School is back! For this lunch box post, I wanted to focus on non-sandwich lunches. When I was a child, I used to have a vegemite sandwich, pretty much every day. However, a few of my children are not all that keen on the classic sandwich. Over the years, I’ve experimented with a lot of different food ideas for the lunch box and listed below some of the non-sandwich lunch foods I have tried that have worked well.
There are two main things I keep in mind:
- Use enough protein in the lunch box – this fills the kids up
- Have a variety of little things
1. Ham & Egg Cheesy Bites
These are super easy to make. Even my kids who don’t like quiche enjoy them. I made the bites in a mini muffin tin, and they only have 5 ingredients. You can find the full recipe here, however, they are so easy, I’ve included the instructions in the 30-second video below.
Ham & Egg Cheesy Bites (with tomato dipping sauce) | Zucchini Choc Muffin (refined sugar-free) | Carrot Sticks | Cherry Tomato | Strawberry
Cold sausage is a hit with my kids. This is a great option if we have leftovers. Already cooked meat from the deli also works well.
Tip: small sausages work well
Sausage & Salad| Tortilla | Cheese | Kiwi Fruit | Jam Scroll
3. Burger or Bread roll
They may not like a sandwich, but give them a burger and they are stoked. I had leftover chicken burger patties one night and I put it in the lunch box the next day and the kids smashed it. Another one I have tried is leftover pulled pork (can purchase already made) and coleslaw.
Tip: put the elements in separate and the kids can build it fresh when they are ready to eat.
Chicken Burger with Lettuce (pattie cut in half on small rolls)| Cherry Tomato| Peach | Avocado
Pizza is often a winner, and it can even be an English muffin pizza. Simply toast a muffin, add toppings and grill.
Banana Bread| Pizza| Kiwi Fruit| Gherkins | Salad
Tip: I often make batches of these and then freeze them. I just take them out of the freezer of the morning and they are thawed by lunch. Another tip: Drizzle lemon on cut up apple to keep from browning.
Apple | Carrot| Cheese Scroll | Mini Blueberry Muffin | Pretzels
6. Nachos Style
Use corn chips and accompany with either tomato sauce, salsa or bean mix.
7. Savoury Muffins
Cheese Muffins only have 3 ingredients so they are easy to make, but any savoury muffins will do.
Cheese Muffins | Cherry Tomato | Salad | Popcorn | Banana & Apricot
My son’s favourite is filled pasta. I tend to opt for the vegetarian versions for the lunch box, for example, spinach and fetta. Plain pasta works well also. You can also make pasta salad with leftovers.
Pasta| Apple | Biscuit Bites | Salad | Olives
9. Boiled Egg
I often boil about 10 eggs and they keep in the fridge for a few days.
Boiled Egg| Carrot| Cherry Tomato | Cheese Stick| Nectarines | Cacao Toasted Coconut Chips
Sometimes a wrap instead of a sandwich does the trick. It doesn’t have to only be a classic wrap, mini-wraps are a winner with my kids too (just spread filling thinly, roll up and chop into small rolls).
Salad Wrap| Fruit| Cherry Tomato | Cheese Blocks| Rice Crackers
Mini Salad Wraps| Blueberries| Strawberries | Coconut Muffins| Sugar Snap Peas
A small tin of tuna is a good option for kids who like it.
Tuna, Garlic flat bread, Olives, Muffin, Snow Peas, Cherry Tomato, Apple
Great for winter. Simply heat up the soup before school and place in an appropriate container (e.g. Thermos) and it will be still warm at lunch.
13. Picking Platter Food
One of my children’s favourite meals when on holidays is a picking platter. It’s a little bit of everything. Usually some meat, veggies, fruit and something a little sweet. This idea can work for the lunch box too.
Salami Sticks| Eggs |Cucumber| Strawberry | Lentil Chips
14. Quiche/Zucchini Slice/Fritters
Mini quiches, zucchini slice or fritters.
Tip: I usually make my own, but on busy weeks, I have also purchased the Zucchini Slice in the chilled meal section to use in the lunch box.
Zucchini Slice| Cucumber | Orange | Berries & Yoghurt| Mini Muffins
Zucchini Fritters| Cherry Tomato | Mini Pickets| Nectarine| Cheese & Crackers
15. Cold Meat & Salad
As long as you use an ice pack in the lunch box, I find cold meat works well.
Tip: The yoghurts in a 12-pack often fit better in the lunch box because they are shorter. If you have a leak-proof lunch box, yoghurt can be put directly into the container.
Roast Chicken & Salad| Muesli Slice| Yoghurt & Strawberries| Stuffed Peppers
Salami | Strawberry| Garlic Twist| Salad| Avocado | Purple Corn Chips
I put cooked falafel in the lunch box cold and the kids enjoy it.
Tip: Not all kids like olives, but if they do, they are SUCH a fab lunch box option.
Mini rolls| Falafel | Salad| Kiwi Fruit | Olives | Banana Bread
Kiwi Fruit| Falafel | Salad| Seed Mix| Cherry Tomato | Choc Filled Crepe
17. Bread Sushi / Bead Roll Ups
Mix it up and serve the bread in sushi-style. Either roll up the bread or cut into small section to make bread sushi.
Bread Roll Ups| Crackers & Hummus | Apple| Carrot
Bread Sushi| Cheese Triangle | Strawberry| Popcorn | Cucumber | Apricot Ball
18. Sausage/Spring Rolls
Leftover sausage rolls or spring rolls are a massive hit with my kids.
Salad & Tomatoes| Sausage Rolls | Dipping Sauce | Apricot (The Odd Bunch)| Crackers
19. Sushi / Rice Paper Rolls
These are a bit time-intensive to make (unless you buy them pre-made), but my children do enjoy it. Click here for instructions on to make Rice Paper Rolls. I tend to go for the vegetarian option for the lunch box.
Vegetarian Sushi| Gherkin | Mini Lamington| Salad | Apple
20. Poke Bowl Style
You can make a variety of different types of healthy bowls for the kids. For example, if you have leftover rice/pasta or corn chips, you can easily make up a burrito-style bowl in the lunch box. Include some rice, roast chicken/other meat, kidney beans, corn and grated cheese.
Pulled Pork | Beans and Veggies | Corn Chips | Apricot Balls