Great Recipes for a Healthy School Lunch

Written by Suzie Garmeister of Branch and Vine Nutrition – Fd. Dip Nutrition & Holistic Health

Want to give your kids a healthy lunch at school but stuck for ideas & recipes?

Making satisfying, healthy lunch boxes for my 3 “starving” boys with varying food intolerances has required some experimentation and creativity over the years. To save you, I want to share some of my ideas and recipes. However, let me preface this, as I tell my clients: I am a nutrition consultant, not a chef! I don’t do fancy. I don’t use 101 ingredients. I have days when I am not organised. For the most part, I make simple, healthy choices for my boy’s lunch boxes. Benefits? Lasting energy, better health, more focus and balanced behaviour. Phew!

Think Outside the Box

Lunch does not have to include sandwiches. Our society eats an overabundance of wheat, which is highly sprayed with glyphosate, a known neurotoxin. Think outside the bread box.

Love Leftovers

For a great timesaver, reheat leftovers from home made dinners. If they loved it for dinner, they’ll doubly love it for lunch. eg: spaghetti bolognaise, curries, casseroles, fried rice or roasts. Reheat and serve in hot food thermos. Note: Don’t reheat food more than once!

It’s a Wrap – Homemade Burrito Wrap

Wait for them to sing your praises with a “Homemade Burrito Wrap”.

Instructions: to a wholegrain wrap add strips of cooked bacon, omelette, spinach, grated carrot, tomato and baby spinach. Wrap and heat flat in sandwich press until wrap is crispy. Cut into pieces to fit hot food thermos. 

Don’t Waste It – Lunch Skillet

If it’s anything like mine, by mid week your fridge will have an assortment of leftovers. Mine? Cooked sausage or chicken, baked potatoes, rice, cooked veggies. Don’t waste it, turn them into a “Lunch Skillet” 

Instructions: Check freshness! Max length in fridge for cooked rice: 2 days, cooked meat & chicken: 3 days. Don’t reheat food more than once!

Heat pan with 2 tbs butter or coconut oil. Chop the left overs into bite sized pieces and fry up. Add extras to taste eg: tomato passata or fresh tiny tom tomatoes, fresh herbs, Himalayan salt, pepper, cumin.

My “They’re Insane Mum” Muffins

Apparently “insane” is good in teenage language. Can you have muffin for lunch? Yes – if they are home made, savoury muffins with healthy protein, fats and fibre and no sugar!  (Makes approx. 6-8 muffins)

-1 cup almond meal *

-1 cup gf self raising flour *

-3 eggs

-2tbs grass fed butter

-¼ cup coconut milk

-2 rashes nitrate free bacon

-1tsp fresh chives, chopped

-¾ cup grated cheese

-2 pinches Himalayan salt

Note: If school policy does not allow nuts & / or you do not want to use gluten free, choose 1½ cups wholemeal self raising flour, and ½ cup of either quinoa or oat flour or ½ cup chia and sesame seeds for added nutrients.

Instructions:

1)   Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius.

2)   Add 1tbs butter to a pan and cook bacon rashes. Whilst still in the pan, cut bacon into small pieces. Add remaining 1tbs of butter to pan to melt. Let sit while continuing instructions.

3)   In mixing bowel, add almond meal, flour and salt. Mix together gently.

4)   Beat eggs in a bowl and add coconut milk.

5)   Add eggs and milk to flour mixture.

6)   Add bacon, melted butter and juices to the mixture and blend gently.

7)   Add chopped chives and grated cheese and stir gently.

8)   Spoon into lined muffin tray.

9)   Cook approx. 15 mins or until fluffy and bounce back.

10)  Cut in half and serve in hot food thermos for a warm muffin lunch.

Veggie Egg Muffins (Makes approximately 12 muffins)

Ingredients:

-12 eggs

-1tbs coconut oil

Sea salt, pepper and cumin to taste

-1 cup chopped vegetables — combination to taste

-¼ cup chopped basil, coriander or parsley

-1 clove garlic, chopped

-½ brown onion or leek

Instructions:

1)   Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius.

