Ok, let’s be honest. The only thing that brings more joy than the laughter of a child is when the school bus comes to take them away. To be fair, the December school holidays have been really taxing on parents, and many are relieved that their little ones are back in a more structured environment.
If you’re a parent, we know that you have more than enough on your plate making sure your cute little gremlins are sorted for the start of the academic year, so we thought we would make one part of your lives a little easier: lunchboxes.
You know how this played out on the first day of school. You were trying to get yourself dressed, the kids fed, teeth brushed and a million other little things that needed to be done in the morning. Then it hit you: what will I pack the kids for school!?
Of course, in the ideal world, by then you’ll remember this Food For Mzansi article and be sorted in a minute. So, simply scroll down this list below and see how you can incorporate these simple school lunchbox shortcuts into your routine to give you an extra minute in the morning to sip your coffee.
1. Frozen mixed fruits with a honey drizzle
Your kids will love it. Promise. It’s quite simple. You chop up whatever fresh fruit you have, drizzle over some honey for extra sweetness and place a portion in a small container in the freezer. Pop it into your kids’ lunch boxes in the morning and by the time break comes along the fruit would have defrosted, but still be chilled.
2. Frozen sandwiches
This one is an absolute timesaver and really not as gross as it might sound. You can make them a whole week in advance (a sandwich for every day made on a Sunday evening). My favourites: peanut butter and jam (always a lifesaver!), cheese and tomato and, if you’ve got some change to spare, ham and cheese. The sandwiches will be completely defrosted by break.
3. Hot soup in mini flasks
This is great for the winter. You know, those super chilly winter’s days where your kids are wrapped up warmly in gloves and a scarf. Why not also make their lunch a hearty, warm treat? Just heat up your kids’ favourite soup in the morning, put it in their little flasks and there you go.
4. Frozen juice boxes as ice packs
Ice packs are great at keeping things chilled but they can be bulky and take up valuable space In your child’s lunchbox. A simple trick is to freeze their juice boxes and use them as an ice pack. By the time first break comes around, the food will still be fresh and the juice box will be mostly thawed and ready to drink.
Other useful tips
- When making fresh sandwiches, squeeze out the seeds from the tomatoes before you slice them onto the bread. This prevents the sandwiches from going soggy, keeping your kids happy.
- Make and freeze homemade pizza squares. Just roll out a large ball of regular dough into a square (you can buy it ready-made or if you’re a kitchen whiz, make your own) and spread with tomato puree, your kids’ favourite toppings and cheese. Freeze big batches of the stuff and simply pop them into the oven for 10 minutes in the morning while you take a shower, cut it into squares and boom, lunchbox pizzas.
- Don’t forget about the pannekoek wraps. Make classic South African pancakes, stuff them with your kids’ favourite savoury treats (ham, cheese or even last night’s leftovers) and simply roll them up into wraps.