Back-to-School Lunchbox Ideas

Back-to-School Lunchbox Ideas - Quirky Cooking

Pesto Pasta Salad – great for lunches, both home and school!

Well, it’s that time of year again. Summer holidays are over and now it’s the mad rush to get the kids organised for the new school year. It seems like everyone is desperately searching for lunch box ideas that are more then just a vegemite sandwich and an apple. The good news is, there are some AWESOME lunch box ideas out there, so I thought I’d share some here for you as well, in case you missed them.

I obviously don’t need to worry about lunch boxes too much myself (we homeschool) – our lunches will be the usual soups, leftovers, salads, smoothies, bunless burgers, chocolate banana ice cream, and whatever else I happen to be testing in the kitchen for the day! But I DO remember the stress of getting the kids out the door and to the bus on time with a decent lunch – one that wouldn’t come home all smelly and soggy in the bottom of their bag because they didn’t like it.

So here you are, I rounded up some great ideas for you:

Back-to-School Lunchbox Ideas - Quirky Cooking

Bunless burgers – one of our favourite lunches!  

A beef mince patty with Dijon mustard and sauteed mushrooms in a cos lettuce ‘wrap’. (Turkey mince patties with BBQ sauce is delish too.) Make them the night before and chill in the fridge, then pop it into a small snack bag in the morning and keep it cool with a ‘Little Mashie’ reusable squeezie pouch, filled with a smoothie and frozen! Delicious lunch.

Here are some “Lunchbox Filler Ideas” that a lovely reader, Nel, shared with us on Facebook

Copy this list into a Word document, add in your own favourite lunchbox ideas, and stick it on your fridge. Voila! Plenty of inspiration for your weekly lunchbox menu.

Lunchbox Filler Ideas 

Note: Nel uses ingredients that are organic and/or preservative/gluten/lactose free, and finds most of her recipes online. Use this list as a guide, print out your own favourite recipes to suit your family’s preferences. See the tips at the end of the list for more details.
Mondays: veggie box
Tuesdays: fruit box
Wednesdays: veggie box
Thursdays: fruit box
Fridays: treat box

Veggie Boxes
*carrot sticks
*cherry tomatoes
*cucumber slices
*hard boiled egg
*baked treat
*corn cob
*chicken drumsticks

Fruit Boxes
*fruit slice
*baked treat
*salad wrap / salad

Treat Boxes
*bliss balls
*rice sticks
*salt and vinegar veggie crisps
*raw chocolate
*homemade pizza
*homemade sausage rolls with sauce
*baked treat
*mini quiche
*homemade chicken nuggets

Baked Treats
*muffins – sweet and savoury
*anzac biscuits
*chocolate cake
*zucchini slice
*carrot cake
*banana bread

Lunchbox tips from Nel (and a few from me): 

– Rice sticks and salt & vinegar veggie crisps can be bought in individual packets in the gluten free section at Woolies. They are gluten/dairy/preservative free with no GMO’s. 
– An example of a veggie box would be – leftover pasta bake in a thermos, rice crackers with hummus, a piece of carrot cake, half a dozen of each…cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, cheese cubes and a bottle of water. 
– Nel’s Fruit Slice: Whiz up dates, cranberries and sultanas with some shredded coconut until its all sticky, stir through some melted coconut oil and quinoa flakes to hold it together, press it into a lined slice tin and keep it in the fridge)
– Healthy chicken nugget recipes can be found here; or try Nel’s version – free range chicken breast coated in egg then coconut flour with mixed dried herbs, pan fried then baked, served cold in strips with aioli.
– Try my homemade chicken & vege sausage rolls recipe with spelt rough puff pastry; or Nel’s easy chicken & vege sausage rolls: Mince up chicken and add a can of drained organic lentils, some grated carrot and finely chopped onion, roll it up in preservative free puff pastry as you would normal sausage rolls, brush with egg and bake. (You can buy gluten free puff pastry if needed.) 
– For warm baked food, heat everything before school, wrap it in foil and put it into thermos mugs.
– If you’re looking for a thermos bowl/mug, you can get “Ez Heat Stayfit” from Woolies. They have a screw top lid with a flap on top that holds a folding reusable spoon, approx. $10. If you put hot liquids in there, do them up really tight – the teachers are always happy to open them for kids. 

