Ideally, main meals should have protein, and carbohydrates; for example tuna on a roll with grated vegetables. Often they can be served with a piece of fruit and always with water. Some of our ideas are portable while others are best at home.
Lastly, remember your child is likely to prefer to playing to eating, so convenience needs to be balanced with nutrition. Yes, I know that is easier said than done, but it is better to keep it in mind than be disappointed by a full lunchbox coming home each day.
Wholemeal salad sandwich, yoghurt, grapes (cut in half) and water.
Cream cheese, ham and avocado Lebanese bread wrap (rolled up).
Bagel with avocado, sliced chicken and grated cucumber.
Pumpernickel bread with cheese, hummus and red capsicum.
Pocket bread with grated cheese, tomato, cucumber and yoghurt dip and canned tuna.
Roast beef salad with tomato, lettuce and avocado.
Tuna or salmon patties with a minty yoghurt dip.
Prepared Nori rolls (seaweed) with a variety of fillings including tuna, avocado, cucumber, capsicum, salmon, lettuce etc. (these are extremely easy to make with or without the kids and will keep in an airtight container in the fridge overnight – no longer).
Fish cakes with grated vegetables, fruit and yoghurt.
Fruit and a tub of natural yoghurt.
Various cheeses, avocado, fruit and crackers.
Cheese, avocado and ham finger-foods.
Toasted cheese fingers and fruit.
Cottage cheese, avocado and crackers.
Cream cheese on toast or bagel.
Vegetarian sausages and grated/sliced vegies.
Vegetarian hot dog with cheese, low-salt sauce in a wholemeal roll.
Crackers with cream cheese and dip.
Ham and dips wrapped in flat bread.
Baked beans and toast or cheese melted into the beans.
Boiled egg and a teaspoon of mayo mashed together (plain or on toast).
Small tubs of dips (hummus, yoghurt), toasted bread fingers, yoghurt and strawberries.
Oven-roasted vegies (pre-prepared) and a selection of cheeses and toasted bread sticks.
Bite-size raw veggies with a separate container of dipping sauce or your favourite ranch dressing or curried tofu mayonnaise.
Cheese cubes with tiny cherry tomatoes.
Leftovers: The trick is to think ahead and make a little extra at dinner for lunch the next day.
Salads of all kinds make great school lunches. Try a quinoa salad (with olive oil and chopped grilled veggies) for something really different and extra healthy.
Stews or casseroles: Thick stews and casseroles can make tasty wraps, especially with grilled or sautéed vegetables, lettuce and cheese.
Japanese-style lunchbox: Cut a turkey roll in half, place the two halves in the box, and put some grapes or cheese crackers in the box to prevent the turkey rolls from becoming unrolled.
Cookie-cutter breakfast: 1 slice of wholemeal or wholegrain bread, 1 egg, butter, cookie-cutter of your choice. Press cookie-cutter into bread slice and take out the centre carefully. Butter both the leftover bread and the cut-out piece. Melt a little butter in frying pan. Spread melted butter around and put unbuttered side of the bread into the pan. Break egg into small bowl or cup and pour into the hole left in bread slice (you may choose to scramble it first!). Fry until egg white turns white. Flip both pieces of bread and fry until browned. Place on plate and serve with fruit juice. Serves one.
Winter salad: 4–5 medium carrots, 1 cup raisins, ¼ cup slaw-type dressing or mayo. Scrape carrots with a vegetable peeler and grate them into a mixing bowl. Add raisins and dressing and mix well. Serves 4–5.