Back to School Lunch Box Ideas

Posted by Stephanie Forrester | 29/08/2017 | Category: Food

It’s that time of year again. The summer holidays are over. You’ve got the new school uniform, the shiny new shoes, the pencil case with colourful new contents. Now all you have to do is come up with something for lunch five days a week!

Don’t panic! We’re here to help with ideas and to make sure your kids eat some healthy things too. Read on for lots of ideas to inspire great lunchtime grub that won’t end up in the bin.

Yummy or crummy?

Lunch has to make it through the morning in one piece, so invest in lots of lidded plastic boxes of various sizes (£1.80 - £4.50), sealable food bags such as Co-op Small Zip Seal Food Bags (£2.00 for 30), which are easy for your child to open and a drinks bottle (Folding bottle £1.50). For some of our ideas below, they will also need some plastic cutlery. Try using the sturdy ones from your summer picnic sets rather than disposable ones to reduce waste.

Let’s start with the main event

Sandwiches are the perfect lunchtime favourite, but nobody wants to eat the same thing every day. Explore our bakery section for a great range of rolls, bagels, thins, pitta breads and wraps and try different breads including wholemeal and seeded varieties for extra nutrition. For something fresh you could try treats from our in-store bakeries with prices ranging from 45p to £1.89.

To create a range of fillings with ease, you don’t have to use fresh ingredients all the time. If there’s some cheese in the fridge and a range of tinned fish (e.g. tuna, salmon) or meats (e.g. ham, corned beef), you’re covered. Peanut butter and other spreads containing nuts may be a favourite, but check with the school if they allow nut products as some pupils may have nut allergies.

Little boxes of goodness

Time to pop that cutlery into the lunch bag, so your child can enjoy something different…

A super quick lunch to make in the morning is Co-op Free Range Egg Noodles (265g £1.25) with some Co-op frozen Mixed Vegetables (907g £1.29). Just add boiling water, stand for 10 minutes and voila!

Pasta is a great option as it comes in a range of shapes and colours. Try our recipe for delicious lunchbox pasta. If your child doesn’t like spice, just leave out the chilli.

Rice dishes make a welcome and filling change too and colourful options such as a pretty pilaf can be easily adapted using different vegetables to tailor it to your family’s taste.

Eggs are satisfying and packed with vitamins and minerals. This frittata is just one way to get some good stuff into lunchtime:

Don’t forget leftovers
Lunchboxes are great places for leftovers. Roasted meat left from Sunday lunch can be used in sandwiches. The pasta and rice dishes above can be cooked as a main meal and any leftovers used the next day. Leftover boiled potatoes can quickly be turned into a potato salad. To be safe, chill leftovers quickly and store them wrapped in the fridge until you need them.





Add some more fruit and veg

It’s fine to pop an apple, orange or banana into the lunch bag, but more bite-sized fruits presented in different ways can be more appealing, particularly to younger children. Try strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, peeled and sliced kiwi, cubed melon or pineapple. Remember, even if fresh versions of these fruits aren’t available, tinned and frozen versions are just as nutritious and are available all year round. If you are chopping up fruit that may go brown, such as apple, try adding a little lemon juice so that it still looks nice by noon. For added veggie goodness, try sticks of cucumber, carrot and pepper with a dip such as hummus.

Something sweet

Most children want something sweet in their lunchbox.  Everyone loves the occasional cake or chocolate bar, but to make sure you have some healthier options in your repertoire, try these yummy muffins or tasty Carrot Cake: Alternatively pop in some homemade popcorn (always fun for them to make!) or Co-op Unsalted Rice Cakes (100g 75p) with a little Co-op Chocolate Spread 400g £1.65. If you want to save even more time in the morning, you could pick up some Co-op Milk Chocolate Coated Rice Cakes (100g - £1.00).

And finally…

Every family has a morning where the alarm doesn’t go off or the shopping didn’t get done. That’s when our food to go range is there to help you get to school on time. Pop in store on the way and choose from sandwiches, wraps and salads to fruit and vegetable pots and handy snacks. (Prices range from 65p - £3.15).

Have a happy and healthy new school year!

About The Author: Stephanie Forrester

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