Most children in the UK are back to School next week, which means you may soon be back to prepping lunchboxes. It can be tricky to keep coming up with healthy and appealing lunchbox ideas, especially if you have a fussy eater, but a little bit of creativity can go a long way towards making sure that they don’t bring home leftovers!
We’ve put together our top 5 lunchbox recipes to help keep your little one going through the School (or Pre-School) day.
For more top tips for packing school lunchboxes, take a look at our Perfect Packed Lunches for School Explorers blog post with Claudi & Fin.
1) Pizza Pinwheels
Pizza pinwheels are a lovely alternative to sandwiches. They’re really easy to make the night before, and you can add whatever toppings your children enjoy. This recipe uses ham and cheese but you could add tomatoes, olives or peppers to jazz them up a bit. They’re really healthy and filling, so they’re a great choice for lunchboxes.
- 1 pack of ready rolled puff pastry
- 6tbsp ready made pasta sauce
- 100g wafer thin ham
- 100g grated cheddar cheese
- 1 egg, beaten
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees (180 degrees fan).
- Unroll the pastry and place on a board (on a sheet of baking paper if it isn’t included).
- Spread a layer of pasta sauce on the pastry dough, leaving a 1cm border around the edges
- Arrange the ham evenly on top and scatter over the grated cheese.
- Roll the pastry up as tightly as possible (from the shorter end), then chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.
- Take a sharp knife and cut the roll into 12 equal slices.
- Arrange on a baking sheet lined with baking paper, then brush with a beaten egg.
- Cook for 12-15 minutes until puffed and golden, and store in an airtight container.
2) Fruit Roll Ups
These fruit roll ups are incredibly delicious, healthy and easy to make – they’re brilliant for making together on a rainy day. You could also substitute the strawberries for blackberries, peaches or oranges to give them a bit of variety.
- 400g strawberries (stalks trimmed)
- 1 green apple (cored and cut into chunks)
- Add the strawberries and apple chunks to a saucepan, and cook gently over a low heat.
- Cook until the strawberries have softened and given up their juice and the apple is soft.
- Take the pan off the heat, and puree the contents with a stick blender or food processor.
- Sieve the mixture into a clean pan, then put back on a low heat and cook until the puree thickens enough to leave a clear patch on the bottom of the pan when you drag a spoon through it.
- Turn the oven on at the lowest heat setting.
- Pour the puree onto a lined baking sheet, and spread it out into a thin layer (but not too thick – it should still look opaque).
- Put the baking sheet in the oven and dry until the surface is no longer tacky, but it is still flexible. This may take a few hours.
- Leave to cool completely, then slice into strips and roll up individually. Store in an airtight container
3) Hummus and Carrot Wraps
Hummus is a really healthy sandwich filler for children. It’s high in protein but low in fat, and contains iron, potassium, vitamins B6 and E. We love these hummus wraps which also contain grated carrot and lettuce, on a large wholemeal wrap, to keep their tummies full until hometime.
- 2tbsp hummus
- 1 large wholemeal wrap
- 1 small carrot, grated
- 2tbsp shredded lettuce
- Spread the hummus over the wrap, then sprinkle over the grated carrot and shredded lettuce.
- Fold the bottom of the wrap up (to make sure the fillings don’t escape), then fold in both sides, and tightly roll (for a guide to rolling the perfect wrap, see here).
- Cut in half to serve.
4) Peanut Butter Flapjacks
These healthy peanut butter flapjacks are the perfect sweet treat for lunchboxes (or as an after-school snack)
- 250g rolled oats
- 150g smooth peanut butter
- 130g golden syrup or maple syrup
- 1 mashed banana
- 4tbsp raisins
- Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees.
- Add the peanut butter to a pan and gently heat until runny.
- Add the other ingredients to a bowl and mix, then add the peanut butter and combine.
- Grease and line a square tin and press in the flapjack mixture, and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
- Leave to cool in the tin, then slice and store in an airtight container.
5) Rainbow Pasta Salad
Pasta salad is another brilliant alternative to sandwiches, and we love this rainbow pasta salad which will add a little bit of colour to their lunchbox. With sweetcorn, peas and red pepper, it is filled with vegetables, and will keep their tummies full until hometime. For extra colour you could even use tricolore fusilli, however we find that little ones love farfalle ‘bows’.
- 250g pasta shapes
- 50g tinned sweetcorn
- 50g frozen peas
- 1/2 red pepper, chopped
- 1tbsp olive oil
- 1tsp honey
- 1/4tsp French mustard (optional)
- Cook 250g of your child’s favourite pasta shapes according to the pack instructions (farfalle is always a hit with little ones and is our favourite for this recipe), adding the frozen peas to the pan a few minutes before the end of the cooking time.
- Drain and cool under the cold tap, then add to a large bowl.
- Mix in the sweetcorn and red pepper.
- In a separate bowl, combine the olive oil, honey and French mustard, then drizzle over the pasta and vegetables.
- Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up 48 hours.