Turn a chore into something more

By George Georgievski, School Lunch Box

Meal times can become frustrating and a battlefield at times, so over the years I have tried to find ways to use my creativity so my girls can benefit, I can spend time with them and to make meal time much more inviting and exciting! I call it a “dad win”.

Get kids involved!

From as young as possible (and when possible) involve them in meal times!

Start at the beginning 

My family and I took a trip to a farm stay overnight in Trentham, VIC. On the farm they learnt so many awesome things!  My girls understood where eggs came from and how long it takes to produce and the many uses.

A tricky subject is discussing animals and food.  I will always let my girls make their own choices regarding food when they’re older.  However, this little farm experience has given them a new-found respect for food.

I would highly recommend taking kids to either a farm or a farm stay where they can milk cows or pick up chicken eggs or even feed goats.  Let them see where the food comes from.

Shop for the week

Usually on a Sunday I’d do some shopping and buy the essentials. I’ll get fruits, cheeses, bread, croissants etc. Instead of making it a chore, I have turned it into a family event. I let my girls get involved with things like picking out their fruits and veggies and “helping” with the grocery shop!

The more you can get them involved, the more hands on they become, the more they embrace and understand. It’s important for them to understand that their meals don’t just magically appear!  Taking my girls shopping is an event on it’s own, heaps of fun!* conditions apply. lol.

Cooking a meal 

Whilst on the farm stay my girls were given the chance to cook some chicken schnitzels and vegetables, they made a complete mess, but boy it was so worth it.  They ate every last bit of their creation because they created it.  They went through all the effort to make it so they ate it, so from that point on whenever possible, when I am making meals at home I get them involved. When I have made them something, I also ask them to remember when they cooked the meal on the farm, and they think of the effort it takes.

I would recommend children make a mess in the kitchen! Let them break an egg and cook it, take them to a friends house that has a veggie patch and get them to pick a carrot or tomato.  Explain to them the effort it takes to make a dish. Hopefully they’d appreciate and respect their food more after this valuable lesson, or even better, ask them to make just one school lunch box.

Finally… Don’t over do it!

At times when I see some real creative lunches with amazing dinosaurs made out of rice, I can’t help but chuckle.  How realistic is it first thing in the morning to create when your children are screaming for breakfast and you haven’t had a coffee yet?  Not possible.  My main objective is to keep it real.  You can make lunches bright and cool without the Hollywood special effects.

Try not to spend more than 10 minutes on lunches. You should try and enjoy it and not make it a chore. Be creative with what you have! The beauty of fruit and veggies is that they’re colourful. Use the colours of the fruit and veggies to make the meal appealing, not plastic eyes, super hero’s and plastic animals. The focus is the food! Don’t let anything else to take away from the food…

Challenge yourself by making it easier, not harder. Find ways to make it look better or neater in the easiest possible way.  Most times my best lunch box creations are the quick 4 minute lunches that I rush through because one of my girls is yelling for help.

For more inspiration, hints and tips check out www.schoollunchbox.com.au – and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog!


Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.

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