1. Make a packed lunch.
Aged only 3 and 1.5 my kids might not be at school yet but I make them a packed lunch almost every single day. It means if we end up out and about we don't end up buying something expensive from a shop because everyone is tired and cranky and needs something NOW! It also means I can be much more relaxed about our morning activities as I don't need to panic about getting home for a certain time.
This is what out packed lunches look (approximately) like most days
2. Know what your kids eat.
So I don't mean pander to fussiness (pictured above there are some chunks of sharon fruit, which had not been tried before) but at the same time if they have NEVER eaten a cheese sandwich in all their life they probably aren't going to start today! My kids aren't keen on the traditional sandwich but will happily munch into a wrap, some pita bread or a bagel (go figure!) so we tend to do that as it saves on waste!
3. Don't get competitive.
Don't get sucked into feeling like your kids need branded things to keep up with their friends. ESPECIALLY before they have even started school (but even after). I never buy babybel, I just cube up some cheddar. Don't feel like yoghurt tubes have to be "frubes" when supermarket own will do*. Don't feel like you need to buy snack packs of fruit, a chopped up apple and a banana do the same job. If my kids ask I tell them we can't afford them, I never buy fruit shoots or anything like it, we just take a cup/bottle of juice or water from home, Naomi knows that we don't have enough pennies to buy them unless it is for a special treat, I think it is good she grows up knowing she can't have everything she wants in life.
*the yoghurts in my picture *are* branded. I find they withstand being frozen a little better and as long as I buy them on offer I can fit it in my budget (and when they are I buy about 6 boxes because they are to be frozen anyway!) if I couldn't I wouldn't hesitate to buy supermarket own or consider leaving them out altogether.
4. Keep the food "safe".
I mean two things by that. One is to keep it away from grazing fingers till the time. Both my kids have a proper lunch box (from pound land!) but a sandwich box or empty takeaway tub can do the job too and keep it out of sight, out of mind till lunch time is beckoning!
The other thing is to make sure that any food that needs to be cold is kept cold./ I have a neat trick for this (well I like it, anyway). See those yoghurt tubes? I put them in the freezer and every morning I stick one in the lunch box. It keeps the lunch cold (there's cheese in there too) and keeps itself a bit fresher too but is still defrosted by lunch time and ready to be sucked!
5. Portion sizes.
If you are anything like me you will have this tendency, on filling up a box like this, to shove stuff in till it is full but just stop and think. My kids normally eat half a (big) wrap, half a (big) apple, one slice of toast or such like so why should I give them more just because it would fill the box up more? Save some money and waste by keeping portion sizes sensible!
So, do you have any tips to add to my list? How do you keep your little ones fed and full of energy?