Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lunch box ideas

Grumbles is off to kinder for two days this year, which means that for the first time she'll need a packed lunch. Sniff, sniff, they sure grow up fast. Now, I could just bung in a sad and sorry white bread, Vegemite and Kraft cheese slice sandwich with a floury apple like my own mother did for years, but I think I'd rather exercise my culinary muscles a wee bit more than that, plus provide something far more nutricious and enticing for Grumbles.

No offense, Mum, but c'mon - the same sandwich for 13 years? Geez.

So here's a list of things to inspire me when I find myself in kitchen at 8:45, butter knife in one hand and the Vegemite jar in the other. History shall not repeat!

- Potato salad and cheese
- Dates and goats cheese on rye
- Red cabbage coleslaw and cheese
- Hummous with cumminy grated carrot
- Curried egg salad and rocket
- Marinated peppers, eggplant, roasted sweet potato and feta
- Chutney and tasty cheese
- Olive tapenade and roasted vegie slices
- Salad with beetroot dip
- Roasted tomatoes with basil, oregano, rocket and feta
- Beany Sloppy Joes with lettuce
- Avocado and smoked tofu
- Fruit bread with cream cheese

Now, keep in mind that you don't need to just use bread. Oh, no, siree! You can use wraps, or pitas, or bagels, or baguettes, or tortillas or any other sort of carby goodness. Mmmmm... carbs! Best to go for wholemeal and whole grained bread, as they will have a lower GI. Lower GI foods are digested more slowly, which means the brain receives glucose at a nice steady rate, aiding in concentration - perfect for school kids, rather than giving them a bit fat high GI glucose rush, which may leave them tired, irritable and unable to concentrate. For more GI info see here.

Food for hot summer days:
- Chilled soups, such as avocado and buttermilk; Moroccon carrot; chilled Borscht
- Rice paper rolls with dipping sauces
- Watermelon and feta salad
- Pita pockets stuffed with salad and felafals
- Pasta salad with olives, feta and roasted cherry tomatoes
- Chilled dips with turkish bread and julienned vegetables
- Spicy brown rice pilafs with chilled yoghurt
- Couscous salads with dressings

Food for chilly winter days:
- Refried beans with plain corn chips
- Dhal with wholemeal garlic roti
- Grumble's favourite soups, such as minestrone, curried pea and lettuce, Indian-style tomato and lentil, potato and leek, Thai pumpkin.
- Serve the soups in a thermos, with something to dip with on the side: savoury muffins, bread rolls, parmesan and olive pinwheels, cheesy toast fingers etc
- Toasted muffins with pizza toppings
- Samosas with raita
- Vegetable pasties with sauce
- Warmed oriental noodles in the thermos
- Reheated wholemeal pizza slices
- Warmed up casseroles with cheesy or herby dumplings
- Vegetables curried with brown rice

- Fruit, obviously, based on what is in season
- Fruit salads
- Dried fruits
- Dips with carrots and cucumber
- Home made museli bars
- Fruity muffins
- Cherry tomatoes with cubes of cheese
- Home made biscuits that are light on the sugar and heavy on the oats
- Celery with peanut butter
- Slices of gherkins with cheese

Whew! I think I'm now officially out of ideas. If anybody has any more suggestions, leave them in the comments - I love to hear what your kids munch away on!


  1. Whoa, I'm super hungry just looking at that list.
    By the way, do you have a recipe for homemade muesli bars? I've got an oat slice recipe that I cut into chunks, but it's not that healthy - too much butter.

  2. You'll have to scrap the PB idea, and i'm not sure about hommus ( ? )

    Our kindy has a 'no outside foods' rule. Other kids with allergies, you see. Last year it was a full day, so the kitchen there made better food than I ever cook, which was nice :)

    This year it's 3hour stints, so they expect your kid to be fed before arrival, and after they leave. I pay a 'fruit levy', so there's fruit for snackin'

    I'm kinda glad of it all so I don't get outted as the bad mum who can't be arsed stretching her imagination ( and feeling so bad next to good mums like you :)

  3. Anonymous10:29 am

    It all sounds so delicious. Hope you can keep it up - I must admit after making lunches for nearly 10 years now - I am so done with it. Quick and easy is my motto now I am afraid!

  4. Anonymous1:23 pm

    Yum. Can you make my lunch too Jorth?
    The word verification is nuffughe, which I think will sum up your response to this question :0)

  5. Yum! Can I bring my Bento box over for you to pack my lunch?

  6. My boys love PB in celery sticks, but as H&B said, that's a no go for kinder. I used to substitute philly for PB on kinder days.
    Great list, I'll be referring to it once school goes back.

  7. I too suffered boring sandwiches for my school days and have made it a point to give my kids better lunches. I have had quite a few of the girls teachers say 'I love seeing what is in their lunch boxes' - though often it is left overs from the night before which they like cold anyway.
    Now they can read - every now and then i slip a little note or card in their lunch box.

  8. I had kids at school over 26 years and beore the yougest started school I broke my ankle in the mid year school holidays. My husband had to make the lunches for a fair while and I decided as his work got busier that because the kids could make their own breakfasts and cook other food, they could make their own lunches for school. After finding quite a few of my "flash" sandwiches, chucked out along the drive on their way home from the school bus (we live on a farm), guess what they made EVERY day for themselves............. Vegemite sandwiches!!!!

  9. yes I think lunchboxes have moved on from the good old vegemite sandwich!

    We love frittata in this house! our favourite is pea, spinach, feta, red onion and cheese on top with 8 eggs! bake in a lined square cake tin for 20 minutes in 200 degree oven. Perfect meal when served with a piece of bread. We add sweet potato or pumpkin if we have it but once you've made it you can fiddle around ingredients! very popular with my 2 year old and hubby!


  10. I know this post is from months ago, but I just had to comment! I wish I had had packed lunches like this! heck, I wish I ate like this normally now!


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