How do you break the lunch box routine rut?

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It’s only been one week and I’m already stuck in a lunch box rut.

It’s not that my son is particularly fussy when it comes to eating, but school lunches for him seem to involve throwing food down his throat – and uniform – as quickly as possible so that he can get out in the playground and anything that is too complicated or deviant from the known seems to be immediately dismissed.

We seem to have settled upon a minimal list of lunch box components that actually get eaten rather than being left sweating in their containers for the rest of the day and this morning I found myself asking once again, will it be ham and cheese today, or cheese and ham?

Sometimes I mix it up with a tub of pasta but frankly, I’m sick of making the same thing every day so you would think he must be sick of eating it.

I’ve tried to be creative in the past – cold sausage sandwiches, or lamb and mint sauce left over from Sunday roast, but apparently these sorts of crazy concoctions can lead to ridicule in the lunch hall and mostly come home untouched, along with a ravenous and grumpy child.

He loves things like tuna and egg mayonnaise, but I don’t want to be the parent sending my kid off to school with a veritable stink bomb for a lunch box.

We want our children to eat good, healthy food and because of this lunch boxes have become the bane of my existence, complicated even more by the fact I suspect he has an intolerance to wheat.

If you got hold of a copy of the latest issue of the Families Solent East magazine you might have seen the article questioning the amount of wheat our children eat.

Wheat is a common part in our diet and is present in most of our meals in some form. But over-processing and the use of chemicals has led to wheat being increasingly linked to things such as sensitivity, ADHD, hyperactivity, eczema, fatigue and weight gain.

Some people have a severe allergic reaction to gluten but while genuine food allergies are rare, intolerance to wheat is becoming more common and can result in mild to severe symptoms such as uncomfortable bloating and stomach cramps.

So where possible this summer, I have been practicing a wheat-free diet in my house and I have noticed that my son not only complains less about having stomach ache, but that I also complain less about some of the undesirable smells that seemed to result from said stomach ache!

This sort of diet was a lot easier to keep up over the holidays, but when it comes to school lunches where bread is a staple, it becomes more difficult.

There is a good supply of wheat and gluten free cereals, pastas and baked products now, but I’m yet to find a slice of bread that doesn’t resemble the kind of dry scouring sponge I use to clean the bathroom.

So if anyone has any good ideas for a lunch that looks like a ham and cheese sandwich but much more interesting and wheat free, then please get in touch.