Ah, lockdown number three…how’s it treating you?
If you’re trying to work and teach your kids from home, you have our empathy. It’s tough; we get it – but we’re here to help make it a teeny tiny bit smoother, in the form of some lockdown lunch ideas you can all enjoy while you’re forced to stay indoors.
You may have done away with packed lunches – well, who needs to pack a lunch in Tupperware now? – but that may mean you’re feeling a bit stumped when it comes to what to make that everyone can eat together.
When you think of school lunches, you probably think of sandwiches – but a hearty soup will be very welcome at this time of year, especially when the weather’s cold, as it has been recently. While they’re not at school, you don’t need to worry about how it’ll stay warm – just pop it in a pan or the microwave and it’ll be done when they’re ready for it.
The great thing about soup is you can use up any leftovers before you have to throw them. Plus, if you make a large enough batch – in a pan or your slow cooker (to make your life easier yet), you can freeze it, ready to heat up later. It’s also an easy way to get reluctant kids to eat their five-a-day!
Serve with a good hunk of bread and butter – just the ticket after a morning hunched over their laptop. Olive magazine has plenty of easy soup recipes on its site – take a look.
‘Packed Lunch from Home’
If your kids are missing the routine of school, why not incorporate a little bit of what they’re used to during their home school regime? You can still pack up a lunch in a lunchbox if that’s what they want. That way, they can pick at the snacks you pack throughout the day.
You could mix things up by adding sandwiches one day, wraps the next, and nibbles like houmous and carrot sticks they can chomp on in between home school lessons.
Why not allow them a special treat on a Friday? If, for example, it’s usually ‘Fish Finger Friday’ in the school canteen, serve up their own fish dinner – or treat them to fries and ketchup, or whatever else they feel like. After all, we all deserve a treat after a long week.
You could also make them a healthy ‘pudding’ to enjoy after their lunch – a fruit cocktail, or yoghurt with granola perhaps. Or you might opt to make a ‘treat breakfast’ on a Friday – pancakes with syrup or a buffer-style breakfast of croissants and jam, yoghurts and hams and cheeses.
Make Lunch a Lesson
If your toddler would normally take part in creative activities, like cooking, at pre-school, why not make lunch a lesson and have them help you prepare it? They can butter the sandwich bread (with a child-friendly, plastic knife perhaps), or choose the fruit they’d like in their fruit salad. They may be more likely to eat it if they’ve played a part in putting it together too.
Remember: the above ideas are simply designed to give you some inspiration; ultimately, it’s important you prepare the lunches that work for you and your family, as well as the meals that are in line with your budget.
If you are struggling during this lockdown, do make sure to seek support from the government and its school meals scheme.
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Until next time…