Now there’s nothing wrong with sandwiches, crisps and an apple. It can just get a bit dull when you have it for lunch 5 days a week, 175 weeks in the year - sometimes it's nice to mix it up a bit!
We know that parents are busy and don’t always have time to cook elaborate meals, so we’ve put together a bit of a cheat sheet of simple & healthy recipes for when you’re fresh out of lunchbox ideas.
A couple of things to note before we dive into the lunchbox inspo:
- These recipes are perfect for children up to 12yrs old (although no reason older kids can’t enjoy them too!)
- We have sometimes included suggested quantities but it’s best to pack as much as they will eat - not more (the aim is for the kids to be full up so they don't get a sugar craving but you don't want to waste food!).
We recommend keeping sweet things out of the lunch!Hungry children eat the sweet stuff first and then they don't fancy the carrot sticks! We’ve been there enough times to know…
- When choosing from the list below, best to make sure there’s some protein & lots of different colours (which indicate different nutrients).
- We’d also recommend including enough for a snack on the way home in a separate box!
Without further ado, here are our favourite kid's lunchbox ideas. It’s obviously not an exact science but we’d choose one from the top (mains), a couple from the middle (snacks) and one from the bottom (smoothies). That should keep them interesting, filling, easy on the eye and healthy!
Wraps, sarnies or pitta pockets to fill up those tummies
- Cheese and lettuce or cheese and pickle
- Egg mayonnaise
Guacamole and halloumi
- Roasted veg and feta: to roast veg, cut into 1cm slices, toss with oil, salt and pepper and shove it in the oven at 160* for about half an hour
- Grated beetroot (watch out white shirts!), grated carrot and sweetcorn
- Pesto, grated carrot
- Greek salad: chop up some tomato, cucumber and spring onion. Mix in chopped parsley if you have it, olives and feta. squeeze on lemon juice, drizzle some olive oil and sprinkle with black pepper. Easy!
- Pasta salad - so many options here! Home made or shop bought pesto is a good start, then add any amount of veg (steamed broccoli, peas, sweetcorn, borlotti beans, olives, wilted spinach, kale and spring onions work well here), then mix it all in there and season!
- Noodles: cook the noodles and refresh with cold water, then toss with sesame oil, olive oil, soy sauce, cooked broccoli stems, spiralized or grated carrot/courgette, spring onion, squeeze over an orange and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Mexican bean salad
Potato salad(boil halved or quartered salad potatoes, mix whilst still warm with mayo or salad dressing, add all or some of these things - spring onion, parsley, capers, gherkins, sweetcorn, olives, peas, black pepper, broccoli, cress, chopped red/yellow/orange pepper, avocado, celery.
- 10 minute couscous salad
Dips & Dippers
Hummus (watch here how to make enoughhummus for the week)!
- Broad bean dip
Guacamole- keeps for a couple of days. The lemon or lime juice prevents it from going grey :)
Tomato salsa - this will keep for about 3 days in the fridge. Add or remove the chilli according to taste!
- Tzatziki: grate some cucumber into a bowl and squeeze out most of the juice with your hands (you can drink it - it's tasty!). Mix the cue into some yoghurt with a pinch of salt and some black pepper. Tzatziki will keep for about 4 days in the fridge.
- Pea dip
- Carrot sticks
- Celery sticks
- Pepper sticks
- Cucumber 'spoons' - a round slice of cucumber to scoop up the dip with
- Pitta bread - cut into fingers
- Tortilla chips - great with salsa
- Bread sticks or cheese straws
- Potato wedges: wedge up a potato by cutting it first in half and then slicing longways into wedges 1.5cm thick. Put them on a roasting tray with a drizzle of oil, salt and pepper (paprika is also good). Roast at 170* for half an hr until they are going golden, turning half way through.