From uniforms to stationery, new school year prep can feel overwhelming as September approaches. That said, as very busy parents and carers we cannot be blamed for leaving stuff until the last minute, especially as the Summer holidays felt like they came and went in a flash! One thing that can feel like a chore is preparing lunches that are tasty and nutritious , but we’ve got you covered with this menu full of packed lunch ideas your children will love!
WHAT YOU NEED FOR A NUTRITIOUS PACKED LUNCH
NHS choices recommends a balanced lunch needs the following:
Starchy foods like bread, pasta, rice or potatoes
Protein foods like lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs or beans
A dairy item like milk, cheese or yogurt
Vegetables or salad and a portion of fruit
All our packed lunch ideas contain all of the above to ensure your children have a school lunch which is equally healthy and delicious.
WEEK ONE: PACKED LUNCH IDEAS
The first week of term is hectic, but that doesn’t mean you should get stuck in a cycle of endless sandwiches! Switch things up for a lunchbox that little and big kids alike will never find boring.
MONDAY: HAM AND CHEESE SALAD SANDWICHES
Kick off the first full week with a classic your child will never get bored of: ham and cheese sandwiches.
If you don’t eat pork, turkey or Quorn slices work just as well. Add in some lettuce and shredded carrot to make sure they’re getting some veg in! We also love adding a dollop of red onion chutney or pickle.
Sides: Cherry Tomatoes and cucumber salad with some houmous, and sugar-free jelly for a sweet treat!
TUESDAY: EGG MAYONNAISE AND SALAD ROLL
Egg mayonnaise is perfect for the first week of term because it’s very easy to prepare and tastes great. To make egg mayo, just combine a boiled egg with some light mayo and black pepper to taste, then spread on a crusty roll – simple! Sneak in some veg by adding some shredded carrot and lettuce to the roll.
This tuna pasta salad is as yummy as it is simple to make. Packed full of protein, it is the perfect lunch for kids as it helps them to feel fuller for longer.
Don’t forget to make enough for your lunch too!
Sides: Apple slices for a fibre boost and a fromage frais yoghurt
THURSDAY: TURKEY BURGER
Nutritious and delicious, this turkey burger recipe is awesome for fussy eaters because it sneaks in a bunch of vegetables including onion, sweetcorn and shredded carrot. Top the burger buns with lettuce and tomato for even more vegetables.
Served hot or cold, these burgers taste wonderful either way. For a veggie or vegan alternative, omit the turkey burger for a bean or veggie burger.
Sides: Cheddar cubes and satsuma
FRIDAY: DUCK, CUCUMBER AND HOISIN WRAP
We thought we’d save the best for last with these delicious duck wraps. Spread hoisin sauce on tortilla wraps, then cover in shredded duck with thin strips of cucumber and sprinkle with spring onion.
If you don’t fancy duck, shredded chicken or turkey is a great alternative that your little ones are sure to love.
Sides: Banana slices topped with Greek Yoghurt
WEEK TWO: PACKED LUNCH IDEAS
Now the first week is over, it’s time to spice things up further with even more exciting lunchbox favourites your kids are sure to love.
MONDAY: SPANISH OMELETTE AND SALAD
Known natively as a tortilla, this traditional potato and egg Spanish dishis filling enough for a substantial school lunch. Serve with a light salad – we like cucumber, cherry tomato and shredded carrot with a drizzle of vinaigrette. Be sure to keep the vinaigrette in a separate pot so your salad leaves don’t wilt!
Sides: Mango chunks and Vanilla Yoghurt
TUESDAY: SMOKED SALMON AND CREAM CHEESE BAGEL
One of our favourite classic sandwich fillings, a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel is will have your kids asking for second helpings. Finish with a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of dill for extra zing!
Sides: Blueberries, Raspberries and Greek Yoghurt
WEDNESDAY: HALLOUMI AND HOUMOUS FLATBREAD
Vegetarian children will adore this taste of the Middle East. As well as lightly fried or grilled halloumi and houmous, pack the flatbread with crunchy slaw to ensure your children get at least one of their five a day.
Sides: Pineapple and Fromage Frais Yoghurt
THURSDAY: CHICKEN CAESAR SALAD WITH CROUTONS
The chicken Caesar salad is seriously tasty, perfect for your child’s packed lunch. Serve with lightly toasted croutons and parmesan shavings, or if that sounds too much like hard work, get some ready made croutons from any decent supermarket.
Sides: Prunes and Natural Yoghurt
FRIDAY: MEATBALL WRAP AND SIDE SALAD
Last but certainly not least, this meatball wrap rounds off two weeks of packed lunches nicely. The red pepper, mint and coriander really helps this lunch pack a punch. If your children are not a fan of bold flavours, omit the mint and coriander.
Sides: Cucumber and carrot batons, and a strawberry and yoghurt smoothie
WAIT – WHAT ABOUT DRINKS?
It may be tempting to add sugary cartons to lunchboxes but they’re not great for young teeth! Therefore we recommend accompanying every lunch with a hydrating bottle of water or a carton of milk for a boost of calcium.
Now your children’s packed lunches are planned for the next few weeks, you’ll have so much more time to do other things (ironing anyone?!). Why not repeat the two weeks of food until the first half term, then switch meals up so your children aren’t bored.