my own sneaky trick. I found a pack of napkin rings in our lock pound shop and these are the perfect size as a wrap holder.
And so, we come on to accompaniments. The boys school is a little different to most as they like to stagger how children eat, using the mantra 'eat little and often'. So at mid-morning break (elevenses shall we say) we have a box filled with fruit or veg, then there's lunch which is the main meal, ending with a late break at around 2pm where they can have more fruit. I like this way as it means that the kids are getting more fruit and veg packed in rather than goodies.
Starting with the fruit and veg options first, I'm quite lucky as the boys do love a wide variety of both. Baby corn and any variety of peas (be it sugar snap, mangetout etc) are firm favourites for their lunch box and so when I came across this Baby Corn and Sugar Snap Peas combo in Iceland, I knew that I was on to a winner.
Coming frozen, this actually comes in a tin ready to cook, but my sons prefer to eat these raw, straight from the pack. They can wilt and go soggy throughout the day though but luckily with these, I can pop a few out of the pack from the freezer in the morning and by snack time they are defrosted and ready to eat.
Fruit always depends on what is in season but T does love a good red apple, always opting for this if there is a choice of fruits. So that is usually his fruit of choice for his afternoon snack.
I wanted to end with the goodies that fill up the pack lunch box as these are always things that cause the most controversy when it comes to children's lunches. We all know that meals should be healthy and balanced, so I like to give a good, rounded meal that includes something nice to finish with.
In the boys school chocolate bars, crisps and fizzy pop are banned (which I agree with) so we change up what is on offer each week, trying to vary what they eat. Nuts are a firm favourite for the boys and are really good for them too. I like to serve them in a bun case and twist around the top to keep them secure.
Yogurts served in a tube such as these Wildlife Choobs are perfect for lunch boxes and so much more fun to eat than a regular yogurt. Go Ahead! Strawberry Yogurt Breaks are a great way to give kids biscuits whilst also getting in those extra bits of fruity goodness too.
And lastly comes the dessert item. For me, these mini eclairs from Iceland are a fab option. Just the perfect snack size, and they come frozen so can defrost throughout the day so they're ready to eat at lunch time. The perfect way to end a meal.
And so, there you have it. My take on a healthy lunch box idea that is fun and gives more options for children to eat. All you have to do is pop in a beverage of choice and you're good to go.
Let me know how you mix it up when it comes to lunch boxes in the comments below...