Parenting is an eternal battle between doing your best and the guilt of feeling that it’s not enough. That doesn’t stop in the summer holidays, if anything it just gets worse. This week’s dilemma was whether to send Libby to holiday club when I didn’t need childcare. In the end, I handed the decision to her and asked her if she wanted to go. The answer was a resounding “yes, and can I have a packed lunch?”
Packed lunches with Pik-Nik cheese sticks
Libby’s school is incredible in many ways, not least because the food they provide is so good. They get a choice of hot and cold meals each day, with at least one vegetarian option available. In key stage 1, it’s all free so she virtually never has a packed lunch. So to Libby, a lunchbox full of food is still incredibly exciting. It means picnics, school trips and family days out. But for me, it’s just another dilemma.
Because a packed lunch is such a treat, Libby expects the world on a stick in her lunchbox. I get special requests for her favourite foods. The perfect sandwiches, fruit, snacks. Chocolate if possible and always cheese. We’re very lucky that the girls are happy eating healthily, but that makes me more inclined to say yes to treats when they ask for them. And Pik-Nik cheese sticks are the perfect compromise.
To Libby, they’re a tasty treat. Something that positively encourages her to play with her food. You can’t possibly eat them without peeling them. To me, they’re a healthy, filling, vegetarian snack with no additives or preservatives. Made from mozzarella cheese, each one contains a glass of fresh milk from grass-fed cows. They contain 20% of her recommended daily calcium intake and 11% of the protein and 5% of the vitamin A she needs each day.
Making Pik-Nik cheese sticks our snack of choice
With Libby’s activity course coming up, I thought I’d save the Pik-Niks for her to have in her lunch box. But these things never go to plan. The girls spotted the Pik-Nik cheese sticks in the fridge and asked if they could have one in their lunch when we were at Kenilworth Castle. No problem, that seemed reasonable and of course, my husband and I had to try one too.
The flavour was great – quite different to an ordinary cheese string because they’re made with mozzarella. This gives them a mild, creamy taste that children would enjoy even if they weren’t keen on stronger cheeses. They peel really easily so they’d be perfect for sharing – but there was no hope of that happening here.
Then there was a lunch on the sofa after swimming and the girls wanted another one. Fine, I had three packs of four so there was still one pack left. That was until I caught my husband tucking into one in the evening and found the last pack ripped open. Three days at activity camp and three Pik-Niks left. But Lia would want them for her snacks too so it was time to buy some more.
Luckily, they’re available at Sainsbury’s in the ethnic area of the chiller cabinet. They’re priced at between £1 and £1.50 for a pack of four individually wrapped cheese strings depending on promotions. A small price to pay for a healthy snack that they can’t wait to eat.