Let's make the dreaded school lunches exciting for your little ones and easier for you!
Working as a teacher I see, firsthand, the different types of foods that go into school lunchboxes each day. As a mum of a little boy about to start kindergarten I already have my mind on what I will pack for him to ensure he is eating well and getting the energy he needs to keep him going for the day.
Some of our favourite recipes are ones that can be prepped in large quantities and frozen because they are great for when you have a busy week or for those times when you have run out of food in the fridge! Many of these recipes use leftover veggies and staple ingredients that you usually have in the pantry or fridge.
Pizza pinwheels - Quick and easy and can be frozen after baking.
- 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, defrosted
- Pizza sauce
- Pizza toppings of your choice (we like ham, salami, capsicum, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and fresh or mixed herbs) and grated pizza cheese.
Method: Spread pastry with pizza sauce, top with toppings and cheese and roll tightly. Slice into 12 even pieces. Place on a Silicone Form and bake for approximately 15 minutes at 180°C.
Mini savoury muffins – Hide lots of vegetables in these muffins by grating zucchini and carrot, finely dicing capsicum, cherry tomatoes, spinach or mushrooms!
- One medium zucchini, grated
- One medium carrot, grated
- ¼ cup sweet corn
- ¼ cup frozen peas
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
- ½ cut milk
- ¼ cut plain Greek yoghurt
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups plain wholemeal flour
- 3tbs baking powder
Method: Place the zucchini and carrot onto a clean dish towel and wrap it around the vegetables to squeeze out the juice. Place vegetables, cheese, milk, yoghurt, olive oil and eggs in a Mixing Bowl and stir until combined. Mix the flour and baking powder together and then slowly add to the wet ingredients. Fold mixture gently until just combined. Use the TupperChef TupCake Form and spoon in the mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes on 180°C.
Mini quiches – always a favourite in our house. Easy to make and freeze well.
- 2 sheets puff pastry thawed
- 2 rashers bacon thinly sliced
- ½ cup frozen corn
- 1 zucchini grated
- ½ cup cheddar cheese grated
- Eggs lightly whisked
Method: Preheat the oven to 200°C. Grab your Silicone tray (no oil needed!) and cut the pastry into circles and place on the tray. Mix the eggs, cheese, zucchini, bacon, and corn together. Pour evenly between the pastry cups (they will be about ⅓ full but they will puff up). Bake at 200°C for 15-20 minutes. Cool in the Silicone Tray for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and continue to cool.
Nut free muesli bars - Great for schools that have rules around bringing food with nuts.
This recipe is a favourite in our household, and it works out to be so much cheaper than buying store bought bars!
- 125 g butter
- ½ cup (170g) honey
- ⅓ cup (70g) brown sugar
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup (110g) rolled oats
- ½ cup (45g) desiccated coconut
- ⅓ cup (50g) plain flour
- 1 cup dried fruit chopped apricots, sultanas, raisins etc
- 1 cup (25g) puffed rice rice bubbles or similar
Preheat oven to 160°C (fan-forced).
Place the butter, honey and brown sugar into a bowl and warm in the microwave. Heat on 50% power until just melted and stir together (stir every 30 seconds).
Add the cinnamon, vanilla extract and salt. Mix together well.
Add the rolled oats, coconut, plain flour, dried fruit and puffed rice. Mix together.
Pour the mixture onto the Silicone Form and press down firmly and evenly.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until just golden. Allow to cool completely before cutting into slices.
Some other snack ideas that might work with your family could be…
- Carrot/celery sticks with dip.
- Yoghurt, fresh or frozen berries and muesli
- Sausage rolls
- Homemade popcorn – fun to make and you can limit the salt added.
- Corn and zucchini fritters
- Banana bread
Lunches don’t have to be extravagant or as exciting as this every day. Mix it up with healthy sandwiches and wraps to ensure your kids are getting a variety of fruit and vegetables while they’re at school burning energy, learning and playing!
Words by, Digital creator, teacher, Jess
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