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It’s so easy to get stuck in a sandwich rut when it comes to lunchboxes, which is where our Kids Kitchen mummy blogger can help. Sarah, who is mum to twins Harriet and George has some genius substitutes for sandwiches – because sometimes a ham roll just won’t cut it.
Whether you’re looking for ideas to make up your own healthy lunchbox or are just trying to find things that are a little bit more interesting for the kids, this round up is sure to spark some ideas.
We love her lunchboxes too, with their small separate spaces that make the midday meal seem a little bit more exciting than unwrapping a soggy layer of clingfilm to expose a couple of slices of bread. And the best bit is that she’s crammed in lots of fruit and veggies too, to make sure you and your little ones are getting a healthy balanced meal.
1. Pasta salads
If you’ve made up some pasta the evening before try making a little bit extra to pop into Tuppawear the next day as a pasta salad. It’s delicious cold and is a great way to get some filling carbs without having to resort to bread. For added healthy bonus points make it wholemeal.
2. Chunks of cheese
Sarah points out that cutting up cheese into bite-sized chunks is cheaper than buying miniature versions and is is hardly any less convenient. These bites of cheese provide lots of calcium and a are a real savoury treat, guaranteed to be a hit with everyone.
3. Dried apricots
If you struggle to get your five a day every day, dried fruits are a really quick and easy way to top up. Dried apricots are sweet and soft and will give a blood sugar boost without having to reach for refined sugars which can cause blood sugar crashes pretty quickly afterwards (cue, grumpy children)!
4. Carrot sticks
Chunky carrot sticks can be enjoyed as a mid morning snack or as part of a lunchtime meal and are so good for you. They’re full of Vitamin A and help skin to stay healthy too.
In the video above Sarah explains that her twins Harriet and George often want something a bit ‘bready’ if they’re not having sandwiches and that breadsticks are perfect for filling them up.
Whether you make your own hummus or buy it from the shop it’s a delicious dip for all kinds of lunchtime snacks. Both the bread sticks and carrot sticks work wonderfully with this little chickpea dip and it’s hiding lots of protein to help keep little (and big) tummies fuller for longer.
Swap up the usual apples or bananas for melon. Kids will love its super sweet taste and it’s soft and easy to eat as well. They might need a fork though, or else expect sticky fingers!
8. Miniature sausages
Other things that can be good for making in bulk the evening before are sausages. They’re surprisingly delicious cold and in our experience very popular with little people.
Another way to get a five a day hit is to include some raisins. These super sweet little dried grapes are quick and tasty to eat and are great for snacks in between classes for kids if they don’t have much time to eat at break time (in between all that playing, of course).
To add texture Sarah says she often pops a few croutons in her kids’ lunchboxes for school. You can make your own from old bread or buy some from the supermarkets. Kids love the crunch they give and they come in lots of flavours too, so you can find your favourite.
11. Couscous salad
Another filling main element you can go for is a couscous salad. Again, you can make this or buy it but small chopped veggies, herbs and dried fruits all work well with this Middle Eastern staple.
12. Boiled eggs
Boiled eggs are packed with protein and should stave off any ‘what’s for dinner’ questions for at least half an hour after school. If your kids love to peel their own like Sarah’s little ones then just pop them in whole and save yourself a job!
What do you make for your kids’ packed lunches? Let us know your favourite tips and tricks in the comments below!