In December, for young children, the excitement of Christmas can feel never-ending. Even at school, the fun Christmas festivities such as festive fayres, school Christmas dinners, Christmas card giving with friends and Nativity shows only add to the excitement.
At a time where sugar and indulgent food are available in abundance, giving your kids a healthy packed lunch is a great way to get them to eat a balanced and healthy diet before the big day arrives. To try and encourage them to eat a little healthier, here are some fun and festive packed lunch ideas for kids to enjoy in the lead up to Christmas!
Getting young kids to eat fruit and vegetables at this time of year can seem almost impossible, but give them a festive twist and they won’t be able to get enough! To make Santa grapes, slice up a grape and use a cocktail stick to put back together, ensuring some of the stick is poking up and through the top of the grape. On top of the grape, add a slice of banana then, on top of the banana, add a strawberry. You should have a little bit of cocktail stick still showing, so add a mini marshmallow to the top of the strawberry to create a Santa hat! Not only are they eating three different fruits, but they likely won’t even notice thanks to the addition of the mini marshmallow!
Every child is different and not every child likes sandwiches or savoury treats for their dinners. No one wants their child going hungry at school, so by packing a lunch that they will definitely enjoy, you know they’re more likely to eat it! Making festive Grinch pancakes is really easy and adds a bit of Christmas fun to any lunchbox! To make enough for 2-3 days of mini pancakes, you will need 100g plain flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 2 tsp sugar, a pinch of salt, 125ml of milk and 1 large egg and green food colouring gel.
Gently whisk the egg and milk together in a jug and mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl until combined, making a well in the middle. Mix together your egg mixture with the dry ingredients until you have a batter, then add in your food colouring. It doesn’t matter if there are lumps, as over mixing the batter will make the pancakes flat rather than fluffy. Put spoonfuls of the mixture into a non-stick frying pan on a low heat, and when bubbles start to form on top, it’s time to flip. Once the pancakes are done, you can keep them sealed where they will last a couple of days or freeze them. When putting them into your little one’s lunchbox, don’t forget to draw the Grinch’s face using writing icing and serve with fruit, dips and yoghurt.
Snowman Crackers and Cheese
We all love cheese and crackers at Christmas and who is to say that kids can enjoy them as part of their school lunch! These snowman crackers are a fun addition to any lunchbox and are really easy to make. All you need are some of your kid’s favourite crackers, cheeses and accompaniments and some edible writing pens. Simply draw snowman faces on each of the crackers, cut the cheeses into cubes and serve with their favourite accompaniments – this could be smoked sausage, crunchy veg sticks or sliced grapes and apple.
Christmas Dinner With a Twist
Christmas dinners are loved by many and although your child is likely to have one at school in the run up to Christmas, when it comes to packed lunch ideas why not take inspiration from this much-loved favourite and give them a Christmas dinner with a twist! You could marinade some turkey breast in a savoury sauce marinade and serve on a wrap with a festive slaw, made up of grated carrots, cabbage and mayonnaise. Or, make them their usual packed lunch of a sandwich but with some mini pigs in blankets to enjoy on the side. Instead of a chocolate bar or other sweet treat, you could pack a mini mince pie, or a small slice of Christmas yule log as a yummy surprise!