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Planning healthy meals for your family is no easy task and can be expensive especially with food prices on the rise. Making school lunches interesting and tasty 5 days a week can be a challenge and takes some imagination. But with a little organisation, meal planning and budgeting it will not only save you time, money, and stress, in time you may even start enjoying it.


Get the kids involved


Not only will your kids learn about food when they are involved with the preparation of their lunch boxes, they will also learn to take responsibility for what they eat. Pick a day in the week such as the weekend to make a variety of snacks for the week. This can be a fun time for you and the kids and they are more likely to become more adventurous with food.


Shop smart


Try going to the farmers markets or local fruit stores. This is a great way to learn about seasonal food and supports your community. A great activity for children.


Make a list and stick to it


Planning meals for the week will determine what ingredients are needed. Make a list of everything you need for that week and don’t be tempted to buy extra food as this may possibly go to waste.


Check the fridge and pantry


Before you make your list, check the fridge and pantry. Chances are you could already have some of the ingredients you need and nothing goes to waste!


Make meal-planning fun


Together with the kids, search for healthy recipes that you could make together.


Try Batch cooking


When cooking a meal, sometimes it’s a good idea to make bigger batches, which can be either frozen or eaten as left overs the next night. Left overs are also great for school lunches.  However, be careful with meat dishes to avoid food poisoning. Great meal ideas to cook in batches are soups, curries and pastas.


Grow your own


If you have a garden or even a small outdoor area, you could save money by growing your own vegetables. Even a herb garden is great for always having fresh herbs on hand.


Store food correctly


Make your food last as long as possible by storing them correctly. For example, place bread in the freezer and only take out the amount you need and store cereals, biscuits, and any dry goods in jars or airtight containers. Chop up vegetables and store in containers in the fridge ready for lunch or dinners. TIP: If you place celery in a container with water it will keep crispy for longer.


Why is it important to plan ahead?


All parents want their children to be healthy, but sometimes the mornings can be a crazy time when getting them ready for school. Being prepared with healthy food for the week can take a lot of the stress out of the morning rush and you will drop your kids off at school knowing they will have a healthy nutritious lunch made with love.

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