Love your lunchbox

Get your kids excited about lunch with these fun-filled no-waste ideas

Gringos taco box

Take a slice of cheese or salami and fill it with healthy home-made fruit salsa to make yummy tacos for little hands. For the filling – dice half an avocado, two cherry tomatoes and mix with some pineapple chunks and a little juice. Older children might enjoy come spring onions as well. For fun fruity snakes slice some banana and strawberries and arrange them in the tray with raisins or cacao nibs for eyes. Tip: Splash a bit of lime-juice over the fruit to stop it browning. Healthy home-made tortilla chips with a toghurt and cucumber dip are always a treat. For the torillas – 2 cups of white flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp olive oil, ¾ cup lukewarm milk. Combine the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients in separate bowls, and then gently mix together to make a sticky dough. Knead into a smooth ball, cover with a damp cloth and allow to rest for ten minutes. Divide into eight smaller balls, cover and rest for ten minutes. Roll out each ball on a floury surface until quite thin and then fry for 30 seconds on each side in a hot frying pan. Cut into triangles and grill lightly to make chips.

Using small star shaped cookie cutters, we cut slices of cucumber into star shapes and placed them into a star shaped silicon-baking cup alongside some Peckish rice crackers.

Tip: If you think de-shelling an egg might be too much for little hands, strip your hard-boiled offering at home and use food colouring to draw the face on the white.

Doggy bag

Just like with the pirate pizza, you can make dog-shaped sandwiches by using a cookie cutter to make a large circle and a small circle, and then placing a slice of salami behind as the filling with a little tongue poking out. We use Mollenberg whole grain and white bread for contrast, cherry tomatoes for the nose and black olives for the eyes.

Fruit sushi is a filling lunch for kids with a sweet tooth. First you need some fruit leather, which is easy to make. Take five cups of strawberries, hulled and halved, and cook in a saucepan on a low heat until they are soft and the juices have been released. Add two tablespoons of honey and puree in a food processor. Pour berry mixture onto a tray lined with greaseproof paper, and place in an oven pre-heated to 150 degrees. Bake for 4 – 60 hours until fruit leather peels away easily. Cut into long strips to use like nori.

Next you need some coconut rice. Take 1 ½ cups of rice, and add it to a sauce pan along with one 400ml can of coconut milk, and 1 ¼ cups of water. Add a teaspoon of sugar to make it sweeter if desired. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes until rice is tender.

When cooled, use a fork to spread a one-grain thickness of coconut rice across the fruit leather, and place your choice of fruit filling inside. We used strawberries and bananas, but you could try sliced mango, pineapple or kiwi fruit. Taking one end of the fruit leather roll tightly around the filling, using a spread of honey to seal the ends together. Natural yoghurt with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup makes a great dip.

Ahoy me hearty lunch!

We used a large round cookie cutter on Molnberg sandwich bread to make the pizza base. Add a spread of tomatoe paste, some grated Mainland cheddar, and use pineapple for the beard, black olives for the eye and cherry tomatoes for the patch and nose. Add a slice of LASCo salami – gluten free and naturally low in fat – to be the pirate hat. Pop your own corn for a healthy snack along with some cucumber ‘coins’. Take melon slices and add some raisins to be fruity lifeboat. Add heart shaped strawberries to Collective yoghurt with some manuka honey for a dessert treat.

I heart lunch

We used Barkers ‘Rasberries’ fruit preserve, on Molenberg sandwich bread. Using a large heart shaped cookie cutter, cut out six hearts and cover three of them liberally with jam. Using a smaller heart shaped cookie cutter, cut three hearts out of the middle of the remaining large hearts, and place them over the top of the jammy sides. Using the off cuts you can make smaller bite sized sandwiches.

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