Most of the schools in Victoria go back today, which means, back to making school lunches, back to early mornings, back to extra curricular activities. I always feel like school going back creeps up on me, and all of a sudden I’m thinking of what to pack into lunches again. I will be doing some gluten free options in the coming school lunch posts, but this week, I’m doing quick and easy, child pleasing stuff.
This is what the lunchboxes look like for tomorrow, plus an apple for Master B.
My kids actually go back to school on Tuesday, so I’ll be doing their lunches later and will add photos, but for now, here’s the list of what I’ll be packing them this week.
Pinwheels: Super quick and easy! Get a couple of sheets of frozen puff pastry, separate the sheets and leave out to thaw slightly – I find it easiest when it is only just thawed, this way it isn’t too soft. Chop up some ham and scatter over the pastry, then scatter some grated cheese. Roll each sheet into a tube and slice into pinwheels, around 1/2- 1 cm thick. Lay them flat on a lined baking tray and bake them until golden brown and pastry is cooked. For my kids, I find 2 sheets of pastry will give me enough pinwheels for two days of lunches (including my toddler). I store them in the fridge, and they last well for about 4 days.
You can easily change up the filling to whatever you have on hand, try these options:
- salami and cheese
- tomato paste and cheese
- ham, cheese and pineapple
- a little bit of crushed garlic mixed into tomato paste and some spinach leaves chopped into it for a dairy free option
- tuna and cheese
- tuna and tomato
- cooked mushrooms and cheese
- spinach and cheese
Update: I ended up making salami and cheese as well as salami, tomato paste and cheese. Pepperoni Pinwheels anyone??
Being winter in Australia, oranges are in peak season and are beautiful and sweet (and cheap!). I cut an orange into 6 wedges, I find quarters are too big for the kids to eat them easily. I give my kids half an orange each, (plus a napkin ;) ). Apples are always good lunchbox options, because according to Master B, he can grab it and head straight out to join his mates, rather than sit around trying to peel or eat something messy. My kids like salad veggies, so I incorporate them into their lunchboxes. Think outside of the carrot sticks, (even though my kids all do like carrot sticks). Here is a list of vegetables that are great in lunchboxes;
- cherry tomatoes
- cucumber sticks
- celery sticks
- carrot sticks (orange and purple)
- fennel wedges (Miss E LOVES fennel!)
- snow peas
- green beans
- capsicum (different colours, but red and yellow are nice and sweet.)
Rather than pick one vegetable to put in, think of doing a mix of colours. I like to put two or three different coloured vegetables into a little container for them to munch on.
Yoghurt is a great lunch box snack. A while back I bought some refillable sachets, that are great to fill up from a larger tub (cheaper too!). I like mixing a little bit of honey into some natural or greek yoghurt. The kids love it too, so these are great for that kind of thing. I’ve even mixed a little bit of jam into a plain yoghurt, which the kids eat happily too! This way I only buy natural or greek yoghurt that can be used in baking, on savory dishes, mixed with jams or honey, or tinned fruit pureed too. Here is a link to an online store if you are interested in buying them (this not a sponsored post). Just make sure the kids know not to throw them out!
This week, I also want to make a batch of cookies, as they last for ages (if they have the chance!) and I find that I make a basic recipe and then can divide the mixture and add different things to different bowls. Here is a good basic cookie recipe. It does have dairy, sugar, gluten and eggs, but sugar can be reduced slightly or a replacement added if you want. Starting with something like this basic recipe, or any other butter cookie recipe, you can add whatever your child likes. Here are some suggestions that you can mix and match:
- dried fruit
- nuts (if your school allows)
- choc chips
I made a double batch of these cookies, but reduced the sugar to 3/4 cup in a double quantity. The variations I made were jam drops, choc chip, ginger and honey, cinnamon. Made a total of 45 cookies.
I hope these mix and match lunch ideas help you ease into first week back. What are you putting into lunchboxes this week?