Instagram star The Lunchbox Mama has revealed a series of packed lunch ideas that will feed kids for a week - all for under a fiver. Rachel Stirling, who has a legion of online followers, shot to fame with her super creative lunch boxes that made her kids the talk of the playground.
The mum-of-two has now put healthier twists on sausage rolls and pepperoni pizzas, as well as smart snacking lunchbox staples, to help to keep lunches exciting and offer great value. Rachel was tasked to create low-cost lunchbox snack ideas by Aldi, as part of its campaign to offer parents simple and affordable lunchtime inspiration.
The recipes come after research, commissioned by the supermarket chain, found 45 per cent of parents dread making their children’s lunch boxes - because of the pressure to get it ‘right’. Rachel said: “Lunchtimes can be a struggle for many parents and coming up with new ideas to make lunch boxes both fun and great value is a real challenge - especially when families are having to tighten their belts.
“But lunchtimes don’t have to be dull. I’m determined to show there are cheap and easy ways to make lunch boxes more exciting while still making sure they’re packed with nutritional value to see children through the school day.”
The study of 2,000 mums and dads, with children aged five-16, found finding a balance between what is healthy versus what their kids like, and ensuring enough variety, are among the most common concerns. But 42 per cent describe their child as a fussy eater, with 39 per cent worried their child won’t eat what they pack full stop.
Not having their favourite foods is the most popular reason youngsters bring their lunch back uneaten, with 21 per cent being told the contents were ‘too healthy’ on occasion. Overall, 47 per cent have had their child complain about what is in their lunch.
As a result, it is a ‘relief’ when their child comes home from school with an empty lunchbox for 68 per cent, with nearly 27 per cent saying they often bring back uneaten items. More than (41 per cent) struggle with inspiration when packing their kids’ lunches, while 22 per cent opt to pay for them to get lunch at school for this very reason.
But due to the rising cost-of-living, 13 per cent have had to cut down on how much they spend on their little ones’ lunch boxes. To do so, 57 per cent have ditched branded goods and a further 52 per cent have cut down on the treats they pack.
Others are bulk buying more (42 per cent) or have switched their supermarket in search of lower prices (35 per cent). The poll, conducted via OnePoll, also found sandwiches reign supreme as the most popular lunchbox item among parents – with 72 per cent typically including the staple.
And 67 per cent are balancing the nutritional value out as they are also including fresh fruit, while 40 per cent add sliced veg. Julie Ashfield, managing director of buying at Aldi UK, said: “Our new lunchbox recipes, created in partnership with The Lunchbox Mama, are designed to offer some inspiration when it comes to preparing lunch boxes, helping parents to keep kids excited while also keeping costs low.”