When a new school year begins, it’s easy to fall back into the same old habits with packed lunches – offering up the same staples week in, week out.
But with a few tweaks and recipe ideas you can create delicious and nutritious selections that are pretty to look at too.
Over on TikTok, there are lots of amazing tips for simple recipes, snacks and organisation hacks to help parents out.
Here are six ideas to inspire your back to school lunchbox efforts…
Instead of messing around with a fiddly (and very sharp) apple corer, cut horizontal slices and use a mini biscuit cutter to remove the middle, creating cute little apple ‘donuts’ that help towards kids’ all-important five-a-day fruit and veg portions.
2. Thread some fruit skewers
Another way to make your five-a-day more appealing, fruit skewers are easy to make and slot into lunchboxes – simply thread berries or cubes of fruit onto wooden sticks and you’re done.
You can really get creative by using lots of different fruits to creative rainbow-hued skewers or by cutting out interesting shapes.
3. Rolled oat pancakes instead of sandwiches
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A clever way to get more fibre, protein and iron into your kids’ diet, quick and easy savoury rolled oat pancakes (which you could add spinach to for extra vitamins) can be sandwiched together with cream cheese or hummus to create a healthier alternative to sliced white bread sarnies.
4. Use cupcake cases as dividers
Great for adding mini portions of berries, nuts, olives, chopped fruit or veggies and dips, plastic cupcake cases fit snugly into lunchboxes and are easy to wash and reuse.
5. Roll sushi sandwiches
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Taking inspiration from Japanese maki rolls, these sandwich alternatives take up less space in lunchboxes, leaving more room for healthy snacks.
Start by flattening your bread with a rolling pin, add your filling (things like tuna or egg mayo, cream cheese and hummus work well), roll tightly, then slice into bite-sized chunks.
Batch cook mini pancakes on a Sunday so you can make a ‘breakfast for lunch’ box with your kids’ favourite toppings in separate compartments, whether it’s ham and grated cheese, bananas and peanut butter, or strawberries and hazelnut spread.