After six glorious weeks off, the summer holidays are coming to an end and it’s back to school time. If you have little ones heading back to nursery or school, you may be thinking about what you’ll be putting in their lunchbox this year. From tasty sandwich fillings and fruity smoothies, to homemade snacks and treats, we’ve got all the inspiration you need to help you get ready for this busy time of year.
Ensuring your children have everything they need and are ready to go back to school while also maintaining your own workload can be stressful, but it doesn’t need to be. A few days before school starts, establish a few habits that will help you throughout the year.
• Plan when snacks are needed In order to be prepared, you need to know your family’s plans each week. Consider using a family planner or calendar if you don’t already, and encourage everyone to add their activities to it so that you have full visibility. You’ll then be able to plan ahead and prep snacks and treats for everyone. For example, if your children are at after-school clubs on Wednesdays, they may need additional snacks to keep them going until dinner. If you know about this ahead of time, you can prepare these on the weekend and free up your time in the week.
• Utilise Cookidoo® Create a Collection made up of your children’s favourite recipes, so you have a bank of snacks and treats that you know they love! Make it into a fun activity; children will love scrolling through the Cookidoo® app and choosing snacks and treats they’d like to try.
• Stock up on staple ingredients If you have items like dried fruit, butter, flour, sugar and baking powder in your fridge and cupboards, homemade snacks will only ever be a few minutes away.
Additives, colourings, preservatives… shop-bought cakes and biscuits often contain ingredients you may not want your children consuming. By using your Thermomix® to prepare homemade treats, you’ll know exactly what’s in the food your children are eating.
• Celebrate blueberry season by using your Thermomix® to make blueberry compôte for our Blueberry Bakewell Traybake. It’s cheaper than buying it at the supermarket, and guaranteed to delight your children when they open their lunchbox and see a slice!
• When you make your own snacks it’s much easier for you to adapt them for different dietary needs. If your children are lactose intolerant, for example, you can prepare treats for them that substitute milk with alternatives such as oat, almond and hazelnut milk.
• According to the NHS, 50% of the sugar children consume comes from snacks and sugary drinks. When you make your own, you can easily adjust the amount of sugar you add, or replace it with natural alternatives like honey or maple syrup.
Rather than trying to make snacks while you’re cooking dinner on a weeknight, plan ahead and prepare them on the weekend. For example, set aside a bit of time to make a loaf of light, airy Brioche on Sunday afternoon. Leave it to cool then wrap in cling film or place it in an airtight container. It will stay fresh for 2 to 3 days, and it’s delicious toasted and spread with butter at breakfast or enjoyed as a playtime snack.
You could also get your children involved with the cooking! Try browsing Cookidoo® to select the recipes they’d like, then prepare them in the kitchen together. Getting children into cooking at an early age is a great way of widening their knowledge and understanding of food, and encouraging healthy habits in later life.