An updated edit of a Guest Blog from Maria Vargas – Poole Mumbler
Are you doing Packed Lunches for school this year? If you need some inspiration then check out this blog and print out our planners to help inspire you each day!
I’m conscious we often get “stuck in a rut” at home and eat the same lunches day after day, so with this in mind I wanted to plan out lots of different options to ensure variety for her (but also ease for me).
These ideas are indeed transferable for family picnics on day trips out.
We’ve tried to stick to healthier choices but of course there will be a bag of crisps and a cake thrown in on some days, everything in moderation!
NB: some school have guidance for packed lunches eg to avoid nuts due to allergy reasons. Please double check this before sending in food containing nuts.
The most obvious choice when it comes to packed lunches. The options are endless! Here are some ideas:
Tuna and sweet corn
Tuna and black olive
Salmon and salad cream
Smoked salmon and cream cheese
Hummus and grated carrot
Hummus and tomato
2-3 different types of cheese
Cheese and pickle
Mozzarella and pesto
Apple and cheese
Mashed banana and honey
Peanut butter and apple
Tahini paste and roasted veg
Coronation chicken or any curried mayo
Or any combination of the above.
Types of bread:
Sandwich bread (brown, white, etc.)
You could also use taco shells if you fancy a change.
Other food ideas:
Mini-quiche . You can make these in cupcake baking trays
Hummus and breadsticks
Boiled eggs filled with hummus
Boiled eggs filled with tuna mayo
Cream cheese and cucumber sticks
Savoury muffins, you can add any veg you have, even frozen veg
Vegetable sticks with hummus dip
Pasta with pesto
Pasta with grated cheese. Add cooked beans for extra protein
Popcorn. You can easily make your own, it works out much cheaper
Nachos (tortilla chips topped with grated cheese)
Mozzarella balls or any other type of cheese
Leftovers. Any leftovers from the night before can make the perfect bite for lunch the day after. Just make sure things like rice, fish and chicken are kept cool.
Oat / cereal bars
Fruit (grapes, strawberries, bluberries, satsumas, bananas and apples are favourites in our house)
Greek yoghurt topped with fruit
Yoghurt topped with granola
Cheese and grapes / Cheese and crackers
Malt loaf (comes in different flavours now)
Bento style boxes
I discovered these when my youngest started at her child minder and I needed to send her packed lunches. You can get them in any supermarket or order one online. It’s a great space saver because the entire lunch goes in one box and kiddies love the little compartments.
These are great for keeping leftover bits and pieces, which you can then use in your lunches. Toddlers in particular love to discover what’s in the box and are more likely to try a bit. There’s definitely a novelty element to them.
Nowadays you also find a box for every purpose. Look around your local supermarket and you’ll find boxes for dips, with a long compartment for veg or bread sticks and another one for the dip. I love the tiny tubs for salad dressing. No more soggy salad for me! (A bit of cling film before you screw the top is a good way to avoid leakages.)
You can get some lovely little thermos containers now designed for a small portion of hot food. This allows for options such as soup or pasta to be enjoyed warm at lunch time. Obviously consider the age of your child and their ability to manage this without burning themselves etc
Providing you have an insulated bag and an ice pack you can carry pretty much anything. However, I wouldn’t keep things like fish or chicken for any longer than 3-4 hours. If you are using leftover food from the night before, cool at room temperature as quickly as possible and refrigerate immediately.
We’ve made some planners containing the information you need that you can print (even laminate?) and stick on the fridge.
Remember to pack any cutlery and napkins that might be needed. I tend to chop everything before packing it so I only need a fork or spoon.
Thanks so much to our guest blogger Maria (Poole Mumbler) who wrote the initial blog content to prepare for last years picnic season.
If there is anything we’ve missed or any useful tips you have to add, do let us know! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org