This week, I was honoured to be asked to guest contribute to The Big Lunchbox Revolution’s blog.

A great opportunity that I immediately jumped at because it’s always a pleasure to help out another fellow foodie. Nicky White runs The Big Lunchbox Revolution and is doing great things out there to help fill our tummies (and pantries!) full of good, wholesome, real food.

Check out The Big Lunchbox Revolution Blog link here: http://thebiglunchboxrevolution.co.nz/blogs/news

Today (being 5 May) means we have been on our real food journey for one year now, woo hoo! I now have a whole 365 days of real food experience to share with you!

It’s not easy to make the transition over to real food, especially with the challenges that little fussy eaters bring! So here are my Top 10 Tips to help you if you’re thinking a little differently about the way you want to feed your loved ones.

1. Get The Kids Involved In Food Shopping

Give them little shopping lists, maybe 3-4 different items they’ve never seen before. Shopping is so much fun, when it turns into a guessing game. Less likely to run off in the aisles screaming too. Farmers markets are always fun to shop with kids because of the different market stalls and produce varieties. Best to get there early though as crowds are not much fun with littlies.

2. Show Them Where Food Comes From

From a simple thing to showing them an apple growing on a tree to taking them to a working farm, kids just love to learn about all sorts of things. YouTube is also a great resource. Max and Chloe love watching how things are made in great detail that you might not be able to access locally.

3. Get Used To Spending More Time In Your Kitchen

Since we made the switch and I cook all meals from scratch I spend a lot longer in the kitchen these days. A good stereo helps. Boogie away the prep time at the bench!

4. Get The Kids Involved In The Cooking

They love it! Messy but worth it! Make sure you allow double the time for the cooking / baking involved (those already tried will know!).

5. Eat At Least One Meal Together At The Dinner Table

I know it’s not often possible with working parents to all sit together at meal times but we noticed our kids were more engaged in their food and more interested to try new foods when we did. Even if it’s just breakfast time together or dinner time together.

6. Drink Lots Of Water

Sometimes the kids will come running to us saying they’re hungry when they’re actually thirsty. Good to have re-usable drinks bottles handy. Keep an eye out for public fountains too, top them up.

7. Try New Lunchbox Items At Home First & Explain What’s In It Before They Leave For The Day

Kids don’t like new food surprises (well, ours don’t) so it’s always good to try new recipe items or food combinations with the kids before sending them off to kindy / school with foods they haven’t tried before. I always show Max and Chloe what they are having for lunch that day too, I think they like looking forward to it…and probably hope they can swap things out if they don’t like, (which I don’t let them! Motherly cackle).

8. Don’t Be Afraid To Buy Items In

Choose minimally processed foods, ones that don’t contain added chemicals, sugar and preservatives. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t make or bake everything from scratch. It’s ok to rely on products for help, especially for lunches. When you do get some time, it’s good to bake in bulk and freeze ahead for busy times.

9. Batch Cook Meals In Advance

It’s great to set aside one weekend a month where you can get ahead and cook meals and /or bbq protein for lunches. Freeze them into small portions and then they are easy to grab when you need them.

10. Run To A Meal Plan

Not only does it save you money, it also eliminates food waste too. Buy what you need in for the week or for the month. It cuts down your shopping time also, bonus!