2)   Cook onion / leek and garlic in 1tbs coconut oil until translucent.

3)   Add chosen veggies and cook for 2 minutes.

4)   In a bowl, whisk eggs and spices.

5)   Stir in cooked ingredients, including liquid produced.

6)    Stir in chosen herbs.

7)   Pour into greased muffin tins and bake for 20 mins until muffin springs back.

8)   Serve in hot food thermos or cold with avocado & salad.

Stacked Sandwich

I understand that most children love sandwiches. It’s okay, just make it a healthy one! Try rye, spelt or organic sourdough.

Instructions: Choose Protein: chicken, roast beef, pulled pork, ham on the bone or egg. Healthy Fat: grass fed butter, cheese, avocado, hummus. 
Carbohydrate: lettuce, rocket, carrot, cucumber, sprouts, tomato, onion. 

Lettuce “Tacos” 

Your kids don’t like salads? Try a “Lettuce Taco”!

Instructions:  In separate lunchbox containers have: 
a) 2 x cups of iceberg or cos lettuce b) pre cooked taco blend (eg: shredded beef, chicken or bean mix, capsicum, tomato, corn kernels, onion, spices to taste), c) grated carrot & cheese and d) guacamole.  Pop in a spoon and frozen ice packs for freshness.  Let the kids make their own!

What’s in a Salad? Really…whatever you want! 

-Green Salad: choose from – lettuce, rocket, carrot, cucumber, capsicum, snow peas, sprouts, tomato, cheese cubes, fetta, avocado, olives, pear slices, sunflower seeds, chicken or egg. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice to keep fresh. 

-Brown Rice Salad: with pre cooked pumpkin, baby spinach, pepitas and raisins, drizzled with garlic infused olive oil. (Can be served hot)

-Pasta Salad: start with a wholegrain or vegetable pasta, cook and choose from – tiny tom tomatoes, chickpeas, mushrooms, green beans, spiral zucchini, shallots, onion, herbs (cooking these extra ingredients will bring out more flavour). Add a protein of chicken, tuna, sausage or cheese. Drizzle with juice from cooking, salt & pepper to taste. (Can be served hot)

Snack: Coconut Date Rolls

-200g de-seeded organic dates

-1tbs desiccated coconut

-1tbs sesame seeds

-1 drop food grade pure peppermint essential oil

-pinch salt and cinnamon to taste

InstructionsBlend all ingredients (except desiccated coconut) in blender to desired consistency. Roll into balls then roll into coconut to stop stickiness. Serve 1 or 2 in lunchbox.

Snack: Protein Choc Balls

-200g de-seeded organic dates

-8-10 walnuts or almonds*

-1tbs organic peanut butter*. *If nuts not permitted, use:

-1tbs ground hemp seed or pea protein & 1-2tbs ground linseed

-1tbs sesame seeds

-1tbs raw cacao powder

-pinch salt, vanilla essence and cinnamon to taste

Instructions: Blend all ingredients (except sesame seeds) in blender to desired consistency. Roll into balls then roll into sesame seeds to stop stickiness. Serve 1 or 2 in lunchbox.

Snack: Homemade Chocolate Dip & Strawberries

-6tbs organic refined coconut oil

-2 heaped tsp raw cacao (to taste)

-8 nuts of choice or 1tbs nut butter*.  *If nuts not permitted, use:

-2tsp seeds of choice (ground chia, sesame, linseed)

-1tbs brown rice syrup

-pinch Himalayan salt

Instructions: Combine all in blender to desired consistency. Pour 2tbs into small lunch box sealed container. In another container place whole strawberries for a fun healthy chocolate fruit dip snack. Yum! 

Let us know how these ideas and recipes worked for you!

-Suzie