|Carrot and cucumber sticks, grapes, blueberries and Cape gooseberries, Olive focaccia (homemade)|
When I was living in Japan I learned to present lunch boxes including a spectrum of at least 5 colours.
I try to do this with the kids' lunch boxes now, and these days the 5 + a Day is also promoting 'colours', which is a good way to make food more interesting. Of course here in NZ lunch boxes are stuffed down the school bag and tossed around, so I could never make them like these super pretty bentos, (I also wouldn't have the time in the morning or late at night!) but sometimes I do them for a lunch at home.
Now it is a complete coincidence that these lunch boxes are all Vegan (and containing mostly raw food!), often the kids would have cheese rolls and homemade pizza, and often a milky chocolate drink or a drinking yogurt too, but as they have so much milk and yogurt for breakfast everyday that they can do without for lunch!
My problem has been trying to have 5 different colours as the season is getting colder, especially for the blue! The first photo was taken a couple of month ago, and the rest followed every couple of weeks. When there are blueberries around it is so easy, now most of the berries they have are frozen, good for smoothies and cereals and desserts, but not school lunches.
|Avocado sushi, cherry tomato, banana, kiwi gold, feijoa, mandarin, grapes|
If I don't have blueberries I try to put a few red/black grapes, is a pity that they are all imported, but so are the bananas. For the rest I always try to be seasonable and use fruit and veggies that grow in NZ, the tomato here was from my garden. Sushi only happens if there is some left over after dinner the night before: I could never get up at 5am to make it fresh!
|Baguette with green salad and hummus with Dukka, banana, mandarins, kiwi gold, dried prunes|
When I don't use grapes I try to add something close to purple/blue, like dried plums. Hummus is also another favourite filling, if they could my kids would have a hummus rolls every day, and they don't seem to be fussed if it smells of garlic.
|Baguette with rocket salad, hummus and broad beans, orange, grapes and Cape gooseberries|
Hummus again, this was just over a week ago, believe it of not I had broad beans in the garden, an unseasonal plant that followed its own schedule! Not enough for a meal, but enough for a couple of rolls. The Cape gooseberries too are from the garden, incredibly enough they are still going!
|Dolmas (rice wrapped in vine leaves), carrot sticks, cucumber and cherry tomatoes, banana, grapes and mandarin|
Winter is progressing and the lunch boxes are becoming a bit repetitive: mandarins, banana, carrot sticks and grapes seem to dominate, and I occasionally buy cherry tomatoes even if they are grown in hothouses (but so are most cucumbers, I guess). The dolmas came from a can, a very occasional purchase, but it does add variety and, yes, the kids love those too!
I am dreaming of cherries and strawberries and blueberries and plums and colorful capsicums which make it so easy to add colour, but I also guess that winter is the time when we should overdose with oranges and yellows.
And if you have kids please tell me, what goes into their lunch boxes this season?
Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©