food

"A sure hit every time": 25 easy ideas from a lunchbox expert.

With so much pressure on creating the perfect school lunchbox, the noble Vegemite sandwich just doesn't seem to cut it these days. 

But if you’re all out of ideas on what to pack in tomorrow’s lunchbox, I'm here to help! 

I've taken the stress out of it for you and rounded up the easiest 25 lunchbox ideas I swear by. 

Watch: This lunchbox tip is a goodie. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia

1. Fruit.

Ok, this is probably the easiest of them all. Whole fruit like apples, pears, bananas, grapes or strawberries are all great easy options. 

To avoid apples and pears going brown, try soaking them in lemon water while you’re packing the rest of the lunchbox. For bananas, leave them in the skin and cut in half so they fit easily in the lunch box. 

Image: Supplied.

2. Yoghurt.

There’s an array of kid-friendly yoghurt brands in the supermarkets these days. Many come in pre-packaged pouches, which are perfect to throw in the lunchbox at short notice. 

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Try freezing them the night before to keep them cool during summer.

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3. Popcorn.

Did you know popcorn is a wholegrain? Enough said.

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4. Sandwich roll-ups.

Simply roll out bread with a rolling pin, cut off the crust, top with your favourite filling (like jam or Vegemite), then roll up and cut into little sushi-sized sections. Fun and easy.

5. Cheese.

Slice it, dice it, shred it or layer it. Packed with calcium and kids just love it.

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Image: Supplied.

6. Leftovers.

Also one of the easiest ways to incorporate protein in the lunchbox, simply chop up that leftover sausage, roast beef or chicken breast and pop it in tomorrow’s lunchbox. 

7. French toast.

It’s a sure way to get your kids to eat eggs. Try mixing up the flavours like banana, cinnamon or even adding a few sprinkles.

8. Homemade sausage rolls.

Wrap a chipotle sausage in puff pastry and cook in the oven for 20 minutes. Easy!

(Tip: if you have the famous Kmart sausage roll maker, cooking time reduces to 10-12 minutes.)

9. Pretzels.

Kids love the interesting shape of pretzels, and of course the taste goes down a treat.

Image: Supplied.

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10. Cucumber.

Slice it, shred it, peel it, use it as a dipper; do whatever if your kid will eat it.

11. Chia jam.

If you have time, cook up some fruit (like strawberries) to make your own jam. Add in a teaspoon of chia seeds to thicken it up. If you can’t make your own, simply sprinkle some chia seeds on some low-sugar jam, and voila, you have chia jam!

12. Homemade pizza.

No need to worry about making your own pizza dough; just make your kids' favourite pizza topped on pita bread (or gluten free wraps if they're intolerant), cook in the oven and slice into pizza slices. They'll love it!

13. Berries.

Packed with antioxidants, berries are a great lunchbox choice. Make the most of the berry season during the warmer months, however frozen berries can also be used in baked goods like muffins during winter.

14. Egg.

If your child’s school allows them, drop an egg in the lunchbox. Hard boil, scramble or make an egg sandwich. 

15. Veggie sticks.

Chop your veggies in “sticks”. Try cucumber, capsicum, celery & carrots. They can be used as little “dippers” for things like cream cheese or hummus. 

16. Crackers.

The mini’er the better, just saying... Try layering crackers with cheese and ham, if they eat it. Simply put a bit of butter on the crackers to stop them going soggy.

17. Cherry tomatoes.

Red, gold, medley; find which flavour your kids prefer - no chopping needed.

18. Avocado.

If your kids like this creamy fruit, try chopping or dicing some avo and serve with a mini fork. Drizzle some lemon juice to stop the avo going brown.

19. Pancakes.

Set aside those leftover pancakes on Sunday morning for Monday’s lunchbox. Store in the fridge and they’ll be good to go the next day. 

20. Pasta.

If your kids love plain pasta like mine, try adding some in their lunchbox. I steer for the higher protein or legume varieties; they don’t notice!

21. Weetbix.

Have you ever tried eating Weetbix plain? My kids love it in their lunchbox and it's a sure hit every time.

22. Mix your grains.

Sandwiches are great, but try mixing it up. Consider croissants, English muffins, wraps, raisin toast or rice cakes.

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23. Fruit “flowers”.

The best two minutes you can invest on YouTube this week: learn how to make a fruit “flower”. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be “flowering” all sorts of things, from Kiwi to carrots and cucumbers.

24.Puff pinwheels.

Roll out your pastry, slice in half, add filling and roll up. Then slice into “wheels” and bake for 8-10 minutes. Experiment with different flavours like pesto, Vegemite or cheese.

25. Accessorise.

Invest in a few sets of lunchbox accessories, like cookie cutters (for making cheese shapes) and mini forks. I picked up a few sets from eBay for a few bucks.

Alison is a Melbourne based food and lifestyle blogger. She’s a mum of two kids, Zoe & Ari, and a finance professional.

Alison started her Instagram blog @Mum_Made_Yum in early 2020 as a way to share and promote her passion for food and health. Mum Made Yum has since grown into a popular food blog on Instagram, known for its positive vibes, creative food recipes and lunchbox ideas.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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