Make-ahead ideas for children’s lunch boxes

With back to school right around the corner, now’s the time to dust off the lunch boxes and get organised with these easy lunch recipes.

Here are some clever ideas for lunch boxes that you can make and pack the night before and keep in the fridge.

Don’t get anxious about providing endless variety – a rotation of three or four options across a school week is more than enough.

And don’t forget to add plenty of cold or iced re-useable BPA-free water bottles, and small pieces of fruit.

Hummus 3 ways

Can be made up to four days ahead of serving. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Blend 1 × 400g tin drained and rinsed chickpeas with 1 tablespoon tahini, the juice of 1 lemon and:

  • For avo hummus – 1 avocado
  • For veggie hummus – ½ cup leftover cooked veggies (carrot, pumpkin, sweet potato)
  • For beetroot hummus – four slices drained, tinned beetroot

Greek yoghurt stir-throughs

Place ½ cup full-cream, unsweetened Greek yoghurt into small airtight containers.

Stir through:

  • ½ peeled kiwi fruit and 2 teaspoons chopped mint, blend until smooth
  • 1 small mashed banana and 1 tablespoon sultanas
  • 50g mashed raspberries and 2 teaspoons currants

Cover and keep chilled.

Savoury wraps/roll-ups

Use your child’s favourite wrap or flat pita bread and fill with:

  • 2 tablespoons spreadable cream cheese, 50g shaved ham, thinly sliced red and green capsicum
  • ¼ cup basil pesto, 80g shredded cooked chicken, ¼ cup grated tasty cheese
  • ½ avocado, 1 tablespoon salsa, ½ cup drained, rinsed and patted-dry tinned red kidney beans

Then roll up tightly, halve or cut into 4cm lengths and wrap with plastic wrap.

Mini quiches

Grease and line a mini muffin tray with small squares of puff pastry, then fill with:

  • Corn, cream cheese, bacon
  • Tuna, tomato, feta
  • Ham, cheese, pineapple

Whisk 2 eggs together and pour over filling. Bake in a 200C (180C fan-forced) oven for 25 minutes or until cooked, puffed and golden.

Get ready for school with these handy hints:

Keeping it off by Michelle Bridges

Recipes and images extracted from Keeping It Off by Michelle Bridges, published by Pan Macmillan, available in all good bookstores now. Image: Rob Palmer.