Marks and Spencer is accepting the £15 food vouchers that have been issued for the government’s free school meals scheme. Around the country schools still remain closed to everyone except children of key workers, due to the coronavirus and lockdown. However, M&S has put its experts to work to help families spend their voucher wisely.
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The supermarket’s senior in-house nutritionist Laura Street has created a downloadable meal planner for parents that can be downloaded for free from the website.
Laura took the challenge to feed two children using the £15 limit from the school food vouchers and came up with five lunch ideas.
The tasty meals include a meal or sandwich plus a snack for five days of the week.
With many families struggling to cope in lockdown as workers are furloughed and jobs are cut across the country, the lifeline will help many parents to feed their little ones for less.
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Shoppers will also be able to find the products easily in store, with special “I’m on the shopping list” signs going in to food halls to help parents find what they need.
The meals are all easy to make and nutritionally balanced to keep children healthy as they continue to stay at home in the lockdown.
The downloadable planner also includes a shopping list as well as handy tips to help parents make sure no food goes to waste.
One tip even suggests how to make a healthy banana ice cream at home, something that kids will love for summer.
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With children having to do their school work at home while the crisis continues, it’s more important than ever that they are fed healthy and nutritious food.
Sharing her advice on the website, Laura said: “Eating a balanced diet helps to keep children healthy, gives them energy and enables them to concentrate on school work and to be alert.
“But the main thing is not to be too hard on yourself – some days, getting out of bed can feel like a big achievement! The 80/20 rule is a good one to keep in mind – if you can encourage children to eat a balanced diet around 80 percent of the time, you’re on to a winner.”
The nutritionist also shared tips on how to make sure the children eat well.
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The advice includes getting the kids involved in making the lunches, as well as chatting about fruit and vegetables and making a plan for how to hit your five a day.
Laura even says parents can learn from the children as they homeschool them, by talking about sustainability.
“Most schools talk about the environment and food waste – strike up a conversation to see what knowledge your child has, and if they have any creative recipe ideas to use up leftovers.”
The portion sizes on the planner can also be reduced for smaller children.
The full meal plan includes recipes and tips for the following lunches:
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
The planner is available on the M&S website.
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