Stuck for packed lunch ideas for kids? We’re here to help!
Now schools and pre schools are back after the holidays, it’s a return to making those packed lunches for many parents! It’s easy to run out of packed lunch ideas for kids and give them the same thing day in, day out!
Our personalised bottle bands are ideal for naming water bottles for school and preschool as well as being perfect for toddlers and babies at nursery! They are also fantastic for wrapping around and personalising small containers for packed lunches!
For toddlers, our personalised kids’ cutlery can be tucked in with your child’s lunch as a familiar friend to help them eat! So that’s the cutlery, now what can they eat?
If yours are fussy eaters then it can be difficult to come up with new packed lunch ideas for kids! It’s also hard to think of interesting packed lunch ideas for kids when you’re making their lunches so often and usually in a hurry!
Some kids don’t eat much at breakfast so they can be quite hungry by lunch time, and even if they do have a good breakfast, by the time lunch time comes along they are usually starving! Maybe it’s hard to tempt your child to eat anything at all at lunch time! Every child is different and hopefully we’ll have some packed lunch ideas for kids that will suit everyone!
Research from the University of Leeds in July 2020 found that only 2 in every 100 packed lunches met the correct nutritional standards. It’s hard as a busy parent to come up with packed lunch ideas for kids that are nutritionally sound and also interesting enough for our kids to be tempted.
It is important though to try and get good nutrition into the kids’ packed lunches. By the time lunch comes along it’s time for a healthy top up for energy levels and brain power! Giving the kids a nutritious and tasty lunch will keep concentration and energy going until the end of the school day. It also means that they will feel less like snacking on sugary or fatty food after school!
So what are the main elements of a good kids’ packed lunch? According to the British Nutrition Foundation, a good kids’ packed lunch should be based on:
- Starchy foods – bread, rice, pasta, couscous, pitta bread etc. Ideally these should be wholegrain varieties.
- Plenty of fruit and vegetables – ideally at least 2 portions. This could be raw or cooked veg and chopped or whole fruits.
- Some protein – this could be beans, pulses, meat, fish, eggs or cheese.
- Some dairy or dairy alternative – yogurt, cheese or soya yogurt, or some milk.
- Something to drink – this would ideally be water, milk or sugar free squash.
To keep your kids’ lunch cool – always a concern if it can’t be refrigerated – you can try freezing a drink or including a frozen sugar free popsicle in the lunch bag which will keep the rest of the lunch cool then also be a nice cold drink at lunchtime! Another option is a cool pack which can be put in the freezer ready for the next day.
Packed lunch ideas for kids – Vegetable pasta salad
Most kids love pasta and even the fussiest child usually accepts it! This pasta salad includes some vegetables and some protein so it’s energy and nutrition packed even in small portions!
200g vegetables – this could be peas, beans, courgette, sweetcorn
2tbsp Greek yogurt plus 1 tbsp mayonnaise or vegan alternative – if desired
200g beans or tuna – chickpeas and tuna is nice, or just beans for a vegetarian option!
Cherry tomatoes chopped
Cook the pasta and drain, toss in a little oil if desired. If you’re going to add peas, you can put them in the pan with the pasta to cook!
Once the pasta is cool, stir in the cooked or raw veg and mix with the mayo and Greek yogurt.
Chill and then it’s ready to put in the lunch box! This also makes a great supper dish!
PKS personalised spoon and fork set would be ideal to include with this dish for easy eating!
Packed lunch ideas for kids – Omelette bagel
You can really throw anything into this omelette – any veg you have in the fridge and you can change it according to what you have left over. It’s packed with protein and taste and in a bagel or bun it’s tasty and quick to eat so the kids can get out to play!
1 medium potato sliced or chopped
Cherry tomatoes, quartered
Mushrooms, spinach – any veg you think your child will enjoy!
1oz grated cheese
Bagels or rolls to serve plus lettuce for garnish.
- First, heat oil in a pan and chop the potato. Cook for about 10 mins until tender and golden, then add the spring onion.
- Beat the eggs together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add to the pan and cook until set. Add tomatoes and cheese and brown for a minute under the grill.
- Let the omelette cool on a plate, then cut up into quarters and put a bit into each bagel or bun along with some salad leaves. Perfect for a packed lunch!
Packed lunch ideas for kids – Cheese scones
Cheese scones are great packed lunch ideas for kids – they are tasty, filling and easy to eat as well as protein packed! They are low in fat and a great option if you’re worried about being able to keep the lunch box cool. You can also spread them with Marmite for a tangy touch if your kids like it!
225g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
120g mature cheddar or other cheese/vegan alternative
90-100 ml milk
Salt and pepper
- Heat the oven to 200 degrees.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper into a bowl.
- Add the butter to the bowl and rub to mix until the mixture is like fine breadcrumbs. Mix in 100g of the cheese.
- Pour in enough milk to make a soft dough.
- Roll out on a floured board and cut into rounds, or whatever shape you want!
- Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
- Bake for about 10 – 15 mins or until golden brown.
- Allow to cool then they are ready for the lunch box! Add some salad or vegetable sticks and then pack in the lunch box!
Packed lunch ideas for kids – Pitta pockets with pea hummus
Most kids like peas and this hummus is easy to whip up in a hurry! It takes just 10 mins to make and is a great dip for a lunch box or a meal at home! It’s protein packed with and tasty and parents will love it too!
200g cooked peas
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp cannelloni beans – if you don’t have these you can use baked beans but just put in a sieve and rinse off the tomato sauce!
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
Sliced raw carrot and cucumber or other veg to dip in!
All you do to make this pea hummus is put all the ingredients into a blender and mix up until smooth! For kids it’s probably best to fill a pitta with the hummus and cut it up into smaller pieces. You can put some into a little pot for them dip the vegetables into too!
Pizza is actually super easy to make and you can easily include vegetables to get some of the 5 a day in!
175g self raising flour plus 1/2 tsp baking powder
50g of margarine/butter/vegan alternative
4 tablespoons of milk/soya milk
50g of cheddar cheese (grated)/vegan cheese
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large tablespoon of tomato puree/1 tbsp tomato sauce
1 can chopped tomatoes
1/2 an onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic peeled and crushed
mixed herbs if desired
Red, green, orange and yellow peppers, mushrooms, red onion – or whatever you like!
Mozzarella/cheddar cheese or alternative, grated. The quantity you need depends on how cheesy you like it!
- Heat the oven to 180 degrees.
- Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl.
- Rub in the margarine or butter and oil.
- Add the cheese and mix with enough milk to make a soft dough.
- Roll out onto a floured board – the thinner the base, the crunchier it will be!
- For the sauce, lightly fry some of the onion and add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and tomato sauce. Add the herbs and garlic if desired. Allow to cook for 15 mins.
- Spread tomato sauce onto the pizza base, leaving space at the edges so it doesn’t leak over the side!
- Chop up the veg for your topping, add and cover with cheese!
- Bake for approx 20 mins or until the base is cooked through.
You can cut the pizza into small pieces to tempt little ones or you can even roll the base out into mini pizzas which look really tempting!
Packed lunch ideas for kids – Vegetable Couscous
1 Red pepper
2 Spring onions
1/4 of a cucumber
1 small lemon, squeezed
200ml water and 1 vegetable stock cube
Feta cheese or vegan alternative, you can also add hard boiled egg or beans
- Chop all of the vegetables into small pieces, quarter the tomatoes.and set aside.
- Put the couscous into a bowl and cover with boiling water and lemon juice.
- Once the couscous has absorbed the water, allow to cool. Fluff with a fork and run some olive oil through.
- Mix the vegetables into the couscous and add the cheese or alternative.
Your couscous is ready for the lunch box! Remember to add a fork! PKS personalised kids’ cutlery set is ideal!
Yogurt adds a portion of dairy to your child’s packed lunch – you can also use soya or another vegan alternative. This is a simple recipe – you can add fruit to suit your child! Just a tasty dessert for any lunchbox and a nutritious hit!
200 g Greek yogurt – or yogurt alternative
Frozen mixed berries – helps to keep it cool!
Runny honey to taste
Granola for a crunch if desired
Mix the yogurt in a bowl with the frozen fruit and spoon into pots a suitable lunch box size. Top with honey and granola if desired.
Toddlers will love to eat this fruity yogurt with PKS personalised silicone baby led weaning spoons or personalised toddler cutlery! With their calm pastel colours and smooth handles they are ideal to help your little one build positive associations with healthy food!
Strawberry and kiwi salad – Skin 2 kiwi fruit, slice into rings. Quarter some strawberries and mix. Perfectly tasty for packed lunches!
Melon balls – If you have a melon baller then this is ideal, otherwise you can scoop melon flesh out with a spoon and put into a little pot.
Watermelon slices – always refreshing and juicy!
For something a little more energy filled, try this banana cake recipe:
115g/4oz butter or alternative
2 very ripe bananas
150g/51/2 oz light muscovado sugar
2 large eggs
225/8oz self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
a little milk
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease and line a baking tin.
- Mash the bananas, put butler, sugar, eggs, flour baking powder and milk into a bowl and beat until blended. Add the banana and beat for 30 second until mixed.
- Put into the tin and bake for about 45 mins or until well risen and golden brown. A skewer inserted into the cake should come out clean.
- Leave to cool. If desired, you can drizzle with icing!
At PKS we strive to bring you stylish, practical products for your kids. We hope you really enjoy our packed lunch ideas for kids – they make good teatime food too!
Our PKS personalised kids’ cutlery and personalised bottle bands are ideal for putting in a packed lunch! They are super stylish and practical, and the personalisation means that your child’s cutlery and bottles are clearly named – which helps to make sure they come home again!
We’re continually developing new products so keep checking our shop page for more of our kids’ stuff!