– Make your kid’s lunchboxes look exciting with cool stuff like hard boiled egg moulds and sandwich cutters.

– Make your own wraps! They’re heaps cheaper than bought ones, taste a zillion times better, and are quick to make. Try my spelt tortillas, or for a gluten free wrap make these buckwheat and almond crepes without the vanilla, or try these amazing paleo wraps!

Back-to-School Lunchbox Ideas - Quirky Cooking
Make your own wraps – cheap, quick, healthy and much yummier than bought ones!
(Recipes above)

Sites to See:

Here’s some great blogs and sites to help you with healthy lunchbox ideas…
The Lunchbox Doctor: for healthy lunchbox menus, recipes, and nutrition tips 
Meal Planning Your Way: 7 Sandwich Free Lunchbox Ideas
Well Nourished: daily lunchbox photos on the Facebook page, and lots of great recipes on the website
Natural New Age Mum: 30 super healthy lunchbox ideas here and best ever healthy lunchbox tips here
Cut Out the Crap: recipes and tips for cooking without all the nasty stuff, including a recipe book for kid’s food
Brenda Janschek Health & Lifestyle: tips for reducing lunchbox stress, plus delicious recipes

The Organised Housewife: how to pack a healthy lunchbox


Previously I shared the inspiring story of Talisha, the amazing young mum who not only is recovering from a serious bowel disease through natural remedies and diet, but has also developed a great product to help mums feed their little ones healthy food! As Talisha says, “With Little Mashies, I can give my child (and myself, when I am sick) healthy, nutrient rich, additive free food wherever we go.”

Little Mashies are so easy to use! One way is to fill them with a smoothie and freeze, then pop into kid’s lunchboxes where it doubles as an ice pack, and a lunchtime treat! Or fill with custard or chocolate mousse, or banana ice cream, and freeze for a healthy lunchtime treat. Yum!

Here’s some recipes that would be perfect for filling up your Little Mashies:

Green chocolate smoothie (if your school is nut free, replace the nuts with sunflower seeds and pepitas)
Green smoothies (lots of ideas here)
Chia pudding (make on coconut water for nut free; add some pureed fruit and coconut yoghurt)
Coconut Vanilla Sorbet (or any other sorbet, but this one is awesome!)
– Banana custard (two custard recipes here, one with eggs but no nuts if you use plain rice milk (add banana), and one with nuts but no eggs)
Fruit ice creams (lots of ideas here)
– Chocolate mousse (dairy free – this recipe is made on eggs; if you can’t have eggs but can have nuts at school, make my raw vegan chocolate mousse)

Or this Raw Strawberry Pudding…

Back-to-School Lunchbox Ideas - Quirky Cooking

100g raw dates, pitted
350g fresh strawberries, hulled, or frozen
180g avocado
100g Raw C coconut water
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract, concentrate

Place all ingredients into mixing bowl and blend 1 min/speed 9.
Scrape down sides of bowl and lid and blend again 10 sec/speed 6.
Scoop pudding into Little Mashies Reusable Pouches and chill, or freeze. 



Talisha found that coconut water was one thing that really helped her in her illness, and it is something she loves to use in smoothies to put into her Little Mashies. My favourite coconut water is Natural Raw C – it’s got nothing added, no concentrates or preservatives or sweeteners – and it’s in handy packs with resealable lids.

These are perfect for school lunches, either on their own, or added to one of the recipes above and frozen in a Little Mashies pouch. Follow Natural Raw C on their Facebook Page for new recipes every day, using coconut water.

For lots more ideas for filling your reusable pouches, follow Talisha on her Little Mashies Facebook Page.

For those of you with older kids, here’s another great buy – an allergy friendly cookbook for kids, by Collette White of Cut Out the Crap! This book is packed full of gluten free, dairy free, preservative free recipes that will suit all ages, but especially appeal to kids. Perfect for cooking up some yummy lunchbox treats. Check out Collette’s Facebook Page for lots of great ideas and tips.

 May your lunchbox packing be stress-free and and enjoyable! Jo xx

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