Try these ten great lunchbox ideas and send your child to school with a taste for the exotic
This delicious smoothie is a mix
of apple juice, red berries and
squished bananas. For fun, mix
two colours of juice to give the fiery
effect of an erupting volcano. This
will be less effective if the juice has
too far to travel (pre-mixed works
best if combined at the last minute).
Use the thicker, banana-based
smoothies for the best results –
mango is good for colour – or whizz
up your own wild combinations.
Take two types of fruit (or vegetable),
washed or peeled, and a squirt of
lemon or lime juice to help keep
the colour bright. Whizz in a food
processor or liquidiser.
Only add ice
if serving immediately or the diluting
effect, once melted, will make the
juice rather thin.
Mini Tuna Baguette
Small, soft, baguette-shaped
rolls are less chewy and easier for
children to eat. Fill with mixtures,
such as cream cheese and marmite;
egg; ham and cheese; salami and
crisps (great texture, and the crisps
shouldn’t go soggy with salami as a
near neighbour); or this classic tuna
mayo and cucumber.
Mash together some tinned tuna (in
brine, and drain before using) and
a decent spoonful of mayonnaise.
Add some salt (check that the
mayonnaise is not too salty first)
and pepper and a small spoonful of
horseradish sauce to give it a little
extra dimension, without too much
of a kick. Dollop the mixture into the
halved roll. Slice a ridge cucumber
(which has a sweeter flavour and
crunchier texture than the usual,
more watery cucumbers and will
not wilt as quickly either) into little
strips and dot them over the tuna
mixture. They look a little like lots of
legs peeping out of the roll – which
may appeal to the imagination!.
||Miniature Chicken Wrap
Tortilla wraps are brilliant for
carting fillings about, but children
can get bored halfway through
eating a whole one.
Use a biscuit
cutter to make mini wraps from
a big one – about 12cm diameter
is a good size.
For the filling, use
chicken, some strips of colourful
vegetable (try cucumber; thin green
beans; red, green or yellow pepper;
tomato, plus a teaspoonful of hoisin
Spread the mixture
over half the wrap, then roll up quite
tightly. They should stay rolled if you
put them open-edge firmly down on
a surface and give them a press.
Vegetarian wraps can include
all the veg you like and maybe a
spreading of cream cheese, peanut
butter or hoummous for protein.
for teatime, try fresh fruits with a
thin layer of fromage frais mixed
with a spoonful of jam.
||Skinny Dippers in Miniature Red Peppers
These are a perfect snack – and will boost your child's five-a-day intake.
Fill miniature red, yellow or green peppers with houmous, taramasalata or a child friendly guacamole (mash avocado with some lemon or lime juice, a little salt and a spot of black pepper).
Stand a variety of par-boiled or
raw vegetable sticks waist-high
in the mixture to be pulled out
and crunched with the dip to
add extra flavour.
Potato, Broad Bean and Bacon Salad
Beans are great for energy, so include this as an energy-boosting lunchtime side salad.
Boil some small, unpeeled new
potatoes until soft.
handful of broad beans from frozen
and, if you can bear to pop them out
of their grey skins, the vibrant green
colour will make it worthwhile.
some bacon lardons, or dice some
tomatoes or red peppers for colour.
Mix everything together with a
couple of teaspoons of white wine
vinegar and a tablespoon of olive
oil, salt and black pepper, and a
sprinkling of finely chopped chives
or spring onions.
Serve in a small
pot or bowl – then up the fun factor by eating with a toothpick!
||Vanilla-Coated Pumpkin Seeds
These seeds are delicious and healthy as an alternative to sweets. You can buy them in little bags with sunflower seeds, whole almonds and dried berries, but you can also very easily make them yourself and create your own mixtures.
Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F / 110 degrees C / Gas one 1/4. Mix one medium egg white with 15g of golden syrup and 1 tsp vanilla essence in a large
bowl. Add 400g of pumpkin seeds and coat
the mixture with glaze. Spread
over a baking tray lined with baking
parchment. Bake for about an hour,
turning and shuffling the seeds so
that they all get the chance to dry.
They will stick together and that’s
fine – actually not just fine, it’s what
you want so that you can eat them
in crispy clusters.
Remove from the oven when
the majority seem dry. They may
brown a little, but this isn’t always
the case so don’t panic if they don’t.
If you’d prefer them toasted, turn
the oven up by a few degrees and
leave them in for a further five to
ten minutes, but watch them keenly
because they can burn very easily.
Leave the pumpkin seeds to cool on
the baking tray – it’s hard to move
them about when hot. When cold,
gather the seeds and store them
in an airtight bag or tin. Enjoy as
a snack, but they are also excellent
to eat sprinkled over puddings,
muesli or ice cream.
Egg Mayo on Wholemeal Bread
This is a special variation on an all-time classic.
Boil an egg for 10 minutes then plunge into cold water to make peeling easy.
Mash with a dessert spoon of Mayonnaise. If your worried about making your own mayonnaise using raw eggs, use a bought variety. Alternatively, mix the egg with a knob of butter as soon as it is cooked and shelled.
Add salt and pepper and pile the cold mixture into an egg cup or a crunchy, green lettuce leaf and pack some wholemeal bread soldiers or bread sticks for dipping.
||Chocolate, Raspberry and Rocket Open Sandwich
This can be a teatime treat or an
energy-restoring elevenses snack.
Try to find a good quality chocolate
spread – or make your own by
melting some chocolate with
butter and allowing it to cool in the
fridge – and distribute generously
over a slice of wholemeal bread
or a malted grain roll.
raspberries about and add the
The combination is
surprisingly fresh and delicious.
||Fairy (Godmother) Cakes
These little fellows are small, unfruity versions of the blueberry muffin recipe in Food on the Move. Do add blueberries to the mixture if you prefer (150g fresh berries), but
in such small-sized cakes the fruit
can be intrusive. Decorate with any
fancy odds and ends you choose
– in fact, with a supply of hundreds
and thousands or silver balls, leave
the decoration for the children to choose and put on.
250g unsalted butter, soft enough to beat
200g caster sugar
4 eggs and an extra yolk, lightly mixed
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
a few drops of vanilla essence
For the topping:
75g plain flour
25g soft brown sugar
50g unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 375ºF/190ºC/
Gas 5. Arrange 24 mini paper
muffin cases on a baking tray. First
make the topping by lightly blending
the ingredients to create clusters of
To make the muffins, beat
the butter and sugar until pale
and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs,
beating well between additions.
Sift the baking powder and flour
together into the mixture. Mix in
gently and then add the vanilla
essence. Fill the paper cases twothirds
full. Sprinkle some topping
over each case. Bake for about
10–12 minutes, until the muffins are
golden brown. Definitely best eaten
fresh and slightly warm.
Discuss this story