Lunch Box Ideas your Kids Will Actually Want to Eat

January 21, 2016
Lunch Box Ideas your Kids Will Actually Want to Eat

2016 Lunch Box Ideas: 8 ingredients, 24 different options. Let’s do this!

Christmas is gone, we’ve survived the holidays (just) and a new school year is upon us. While the kids are excited to see their friends, I’m busy panicking about waving Mr 3 off to his first day of kindergarten. So to distract my sappy self from the inevitable, I’ve been planning some new school lunch box ideas. I haven’t set the bar too high in the past, so this year I’ve decided to focus on serving up their favourites using some quick and easy variations to provide a healthy school lunch box.

One of the biggest issues for us is providing age appropriate school lunches for our kids. This year we’ll have a Kindy, Grade 1, Grade 4 and Grade 6 appetite to cater for. The days of throwing the same thing in each lunchbox are long gone. Different tastes, different appetites and different eating environments require different lunch box options. So we’ll start off by using 8 key ingredients suitable for all 4 lunchboxes I’ll be packing this year, and serving them up 24 different ways to suit the different age groups.

1. Bega Stringers

Don’t underestimate the lunchbox power of good old cheese. I love Bega Stringers for their versatility, and for their fun factor appeal for our younger kids.

Pre School: Bega Stringers

On their own, kids can’t go past the novelty of peeling the strings. Nor can I, for that matter.

Young School Age - Cheesy Puff Straws

A great occasional special treat that the kids can help make, this delicious recipe is so simple using pastry and Bega Stringers.

cheesy puff straws

Tweens and Up - Sushi Sandwich Rolls

Sushi is so hot right now, am I right? Use favourite ingredients in flattened bread to achieve the next best thing.

You can find both these recipes plus many more here. Trust me, these are well worth hitting the print button for both taste and convenience factor.

sushi sandwich rolls

2. Pita Bread

Now, I know that pita bread is definitely not a new thing. I’m a huge fan because I love that you can pack them full of goodness and the kids won’t lose their lunch out the other side.

Pre School - Pita Bread Crisps

Quarter them using kitchen scissors and toast them in the oven. Such an easy and delicious alternative to a packet of chips.

Young School Age - Petite Pita Pizzas

Just what the name implies. Make mini pizzas using pita bread and their favourite pizza toppings. Then make the mini pizzas petite by cutting into quarters for a school lunch. Yum. See the recipe here

Bega Pizza Hawaiian

Tweens and Up - Stuffed Pita

Stuff the pita pocket with some cold meat and salad. A great way to eat a salad sandwich with minimal mess.

3. Fruit

When we are home, our kids snack on apples like popcorn. Yet the lunchbox apple often gets left behind to make the journey back home at the end of the school day. Buying seasonal fruit and incorporating some different serving options can bring otherwise boring fruit back to life.

Pre School - Fruit bites

Pop in a small array of fruit Serve whole if it’s small, like berries. Halved for strawberries. Diced for watermelon or oranges. Stick to around 3 variations and rotate them depending on availability.

*Young School Age - Fruit Kebabs *

The same as the fruit bites, but serve them on a blunt kebab stick. Great for reducing sticky fingers and a real novelty for fussy eaters. Cut up some Bega Farmers’ Tasty Natural Cheese sticks and pop on for extra variety!

Tweens and Up - Fruit with Yoghurt

Some yoghurt with a side of fruit for them to dip into it. Send along some toothpicks as a simple alternative to a fork.

4. Carrots

Enter the vegetables. It might seem boring, but a stash of crunchy carrots in the fridge can mean you always have a healthy option available.

*Pre School - Mini Carrot Muffins *

There are heaps of delicious and easy recipes using carrots. Search for one that you know you’ll always have the ingredients for in the cupboard, bake and freeze in individual bags.

*Young School Age - Carrot and Dip *

This is just what it says. Have your child choose the dip for a guaranteed winner. Great with some pita bread crisps too!

Tweens and Up - Coleslaw

Coleslaw is a great way to incorporate carrots into a lunchbox. Provide a soft bread roll for a Coleslaw Roll. Yum.

5. Cherry Tomatoes

Forget soggy sandwiches, tomatoes in bite size form are the way to go for school lunches.

Pre School- Cherry Tomato Medley

Create a colour explosion right out of the lunchbox! Grab some yellow and red cherry tomatoes and mix them with some carrot pieces and cut up Bega Farmer's Tasty Natural Cheese sticks. This is sure to be a favourite!

Young School Age - Turkey, Bega Stringers, Rocket and Tomato Wrap

Line ‘em up then roll it up. It’s as easy as that. Swap and substitute the ingredients depending on what you have available.

Tweens and Up - Mini Egg and Bacon Pies

Instructions:

  1. Follow this delicious Bega Recipe

  2. Wait for the child/ren to get home and tell you how delicious they were.

  3. Repeat.

BegaMiniEggBaconPies

6. Dried Noodles

Pre School- Straight Up Noodles

A crispy dish perfect for little hands. It can get messy, but they’ll have fun eating what they can.

Young School Age - Noodle and Dried Fruit Medley

I do love finding some friends for sultanas. Dried Noodles, sultanas, dried apricots, dried apple. Delicious.

Tweens and Up - Noodle Salad

Add some crunch to a salad with some Dried Noodles to tip in at the last minute. Rocket, boiled egg, Bega Farmer's Tasty Natural Cheese sticks, cherry tomatoes and dried noodles. An easy winner and no chopping!

7. Sliced Meat

Pre School- Cheese and Ham Bites

Wrap a Bega Stringer in sliced ham, and cut into thirds. Ridiculously easy.

Young School Age - Ham, Cheese and Pineapple Croissant

Sounds like a strange pizza combo for a croissant but it’ll be a winner served cold for a hungry little student.

Tweens and Up - Platter

A fancy platter, served lunchbox style. Some crackers, cold meats, cheese, grapes, dip. Great as a snack, or just increase the portion for a lunchtime meal.

8. Pikelets

These lunchbox ideas will work for pikelets, scones or pancakes. Choose your hunger weapon and it’ll be a winner.

Pre School- Cheese and Ham Bites

You definitely don’t need an art degree here. Think squiggly lines, a pikelet pyramid, wonky stars – whatever you can drizzle into a pan.

Young School Age - Ham, Cheese and Pineapple Croissant

When adding toppings is almost impossible, add the topping into the pancake. Berries, sultanas – whatever you have.

Tweens and Up - Platter

A thicker pikelet means you can make a little pouch to pop in some yummy fruit toppings, avoiding the need to assemble on the go.

Phew! There we have it. Different ideas using the same key ingredients for different age groups. Now all that will be left to do is find the lids for the containers to serve it in, and the perfect lunchbox to store it all.

Find out more about Bega's product range click here

Recipe images © Fonterra Brands (Australia) Pty Limited, 2015