Lunchbox Ideas to Love
Back to school means a return to searching for tasty, nutritious items to create a lunch box that will have your kids coming back for more. The golden rule is generally to include the necessary nutrients to ensure that your children have the energy to cruise through their day. Try to include something from each food group in the daily lunchbox.
- Dairy: Calcium is important for strong, healthy bones.
- Grains or cereals: Always choose whole grain and/or high fibre varieties of breads, cereals, rice, pasta or noodles.
- Fruit: Fruit provides vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre and many phytonutrients.
- Protein: Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds.
Vegetables, legumes and beans: Vegetables should make up a large part of our daily food intake and should be encouraged at every meal (including snack times). They provide vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre and phytonutrients.
Why not give some of these yummy recipes we tracked down online a try? They are tempting enough to pop in your own lunch box as well!
Sweet Potato Crisps
Finely slice a medium sized sweet potato and lay on a non-stick baking tray that has been very lightly wiped with olive oil. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200°C for around 20 minutes until crisp. Leave to cool.
Cinnamon Apple Crisps
Remove the core from two Granny Smith apples and slice them very thinly. Lay them on parchment paper on a flat baking tray and dust lightly with cinnamon. Place in pre-heated oven at 160°C for between 45 minutes – 1 hour. Remove each slice as it turns brown and allow to cool. When all are cool, store in an airtight container.
Minty Beetroot Dip
250 g cooked beetroot, coarsely grated
1 small cucumber, seeds scooped out and removed, then finely diced
250 ml labneh or Greek yoghurt
1 small clove of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint, with a few small leaves reserved as a garnish
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Mix all ingredients and chill in refrigerator. Serve with triangles of pitta bread or crudités of carrot, red and yellow capsicum, celery and cucumber.
Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Pâté
140 g red lentils
1 small sweet potato, diced
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika
3 sprigs of thyme (zaatar) plus extra for a garnish
1/2 litre vegetable stock
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp vinegar
Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and cook slowly until soft and golden. Add the paprika and cook for a further 2 minutes, then add the sweet potato, lentils, thyme and stock. Bring to a simmer, then cook for 20 minutes or until the potato and lentils are tender.
Add the vinegar and some seasoning, and roughly mash the mixture until you get a texture you like. Chill for an hour, then drizzle with olive oil, dust with the extra paprika and sprinkle with thyme sprigs, if you like. Serve with pitta bread and vegetable sticks.
Creamy Chicken Salad with Grapes and Almonds
2 boneless chicken breasts, steamed or baked and diced into cubes
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped celery
1 cup de-seeded red or white grapes, quartered
7 tbsp coarsely chopped roasted almonds
Mixed salad greens
Mix all ingredients (except the mixed salad greens) lightly in a large bowl. Serve on a bed of mixed salad greens.
Note: This makes 4 good portions.
1 (about 48 g) wholegrain shamy bread
1 tbsp beetroot hummus dip
1 small carrot, coarsely grated
50 g finely sliced turkey
1 ⁄2 small cucumber, sliced
20 g baby spinach, rocket or mixed salad leaves
Place wrap on a clean work surface. Spread the dip down the middle of the wrap. Top with carrot, turkey, cucumber and green salad leaves and roll. Divide neatly into three sections.
Potato, Capsicum and Pea Zucchini Slice
500 g pre-boiled potatoes, diced
1⁄2 cup extra virgin olive oil
100 g beef salami, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 red capsicums cut into 2 cm pieces
3 zucchini, grated
1⁄2 cup frozen peas
3 green onions, chopped
1⁄3 cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 cups grated tasty cheese
1⁄3 cup grated Parmesan
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup milk
Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 5.5cm-deep, 20cm x 26cm (base), 25.5 cm x 32 cm (top) enamel roasting pan. Line base and sides with baking paper, extending paper 2 cm above edges of pan.
Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add beef salami. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until browned. Add garlic. Cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Set aside to cool.
Place diced potato and beef salami in a large bowl. Add capsicum, zucchini, peas, onion, parsley, 1 1⁄2 cups tasty cheese, Parmesan cheese and flour. Mix well to combine.
Whisk eggs, remaining oil and milk together in a bowl. Add to vegetable mixture. Mix well to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Pour mixture into prepared pan, spreading to level. Sprinkle with remaining tasty cheese. Bake for 40 minutes or until top is golden and mixture is firm to touch. Stand for 15 minutes. Serve warm or cold.
Bran and Brown Rice Carrot Muffins with Lemon Icing
1 cup (120 g) oat bran
2 cups (250 g) brown rice flour
2 cups peeled grated carrot
1 firmly packed cup (250 g) brown sugar
1 cup (250 ml) sunflower oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup (125ml) milk
Lemon Icing (optional)
2 tbsp finely grated lemon zest, plus 1 tsp lemon juice
1 teaspoon brown sugar
250 g cream cheese, at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 12-hole (1/3-cup capacity) muffin pan.
Place all muffin ingredients and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Stir until smooth.
Divide batter evenly among muffin holes. Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
For the icing, place ginger, sugar and 1/3 cup (80 ml) water in a saucepan over medium heat.
Bring to the boil, then simmer for 4 minutes or until thickened. Set aside to cool.
Using electric beaters, beat cream cheese with added lemon juice, lemon zest and sugar until smooth. Spoon cream cheese onto cooled muffins and smooth over the surface.
For more ideas to add fun to lunchboxes please check out: