Think outside the lunchbox with these 10 sandwich-free lunch ideas for school and pre-school.
Fritattas and fritters are a great way to use up leftover cooked veggies, and combines the proteins of egg and cheese with carbs and veggies in one easy dish. These sweetcorn and spring onion mini frittatas are baked in muffin tins, so will hold their shape in a lunchbox.
Use your noodle!
Make a soba or egg noodle salad with toasted sesame seeds, a few lighly steamed or stirfried veggies and your child’s favourite dressing. These savoury noodle cakes, bound with egg, are another tasty option.
Think outside the bun and roll sliced chicken, ham, or roast beef around cheese sticks, or thinly sliced vegetables. Or, beat an egg, add a dash of soy sauce, beat again, then fry the mixture like a pancake. Slice into squares or roll it up with a carrot stick or slice of red capsicum inside. You could add also sweetcorn as you fry it.
Almost scone-like, scrolls can be filled with practically anything! Fill before you bake. Savoury ideas include cheese and Marmite, ham and cheese, spinach and feta, pesto and ham, tomato, ham and cheese, tomato sauce with ham and cheese...
Bananas can be filling in themselves, but our paleo banana bread will definitely satisfy hungry tummies! Tastes great when toasted and cooled.
Mix the meats, cheeses and veggies that your kids like into cooked pasta, quinoa, pearl barley or rice, and dress lightly with a basic vinaigrette. Mix quinoa with rice or pasta if your child isn’t keen on quinoa alone. Add toasted pumpkin, sunflower or sesame seeds for a little crunch, or pop them in a little container and let your child add them when it’s time to eat.
Breakfast for lunch
Make extra food when you have time for a nice breakfast on the weekend, and save the leftovers for lunches. Think hard-boiled eggs, corn and bacon fritters, leftover pancakes... These kumara (sweet potato) waffles are delicious cold too.
These don’t have to be hot to be delicious. The cheese melting process marries the flavours, so they’ll still be together even when the quesadilla is cold. Make them with at least a half-hour spare before you need to pack them so they cool down and don’t create a mini raincloud in your lunchbox. Use mashed avocado and tomato, cheese and capsicum, sliced apple and cheese, or our peanut butter quesadilla recipe.
Cold sausages, chicken drumsticks, potato salad, ravioli, pizza… it’s practically a picnic, and we all love those!
Food on sticks
Plain and marinated tofu chunks, cheese and salami, lightly steamed vegetables, sliced cold sausage, cherry tomatoes…there is (almost) nothing that won’t taste great on a stick! For young kids, use the flat, blunt-edged bamboo sticks, not the sharp toothpick-y kind.