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Well, my kids are back to school today and over the last week or so a few of you have asked for lunchbox ideas…

So I thought I would post some of my favourite lunchbox ideas over this week – which of course I will add to over time.

I’d love you to comment with any ideas of your own too!

So – where to start? Well firstly I should be upfront and say I actually LOVE packing lunches. I like all the little containers and thinking up new things for my  boy to eat.  He is a great adventurous eater so I can be creative (who knows how this will be when my younger one needs a lunch packed – it will all be vegemite sandwiches then!). 

I like to pack the lunchbox the night before – adding a sandwich in the morning if he is having one. I say IF he is having one as he isn’t a huge sandwich fan, and I prefer him not to have a sandwich everyday. We usually have lunch order one day a week (which ironically is often a toasted sandwich), a sandwich once or twice a week and some sort of warm meal in a thermos or quiche/slice/frittata the other day/s.

I then make sure there is plenty of fresh fruit and veggies, some more protein and some carbs – energy building foods.  I never pack juice and he has a ‘treat’ once, possibly twice a week (depending what the treat may be).  I usually make the lunchbox when the kids are in the shower (and I have 2 lunchbox sets so one is washed and the other packed at any time).  Here are some things I always use for lunch boxes:

SANDWICHES:

– as I said these aren’t a huge feature – when we do them I use a grainy bread (ideally Burgen but this doesnt get much of a thumbs up!)

– sometimes I do sandwich ‘handrolls’ – I roll the bread with a rolling pin and fill with grated veg, cheese, hummous etc and roll it up (stick with a toothpick) – novelty factor gets these over the line

– when I do regular sandwiches some of the best fillings are: homemade tuna dip (recipe below), cheese, avocado and vegemite,   poached chicken and mayo, hummous and carrot, tuna pattie and tomato sauce

PROTEINS:

– I often make tuna patties or chicken balls which we have for dinner and I give some of these as the ‘main meal’ instead of a sandwich (if I do this I add some crackers or other carbs too) with a dipping sauce

– boiled egg is a good play time snack

– cheese – I alternate what ones I put in – either a babybel or some sliced cheddar

– hummous – I often add a tub of hummus (or another dip – the cannellini bean one from my rainbow plate is good) and some crackers or crudites to dip

– baked beans (I never knew he would eat them cold until he asked me for them)

– a yoghurt – I dont buy squeezies anymore, they are full of sugar and I would prefer him to use a spoon. I usually buy a sugar free tamar valley one with fruit – but occasionally am ‘convinced’ on another one!  Any yoghurt will freeze well and defrost in the lunchbox

– I never pack juice but I do sometimes pack a UHT low fat milk for added protein and dairy

FRUIT AND VEG

– I dont think I need to advise on this but favourites for us that stay nice and fresh are cherry tomatoes, a cooked corn on the cob, peas, baby cucumbers, cherries, strawberries, lychees, blueberries, carrot sticks – as well as the usual apples, bananas and mandarins. he also LOVEs orange segments – and I often freeze these or grapes for him.

– I often add some cooked veg from dinner – today he has roasted sweet potato from our Sunday roast 

CARBS

– I usually add some rice crackers, pretzels or similar too

SUBSTITUTES FOR SANDWICHES

– I often pack pasta, risotto or homemade fried rice in a thermos for lunch

– a pumpkin soup or similar is also good on a cold day

– I make lots of frittatas, savoury muffins, vege slices, fritters instead of sandwiches – will post these recipes this week!

Many of these will be really useful if your child is gluten free!

Finally, I like to make lunchbox time fun – I will often pop a note in for him to read or a nice napkin (for example mr men or other kids themes) or a little surprise of some sort. He LOVES this and looks forward to seeing what I have popped in there! I love surprising him too!

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