It's a new school year and parents across the country will be busy preparing packed lunches or booking school meals for their children.
The royals are no different and the likes of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will also be back in the routine of school prep for their children Prince George and Princess Charlotte, who attend Thomas's Preparatory School in Battersea, London.
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It's not known if George and Charlotte have school or packed lunches, but we do have some information on both – and a balanced nutritious diet is at the forefront.
On Thomas's school website, the Wellbeing section reveals: "At Thomas’s, we are committed to ensuring that our pupils receive not only a wholesome, nutritious and balanced meal each day but also a delicious one.
"Lunch for the whole school community is cooked by a team of chefs, who enjoy discussing the choices on offer with the children each day and work with even the fussiest eaters to find something they would enjoy eating.
"The children can choose from a range of lunch dishes, as well as vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, and every effort is made to minimise sugar and salt consumption. The day’s menu can include anything from chicken and chorizo jambalaya or pepper-crusted salmon with garlic chickpeas to lentil and carrot soup with garlic dough balls."
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The Cambridge family
Should William and Kate opt for packed lunches for their children, it is highly likely that their nanny Maria Terresa Barrallo, who trained at the famous Norland College, prepares them.
HELLO! spoke to Norland College's Julia Gaskell Head of Consultancy, Training, Alumni and Agency and Penny Lukins, Early Years Lecturer to find out how their students prepare children's lunches for school.
Julia and Penny say: "Norland students learn how to prepare healthy and nutritious meals for children through weekly practical food and nutrition classes.
"They also learn about the importance of nutrition for physical and brain development, fussy eating, weaning and how to cater for special dietary requirements. They build on their knowledge and skills during their extensive placement experience throughout Norland’s unique four-year integrated degree and diploma course.
"At Norland, we encourage children to eat their savoury food first in case they run out of time, and to have a drink, but some children like to eat the sweeter things first – the school might have rules as well and consistency is key to supporting children to develop healthy eating habits."
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Prince George and Princess Charlotte's nanny
"It’s important to remember that starting (or returning to) school can be an anxious time so initially we would not be too worried about which bits they had eaten and when.
"Children can often be hungry at collection time at the end of the day, so if they have any packed lunch left they may want it. We always advise taking a small healthy snack when picking up."
Example lunchbox foods include:
- Mini frittatas that can be eaten cold using a variety of vegetables. (Egg, cheese and vegetables cooked in muffin tins, and a great size for small hands).
- Sliced celery, cucumber, peppers, carrots to eat with a variety of dips such as chickpea and lime.
- Rice paper vegetable wraps.
- Pinwheel sandwiches or sandwiches cut into fun shapes, using a pastry cutter.
- Homemade sausage rolls and scotch eggs.
- Cheese scones.
- Muffins (carrot and pineapple), banana spelt biscuits or buttered sugar-free fruit loaf.
- Smoothies using fruit, vegetables, yoghurt and milk of choice.
- Fun-sized fruit and vegetables. (Start the peeling on bananas and satsumas to help little fingers. Starting is often the tricky bit.)
They added: "We always encourage our students to think about how to involve the children in preparing their meals and to talk and explain to them why it is good for them too. The more involved children are, the more they develop their interest in healthy food, and the more likely they are to eat it.
"Children like to know what they have for lunch (they love routine), they have particular foods they enjoy eating and that are healthy and can be eaten as independently as possible."
Lunchbox tips from Norland College:
- Easy to open, named, reusable containers are better for the environment than Clingfilm or bags and the lids can double up as a plate. Add a cool pack to keep things fresh.
- Encourage the children to help make and pack the lunch box.
- Hold a picnic before school starts to help them to practice opening their lunch, eating it and putting it away.
- Remember, they won’t have as much time at school to eat, so choose food that can be eaten quickly and easily – not too much chewing – and that they can eat independently.
- Pop a note in the lunchbox to remind them that you are thinking of them – a simple drawing of a heart would work.
- Try to introduce variety – but remember this will be easier once they feel more settled at school.
- Try not to comment too much on what they have left uneaten in a critical way - some children will what is left on the way home!
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