When I was a schoolkid, my mother would send me off each day with a packed lunch, the standard fare of sandwiches and baking and fresh and dried fruit, with each item wrapped and placed in the appropriate compartment of my sturdy plastic orange lunchbox. Mother was a legendary baker and other kids would often ask if we could do swaps – her homemade cookies for one of their packaged treats. We never got anything out of a packet, and I always felt a bit hard done by, like we were not really up with the play with what was cool to eat. Oh how I loved those swaps.
It’s an interesting idea, the whole treat thing. So often what most kids think of as a treat comes out of
a packet – processed, industrial, laden with fat and/or sugar, just empty calories offering nothing in the way of actual nourishment. The big companies that make all this stuff are the ones with the budgets to market it to our kids, and make them feel that it’s cool and groovy to be eating crap.
I’m inclined to think that if you are going to get kids to feel differently about treats and lunchbox
fare then, apart from tasting good, there has to be to be some sense of discovery and fun when
they open the lid. Soggy sandwiches, no; a tender little Frittata Muffin or tasty Pea, Mint And Feta Fritter, yes please.
In my new winter annual, I’ve devised three simple lunchboxes to bring back the fun to school lunches, each with an element or two from a different culture. Box one with its Frittata Muffin, tasty Lunchbox Pasta and Hummingbird Bliss Balls offers an Italian twist; box two has gluten-free Pea, Mint and Feta Fritters, homemade Animal Biscuits and Chicken Rice Paper Wraps that take a nod at Asia; while the Speedy Hummus in box three hints at middle-eastern flavours alongside the Ham and Cheese Stars and a delicious Fruity Chew slice. Most of the recipes can be made in bulk to eke out over the week
Each one is a delicious little box of tricks, to pique kids' appetites and maybe even stimulate some shared lunchtime conversations in our multicultural playgrounds. Who knows what the swaps will