After weeks of stressful preparation and frantic last minute trips to the shops, Australian parents have finally sent their children off for the first day of school.
And to celebrate, thousands of proud parents have taken to social media to share photos of their amazing lunch box creations.
Bento boxes are clearly the must-have school item for the new year, with countless snaps of colourful snacks and smiley-face stamped food flooding feeds the world over.
To celebrate the first day of school, thousands of proud parents have taken to social media to share photos of their amazing lunch box creations
One mother, Kristy, shared a photo of the impressive box she created for her little girl complete with a raw mango salsa salad, a boiled ‘bunny’ egg, cheese crackers and fresh berries
One mother, Kristy, shared a photo of the impressive box she created for her little girl complete with a raw mango salsa salad, a boiled ‘bunny’ egg, cheese crackers and fresh berries.
She completed it with tiny dolphin toys and and coconut balls for an extra treat.
Australian dad George has also been sharing photos of his amazing lunches – the latest a bento with a roast chicken croissant, grissini, stawberries, blueberries, carrots, tomatoes and grapes.
Australian dad George , has also been sharing photos of his amazing lunches – the latest a bento with a roast chicken croissant, grissini, stawberries, blueberries, carrots, tomatoes and grapes
One of his most impressive was a ‘make it yourself kids taco’ in a bento box
‘How easy and simple is that? Remember to not overwhelm them on their first week back,’ he wrote.
The crafty father regularly shares snaps of his eye-popping lunches – all of which he makes in under 10 minutes.
One of his most impressive was a ‘make it yourself kids taco’ in a bento box.
‘My girls love tacos. I used a cookie cutter to cut out little circles from whole grain wraps, shredded roast chicken, corn, grated cheese, fresh avocado, sliced mini tomatoes and finally for some sweetness, my fav fruit – Aussie Mangoes,’ he wrote.
This teacher made herself a delicious lunch box for her first day back
This mum included beetroot pasta, a berry mix, sungold tomatoes, pizza and peas
Another notable lunch came from chef Lisa, of the Hungry Mumma, who made cauliflower and lentil fritters and served them alongside fresh fruit and raspberry/chocolate oat balls.
‘I’ve stopped rolling the balls in desiccated coconut to save the trail of “snow” left behind from Mr 3,’ she wrote as a handy hint.
Other parents have made lunches with sushi, quiche, ‘doughnuts’, organic sausage rolls, cooked brisket and beetroot pasta.
While it may seem like a daunting task to put together such an elaborate lunch box, it is possible to make the school lunch healthy and exciting without slaving away in the kitchen for hours each week.
This delicious lunch box has an apple doughnut (apple spread with Nutella), berries, sushi rice balls, cereal prawns and stir fried glass noodles
This mum made cauliflower and lentil fritters served with tasty raspberry/chocolate balls
To offer a little inspiration, Australian dietitian Susie Burrell recently shared a snap of a lunch box she had prepared for her son that was both healthy and ‘child friendly’.
The lunch included a packet of whole grain cheese-flavoured biscuits (80 calories), a tub of grapes, five strawberries, a container of chopped capsicum and celery, one wrap cut in half and four turkey balls.
‘Remember the formula – a wholegrain wrap/sandwich/salad, veggies, a protein rich snack and water to drink,’ she said.
Taking to her blog, Susie agreed that creating an appealing lunchbox for small children is no easy feat.
Australian dietitian Susie Burrell shared a snap of a lunch box she prepared for her son that was both healthy and child friendly
What are Susie’s top healthy snack ideas?
* Messy Monkeys
* Kids Roasted Fav-va Beans
* Sunbites Air Popped Popcorn
* Milo Energy Snack Bars
* ARI Bars
* Cobb’s Popcorn
* Grapes (cut them in half for younger children to prevent choking)
‘Considering though that growing children do consume up to 30 per cent of their total calories while they are at school, what we pack them each day is important,’ she said.
When it comes to adding a sandwich or wrap, Susie advised parents to stick with wholegrain or wholemeal varieties of breads and crisp breads.
‘Try to also include a protein rich filling such as ham, tuna, chicken breast or egg on sandwiches as the protein helps to keep kids full throughout the afternoon,’ the Shape Me founder said.
With fruit, fresh is always best as dried fruit, fruit juice, fruit sticks are full of sugar and snacks should always be under 400 kilojoules/100 calories per serve.
In it, was a packet of whole grain cheese biscuits, a tub of grapes, five strawberries, a container of chopped capsicum and celery, one wrap cut in half and turkey balls
Dairy is also a good snack option and should be served in the form of milk, cheese or yoghurt if possible.
Susie said that water should always be the drink of choice.
‘Research on Australian children’s lunch boxes has found that on average children are consuming three packaged snacks such as muesli bars, cheese and dip packs, fruit twists, potato chips and snack bars, which is too many,’ she said.
‘Snack foods are often highly processed food choices that offer little nutritionally. For this reason it is suggested that at most children consume one packaged snack food each day.
Above is another alternative including two different snack options – Kids Roasted Fav-va Beans and Babybel cheese
‘If you are worried that your child’s lunch box does not contain enough “fun” foods, consider letting your child choose his/her snacks once each week and negotiate healthy choices for the remainder of the week.
Too much choice is also a bad idea.
‘One of the biggest issues in relation to children’s lunch box choices is that they have too much choice,’ Susie said.
‘Limit your child’s choice to just one or two food items to avoid starting a never ending negotiation about all the different type of food that you can include in the lunch box.’