It’s that time of year again when families across the country are getting their kids into gear for a brand new year of school. Break times are short and the fun is intense, so it’s important to keep lunch boxes interesting while choosing the best, nutrient dense foods that will be enticing and tasty. Here we have compiled some of our back to school essentials and some great ideas to keep the kids interested.

Essential Lunch Boxes & Water Bottles

Often the first port of call when approaching a new year is to equip your school-goers with new bags and lunchboxes, and what a treat to find ones that are cute, practical and durable that don’t contain any nasty chemicals that could leach into the snacks you have so lovingly prepared.

Stephen Joseph snack bags are economical, eco-friendly and free of toxins. The bags are reusable and resealable, which means they’re a cleaner, greener choice than ordinary disposable single-use plastic lunch bags. They’re also BPA-free, PVC-free and phthalate-free and feature whimsical designs young children will love

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The Bento tote bag is fully insulated and made with food safe, eco-friendly recycled materials. The funky flower-garden pattern is even printed with non-toxic soya ink. With an expandable front pocket for extra snacks, a side pouch for your drinking bottle and even space for an ice pack on hot days.

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Keeping children hydrated is extremely important for their jam-packed days of learning, so using a water bottle that is made from stainless steel is a great option as they are inert and will stand the test of time. Alternatively, choose a high quality, BPA- and phalate-free plastic option.

If you struggle to get your child to drink enough water, there are many ways to flavour your own water with either fresh fruit or herbs, or by using natural water flavouring drops. Coconut water would be a wonderful lunchbox addition, especially for sporty kids, as it is full of electrolytes and ultra-hydrating.

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Must-have

11 Dec, 2013, By MonikaThis bottle is fabulous and I believe that no-one should go without it. It is wonderful to be able to drink filtered water on the go and not have to worry about poisonous chemicals leaching out of the plastic.

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Nutritious Back-to-School Nibbles

We always want the best for our children, and since we are what we eat it is vital that children get all the vitamins and minerals they need for optimal brain function and physical development. It can be incredibly discouraging when our children come home with an untouched lunchbox, which is often the case with a good ol’ peanut butter and jam sarmie.

Here are some fresh ideas for a new year of healthy lunchbox treats that your children (and you) will love.

Fresh Fruit Spring Rolls

Ingredients
  • 10 rice paper rolls
  • 1 medium apple
  • 1/2 mango
  • 1 medium peach
  • 1 kiwi fruit
  • 4 medium strawberries
  • 10 raspberries
  • 1/8 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 5 leaves fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 lime
Instructions
  1. Start by chopping your fruit. You can use any fruits that are in season. Place all the fruit on a plate ready to make into spring rolls.
  2. Prepare the rice paper wrappers by submerging them one at a time in hot water for 2-3 minutes until they are soft and malleable. Immediately transfer the soft rice paper to a large plate and fill your spring rolls. Lay down strawberries, kiwi, raspberries or peach, then top with apple, mango, pomegranate seeds and a couple of mint leaves. Repeat for each spring roll.
  3. Make the dressing by mixing the honey and lime juice together in a bowl and serve with the fruit spring rolls in an airtight container.

Green Smoothie Pancakes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Use an immersion blender to puree all the ingredients except the pancake mix until smooth.
  2. Stir in the pancake mix.
  3. In a large pan, over medium-low heat, pour the batter into small circles.
  4. When the pancakes start bubbling and the bottom is lightly browned, flip them over.
  5. Continue cooking for a minute or two on the other side.
  6. Serve with syrup.

Yields 9 Pancakes

Sneaky Snacks

Choose a snack with staying power – trail mix is a great, versatile snack that is full of fibre, protein and essential nutrients to keep little minds sharp and their tummies full. Making your own is as simple as throwing some seeds, nuts and dried fruit together – so you can really tailor this one to taste.

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Many parents don’t have the time to create their own snacks but it is good to know that there are pre-packaged grab-and-go snack options that are also useful for busy mornings when a sit down breakfast just isn’t possible.

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For more fresh and healthy lunchbox inspiration, take a look at our Pinterest page.