Tomorrow is the first day back at school for the Ankle Biters – who are closer to shoulder biters now – and the weather has kindly taken a break from the 42 degree heatwave so I can get some cooking done. The kids make their own school lunches of an evening but I like to make it as easy as possible for them to prepare a tasty, healthy lunch in a short amount of time.
We’re not huge fans of the sandwich although we do eat them some days, so I like to have a good variety of things that can be packed bento style to make lunch a little more interesting.
From left to right, starting at the top we have broad rimmed drink flasks half filled with mango and banana smoothie. i use oats that I blitz in the thermomix as well as yoghurt, fruit and milk. A ratio of 4 parts solid to 1 part liquid makes a very hearty smoothie that fills me up on its own. Next are small containers of dip. I label them in whiteboard marker so the kids can choose a flavour (hommus, tzatziki and French onion in this batch) but it washes off clean for the next batch. Small tubs of grapes go into the freezer for a cool snack on a hot day. Chicken drumettes are pre-cooked ready to pop into a lunch box. I layer them in a container to freeze with baking paper so they are easy to separate. A whole chicken poached a shredded is packed in the same way. This can be used in salads or sandwiches and is much healthier than nitrate packed deli meats. Next are a few hard boiled eggs to go in the fridge. I just do a few at the start of each week. The ice trays contain smoothie. As they freeze I tip them into ziplock bags so they can be easily put into the flasks. Last but not least, some carrot sticks which freeze surprisingly well. They accompany the dip.
From left to right we have little corn dog muffins. I used this recipe, omitting the sugar and using preservative free sausage instead of frankfurt. The remaining sausages were rolled up in some leftover puff pastry with leftover pizza sauce and leftover mozzarella. My fridge is looking a lot cleaner. Then we have a small selection of dippers for the dip, carrot, snow peas, mini capsicum and cherry tomatoes. That should get us through the first couple of weeks nicely.
And here are the first day lunch boxes ready to go – smoothies are waiting in the freezer for the morning.
Please share your best school lunch ideas in the comments.