Back-to-School Lunchbox Ideas
It's that time of year again. Back to school.!! So very yay! Also, back to the daily challenge of coming up with interesting, nutritionally balanced (yet still fun!) lunchbox ideas. So very sad face.
For those of you who, like us, have made a thousand (give or take) sandwiches in their day, only to have them come back either in the same pristine state they left or (the horror, the horror) wait to be discovered at the bottom of the school bag weeks later, growing a crop of mould that may yet save humanity, we've come up with a few tricks and tips over the years.
No guarantees that the kids still won't swap out the things they don't like with their friends or that you won't find the scary mandarin at the end of term, but at least you can hold your head high when the teacher comes round to inspect their lunchbox.
Here's the deal.
Pick the right lunch box
To make sure the food stays as fresh as possible, go for an insulated lunchbox - or better yet, a box with a freezer pack. Otherwise a frozen water bottle will do the trick.
We love lunchboxes with compartments. You can keep things interesting with lots of little bits to explore - without the packaging.
Keep it clean
It's all about hygiene - especially because food will be stored in the lunch box for many hours before eating. Being in an unrefrigerated school bag will accelerate the rate of any pathogen breeding (sorry, but it's a point worth making). Make sure chopping boards and utensils are scrupulously clean and that protein, etc, is chilled when you're preparing it. Leftovers are great - as long as they've been chilled quickly, stored safely, and you're using them within a day.
Prep the lunchboxes the night before! It's so much less painful than in the morning rush where tempers and time are short. Keep them cool in the fridge overnight.
Don't forget the water! In summer, it may be worth freezing the water bottle so it stays cool until lunchtime.
Mix and match our favourites
There are so many dishes on our menu you could pop into a lunchbox, whether it's schnitzel leftovers, a slice of tomato and mozzarella pizza or sweet corn and black bean quesadillas. Our kids always liked leftover spaghetti Bolognese or any cold noodle or rice dishes.
But for bite-sized kid-friendly options, you could mix and match the following:
- Sausage rolls with sneaky veg (cut them into three before baking for mini versions!)
- Sweet corn and haloumi fritter mix (cook mini fritters)
- Free-range chicken nuggets
- Salmon, sweet potato and broccoli bites
- Bake-at-home banana bread
- Choc-coconut bliss bombs
Balance it out with fruit (fresh or dried), veggie sticks, cubes of cheese and/or popcorn.
Need more inspiration? Explore our full menu here.