Let’s be honest - the daily lunchbox ritual can be a hassle, right? We’re either exhausted after a long day or it’s the mad morning rush, so packing lunches is yet another chore out of the zillion things to do. And as for getting creative with school lunches – seriously, who’s got the time?
I hear you! So we fall in the trap of packing sandwiches – day in, day out. We have good intentions and want to add more variety, but have no idea what else to pack. Sound familiar?
Don’t get me wrong – I used to love sandwiches as much as anyone. I just think in our typical modern day diet, we tend to over rely on sandwiches as a way to quickly fill tummies rather than choosing options that nourish growing little bodies.
But don’t despair – there are plenty of other options that offer more nutrients and are equally quick and easy. Here are 8 fuss-free sandwich free options to choose from.
Slices – slices are a great way to sneak in plenty of veggies and protein. Here is a zucchini and sweet potato slice recipe I recently made that was a hit with the kids. Double the quantities, slice into squares and keep in the freezer. Ready to pop into the lunchbox, it will be ready and thawed by lunchtime.
Chicken drumsticks or meatballs – Packed with protein to keep the kids sustained for longer and helps muscles and cells grow. Marinate the chicken in ¼ cup honey, ½ cup tamari sauce and 2Tb sesame seeds before baking. Or try homemade chicken nuggets – use sliced chicken thigh dipped in egg, coat them in a mixture of tapioca flour and gluten free flour, and add your favourite combination of herbs and sea salt. Fry as you normally would for dinner and save some for school lunches the next day. For homemade meatballs, add herbs, salt pepper and chives for extra taste.
Rice paper rolls – kids will love the novelty factor. Try them out for dinner and see what combo the kids like (or let them make their own!) – then replicate for the school lunchbox. We love to add avocado, grated carrot, cucumber, capsicum, sprouts, egg, chicken, beef strips, served with a little tamari sauce.
Patties – what child doesn’t like finger food! Like slices, I’m a big fan of patties as a way to pack in extra goodness. Here is one of my favourite salmon pattie recipes that my eldest can’t get enough of!
Rice cakes – technically they don’t offer much more nutrition than bread but plain organic rice cakes don’t have the additives, emulsifiers and preservatives that many store bought breads do. We like to spread them with avocado or tahini for extra nutrition, as well as add a Vital Veggie Power sprinkle that is available here.
Leftover fried rice – save some fried rice from dinner and add to the lunchbox the next day. I like to add veggies, egg or good quality protein and pack in a stainless steel container like these options.
Veggies and dip – why overcomplicate things? Fresh veggie sticks with dip, or leftover corn on the cob adds extra crunch and goodness to a school lunchbox.
Paleo bread – sometimes kids just want a sandwich. Here are some great nutritious bread recipes I keep coming back to – paleo breads are packed with healthy fats, protein and fibre. For a nut free version, here is one on my list to try! So nourishing that often one slice is enough! Double the recipe, slice and keep in the freezer. Great for mum for breakfast also!
Still not so sure? I’ll let you in on my 2 secret lunchbox hacks to make healthy school lunchboxes a breeze. These LunchBots stainless steel bento boxes are a game changer. Loved by kids, easier to pack and food stays fresher for longer. Not to mention no more plastic containers or wrap and easy to pop into the dishwasher when done. I can't rave about these enough and am asked about them all the time. At the playground, park, school and whenever my boys pull out their lunchboxes in public, mums want to know where I buy these - quite the conversation starter! Check the LunchBots out here
My other lunchbox hack is the fabulous Vital Veggie Power available here – perfect for fussy little ones! Vital Veggie Power is a concentrated, superfood powder made of whole organic veggies, super fruits and nourishing greens. Sprinkle onto virtually anything – use as a seasoning on popcorn, a sandwich, roast chicken, bolognese or add to baked goods. The list is endless! Easy to conceal and a great, hassle free way to get a daily dose of veggies into your kids.
So there you have it. 8 alternatives to sandwiches. Would your kids eat these? What are your favourite sandwich free options?
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