Five non-sandwich lunchbox ideas

It's that time of year again where the kids go back to school and the day to day grind of packing lunchboxes resumes. Here are five cheap and quick ideas to help you fill your kid’s lunchboxes this year.

I know the lunchbox struggle can be hard. It's difficult trying to find foods that they'll eat, keep things interesting, but also to choose foods that are healthier for their growing bodies too. I've gathered together some delicious, super easy recipes that you can make for lunchboxes, and there's not a sandwich in sight. 
 
Simply cook the night before and save some for the next day.

Download the recipes here.

Vegetable rice in lunchbox

Veggie rice

Makes: 6 serves 

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked and chilled brown rice (this equates to 1 cup uncooked rice)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup chopped capsicum
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups small diced broccoli florets
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil

Method

  1. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl until combined. Heat a large non-stick frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to the pan. Pour in eggs, and cook for 1 minute. Turn over and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove from pan and chop into bite size pieces.
  2. Add remaining oil to pan, and add carrots, and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Add broccoli and capsicum and sauté until veggies are soft, around 3-4 minutes.
  3. Stir in egg, rice, peas, corn, soy sauce and sesame oil and cook and toss for 2 minutes.
  4. You can serve this cold for the kids for lunch, or heat it up and pack it in a Thermos.
Baked meatballs in lunchbox

Baked meatballs

Makes: 24 meatballs

Ingredients

  • 500gms lean beef mince
  • ½ cup onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup dried wholemeal bread crumbs
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 3 tsp tomato paste (reduced salt)
  • 1 tbsp parsley, chopped

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Mix together onion, bread crumbs, garlic, egg, cheese, tomato paste, and parsley in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add in beef mince and mix gently until combined. Do not overwork. Form into 1 tbsp balls and place on prepared baking tray.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until meatballs are browned and cooked through.
  5. Pack warm or cold in your children's lunchbox.
Mini quiches

Mini pumpkin and spinach quiches

Makes: 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 500gms pumpkin, cut into small cubes
  • 2 eggs, whites only
  • 4 eggs
  • 125gms ricotta
  • 1 cup of grated cheese
  • 4 or 5 shallots thinly sliced
  • 1/2 a cup of semi dried tomatoes chopped
  • about 30gms baby spinach leaves, torn up

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200ºC. Place baking paper on a baking tray, and place cubed pumpkin onto tray. Bake for 20-25 mins. Once cooked, remove and reduce oven heat to 180º.
  2. Whisk eggs, ricotta, cheese and shallots, set aside.
  3. Divide pumpkin, spinach & tomato into 12 muffin dish, top each with egg mix.
  4. Bake for 15-20 mins. The kids can eat these hot or cold.
Chicken soup in thermos

Chicken noodle soup

Makes: 8 serves 

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2L chicken stock (reduced salt)
  • 1 chicken breast, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 250gms wholemeal spaghetti, broken into pieces

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, and onion, and sauté for 5 minutes. Add garlic then sauté for 1 more minute. Add chicken stock then bring to a boil. Add the chicken and pasta. Turn heat down to medium then simmer, stirring occasionally until pasta is cooked through.
  2. Serve in a Thermos to keep warm.
Mezze plate

Kids' mezze plate

This is a simple way to give your kids a little control over what goes into their lunchbox. Just chop and slice lots of healthier foods, and let them pick their favourites to fill their lunchbox. Some great ideas include:

  • ham
  • chicken
  • cubed cheese
  • hummus
  • snow peas
  • capsicum sticks
  • carrot sticks
  • slices of cucumber
  • cherry tomatoes
  • avocado
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Download the lunch planner here.
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