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Favourite lunchbox ideas

Cheese and mayonnaise. I look back on my years in primary school and remember my daily school lunch request of cheddar cheese cubes drizzled with mayonnaise. That’s all I wanted for lunch, every day of the week. Perhaps because of my dislike towards soggy bread, which so often happened when the mayonnaise sat for too long in the sun because I’d throw my bag before even reaching the classroom door to run off and play dodge ball. Of course Mum would add a Vegemite sandwich (wasn’t this a staple for every kid in Australia?), an apple ‘from paddock to plate‘ style picked from our fruit trees in the orchard, a muesli bar and on Fridays, a packet of Cheezels; you know the small packs that come in those family size bags.

Source: From Paddock to Plate Food Waste Virtual Video Excursion

I always wondered why nobody wanted to swap their lunch with me at school. Not that there was any chance I would have traded my beloved cheese cubes anyway. It was only when we went to film the wonderful students and teachers at Monbulk Primary School in Victoria for inclusion in our From Paddock to Plate Food Waste Virtual Video Excursion (two decades later!), that I realised all the delicious lunchbox options I’d missed out on growing up because I demanded cheese cubes. At least I was meeting my daily calcium quota.

At Monbulk there’s not one piece of food wrapped in plastic. All recess and lunches are packed in reusable containers by parents and offer the most tasty of choices. From an array of fresh fruit (as you can see in the image), to carrots and hummus, boiled eggs, salad in lettuce cups, noodle jar salads, and little bite size frittatas with leafy greens disguised in amongst all the other flavours.

And then onto delicious sweeteners of homemade chocolate bark with cocoa and dried berries, banana muffins, carrot cake, and dried fruit. Made on a Sunday, in bulk, to last the five days of school ahead.

As the children sat eating their lunch with great enthusiasm, I spoke to them about what they loved most about their school recess and lunch menu items. “We helped make them”, was one of the most common responses. The students were involved in the lunch-making process, which appeared to give them even more gusto to enjoy the foods looking up at them from the depths of their environmentally friendly containers.

In conclusion, when it comes to favourite lunch box ideas, the key is to ask your children to help you. Who knows? That salad sandwich that was left, squished and soggy in the corner of the lunchbox yesterday, could be devoured the next.

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