Back to School Lunch Ideas
Updated: Aug 27
With back to school approaching fast, I wanted to help you get prepared with some healthy lunchbox ideas for kids. We’re all busy parents and thinking of school lunch ideas will, I’ve no doubt, become a chore. I wanted to try share a few tips and recipes just to get you started.
Lunch is an important meal of the day. It makes up 1/3 of our daily nutritional needs so it’s a good idea to put some planning into it.
1. Variety from Each Food Group - Fruit, vegetables, carbohydrates, protein & dairy.
2. Keep it Interesting
a. Mix up the types of bread offered
e.g. wholemeal pitta, wrap, wholemeal bagel, roll.
c. Pasta/rice/couscous salads
d. Veggie Muffins
f. Leftover dinner
3. Get Them Involved – get your child involved in choosing their lunchbox and helping choose some part of their lunch for that day, be it the fruit, vegetable, or bread type.
4. Include New Foods – try include one new food a day or even a few times a week. It’s an opportunity for them to be exposed to that new food, even if they don’t eat it, they might try it and then try it again another time. It can take a long time for children to like particular foods but you never know they might surprise you!
5. Include a Drink – about 8 cups of fluids of milk or water are the best options. If offering fruit juice, choose 100% fruit juice or unsweetened fruit juice and limit it to a few times a week at mealtimes.
6. Lunchbox/Small Flask – Get a lunchbox that your child can easily open, can be easily cleaned and has a few different sections in it. I’m a big fan of the Yumbox Panino lunchbox for younger children. It’s an eco-friendly lunchbox that is completely leakproof with lots of compartments for a healthy balanced lunch.
During the colder months, it’s a great idea to get a mini flask to keep nutritious soups and leftover dinners warm that they can bring to school.
1 x 320g sheet ready rolled puff pastry, thawed if frozen
A few spoonful’s of passata*
¼ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp garlic powder
100g grated mozzarella & cheddar mix
4 sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
1 slice of ham, roughly chopped
1 egg, beaten
1. Preheat oven to 180C fan and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
2. Unroll the pastry gently so that it doesn’t crack.
3. Spread the passata or tinned chopped tomatoes evenly over the pastry leaving a 2cm margin on the shorter side. Sprinkle the oregano, garlic powder and cheese on top. Then evenly distribute the chopped sundried tomatoes and ham.
4. Roll up the pastry tightly, starting with the long side. Slice the pastry into 8 - 10 equal slices.
5. Place the pinwheels on the lined tray so that the swirl is facing upwards. Brush lightly with beaten egg and place in a preheated oven for approximately 14-16 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.
These can be served hot or cold and can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Any variety of toppings can be used.
*I’ve used both passata and tinned chopped tomato for these but you can also use a shop bought pizza sauce if you have it.
CORONATION CHICKEN PASTA SALAD
Prep Time: 15 mins
Makes: 4-6 children's portions
1 tsp mild curry powder
80g natural yogurt
Juice ½ lemon
250g cooked wholemeal pasta
100g cooked chicken, diced into bite size pieces
20g dried apricots, finely chopped
1 pink lady apple, finely grated
1. In a large bowl, mix together the curry powder, yogurt and lemon juice.
2. Add all the remaining ingredients and stir well.
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20-25 mins
Makes: 12 muffins or 16 cupcakes
250g self-raising flour
30g spinach, finely chopped
35g sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
125g grated cheddar cheese
1. Preheat oven to 180C fan and line tin with muffin or cupcakes cases, whichever you’re using.
2. In a jug whisk the milk and eggs together.
3. Place the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and mix together. Pour in the milk and egg mixture and stir well to combine.
4. Spoon the mixture evenly into the muffin cases. Place in a preheated oven and cook for 20-25 minutes (20 minutes for the small cupcakes and approx. 25 minutes for the muffins)
5. Cool on a wire rack before serving.
These are suitable for freezing or can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days.
I hope you enjoy the excitement of getting ready for back to school or Montessori!
For more inspiration, check out the recipes section of the website.