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Healthier Lunchbox Ideas for Fussy Eaters

Research shows that eating habits formed in early years tend to stick into adulthood. In fact, a Children’s Food Trust study has shown that children in primary schools are 6 times more likely to concentrate in the classroom following improvement in school meals.

So Zita Steyn is on a mission to empower parents to take responsibility for your own and your children’s health. Foster Children are not alone in sometimes having varied or challenging eating habits. We’ve teamed up with Zita and a few of our favourite family bloggers to bring you some delicious, healthy fun packed lunches. Enjoy!

What are the advantages of a healthy lunchbox?

Author: Zita Steyn of

Healthy foods are full of nutrients to feed a young brain, allowing children to perform better in school. In fact, students who eat school breakfast regularly have higher maths grades, fewer instances of absenteeism or tardiness, and fewer emotional and behavioural problems. A Children’s Food Trust study has shown that primary school children are three times more likely to concentrate in the classroom after improvements in their school-based diet.

With a higher intake of essential nutrients, a child’s mental and physical health will also improve. This makes them less susceptible to a range of illnesses and able to recover from injuries quicker – and we all know how clumsy kids are in the playground!

Swipe through these great lunchbox ideas


Rainbow Wraps

What's in the lunch
• Rainbow wrap
• Fruit water (cucumber and mint)
• Apple or tangerine
• Lightly salted popcorn
• Boiled egg

1. Spread the hummus evenly onto the wrap, leaving a border along the top end.
2. Place the spinach leaves down in a single layer, pile grated carrot into the centre and lay pepper sticks across.
3. Fold the bottom half over the fillings, ensuring you have a tight roll, then roll upward towards the top end. Cut in half or slice into thirds.

Swipe for next recipe >>>


Zita's Pasta Lunch

What's in the lunch
• Fruit water (lemon and lime)
• Wholemeal pesto pasta salad with salmon & peas
• Pineapple wedges, raspberries
• Natural Greek yoghurt with pumpkin seeds & raw honey
1. Put a medium bunch of basil & parsley, a small bunch of dill, peeled garlic clove, pinch of salt and black pepper in a food processor and blitz until roughly chopped.
2. With the motor running, slowly add 80ml of olive oil until you reach your desired consistency (the pesto should be loose enough to fold into cooked pasta).
3. Combine the pesto with cooked pasta, cooked salmon & defrosted frozen peas. Add a little more olive oil and pasta cooking liquid if it needs it.

Swipe for next recipe >>>


Frittata Fingers

What's in the lunch
• Frittata Fingers
• Cherry Tomatoes
• Satsumas/Clementine
• A savoury snack

1. Dice and fry bacon (fat removed) for a few minutes, then add oregano. Add celery, onion, grated carrot and garlic and cook on a low heat.
2. Add some boiled chunks of potato and some peas, then toss everything together in the pan. Let everything cook for a few minutes.
3. Whisk together 8 eggs and add some grated cheese (parmesan works great). Pour the egg & cheese mixture into the pan of ingredients.
4. Leave to cook slowly on the hob and add halved cherry tomatoes.
5. Once cooked through, place under the grill to cook the top.

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Pita & Veggie Dipping Lunch

What's in the lunch
• Pitta Bread
• Hummus
• Veg Sticks
• Berries

This is a simple, quick and nutritious lunch for fussy eaters. Donna say’s “The children love what they call dippy lunches and a box full of toasted pitta and veg sticks that they can dip into a portion of hummus is an ideal lunch for them”. You can use any crudités for this, a portion of cheese for extra protein, hummus, a handful of fresh berries and some fresh pita or flatbread.

Swipe for next recipe >>>


Quesadilla & Antipasti

What's in the lunch
• Quesadilla
• Celery and bell pepper sticks
• Grapes (or berries)
• Cured meats – prosciutto, salami etc.
• Sour cream for dipping

1. Pop a tortilla in a hot frying pan and sprinkle a tablespoon of grated cheese on top. Wait 30 seconds.
2. Add cooked and diced, sautéed veggies (for example - mushrooms, red onion, peas, tomatoes). Place another tortilla on top. Flatten in the pan, making the cheese melt the tortillas together.
3. Fry for 1-2 minutes on each side. Cut into quarters.

Swipe for next recipe >>>


Picky Eaters Dippers

What's in the lunch
• Pan-fried Sausage
• Houmous and Chutney Dips
• Tortilla Chips
• Sliced Apple
• Raisins

1. Pan fry a quality pork sausage in a small amount of extra virgin olive oil.
2. Use lightly sorted crisps, or a toasted whole meal pita (for a healthier option) for dipping in hummus and fresh chutneys.
3. Add sliced apples and a box of raisins for a kick of vitamins and sweetness.

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Four ways you can help

1. Parents can support a home environment that promotes healthy eating. There are lots of ways to help children enjoy healthy food:

  • Offer veggie sticks and a dip (such as hummus or a yoghurt and pesto dip) as a snack when children are hungry – it won’t ruin their appetite, and will up their veg intake.
  • Offer a variety of foods – even changing the pasta brand and / or shape regularly gets children used to the idea that not all food looks and tastes the same, and makes them more likely to try new foods.
  • Create a tasting chart to track children’s attempts to try new foods and their opinion of them.
  • Involve children in meal prep at home – I have often taught children new recipes with ingredients they told me they’d never eat, only to watch them happily wolf down their own creations.

2. Packing a healthy lunch needn’t be difficult, expensive, unappetising or an effort – follow the guidelines below to see your child’s lunchbox packs a nutritional punch.

  • Have one portion of fresh fruit (berries, grapes, apples, etc),
  • Three portions of vegetables (carrots, cucumber, broccoli, bell pepper, peas, asparagus, cherry tomatoes)
  • A healthy protein (beans, edamame, seeds, cheese, natural yoghurt, hummus, veggie burger, falafel, hardboiled egg)
  • A portion of complex carbohydrates (baked sweet potato, dried fruit, potato salad, whole grain pasta, bread, or crackers, brown rice, quinoa etc)

3. Have children pack their own lunch boxes the night before from a choice of healthy components. This puts them in control of their meal choices and takes the pressure off you.

4. Pack a water bottle (with fruit-infused water) for your child to refill during the day. Water restores fluids, aids digestion, regulates body temperature and carries nutrients and oxygen to cells. Do not be tempted to add empty calories, flavourings, and even caffeine to your child’s diet by giving them fruit juice, sports or fizzy drinks.

As parents, guardians, teachers and carers, it’s our responsibility to give young people healthier choices at home and in school. A recent study from Teeside University shows that teenagers in the UK eat less than three of the recommended five-a-day. This can be especially pronounced in teens from challenging backgrounds which is why it’s so essential for Compass Fostering to champion healthier eating for everyone. For more ideas, information and recipes, please visit

Making a House a Home This Christmas

We are looking for foster carers who can provide a loving place to live not only at Christmas, but all year round.

Since it’s “that time of year”, we decided to try and create a house of our own – using gingerbread. Here’s how…

Sadly, at this time of year there is an increase in the number of emergency placements made. Could you offer a caring and stable home for a child in need? Request your free info pack online today and learn how you can help.

Do you know the true picture of foster care in the UK?

The pressures of contemporary life see more and more children end up in care. But, as a society, we still seriously underestimate the numbers involved. In a recent survey carried out by Compass Fostering, people reckoned that around 27,000 children are in foster care. In fact, the actual number is nearer 55,000. And that’s growing every year.
Fostering benefits everyone

Putting foster families under pressure

This growing demand for foster care puts Britain’s foster families under increasing pressure. Although 90% of people realise the number of children in foster care is growing, they’re unaware of all the commitment involved. The survey found that almost half of active foster parents have given homes to more than five foster children, while 22% of foster parents have cared for more than 10 different youngsters.
why should you become a foster parent

What makes someone decide to foster?

With the need for more carers so clear, we also surveyed foster parents to see why they got involved in the first place. Nearly a third of foster parents said that their own life experiences encouraged them to provide care and support to children. But the primary motivation for carers is “to give children and young people a secure family environment.” And it’s good to know that’s the same motivation the general public ascribes to foster carers too.

Fostering benefits everyone

Foster carers also explained that they don’t just foster for altruistic reasons. More than 25% of foster carers have learned new life skills and their own birth children flourish too “It’s made my birth children more understanding and accepting of complex emotional needs”. Other carers feel their families have learnt the value of teamwork, increasing their empathy and becoming more appreciative of life – “It has certainly made our children realise how lucky they are”.
children needing foster care UK

Fostering works and fostering lasts

Fostering can help give children the secure environment they need to succeed in school and flourish in later life. Fostering matters in the moment and creates long-term bonds too. The survey revealed that 86% of foster parents are still in touch with the children they cared for.

It’s made my birth children more understanding and accepting of complex emotional needs.

Foster care awareness varies by region

People in different parts of the UK have diverse perceptions when it comes to fostering. In Scotland and Northern Ireland, for instance, people have a much more realistic appreciation of the number of children in foster care than they do in the South East of England. Although awareness may vary, there’s a consistent need for foster carers across the country, which is one of the reasons why Compass Fostering maintain a nationwide presence for foster care in the UK, with offices throughout England & Wales.

Why aren’t more people fostering?

Many people in our survey agreed they’d be open to fostering. But what’s stopping us? Foster families come in all shapes and sizes these days. Fostering is no longer restricted to conventional family models. And 20% of us say we know a close friend or family member who has been fostered. All you need to foster is a secure home environment to offer and the commitment to make a lasting difference in a child’s life. People who think they might not be accepted as foster parents could be in for a pleasant surprise…

Commissioning Conference 2019

We’re at the National Commissioners Conference in Derby this Thursday and Friday, stop by for a chat if you’re attending.

