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7 lunchbox hacks your kids will love

​When I was a kid I was always jealous of other kids' lunchboxes. They got roll-ups, Dunkaroo's, Shapes, Smith's Chips, sausage sandwiches, Le Snack's, Snack Packs and more. Some kids were even allowed to get canteen food every day. In comparison my lunch was boring. It was healthy…

In a lot of ways I am thankful my mum didn't let me eat crappy food for 13 years of schooling. She gave me Vegemite crackers, chopped up apples with some cheese, and a ham sandwich. Sometimes when we were really lucky we got leftover chicken schnitzel on our brown bread, but that's pretty much it.

From what I remember, no parents ever went to much effort with their kids lunchboxes. They either got quick-fix junk food, a $50 note for the canteen, or just mundane fruit and a sandwich. My friends and I used to save our fruit for when we got off the school bus, then put it under the wheel and cheer when it was crushed by the bus as it drove off. Sorry mum.

I appreciate her for trying to teach me healthy eating habits, so I've found some of the clever ways you can make your kids lunchboxes healthier, without getting rid of the fun. Home-made lunches are always better for the environment and for your kids' health...

Mini-Picnic

Cut up slices of tomato, ham, grated carrot, grated cheese with some bread and margarine. She/he can build her own sandwich or just eat the ingredients as they please.

Berry Box

While apples are always the easiest to pack because they're hard to squash (unless under the wheel of a bus), try putting some fresh berries, strawberries and grapes into a small Tupperware container. They are great to snack on throughout the day, and the kids will get their sugar hit without eating junk food.

Stick to water

Most juices and cordials are just chock-full of sugar and don't do a very good job of quenching thirst. Stick to water and get them in the habit of drinking it steadily throughout the day.

Mini-pancakes! (Homemade pikelets)

When I was young I never really knew the difference between pancakes and pikelets, but I liked pikelets better because I could fit the whole thing in my mouth in one go. They are super easy to make and take no time at all to prepare. Put some pikelets in their lunchbox with some chopped banana or any fruit of your choice. For a savoury option try to sneak some mixed veggies into the mixture.

Roll it up

Get creative with rice paper rolls. Add some cucumber, carrot, avocado, coriander, and some red capsicum with some sweet chili dipping sauce for a bit of flavor. They are great because they can be made a few hours in advance and don't require refrigerating. Anything to steer clear of those mysterious 'sausage' rolls…

Pea and Noodle Fritters

These are a great crunchy snack that shake things up during the week so your kids don't get bored with the same-old lunchbox stuff. Boil your peas, dran and mash them roughly. Add noodles, flour, milk, eggs, parmesan and onion. Season with salt and pepper and stir. Drop ¼ cup batter into a frying pan and spread to form a circle. Cook for 2 minutes until golden underneath then turn over. You can serve these with celery sticks and cherry tomatoes. There is a great recipe here

Homemade Fruit Roll-Ups

My partner's mum always made these for him growing up, and I think they are an excellent way to satisfy sugar cravings without giving them much sugar at all. You just need strawberries and honey. The cooking process is slow, but do it on the weekend and they'll thank you for it! Recipe here.

You'd be shocked at how much over-packaging and plastic goes into lunchbox designed snacks, and how much of it ends up being dropped in the playground or on the ground on the way home.

Avoid all of that by sticking to homemade lunches, and your kids will thank you for it too! If you're not convinced over-packaging is an issue, you'd better read this.

What you can do

Loads of unnecessary packaging and plastic goes into lunchbox designed snacks, don't buy into these wasteful products.

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