M&S is accepting the £15 food vouchers issued as part of the government's free school meals scheme in England while schools are closed. However, we also understand that coming up with simple, tasty and nutritionally balanced meals three times a day can often be challenging for parents.
To help, M&S’ senior in-house nutritionist, Laura Street, has shared her hints, tips and lunchtime inspiration on the M&S website, including a downloadable meal planner with five simple kids lunches for under £15 (for two kids!)
Laura explains, “Eating a healthy, balanced diet helps keep children healthy, gives them energy, and helps them to concentrate on school work and to be alert. Although we’re facing challenging times, it’s worth trying to embed a few healthy habits where you can – and hopefully, these tips and recipe ideas will help you do that. If you’re at home more, smaller habits repeated each day can really stick. But the main thing is not to be too hard on yourself. The 80/20 rule is a good one to keep in mind – if you can encourage children to eat a balanced diet around 80% of the time, you’re on to a winner!”
Laura’s meal planner of 5 lunches for 2 kids for £15 includes:
- Easy cheesy pasta + banana
- Tortilla pizzas + salad
- Tuna pasta salad + crunchy crudité + fromage frais + banana
- Speedy cheese & tomato toasts + fromage frais
- Fish Finger sandwiches + fromage frais
Laura’s top tips include:
- Role modelling: While we’re at home, we have a unique chance to sit and eat together for at least one meal a day, so use the opportunity to display the kind of eating behaviours you’d like to see in your child.
- Get kids involved: If they help prepare meals, they’ll take pride in the food, and will be more likely to tuck in.
- Try making fruit and veggies the topic of your dinner time conversation. Discuss which you’ve eaten that day, and how you plan to fit in your five-a-day tomorrow.
- Most schools talk about the environment and food waste – strike up a conversation to see what knowledge your child has of it, and if they have any creative recipe ideas to use up leftovers.
- Get creative! Presentation has a big impact, so make food as appealing and varied as you can – kids will enjoy helping, too.
M&S is proud to have its very own team of in-house nutrition experts. Customers can also ask their own nutrition-related questions directly via M&S’ dedicated “Ask the nutritionist” function.