We have also used the opportunity to raise money for our three chosen charities, The Little Rose Shelter, SaferLondon and Coco’s Foundation.

National Commissioning Conference


Senior team at the comissioners conference


The Commissioners Conference Winners

This year we decided instead of spending hundreds of pounds on promotional material, we would put our money towards more worthwhile causes. We decided to pick three charities that are important to us, and let our delegates decide who they would like to donate to.

The results are in! Each of these charities have received a donation from Compass Community.

In first place was Coco’s FoundationCoco's Foundation donation
In second place was the Jack Dowding Foundation.Jack Dowding Foundation donation
Third place was Mind Mind donation

Coco’s Foundation raises funds to support and help orphaned children communities within the poorest areas in South Africa. Mind are a charity who provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing mental health problems. The Jack Dowding Foundation is dedicated to raising funds and awareness to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), and was started shortly after the tragic passing of Jack Dowding, 20 who also suffered from the condition for several years. Jack was the son of one our wonderful social workers.

We are so proud to support these causes and would encourage you to donate too!

Commissioners Conference Donations

Compass are proudly supporting three charities at this year’s Commissioner’s Conference.

This year we decided instead of spending hundreds of pounds on promotional material, we would put our money towards more worthwhile causes. Similar to what you have probably seen in your local supermarkets, we decided to pick three charities that are important to us, and let delegates decide which charity they would like to donate to.

Charity logos for Cocos, MIND and 20JACK

Each of these charities will be taking home a donation by the end of the conference, ranging from £100 to £750!

The charities we have chosen are Coco’s Foundation, Mind and the Jack Dowding Foundation. Coco’s Foundation raises funds to support and help orphaned children communities within the poorest areas in South Africa. Mind are a charity who provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing mental health problems. The Jack Dowding Foundation is dedicated to raising funds and awareness to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), and was started shortly after the tragic passing of Jack Dowding, 20 who also suffered from the condition for several years. Jack was the son of one our wonderful social workers.

We hope you are as excited as we are to donate to such worthy causes.
Compass Community pop up design
Compass Fostering promotional items
Rachel and Michelle at the Commissioners’ Conference

Announcement of new Chair of Compass Board

Compass Community Children’s Services is delighted to announce the appointment of Sandie Foxall-Smith as Chair of its Board. Sandie will take up the role with immediate effect.
Sandie brings a wealth of experience in the health and social care sector, most recently as CEO of the Regard Group where she executed an ambitious growth plan whilst maintaining quality and value in the care of people with learning disabilities.

Sandie will join Compass Community as it continues to expand its provision to children requiring placements with foster families and residential services.

Compass Community CEO Bernie Gibson said “I am delighted that Sandie will join us at such an important time. The rapid growth of the last few years and the commitment of our dedicated teams have enabled us to increase the number of children supported by Compass foster families and in our specialist residential homes. I am certain that Sandie’s knowledge of the residential sector and her proven track record in overseeing the delivery of quality-assured, cost-effective services will help to take us to the next level.”


Support Rhian in the London Marathon 2018

I would greatly appreciate it if you would be willing to sponsor me and support a really worthwhile and local cause.

We are so proud to support our East supervising social worker Rhian Coe, who is running the London Marathon on Sunday 22nd April. She is raising money for a fantastic local charity in Braintree, the CSS Charitable Trust, and has already raised 79% of her fundraising target.

In Rhian’s own words:

“I am running it for a great local charity, the CSS Charitable Trust in Braintree that provides financial support to worthy causes in the Braintree area. They support individuals, families, groups and small charities. There are many chairties for bigger things but this is a charity for the smaller things in the Braintree area. For example, they provided a new mobility scooter to a man that was a victim of mobility scooter theft, giving him back his freedom to get out and about. They helped a family with children with mobility problems by landscaping their garden so they could access the outside with more ease in their wheelchairs.

Over this past year they have helped support children and families who have needed to fundraise themselves towards vital health treatment, services and much needed equipment. Another example of their financial support is to local small charities such as the Braintree Area Food Bank and the Braintree District Mencap Society.”

If you would like to support Rhian and the CSS Charitable trust, please click here.

New Announcement: East & South East Regions

To help continue with our dedication to improving children’s lives, we are excited to announce we are broadening our coverage of England.

As of the 1st April, Moments Fostering and Fostering People Too will officially become Compass Fostering. Moments Fostering will be joining Gravesend in forming our new South East region serving Kent. Fostering People Too will be joining Newmarket in creating a new East region. This will serve Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Luton, Norfolk, Peterborough, Southend, Suffolk and Thurrock.

East & South East Regions

Central Staff Engagement Day 2017

Yesterday (11th October) we had our first Staff Engagement Day for the Central region, where we had heard talks, stories, and even songs!

It also gave us another opportunity to celebrate our Outstanding Ofsted result!

Andrew Hore said:

“Thanks for the day we all really enjoyed it. It was great fun and Luke’s speech was very inspiring”