Proudly sponsored by ALDI Australia
Thanks to our friends at ALDI, we hit the MC kitchen this week to turn a huge box of groceries into 5 real school lunch boxes for busy mums.
From first-timers through to the bigger kids, we’ve got something for everyone here.
But before we start, we’ve got some general tips that will help the rookies [and maybe some veterans have forgotten!]:
Wherever you can, take advantage of lunch boxes with compartments. Kids of all ages like a bit variety and keeping their options separate will ensure they stay fresh throughout the day.
In our climate it is safest to keep our lovingly made lunches in insulated cooler bags. There are some really cute and cool options in a wide range of price points. Just make sure they will fit your lunch box of choice and a drink bottle inside them. Many bags come with their own refreezable ice-blocks but some mums like to freeze a drink overnight and pop that in to do a double of shift of keeping the food cool and providing some rehydration during the day.
Be conscious of your packaging
Many schools have adopted green practices and have banned, or at the very least discourage, any disposable packaging in lunch boxes. When you are choosing your lunch box look for something that has an airtight lid and again, little compartments help keep things fresh and eliminate the need for cling wrap or sandwich bags. Also, you will save money by buying crackers, crisps, biscuits in larger quantities.
Follow the rules
Food allergies are real and most schools will notify parents if they have a no-nut rule or similar. These rules are usually put in place in junior school classes where there are one or more young students who may have an anaphylactic reaction when coming into contact with a particular food, but are too young to effectively assess the dangers themselves. FYI – this will mean things like peanut paste and many muesli/trail bars are not allowed.
Now to the good stuff! ALDI sent us a selection from their core range of goodies to create three different variations of the perfect school lunchbox. Well, we got so carried away we made FIVE!
We were really impressed by the quality of the products in their range and have to say, discount doesn’t mean dislike! Everything we tried, we liked but let’s be honest – we’re not REALLY the people to be asking. So we brought in the experts… our kids! They especially loved the ALDI Bakers Life Bakehouse Bread and the Cheestreamers Cheese Sticks were a dead-set winner!
ALDI really are a one-stop shop when it comes to buying everything you need for school lunch boxes! Here’s our top favourites:
- The Berg Sliced Ham (4 X 100g $5.00), was really tasty and came pre-packed in 4 x separate blister packs for $5. Great value and what we liked so much was that each pack was airtight so you only open it as you need it = less wastage and you always have fresh meat on hand for sandwiches! Awesome!
- Same goes for the Berg Turkey Breast Value Pack (4 X 80g $5.00) again in blister packs for ease of use and quite tasty too! Plus it’s 95% Fat Free – got to be happy with that!
- The Cheestreamers (8 pack for $3.49) were delicious and stringy or in other words, perfect! My kids couldn’t tell the difference but at $1.50 per pack cheaper than the more widely known Bega Stringers, I certainly did!
- The ALDI Bakers Life Bakehouse Bread, Soy & Linseed (680g for $2.69), was, thick (not like a lot of other discount bread), soft, chock full of whole grains and at $2.69 a loaf offered incredible value.
- The Squishy Yoghurt Pouches (70g for $0.79) were YUM and really convenient for lunch boxes! We squirted some into the dipping pot for the Gluten Free box but you could also store them in the freezer and pop them in to your lunch box in the morning. They’ll keep everything cool as they thaw out in time for recess.
- The Westacre Tasty Cheese Slices (500g for $2.99) got our thumbs up! Fresh, tasty cheese and not a plastic slice in sight! Not an overpowering flavour, great for kids sandwiches and at $2.99 for 24 slices, it run rings around me normally paying $7.50 for Coon Slices! #SeriousSavings
- The Westcliff Mega Juice (6 Pack $3.29) were impressive at 99% fruit juice (not the typical fruit drink) and had no added sugar and no preservatives or colours. They were also impressive an impressive price! The apple, mango and banana was a nice change from the traditional flavours. Kids loved it too!
We tried to cover a wide range of ages and tastes when coming up with these 5 lunchbox ideas. Everything from basic flavours in a kindy lunch box to the high energy needs of an older child.
We think we’ve done pretty well – but would love to hear YOUR FAVOURITE in the comments below and we’ll be sure to consider them for our next feature!
Little Lunch Love
This combination is perfect for Kindy kids and first timers in Reception. There is enough to fill up their little tummies but not so much that it’s overwhelming. A little lunch box hack to help your reluctant eater is to cut up a whole sandwich into bite-size pieces. They may find it easier to pick on many little things than face a whole sandwich in one go. Veggie sticks with a nutritious dip like hummus is a wonderful recess snack and the sultanas will sweeten things up a bit.
Not all little people like meat but may still need some extra protein to fill up. We packed a delicious tuna, lettuce and mayo sandwich in this lunch box and put in some really quick and convenient snacks for recess. A yoghurt tube, a box of sweet sultanas and a pre-packed crackers and cheese dip are all items you can stock up on and even pack the night before to save time on those hectic school mornings. Add a banana and a cold bottle of water and you’ve covered everything in this combination.
That's a wrap!
If your child needs a lighter bread-load, swap the sandwich for a yummy wrap. We combined ham, grated cheese, lettuce and mayo in this one and cut it into perfectly sized pieces for little hands. Some rice crackers are a perfect alternative to chips and we love a little packet of sesame snaps for a sweet treat. Easy to add apples and boiled eggs round out this lunch box!
The Gluten-free Gang
Not all sandwiches have to be made with bread! We put together a stack of gluten-free rice cakes to make this ham, cheese and lettuce burger and spread some hummus on the crackers for some extra flavour. The removable top of this lunch box was the perfect place to add some fresh cut-up fruit and we popped in some flavoured yoghurt to dip it into. A delicious juice pop, box of sultanas and a cute little boiled egg with personality made this our favourite box of the day. Quick, easy, fresh and fun!
The Chockablock Box
Have you got a big kid or a little kid with a big appetite? We’ve got you covered. This lunch box is full of hearty goodness. Two wholegrain sandwiches are the foundations here. The first one is ham, cheese and salad followed by a simple honey sandwich as ‘dessert’. An apple, pot of peaches and a cheese stringer helps fill up a hungry tummy and will give sustained energy throughout the school day. In the top of this clever lunch box we’ve got a couple of homemade mini muffins, some cherry tomatoes and stack of tasty popcorn. There is NO WAY your kid is coming home hungry with this is in their school bag!
So there you have it – five easy lunch box ideas from ALDI to help give some inspiration for kids of all ages. We’d love you to tell us below what works best for you in the lunch box and let’s all help to inspire each other now school’s back!
This has been a sponsored post by ALDI Supermarkets.
* These products were bought at an ALDI Store on 18th January 2015. Please note, prices may vary nationally.