Five Easy Lunchbox Ideas

It’s the conversation I hear time and time again for school/kindy/daycare mums – what to put in the kids’ lunchboxes?!  With the start of the school year creeping up, today I spent an hour in the kitchen and now have about 100 healthy food items in the freezer ready to fill those lunchboxes this term!

So I thought I would share my recipes & lunchbox tips, so we can all head into Term 1 feeling prepared, organised and confident we’re giving our kids some nutritious food to help their learning!

From the picture above, here’s what we’ve got, starting top left and going clockwise:

1. Sausage rolls
2. Lamb, feta & rice cups
3. Kale & parmesan scrolls
4. Zucchini Slice
5. Savoury Muffins

Recipes shortly, but first, my lunchbox hints:
– kids snacks do NOT have to come from a packet!  Don’t fall into the trap!  Think about a “litter-less lunchbox” and what that might look like (heaps of ideas below!)
– don’t put in a sweet or sugary product for the sake of it.  As a general rule, I don’t send anything sweet in the lunchbox – they are only having morning tea & lunch – they just don’t need it!  Not to say my kids don’t eat sweet things – they do! (and you’ll see some healthier options in the lunchbox pictures below)  I just don’t think it’s necessary at school every day.
– these recipes are all great for my checklist: must be filling, quick and easy for them to eat, contain vegetable/s and easy for me to make.  I don’t spend much time on lunchboxes!
– I would send these items along with fresh fruit, fresh vegetables (carrot/celery/cucumber), a savoury snack (dry biscuits, popcorn, boiled egg) and possibly yoghurt (I just buy the 1kg tub and put it in a container) – I’ve included a heap of lunchbox pictures below.
– be prepared!  If you have healthy food on hand – in the fridge or freezer – you won’t need to fall back on unhealthy options.  Doing a big cook up like this will help!
– leftovers are your friend!  Use leftover wholemeal pasta as a base to put together a yummy salad, or cook a bit of extra chicken or sausage to use.  Make your life as easy as possible.
– customise to your tastes!  It’s pretty obvious that my kids eat carrot, zucchini and corn.  These are all easily substituted for whatever takes your kids’ fancy!
– it doesn’t have to complicated!  Keep it simple!
– get an awesome lunchbox that works for you.  I love the Tupperware sandwich keeper plus – they last SO well, and you get all the little compartments without having a hundred containers to wash up!

Ok, here’s the recipes:

1. Sausage Rolls
Ingredients:
500g mince (pork/veal/beef or any combination)
1 brown onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 carrots, grated
1 zucchini, grated
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
fresh or dried herbs
4 sheets puff pastry
2 eggs, beaten

Method:
Combine mince, vegetables, breadcrumbs and herbs until well combined (you can use a food processor or Thermomix to make the process much quicker and easier).

Cut each piece of puff pastry in half lengthways, then shape a log of mince mixture onto each piece.  Brush one edge with beaten egg, then roll up, pressing the seam with a fork.  Repeat for each piece.  Place on a tray and freeze for about 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.  Remove sausage rolls from the freezer and slice each log into 4 pieces.  Place on a lined baking tray and bake for 20-25 minutes, until browned.

2.  Lamb, feta and rice cups
Ingredients:
2 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 – 1 cup cooked, shredded meat (I had leftover roast lamb, but use whatever you like!)
100g feta, diced (again, use any cheese you like)
1/2 cup corn kernels
4 eggs, beaten
fresh or dried herbs, to taste

Method:
Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.  Mix all ingredients together and season with salt and pepper.  Spray a 12-hole muffin tray with oil.  Divide mixture between holes and bake for 20-25 minutes.

3.  Kale & parmesan scrolls
Ingredients:
2 sheets puff pastry
2 cups kale
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup corn kernels
egg wash (use leftovers from sausage rolls!)

Method:
Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.  Place kale in a food processor/Thermomix and pulse until finely chopped.  Add parmesan and pulse to combine.  Spread over puff pastry then sprinkle corn kernels on top.  Roll up each sheet, using egg wash to seal.  Slice each log into about 8 pieces (more or less depending on how big you want them).  Place either in muffin holes or on a lined baking tray, cut-side up (you can sprinkle extra parmesan or brush with egg wash if you like).  Cook for about 20 minutes.

