Back to School Lunches: Go Beyond The Sandwich this Year

One thing most parents won't be looking forward to this back to school season is making packed lunches every morning.  Fed up of the same old, same old?  With the best will in the world, there are only so many times any living being can eat (or make) cheese sandwiches!  It's time to mix it up and make lunch more exciting, both for your child and you.


It's a Wrap

A wrap or pitta bread is a quick and easy alternative to a sandwich is a wrap.  Simply turn their favourite sandwich into a wrap or pitta pocket, or ask your child to come up with some new ideas.  Lay out a selection of ingredients for lunch one day in the school holidays and see what interesting and tasty combinations you can come up with.

Wraps and pitta are a great way to add lots of extra vegetables too.  Try carrot and houmous pitta pockets, or wraps filled with peanut butter and apple or spinach and sun-dried tomato.

Make a savoury wrap, roll it up like a burrito, cut into pinwheel slices, and add a small pot of dressing to dip into.  Ranch and honey & mustard dressing are our girls' favourites.  Just make sure the container you use is airtight or that lunchbox could get very messy (ask me how I know!)


Lunchables

What child doesn’t love little snack food containers and Lunchables?  I haven't met a child yet.  But have you looked at the price of those at the supermarket lately?  Plus, I’m not the biggest fan of the food options.

Why not save money and get your child healthier by making your own version instead?  Add fresh, real ingredients and food you know your child will eat.  Start with some cheese cut into bite-sized pieces, add some small crackers and a cup of fresh raw veggies like sliced cucumber, cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas and baby carrots.  Throw in some fresh or dried fruit and you have a delicious, healthy, homemade version.

Kids love variety and of course you can turn any of your child’s favourite snack foods, including popcorn, trail mix, crackers, cheese, fruits and veggies and the likes into lunch.  Grab a container with lots of little dividers (bento boxes are perfect) and fill them up with kid-friendly favourites.

Don't forget to add a sweet treat too, like these delicious home-made blueberry muffins.


Salad Days

Salads are another great lunch option, particularly for older children.  Get a container with a tight fitting lid and add all your child’s favourite salad ingredients, minus the dressing.

Start with a bed of lettuce or other green leaves, add more raw salad veggies, croutons, bacon bits,  olives, nuts and seeds and the likes.  Cutting everything into small bite-sized pieces will ensure that the lunch time salad is easy to eat.  Top it with a source of protein like beans, cheese, hard-boiled egg or meat, and add a bread roll on the side.

Pack dressing in a separate container along with a fork and napkin and lunch is done.  You can assemble the salad the night before and store it in the fridge.  The key is to make sure all your ingredients are very dry.  If you’re washing your lettuce, use a salad spinner, or dry it on some paper towels before starting to pack it.

Try these in your child's lunchbox:

Smokey Sweetcorn Muffins
Savoury Watercress Scones
Chestnut Mushroom Sausage Rolls
Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Quiche
Chestnut and Beetroot Wellingtons

Tabbouleh
Pasta Salad

German-style Potato Salad


This post may contain affiliate links.