If you’re anything like me, you might sometimes get stuck for lunchbox ideas. You’ve tried so many different things and can’t remember half of them. At times like this, it’s nice to be reminded of a few tasty options we know our kids like, and perhaps also to find a few new ideas we hadn’t thought of.
So here are eighteen lunchbox or snack ideas, perfect for school, travel or snack time at home.
1. Grape and Cheddar Sticks
Cut white or yellow cheddar into blocks and add one seedless grape per toothpick.
2. Ham and Cream Cheese Rolls
Spread cream cheese of your choice on a piece of ham, and roll it up. Cut into bite-sized pieces.
3. Cucumber Rolls
Using a sharp vegetable peeler, slice the cucumber lengthwise into long thin strips. Place the strips on a towel to absorb the liquid. Place about a spoon of cream cheese, cottage cheese or egg mayo onto one end of the strip and roll it up. Secure with a toothpick and keep in the fridge until ready to pack.
Tip: Sprinkle some grated carrots for added colour and flavour.
4. Melon Wrapped in Ham
Cut the melon into bite-sized blocks and wrap each piece with a slice of prosciutto or shaved ham. Secure with a toothpick.
5. Apple with Peanut Butter
Simply cut up some apple and add a spoon of peanut butter.
Tip: Celery also tastes great with peanut butter. Spread it into the hollow of the stick, add 3 or 4 raisins on top and you’ll have ants on a log.
6. Fruit Kebabs
Use any fruit or veggies your child loves, and add pieces of ham or prosciutto in between.
7. Rolled Bacon
Just fry or grill pieces of bacon and roll it up. Secure with a toothpick.
8. Bacon and Egg Cups
Ingredients (makes 12 cups)
- 12 slices bacon
- 8 eggs
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
Preheat oven to 180 °C and spray a 12 muffin tin with non stick spray. Whip the eggs, salt, pepper and cheese with a fork. Wrap each piece of bacon inside the sides of each muffin cup. Fill each bacon lined muffin cup 3/4 of the way with the egg mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the egg cups are golden brown.
9. Bacon, Cheddar, and Spinach Snails
Ingredients (makes 20)
- 1 sheet (1/2 package) puff pastry sheets, defrosted
- All-purpose flour, for dusting
- 4 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
- 2/3 cup shredded strong cheddar cheese
- 1 cup baby spinach, chopped
- Black pepper
- 1 egg + 1 tablespoon water, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 200 °C and line a baking sheet with baking paper. On a lightly floured surface, unfold the pastry sheet and roll out to a 35 cm square. Brush the pastry sheet with the egg mixture. Sprinkle cheese, spinach and bacon evenly over pastry, leaving a 1½ cm border on two opposite sides. Season with black pepper. Roll it up and cut into 1½ cm slices (you should get about 20 slices). Place the slices onto the lined baking sheet and brush with the egg mixture. Bake for 15 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown. Remove the pastries from the baking sheets and let cool on wire racks for 10 minutes.
10. Deviled Eggs
- 6 eggs (hard boiled and peeled)
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- 1 teaspoon tomato sauce (optional)
- Paprika, for garnish (optional)
Slice eggs in half lengthwise, removing yolks to a medium bowl, and placing the whites on a plate. Mash the yolks using a fork. Add mayonnaise, mustard and tomato sauce, and mix well. Heap teaspoons of the yolk mixture into the egg whites and sprinkle with paprika. To avoid a messy lunchbox, put two halves together, with the mixture in the middle. Pack in a small compartment.
11. Fold-Over Quesadilla
Have it with just cheese, or add toppings like you would on a pizza. Keep it simple with the fillings though. Stick to just a few ingredients and only use about 1/2 cup or so per quesadilla.
Sprinkle cheese and whatever toppings you’d like to add, over half of a flour tortilla, spreading evenly. Fold the tortilla in half. Heat a large nonstick pan over medium heat and coat with cooking spray. Add the folded quesadilla and cook for 2 minutes. Turn and cook another 2 minutes or until the cheese melts. Remove from the pan, and cut it into 3 or 4 wedges.
12. BLT Wraps
- 1 wholegrain tortilla
- 3 tablespoons softened cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped tomato or red pepper
- 2 slices cooked bacon or ham, chopped
- ½ cup shredded lettuce
In a small bowl mix cream cheese, mayo and bacon. Spread mayo mixture over tortilla and top with tomatoes/peppers and lettuce. Roll tightly and secure in plastic wrap. Refrigerated for one hour so they get firm. To serve cut into slices with a serrated knife. A regular knife will squish them!
13. Cheese and Spinach Muffins
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 egg
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup baby spinach, finely chopped
- 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 180 °C and lightly grease a 12 cup muffin tin. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a mixing bowl. Stir the melted butter, egg, milk, spinach, and Cheddar cheese together in a large mixing bowl until evenly blended. Slowly stir in the flour mixture to form a batter. Spoon about 2 tablespoons into each muffin cup. Bake for about 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Tip: You can also substitute the spinach with bacon or ham.
If the kids had bacon or eggs for breakfast, then muesli is a great snack idea. Try use a chunky variety that can be enjoyed without a spoon.
15. Trail Mix
This yummy snack is high in calories, so keep the serving size to a quarter-cup or less.
Mix ‘n’ Match your own ingredients.
Healthier options include almonds, pistachios, cashews, peanuts, and walnuts.
Use macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, pecans, and pine nuts in moderation.
Sprinkle a handful of pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, or flax seeds.
Look for dried fruit options with as little added sugar and preservatives as possible. Dried apples, cherries, cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, apricots, raisins, banana chips, figs, pineapple chunks, mango, or dates.
Avoid highly processed cereals that add unnecessary sugar and sodium. Shredded wheat cereal, pretzels, bran flakes, whole-wheat crackers, granola, toasted oats, or puffed rice cereal.
Use treat-like options sparingly. Sprinkle M&Ms, chocolate chips, cacao nibs, yogurt-covered raisins, or dark chocolate-covered nuts.
16. Veggie Sticks and Dip
Chop your kid’s favourite veggies into sticks and pack with hummus or cream cheese.
Choose a combination of meat, vegetables and/or fruit. Cut the ingredients into similar-size pieces and season to taste. Preheat a grill to high and thread the ingredients onto skewers. If you’re using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 20 minutes first. Grill the kebabs, turning, until the ingredients are cooked. 3 to 15 minutes, depending on chosen ingredients.
Plan supper with lunchboxes in mind and then cook extra. Perfect leftovers are sausages, kebabs, chicken wings, drumsticks, salad, pizza, grilled veggies and pasta.
Always have bottles of water ready in the fridge.
Pack the necessary utensils and serviettes.
Once in a while (or every day), leave a love note. It will brighten any child’s day.