4. Zucchini slice
Ingredients:
1 brown onion, finely chopped
3 slices bacon, finely chopped
2 carrots, grated
2 zucchini, grated
1 teaspoon vegetable stock paste (or crumble a stock cube)
1 cup grated cheese
1 cup wholemeal spelt flour (what I used today, but standard flour is suitable)
1 teaspoon baking powder (or use SR flour and omit)
5 eggs

Method:
Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.  Combine all ingredients well in a large bowl (use a Thermomix or food processor to prep the vegetables much faster!)  Season with salt and pepper.  Spread into a slice pan or casserole dish.  Bake for about 40 minutes, or until well browned and cooked through.

5. Savoury muffins
Ingredients:
2 cups wholemeal spelt flour (again, fine to use a standard flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder (feel free to omit and use SR flour)
1 cup grated cheese
1/2 cup corn kernels
1 carrot, grated
100g butter, melted
1 cup milk
2 eggs
fresh or dried herbs

Method:
Preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius.  Combine all ingredients well in a large bowl, but be careful not to overmix.  Divide into a 12-hole muffin pan.  Cook for about 20-25 minutes until browned and cooked through.

All of these recipes are suitable to freeze and then pop into the lunchbox either the night before or on the morning of school.

And because I love you all, here’s 12 easy, healthy lunchboxes laid out for you:

Fresh fruit, homemade pizza, crackers & cheese, egg & gherkin.

Fresh fruit, homemade pizza, crackers & cheese, egg & gherkin.

 

Vege frittatas (onion, carrot, zucchini, capsicum, herbs, ham, cheese & vege stock), nectarine, grapes, rice cakes with cheese, soya crisps, gherkin & cucumber.

Vege frittatas (onion, carrot, zucchini, capsicum, herbs, ham, cheese & vege stock), nectarine, grapes, rice cakes with cheese, soya crisps, gherkin & cucumber.

 

Fresh fruit, seaweed crackers, a lemon slice bite (coconut, dates & lemon), boiled egg, sausage, cucumber, carrot, gherkin & cheese

Fresh fruit, seaweed crackers, a lemon slice bite (coconut, dates & lemon), boiled egg, sausage, cucumber, carrot, gherkin & cheese

 

Fresh fruit, brown rice crackers, corn, gherkin, pikelets with jam and a cheese & ham wrap.

Fresh fruit, brown rice crackers, corn, gherkin, pikelets with jam and a cheese & ham wrap.

 

Fresh fruit, boiled egg, soy crisps, carrot and a cucumber & feta whole grain wrap.

Fresh fruit, boiled egg, soy crisps, carrot and a cucumber & feta whole grain wrap.

 

Zucchini fritter, sausage, homemade popcorn, banana chips & yellow watermelon.

Zucchini fritter, sausage, homemade popcorn, banana chips & yellow watermelon.

 

Fresh fruit, corn on the cob, hummus with crackers & quiches.

Fresh fruit, corn on the cob, hummus with crackers & quiches.

 

Fresh fruit, carrot sticks, popcorn, home made muesli slice and an egg & spinach wrap.

Fresh fruit, carrot sticks, popcorn, home made muesli slice and an egg & spinach wrap.

 

Cheese & gherkin sandwich, fresh fruit, carrot sticks, rice crackers & yoghurt.

Cheese & gherkin sandwich, fresh fruit, carrot sticks, rice crackers & yoghurt.

 

Cherries, cucumber & carrot sticks with sun dried tomato dip, dry biscuits, yoghurt & noodles with cheese, corn & gherkin.

Cherries, cucumber & carrot sticks with sun dried tomato dip, dry biscuits, yoghurt & noodles with cheese, corn & gherkin.

 

Banana, cherries, dry biscuits, zucchini slice, 1/2 Vegemite sandwich, carrot, celery & leftover Thermomix custard.

Banana, cherries, dry biscuits, zucchini slice, 1/2 Vegemite sandwich, carrot, celery & leftover Thermomix custard.

 

Rockmelon, nectarine, corn, dry biscuits with pumpkin hommus & a ham/cheese sandwich on homemade spelt bread.

Rockmelon, nectarine, corn, dry biscuits with pumpkin hommus & a ham/cheese sandwich on homemade spelt bread.

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