Now that the long, summer holidays are over, we are returning to our normal routine. Or return to ‘auld claes and porridge’ as they say in Scotland.
I always ensure the boys have fruit included in their lunch boxes. I have to admit apples are one of my go-to lunch box choices. Packed full of vitamin C and fibre, the apple is a great choice for little mouths.
Pink Lady ® Apples have the perfect range for lunch boxes. They have selected the perfect apples for the job – the PinKids® range.
This range of apple is specially selected from the Pink Lady® crop due to their slightly smaller size. This makes them the perfect apple for fitting into lunch boxes and, more importantly, little mouths.
Don’t believe me? Here is the proof:
Fun Apple Fact
How long does it take for a Pink Lady® apple to grow?
7 months, 200 days of sunshine!
As school starts a new term, I take on the challenge of packing a lunch that ticks a variety of boxes. Healthy, appetising and – dare I say it – fun.
No easy task!
I have noticed the monkeys are soon bored if I send them to nursery with the same packed lunch every day.
So, I decided to get those creative juices flowing. I wanted to come up with some ideas that would appeal right to the core of even the fussiest eaters.
Let’s give the kids what they want… variety!
The Fussy Challenge
I have never encouraged the crazy, vehicle obsession which both boys’ possess, yet they spend most of their day playing with trains, planes and automobiles.
Apple cars is a quick and easy idea, specifically designed for the young mechanics out there. All you need are apples, grapes and toothpicks. Slice the apples, cut the grapes in half and use the toothpicks to hold them together. Voila!
Top Tip: cut the sharp ends off the toothpicks to prevent injuries.
Don’t underestimate the cookie cutters
I love cookie cutters; they come in handy time and time again.
A few months back the monkeys were adamant that they didn’t like sandwiches. Then I had a brainwave: use the cookie cutters to make them into fun shapes. They loved it.
I use the same principle with fruit. The boys love to discover what shapes they are having that day.
If you want to really mix things up, why not use the cookie cutters on a mix of apples and cheese? Alternatively, you could use alphabet and number cookie cutters for a more educational lunch.
Mummy Strikes Back
Over the last few months, our house has become obsessed with Star Wars. Through a combination of Daddy monkey and the other kids at nursery, the boys are hooked.
With this in mind, I thought the monkeys would love a Star Wars themed lunch box, which I can save for special occasions.
This was the finished product.
For the toast, I used a Stormtrooper cookie cutter, then it took me no time to create the eyes.
For the apple, I had a Chewbacca imprint for cookies, which worked perfectly. The monkeys were hugely excited when they saw this!
No need to just stick to Star Wars themed lunch boxes, you could do any theme that your little one is into –think outside the (lunch) box!
Fun Apple Fact
An apple is low-calorie, yet contains carbohydrates that are slowly absorbed into the body. This means keeping your little ones feeling full for longer.
Apple and Grape Kebabs
This is another great and quick idea. For some reason there is something about fruit on a stick, which kids love. You could really mix this up with different fruit each time, to add that much needed variety. This idea also works well at children’s birthday parties!
Cheese and Apple sticks
One thing is for sure, when it comes to the monkeys – they love cheese.
The combination of apple and cheese sticks is a winner in my eyes and they love to eat them with rice-cakes or oatcakes. A kids’ version of cheese and biscuits.
Fun Apple Fact
Pink Lady® apples are the first to blossom and the last to be harvested.
This extra time in the sun gives the apples their special blush, sweeter crunch and wonderful fizz.
Yoghurt and Apple Dip
This is a really simple idea. Cut some apples into sticks and provide your little ones with their favourite yoghurt to dip them into.
This is a healthy alternative to crisps and dips. The monkeys love to ‘dip, dip, dip’ with their favourite fruits, which as it happens is how I came up with this idea.
The best thing about this is it is quick and easy to do. Perfect for those mornings when you are running out of time. The monkeys also love this as an after school snack, to keep them going until dinnertime, with the added bonus or not filling them up so much that they don’t eat their main meal.
The Cinnamon Kick
As is the case with most four-year-olds, my two have a list of things they don’t eat. However, they love the taste of apple and cinnamon, especially in an apple crumble.
I find if I sprinkle a small amount on the apples in the morning, the juice of the apple soaks the spice into the fruit providing just a little kick.
The boys are huge fans!
Fun Apple Fact
Did you know that the skin of an apple has 4 to 5 times the vitamins than the rest of the apple? So keep that skin on and throw away your peeler!
Dinosaur Fruit Salad
Sometimes all you need to encourage fussy eaters is to make them think that a dinosaur is going to eat their food!
I am lucky in that the nursery the boys go to allow the kids to bring a toy of their own in each day, so sometimes I include a character in their lunch box.
They love it.
The benefit of a fruit salad is its versatility. You can add a favourite fruit – which can change daily if your little ones are anything like mine – or pick whatever is in season. Why not mix it up a little by adding some raisins or mango?
Top Tip: I always pour a little orange juice over the fruit to stop it browning.
The Big Question
I don’t know about you but my kids are a bit fussy when it comes to apples browning in their lunch box.
Over the years, I have discovered there are a couple of different tricks that work well.
First, citric acid is a great way of keeping apples from oxidizing. We have probably all been told lemon stops the browning, but that is not your only option! There are a lot more citrus fruit options out there.
And if – like my boys – your children are not keen on the bitter taste of lemon, why not try some pineapple juice instead. Just coat the apples and pop in the fridge until it is time to go to school. It is a winning combination.
Tell me your ideas!
Do you want to pick up the mantle and take on the fussy eater challenge?
I am always on the lookout for fun ideas to encourage the monkeys to eat fruit.
I would love to hear about your lunch box ideas. Here is how you can get in touch:
- #fussyeaterlunchboxchallenge: use this tag on Instagram and Twitter to show me your creations.
Facebook / Google Plus: Pop over to our page and leave me a comment.
Every blogger loves comments!! Describe your ideas and thoughts below this post.
Together we can come up with ideas, to encourage even the fussiest eaters to be healthy.
Join in the challenge today!!
To find out more about PinKids® visit here: http://www.apple-pinkids.com
Fun Apple Fact
A Pink Lady® apple’s unique flavour and qualities are not an accident.
The way the rows of trees are orientated, the positioning of the branches and the amount of greenery on the trees are carefully considered.
All to ensure the apples receive as many rays of sun as possible.
Disclosure: I received compensation and I was kindly sent a pack of pink lady apples for this post. All opinions are my own.