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Waste Free Lunch Inspiration

Posted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:32 pm
by wolfhazel
Hi,

I've been doing waste free lunches for my daughter since September so everything that goes in with her is either edible or reusable. However, I need a bit of inspiration.

She's coming home requesting frubes and dairilea dunkers (lots of packaging and not as good for her as my home sliced cheese sticks and yeo valley yoghurt - bought in bulk).

So to brighten up her yoghurts I've bought her some heart shaped snack tubs... but has anyone got any tips to make her lunch more exciting and compete with all the marketed packaging and sugary goods that most kids lunchboxes contain? She's 4 years old and she's pretty much vegetarian and there's no nuts allowed in school. I tried to keep her lunches healthy and have found out she's been sharing other peoples jellies and chocolates in school so I'm starting to include homemade cookies etc. but could really use some tips to stop her snatching other peoples lunch time treats and eat her own lunch and be proud of her waste free goodies!

Help please!

Re: Waste Free Lunch Inspiration

Posted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:09 pm
by marshlander
Muffins freeze well and defrost by lunchtime.

I seen ideas for lunch in a jar but can't see suitable examples now I'm looking of course.

Found http://www.schoolfoodtrust.org.uk/schools/projects/packed-lunches/packed-lunch-ideas which has 3 weeks each worth of menus for veggie, low cost and low effort lunches and recipes.

Re: Waste Free Lunch Inspiration

Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 9:48 am
by Green Aura
I was going to suggest having a look at the Vegan Lunchbox. Not so much for the menus, although they're very tasty, but for the presentation. She sent her son off to school with the most beautiful lunches, would cut heart shape sandwiches or dinosaur shaped biscuits (scones) to dip in some soup and send him little, loving notes in his lunchbox. Brings a tear to my eye to recall it. :lol:

But the site seems to have changed enormously, now is called laptop lunches, and has become much more commercialised. :( If you're prepared to search it I'm sure the recipes are still there - I didn't have the heart.

Just remember that the grass is always greener, for kids. The ones taking the snack lunches are probably crying to their mum's that they want homemade cheese sticks like .....!

I had a quick google for cheese dips, loads of recipes, but none of them were like those you mentioned. But if you can make something similar looking, but without the cr4p, I think you'd be on to a winner.

And invest in some interesting shaped cutters - I'm guessing that star-shaped butties will beat those snack pots any day - especially if you invest in a little tub of edible glitter. :lol:

Re: Waste Free Lunch Inspiration

Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 10:16 am
by Milims
What about something along the lines of a Japanese bento? http://koshersamurai.wordpress.com/2011 ... box-lunch/. My OH often makes onigiri http://allrecipes.com/recipe/onigiri--- ... ice-balls/. They are really easy - you can miss out the bonito and nori and fill them with anything you like. We often fill them with fish, veg or even peanut butter and jam!

Re: Waste Free Lunch Inspiration

Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 10:42 am
by oldjerry
Mrs OJ makes little cakey things using cottage cheese and some other mystery ingredients(I've just asked,it's couscous and egg) add any bits of meat,veg whatever.(apparently they're called muffins.) Anyhow they may sound ghastly,but they're really rather nice and the kids often take them in their dinners.I just take any left over stew ,casserole,bolognese,or whatever sauce and make a bit of pastry then make little pasties that get frozen then cooked in the morning before they go to school.

Re: Waste Free Lunch Inspiration

Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:00 pm
by berry
you might find some ideas and inspiration on here

http://casabento.com/shop/en/

and take a look at bento for lunches. theres lots of ways to brighten up dull lunches.

there is also this

http://www.flickr.com/groups/justbento/

when my son takes a packed lunch his friends are the ones requesting things from him!!

Re: Waste Free Lunch Inspiration

Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:23 pm
by Zech
Green Aura wrote:Just remember that the grass is always greener, for kids. The ones taking the snack lunches are probably crying to their mum's that they want homemade cheese sticks like .....!

You reminded me of a rather lovely poem I heard recently:
http://www.movingvoices.co.uk/poems/valerie/valFrameset.htm

Re: Waste Free Lunch Inspiration

Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:14 pm
by Mustardseedmama
That poem made me smile!!

Re: Waste Free Lunch Inspiration

Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 2:03 pm
by Green Aura
Brilliant, Rachel, loved it!

Re: Waste Free Lunch Inspiration

Posted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 6:00 pm
by Crickleymal
Grated cheese mixed with condensed milk makes a great dip. Why not buy one of the commercial offerings, then once it's been used, save the packaging and refill with home made loveliness? We used to buy the kids those Fruitshoots on the first day of the holiday and then refill them with squash for the rest of the time.

Re: Waste Free Lunch Inspiration

Posted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 9:15 pm
by julie_lanteri
Bento lunchboxes are fab! No need to go to extremes with the decoration (unless you have hours to prepare lunch boxes... no?) it's great to open a box full of colours, textures, etc.

http://justbento.com/
http://lunchinabox.net/

Re: Waste Free Lunch Inspiration

Posted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:21 am
by wolfhazel
That poem is great hopefully one day my lil darling will have that pride in our lunches too. She started out so proud of her little containers and so on. I wonder whether its just the boredom of what she always has, so with all your tips hopefully I'm going to be able to brighten up her lunches.

I like the idea to create a 3 week meal plan or similar. I'll probably tweak the ones provided a little bit to suit her tastes, but I'm going to be using all your ideas to create it and hopefully the whole family can step away from a cheese sandwich staple! :D

And on the occasion we do, the shape cutters will be out to liven them up a bit!

I've never heard of the bento! Thanks for sharing those links everyone their lunches do look amazing! Much better than mine have been looking lately lol!

Thanks so much for all the tips I'm going to crack on and put a meal plan into action for some delightful lunches!

Re: Waste Free Lunch Inspiration

Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 3:26 pm
by mrsflibble
I used to make cheese dippers for poppet, you can make scone sticks and very thick cheese veloute.
the veloute is stock brought to the boil, then you mix grated cheese with flour and dump the lot into the stock. turn off the heat and beat until thick. I add a little mustard powder to my stock, but that's personal preference. if you add a little slaked cornflour and cook it out gently, you can then freee it without it separating. it WILL separate if you don't do the cornflour thing though. not too bad if you're having it thinned out as cheese sauce, but not visually appealing as a dip. it freees incredibly well, in ice cube trays like baby food, and two ice cubes worth is a little bigger than a dairylea dunker.

teach her that the skin that forms is a magic flavour maker so she should stir it with one of her sticks before properly digging in. my little one still enjoyed those when all other home made snacks had been vetoed due to peer pressure and bullying. Minime's favorite was double gloucester and chicken stock, but when my mum used to make it for me and my brothers and sister, she'd make it with whatever cheese she had in. middle brother's favorite was stilton!!! I can't stand stilton.

also incredibly good with crudetes!!

another dip possible could be a seed butter, there are plenty out there that are suitable for nut allergy sufferers and if the school kicks up a stink, take the jar in and show it to them. don't be intimidated by school rules :D

I second the muffin comment, and bento is great IF your child will eat it. when I tried bento with minime, it came home uneaten and she was hungry and upset. it seems another child had taken the mickey and she'd become disheartened and refused to eat.