There was some other lovely mummy bloggers present, as well as some people from magazine publications. We discussed various topics and there was some fantastic ideas that came up about how to make packed lunches more fun for children. One mummy blogger had the brilliant idea of theming the packed lunches around school work, such as countries the child is studying. Much respect to her for sticking stars on a sandwich to make the american flag!
We watched a short film which was research done by Disney. Disney asked children which item they would prefer from a choice of two items. It showed that putting children’s favourite characters on food makes the children want it regardless of what the actual item is.
The final clip had us all laughing, as they placed a rock adorned with character stickers in front of the child, along with an edible unstickered item of food, and asked the children which they would prefer for breakfast. The answer? All of the children said they would prefer a rock with stickers on for their breakfast.
The power of branding is massive, children adore character themed food, mine included! I was pleased to find out how hard disney work to make sure that the items they choose to have their characters on, has gone through vigorous checks to make sure that they can help provide a healthy balanced diet for children. Disney introduced a set of guidelines and put them in place in both the UK and USA. These include using natural sugars and keeping salt and sodium to a minimum, meaning that mums can have complete reassurance that the character foods that is much loved by children, can be trusted by mums.
So here are some of the tops tips that came out of the discussion!
- Use leftovers from dinner the night before, such as chicken drumsticks, salad, pizza etc.
- Keep food fresh and edible. Annabel suggests freezing cartons of fruit juice to act as an ice pack in the lunchboxes to keep everything fresh and cool.
- Cut up their food to make it easy for children to eat. Lets face it, children lack effort and lunchtime to them if a stop gap to refuel and get into the playground. So chop up vegetables and fruit, pop them in a pot so they can be easily eaten with little effort.
- Get shopping with the kids. Let them choose some food they fancy. Get them to help prepare it with you too, get them to make some pizza and pop that in their lunch.
- Make it fun and special. Use cutter to make sandwiches fun. Why not pop a little note in their lunchbox or put some stickers on items of fruit, after all its proven that children will love it!
- Vary what you put inside the lunchbox. Would you really want to eat the same sandwich day after day? Nope, nor will your child.
Pippa from ‘A mothers Ramblings’came up with a fantastic suggestion of using a needle to slice the inside of a banana up without unpeeling it. Pippa explained how you simply pop it in at one end and move the needle across. Your child will have no idea and when they unpeel it, its in slices and ready to eat! I think that gives a simple banana the fun factor.
The meeting was finished off with a cooking session lead by Annabel Karmel herself where we all made Apple, Carrot and Sultana muffins, aswell as two different varieties of wraps. I shall post up the muffin recipe seperatly, as I have given them a bash at home since for my brood to try. We took all our yummy goodies home in our very own Disney Lunchboxes.
The whole day was brilliant, it has really given me some fantastic ideas that I hope I have shared with you too. My creative juices are flowing and I am sure the kids (and hubby) will appreciate my new found passion for making lunchboxes fun!
You can find out more ideas from Annabel Karmel, including some fantastic recipes at http://www.annabelkarmel.com/