A variety of fruit come into season in winter, including citrus, papayas, pears and melon. These lovely morsels of goodness are packed with antioxidants and are a natural source of fibre. Pack a handful of fresh fruit into your children's lunchboxes along with an assortment of roasted, unsalted nuts. If your child is not a huge fan of fresh fruit, pick up a Very Berry Roll or Very Berry Protein snack pack from the Checkers Simple Truth range. Checkers is now offering delivery services to select areas in Joburg, so you don't even have to leave the house to stock up on all your lunchbox essentials!
Boiled eggs are a great source of protein for little ones. If your fussy eater doesn't mind a hard-boiled egg, add one to their lunchbox with an assortment of celery sticks, chopped carrots and a dipping sauce of hummus, smashed avocado or chunky cottage cheese. Bulk up the protein content by tossing in two slices of turkey or chicken loaf. This is finger food at its best and should keep the kids going during cold days at school or home.
Pick n Pay's Livewell range features a super tasty beetroot hummus that the kids are sure to love. Order it online the next time you do your weekly click and shop.
Kids love muffins and we all know how important it is to include fibre in our diets - especially for little tummies. Vamp up the classic fibre-rich bran muffin with a generous sprinkle of cinnamon. Cut down on the sugar content by adding a smashed banana into the mixture. Or, grate an apple into the batter to create a lovely cinnamon apple flavour.
Encourage the kids to join you in baking their lunchtime treats. Baking has been proven to be a great sensory activity for kids, as it allows them to get their hands dirty while learning a new skill. Get the kids and yourself a neat 12-hole muffin pan with silicone cupcake holders from takealot.com before they go back to school.
Macaroni and cheese is always a winner. Spice up your children's lunchbox with a few butternut mac and cheese cupcakes. We promise these aren't as difficult to make as they sound. Simply roast half a butternut squash in the oven for 45 minutes. Then, cook the macaroni on a medium heat for 6 - 12 minutes, and prepare a basic cheese sauce out of flour, butter, milk and cheddar cheese. Scoop the roasted butternut out of its hard outer skin, and smash it up with a fork. Add the smashed butternut to the cheese sauce, cooking it down to form a thick gravy. Lastly, add the macaroni to the gravy mixture, mixing well. Scoop small portions of the butternut mac and cheese mixture into a greased muffin pan and sprinkle the tops with extra cheese or bread crumbs. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
Tip: If your mixture is too runny, beat up an egg and add it to the mac and cheese. This will help solidify your cheesy cupcakes bites.
Pizza for school lunch? Absolutely. Trick the kids into thinking that they are tucking into a gooey slice of pizza by substituting heavy wheat laden bases for wholewheat tortilla wraps. Use a basic marinara sauce to start out your faux pizza. Add grated cheese, chopped ham or a veggie medley to the base. Then top with a second tortilla wrap. Sandwich the pizza in a toaster press or in a deep griddle pan.
Food Lover's Market stock wholewheat wraps and other assorted health products at their stores located around Joburg. Stop by their mega store at Stoneridge Centre to find the perfect melting cheese for your little one's pizza treat.
Winter wouldn't be the same without a hearty chicken noodle soup. Don't just brew up this delightful meal when the kids are under the weather. Soup packs a nutrient punch and keeps little bellies full for longer. Use whatever recipe you have, making sure to add as much vegetable content as possible. Boost the healing properties of your broth by sprinkling in a pinch of turmeric and grated ginger.
Get your little darling a funky winter flask from Polly Potters Toy Store available on Takealot.com. This vacuum flask will keep their soup warm until lunch without any messes.
Need more recipe inspiration for fussy eaters? Check out our article on toddler-friendly dinner recipes!