lunch

Packed Lunches!

When Charlotte first started nursery (five years ago!) I did loads of research to find the perfect lunchbox for her. After much searching and review reading, I finally decided to get a Yumbox (this is NOT a sponsored post!). I loved how the box allowed me to send her with a variety of foods as opposed to simply a sandwich and bag of crisps. It made the whole idea of having to pack a lunch so much more fun!

As is my way, I got slightly obsessive over the idea of creating easy, healthy lunches for her that she would enjoy eating and that I could enjoy putting together. I spent a lot of time pinning ideas of Pinterest, but quickly realised that I didn’t have the time or patience for much of what I saw on there. It seemed most options were either too fussy, or not healthy enough.

So I came up with a list of inspiration on my own and organised it under the following headings:

  1. entrée (usually covers protien and starch)
  2. vegetable
  3. fruit
  4. snack
  5. something sweet

My goal was then to choose something from each heading for her lunch.

When I sat down to plan my meals at the weekend, I would also (roughly) plan out Charlotte’s lunches and shop for those as well. Often times I was able to use leftover from dinners in her lunches. If I were making fish cakes, I would make some small ones to fit in her yumbox and stick them in the freezer to use later. If I were making quiche or pizzas, I would make mini versions that could go in her lunch. Leftover meat is great dipped in a bit of sauce, and leftover falafel dipped in hummus is always a hit. (The pic below was leftover Korean beef tacos and leftover plum cobbler!)

Neither of my kids need packed lunches these days, but I always look forward to packing their lunches for camps they attend over school breaks. I thought it would be fun to share my inspiration lists with you. I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas as well!

Entree (starch/protein):
Cucumber/cream cheese sandwich
Cheese and crackers
Beans and rice
Hummus and crackers
Hummus or cream cheese vegetable sandwich “sushi” *
Rice cake and cheese
Lunch meat and cheese rolled together and held with a toothpick
Quinoa patties
Meatballs and marinara
Falafel and tzaziki/hummus
Prawns and dip (ketchup mixed with mayo)
Bagel with cream cheese
Hard boiled egg
Devilled eggs
Egg salad
Pasta and sauce
Cream cheese/vegetable sandwich on blinis or pancakes
Tinned tuna sandwich “sushi”*
Tuna salad
Chicken salad
Salmon salad
Prosciutto wrapped melon
Tortellini/ravioli and marinara
Avocado sandwich
Frittata
Olive tapenade and cheese sandwich
Pancake hearts (use cookie cutter) and bacon
California rolls (purchased)
Ham/cheese/tomato/olive skewers

Vegetables:
Carrots
Celery
Broccoli
Snap peas
Peas
Cucumber
Cherry tomatoes
Caprese salad
Asparagus
Corn
Edamame
Mushrooms
Baby corn
Sweet potato mash
Hearts of Palm
Peppers

Fruit:
Sliced apple
Clementine
Peach slices
Plum
Grapes
Blueberries
Applesauce
Cantaloupe
Watermelon
Pineapple
Kiwi
Fruit skewers
Melon (balls)
Dried fruit
Figs
Dates

Snacks:
Olives
Seaweed (nori strips)
Pickles
String cheese
Babybell cheese
Yoghurt
Granola
Granola bar
Cranberries
Raisins
Pretzels
Homemade muffins
Tortilla chips and salsa
Tortilla chips and guacamole
Popcorn
Bite size crackers
Cottage cheese
Rice crackers

Sweet things:
Sesame candies
Chocolate coin
Chia pudding
Chocolate pudding
Biscuit
Chocolate square
Chocolate chips
M&M’s
Marshmallows
Fruit leather

*sandwich “sushi”: cut the crust off of a piece of bread and use fingers to squish it flat. Spread ingredients thinly over the bread before rolling it up. Slice into pieces.

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