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The humble lunchbox can be a tricky beast.

I can remember kids at school that ate peanut butter or devon and tomato sauce sandwiches on sliced white bread every day of their school life. I was never a big fan of the sandwich.

In fact, end of term saw a foul collection of them in the bottom of my school bag.

It’s a wonder wild beasts never attacked me on my way home from school.

I’m determined to create interesting lunchboxes for my kids. I don’t send any pre-packaged food, and time is of the essence. They must also be healthy, nutritious and, of course, nut-free.

I’ve had much success and failure over the first year of my child’s lunchbox life.

I must admit to being a little demoralized when I’d make a cheesy spinach muffin or frittata bite and find it still nestled in its little lunch container upon kindy pick-up.

All of this said lunch is a very subjective thing… what got sent home this week may be devoured next week and what my child turns his nose up at, yours may devour.

That said, I performed and photographed a little experiment that I’d like to share with you all… I give you,…

The Holsby Lunchbox Experiment

Please remember that I’m not doing anything amazing here. Sometimes I see lunchbox ideas with truly magical looking boxes that you’d expect a silver unicorn to pop out of.

Who has the time?

This is achievable stuff when you’re racing against the clock to get teeth cleaned, sunscreen on and find that elusive missing shoe.

Lunchbox 1 :

  • Cheat’s mini quiche
  • Apple and Date buckwheat pikelet with apricot jam and fruit face

Verdict :

A little bite or two of pikelet left, but quite a good job. Success!

kids lunchbox

Lunchbox 2 :

  •  3 x Cheese and Spinach Frittata Bites
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cucumber flowers
  • Pitted olives
  • Dried fruit and seed mix
  • Sliced peach and blueberries

Verdict :

Well, he wouldn’t have starved, but the part that took the longest to prepare was a bit of a fail (read : BIG Fail)

kids lunchbox

Lunchbox 3 :

Verdict :

Success, except for a big gong on the guacamole.

kids lunchbox

Lunchbox 4 :

  • Hummus tortilla stars with cheese stars
  • Carrot sticks and apple slices
  • French Toast Cupcake with Cream Cheese and Sprinkles

Verdict :

Supreme success! I think he even licked the cream cheese off the lid!

kids lunchbox

 Lunchbox 5 :

Verdict :

Not bad…but the part I really wanted him to eat went untouched.

kids lunchbox
What did we learn?

I think with any meal, variety is key.  Different shapes make thing interesting, and a little planning means you really don’t need any extra time to get out of the sandwich rut.

You don’t win friends with sandwiches.


 

Recipes 

Cheat’s Mini Quiche | Makes 8

What you will need :

  • 2 multi grain tortillas
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons LSA
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
  • 3 cherry tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 heaped tablespoon natural yoghurt
  • 2 tablespoons grated cheese

What you will need to do :

  1. Preheat oven to 180C
  2. Using a cup measure cut circles out of your tortillas. I can get 4 out of each. Lightly oil a muffin tin and poke your tortillas in creating little shells.
  3. Mix all of your remaining ingredients together and spoon into your shells.  Bake until set and golden – about 10-15 minutes.

Pizza Bread Hearts

What you will need :

  • 2 slices of wholemeal seeded bread
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • a pinch of basil and oregano
  • sliced ham
  • a few olives
  • thinly sliced capsicum
  • (or whatever pizza topping your kids may enjoy)
  • grated cheese

 

 What you will need to do :

  1.  Preheat the oven to 200C, and place a baking tray into the oven.
  2. Cut out your heart shapes with cookie cutters and squash the bread flat with your hand.
  3. Spread with your tomato paste onto bread and sprinkle your herbs.

 

French Toast Cupcakes | Makes 8

 What you will need :

  •  4 slices of wholemeal or seeded bread, chopped into little cubes
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3  cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/3-cup sultanas
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup, extra

What you will need to do :

  1. Heat your oven to 180C and line a muffin tray with 8 patty pans.
  2. Mix your eggs, milk and maple syrup together and pour over your chopped bread. Stir in your sultanas, and leave for 10 minutes to soak up.
  3. Spoon your mixture into patty cases and bake until cooked and golden – about 15 minutes.
  4. Leave to cool.
  5. Mix the cream cheese and syrup together and spoon a little dollop on top of each one.
  6. Top with coloured sprinkles if you have them.

Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. This book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by Danielle’s often funny and charming story telling.

 

  • I’m dreading preparing daily lunches since I’m not very good with dinner rotations.. I agree that variety (flavours, choices of foods and textures) is key and that’s how I like to eat too. Sandwiches would make regular appearances in my lunchboxes albeit different types, not just vegemite or ham and cheese.

    Reply

  • How does one know what to send. My daughter can be soo fussy im dreading lunches

    Reply

  • my son has a jam sandwich every day, every.single.day. and a yogurt and a cheese stick with some fruit in the morning, nothing else he is too busy to sit and eat

    Reply

  • love them. i’ll be needing lunch box ideas in February next year. thanks.

    Reply

  • So many ideas to try. Thanks.

    Reply

  • Very interesting, thanks.

    Reply

  • Some great suggestions there. The more they eat the less gross the box is in the afternoon

    Reply

  • This is great, i’ve been trying to find new ideas to put in my sons lunch box

    Reply

  • Great ideas although I didn’t grow up with a cafe selection of lunch orders or different shapes / textures to keep lunch interesting. To be honest, I was to busy playing with my friends and all I remember was scoffing my lunch down quickly to get out side and play. Unless you have a fussy eater where you may need to go the extra distance, I wouldn’t really bother

    Reply

  • These are some great ideas. I had trouble getting my kids to eat anything at school. Ended up the eldest would only eat a vegemite sandwich and brought everything else back home. As soon as he got home he’d want 2 minute noodles. My younger son would only eat muesli bars at school. Didn’t matter what I gave them it always came home or put in the bin on the way home.

    Reply

  • Some great variations there, well done.

    Reply

  • Some good ideas. My kids are always complaining they are sick of sandwiches but don’t have an alternative they want so this would be a good experiment!

    Reply

  • Thank you for the healthy ideas.My kids always expect something specials in their lunchboxes.This would be great.

    Reply

  • My kids love a variety of things in their lunchboxes. New ideas are always welcome. Mine are not too keen on salad and humus in their lunchbox at all.

    Reply

  • What age child was this for?
    My son loves his sandwiches.

    Reply

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