It’s back to school for many children – one of the challenges is to provide healthy, tasty, easy-to-prepare lunches that are suitable for the warmer weather.

Sandwiches are often a typical choice for school lunches, but this doesn’t mean it has to be a boring choice. There are lots of different types of breads to select from – consider using baguettes, lavash and tortillas (there are a range of different bread options on p. 71 of The Food Book). Fillings for sandwiches are up to your imagination.

Preparing an interesting sandwich will give you and your kids something to look forward to eating. A range of ideas is listed on p. 146 -147 of The Food Book. Two additional sandwich filling ideas are:

  •  ½ cup cooked finely chopped chicken, ½ cup cooked, sliced sweet potato, 2 tablespoons ricotta, 2 teaspoons chopped chives and 2 tablespoon shredded iceberg lettuce. Mix together and spread onto one slice of bread before topping with another slice of bread.
  • Spread bread with one tablespoon cottage cheese and top with ½ cup grated carrot mixed with 1 teaspoon honey and top with one tablespoon raisins and two tablespoons alfalfa sprouts. You can replace the cottage cheese with cream cheese and use fruit bread instead of plain bread.

What other ideas do you have for sandwich fillings?

An interesting twist on the sandwich is making a ‘sushi sandwich’ – remove the crusts from the breads and roll with a rolling pin to flatten the bread. You can add fillings and then roll it up to make your sushi sandwich. Make sure you leave a 2cm strip free of filling along one edge – use the photos for making sushi on p. 175 of The Food Book to help you with this step.

However a school lunch does not necessarily mean you have to have sandwiches. Consider other simple ideas such as:

  • Dry biscuits and vegetable sticks with dips or salsa – a range of salsa ideas can be found on p. 434 of The Food Book. There are also lots of recipes for dips on p.176 -181 of The Food Book
  • A salad  such as a Green garden salad (check out ideas on p. 205 of The Food Book), a grain-based and vegetable salad that contains pasta, coucous or burghul (try the ideas on p. 210 -212 of The Food Book) or even a refreshing Watermelon and feta salad (p. 208 of The Food Book)
  • Vegetable kebabs – thread cooked vegetables onto a skewer or make the Vegetable and haloumi kebabs on p. 317 of The Food Book
  • Vietnamese rice paper rolls – the recipe on p. 170 -171 of The Food Book is delicious and easy-to-make (cover with a damp paper towel and then plastic cling wrap to prevent them from becoming tough)

Freeze a water bottle and place it with the lunch to keep it cool – and there will also be some cold water to drink as well! It’s useful to get students involved with helping pack their lunch boxes to help motivate them to eat their lunch. Don’t forget to pack some Summer fruits such as grapes, nectarines, peaches, apricots, plums or strawberries in the lunch box as well. Or try some different fruits such as lychees, dates, starfuit, or rambutam – find other ideas for fruits on p.54-59 of The Food Book.

What ideas do you have for the lunchbox? What types of foods do you usually eat for lunch over summer?