Thursday, January 21, 2010

:: Food Ideas :: Lunch Ideas :: Snack Ideas :: Lunch Box & Wraps ::

Here are some ideas for your school-age foodies, and hey, these go well for big people who like to eat at work, or when out & about! 
Here are some other links worth checking out too:
  •  For great recipes, try the School Lunch Box Ideas from Taste.
  • The Better Health Channel also has recipes, where you can choose certain requirements, such as Nut Free, Egg Free etc. and you can also specify Lunch Box recipes!
  • Westmead Children's Hospital Snacks & Lunch Ideas
  • Some good ideas and recipes here, School Lunch Ideas
  • Alot of schools have Food Allergy programs in place, such as Nut and Egg Free, but might be good idea to check with the specific requirements of your school before stocking the freezer with lunch and snack ideas! Here is the RPA List of Nut, Egg and Milk Free Foods to help you when shopping. If you are having trouble finding dairy-free, egg-free ideas, look for Vegan recipes.
  • A couple of other requirements that schools often have, is that the kids must be able to open their own containers/ boxes, and also, that is has to be healthy. Plus, remember, if the school does have a fridge for lunches, they may not accomodate lunch boxes in it, so the lunch part might need to be in a lunch wrap or the like. If they don't provide a fridge, invest in some freezable blocks or containers with freezable lids. Or use the age-old trick of a frozen water bottle (only fill 3/4 before freezing), which doubles up to keep lunches cool and then an extra drink by lunchtime!

:: School lunch ideas :: 

Depending on the kids inclination to eat 'different' food or to use a fork/ spoon at school, think:
  • Vege Bake recipe of mine, with or without meat, or this Ham, Zuchini and Carrot 'Fritter' on Taste
  • Sandwich alternatives, such as wraps (using flat breads like Lavash bread, or Mountain bread) or pita pockets, and fill with low moisture salads. You could squeeze some extra vege's into their day with sandwiches or wraps made using Roast Vege Butter (blending roasted pumpkin, sweet potato, potato until smooth) and cream cheese/ sliced cheese!
  • Vege bake slice, or wedge of cheesy quiche, or frittata - eaten cold, like this often used
  • Mini meals, make them in muffin, or mini muffin tins, such as meatloaf, vege loaf, ham and rice loaf, pasta bake, quiche or vege bake - eaten cold. I have made this
  • Savoury muffins, these freeze/ defrost well, think Ham, Cheese and Semi-dried tomato, or
  • Rice balls, Lentil or Vege patties - perhaps felafel, if your kids like them, or try these,
  • Sushi or tofu pockets easy enough to make your own sushi rolls, and you can use sliced deli meat instead of salmon, or make them with tofu, as well as carrot, cucumber and capsicum sticks, maybe some avocado and mayonnaise
  • Salads, in small containers with a fork/ spoon - think of salads that last longer, like rice, pasta or noodle salad. Here is a good
  • "Nachos" have a small container with some baked beans, or refried bean dip, perhaps a small amount of salsa and sour cream, and some grated cheese on top, and a seperate little container with corn chips in it!
  • Vege pikelets like
  • Won ton cups with fillings. To make the cups, push wonton wrappers in mini muffin trays and bake til golden and crispy. You can use any filling that isn't too moist, such as chopped deli meat ham, any cheese, tomato or semi-dried tomato etc.
  • Puff pastry scrolls like these
  • Samosas, Empanadas, or Fresh Spring Rolls. For Empanadas or 'Magic Triangles' as we call them, you can use puff pastry, or make
  • Mini pizzas using mini pizza bases, mini tortillas, or halved English muffins
  • Soup or risotto in a thermos, for cooler weather. Don't forget the spoon
  • Gluten Free Samosas using rice paper rounds (the ones you soak... they just need to be really dry, so they'll brown when frying), and you can make them using left over curry, mashed vege's or chopped up stir fry
  • Easy Fresh Spring Roll recipe here.
  • Ham, Pineapple and Cheese Pizza Scrolls or any of these, on Taste
  • Meatballs - try chicken or beef, eaten cold with dipping sauce, such as honey soy, or tomato relish. Heaps of recipes here.
  • Corn, Zuchini and Bacon Fritters
  • Brown Rice salad, that you can adjust to your childs tastes!
  • Rice Balls, Lentil Patties, Risotto Balls, on Taste, or Lentil and Roast Vege Ball recipe of mine
  • Cheesy Corn and Zuchini Muffins. Maybe cook them in Texan muffin tins for hungry kids!
  • Microwave Ham, Corn and Cheese Rice Loaf
:: Healthy & Easy Snacks :: 
Great for recess/ morning tea, or for after school snacks. Some good recipes can be found at Healthy. Happy. Life. and Taste. You can use your own little containers, or you can buy some great re-useable little containers, such as the Snack Tubes (from Nude Food Movers by Smash) as shown above, with 3 seperate sections. Some ideas to fill them:
  • Popcorn - you can buy an air-popped popcorn maker, or make it the traditional stovetop way, then store in an airtight container for lunchboxes or for a quick, healthy after school snack
  • Healthy 'trail mix', such as carob buds, dried banana, seeds, dried fruit, dry cereal, or maybe some bhuja
  • Healthy savoury crackers, like Sakata rice crackers
  • Cheese and fruit include cubes or shapes of soft cheese, fresh cut fruit, dried fruit, crackers or some grissini sticks
  • Vege fingers & dips try raw carrot and celery sticks, snow peas, cherry tomatoes. Or lightly steamed crudites like broccoli, beans, capsicum. Try hommus or bean dips, mild salsa, guacamole or a cheese dip.
  • Last Minute ideas to have on hand, include yoghurt (frozen in tubs to take to school), mini packets of sultanas, fruit slurpees, packets mini rice wheels and rice crackers.
:: Make/ Bake Your Own ::

  • Energy bars and muesli bars, try these and these at Taste.
  • Cake, muffins, slices and cupcakes Any cake can be frozen in portions, or muffins freeze and defrost well... banana cake, carrot cake, chocolate & zuchini cake, fruit muffins. Here is my Banana Cake recipe.
  • Fruit and nut balls, such as Apricot and Coconut ones (or make up your own recipe, using high fibre biscuits, almond meal, honey etc). They freeze well and are actually pretty good frozen! These look good, Chocolatey Fruit Balls.
:: Lunch Box :: Containers :: Wraps :: Drink Bottle Links ::

I did some research into finding eco-friendly, safe and affordable lunch boxes for Little Miss M, and though I loved the tiffins and other stainless steel options I saw, I just thought it too expensive to send off with a preschooler, to only have it lost, or damaged. We bought a Sistema Slimline Quaddie (on special), which comes with a little drink bottle to freeze, and is BPA & lead free. I have also gotten a 4MyEarth sandwich wrap and snack pocket, and will perhaps make some more too. We will use a backpack/ insulated snackbag combo we already had, in which the snackbag part can be unclipped from the backpack.

Here are some links to help you find the right one for you: