Family Foodies: top lunchbox ideas

Lunchbox Collage

If you ever feel stuck in a rut when it comes to preparing your children’s lunchboxes, you’re sure to find a few new ideas here. I know my children would be over the moon to discover any one of these tasty treats in their packed lunches, and I’m sure they would be the envy of the school dining hall.

So without further ado, I have great pleasure in bringing you this month’s Family Foodies lunchbox round-up. We’ve lots of tasty savoury bakes to get things started, including some clever ways to sneak a few veggies into  the kids.

savoury vegetable cake

Savoury Vegetable Cake from Allotment 2 Kitchen

These savoury cakes from Shaheen at Allotment 2 Kitchen look just the ticket for satisfying growling tums and will ensure your little ones are well on their way to their five-a-day, with their filling of carrots, French beans and cauliflower florets.

Apple & Smoked Cheese Pasties from The Garden Deli

I don’t think I’ve ever met a person who doesn’t like a homemade pasty, and children in particular seem rather partial to a stuffed pastry creation or two. Smoked cheese is popular in our house, which happens to be the filling of these wholesome pasties from Sarah at The Garden Deli, along with her homegrown apples and sage for a fantastic flavour combination.

mini pasties

Mini Lunchbox Pasties from Bangers & Mash

More pasties, this time from me. These mini pasties are filled with minced beef, carrot and hard-boiled egg and flavoured with a dash or Worcestershire sauce and a little black treacle. I’m rather addicted to using treacle with beef, since discovering it recently in a Higgidy Pie recipe for chilli beef.

Chilli Corn Chocolate Muffins

Chilli Corn Chocolate Muffins from Chocolate Log Blog

When I first read the name of these, I have to admit I assumed they were going to be sweet muffins but I was completely wrong. These inventive bakes from Choclette at Chocolate Log Blog feature Cheddar cheese, manzano chilli, paprika, garlic, 100% dark chocolate (“for extra umami”) and sweetcorn for a gorgeously chewy texture. Intrigued? I certainly am.


Pumpkin, Walnut & Poppy Seed Muffins with Cheddar Cheese from Lavender & Lovage

More savoury muffins up next from Karen at Lavender & Lovage, and again featuring Cheddar cheese but this time with the seasonal addition of pumpkin with walnuts and poppy seeds. My girls would be thrilled to find these in their lunchboxes, although I can also see myself serving them up at home with a big bowl of hot soup.


Cheesy Pumpkin Scones from Eat Your Veg

Lou at Eat Your Veg uses more pumpkin in this next entry, and here she succeeds in sneaking it into these incredibly tempting cheese scones. I like the idea of scattering pumpkin seeds on top for a delightfully crunchy topping.

cheese and apple scones

Cheddar Cheese, Apple & Sage Scones from Bangers & Mash

Savoury scones are a regular lunchbox filler in our house, so here’s another scone idea from me. Like Sarah at The Garden Deli with her beautiful pasties, I’ve gone for a cheese, apple and sage combination. This recipe makes around 12 scones, which ought to see you through quite a few lunches, but in actual fact they were all eaten within the day here.

sausage plait

Honey Mustard Sausage Plaits from Mint Custard

I often have cravings for sausage rolls, and when I saw both these sausage plaits from Becky at Mint Custard (and the next entry) I couldn’t stop thinking about sausage rolls for ages. I’ve never thought to include sausage rolls in a lunchbox before, but what a sound idea, although I am thinking as much of my own lunchbox as my children’s.

sausage bacon apple rolls

 Gluten Free Sausage, Bacon and Apple Rolls from the Gluten Free Alchemist

Lunchboxes can be even more of a challenge when you have to stick to a gluten-free diet, so this recipe from Kate aka the Gluten Free Alchemist will be something of a Godsend for many. Made with homemade gluten-free shortcrust pastry (using potato and gram flour) and filled with bacon, apple (more apple – hurrah!) and gluten-free sausage meat, I am literally drooling as I include this entry…

mini tarts

Mini Tarts from Bangers & Mash

You might have gathered I’m rather fond of mini what-nots for lunchboxes. As well as mini pasties, these mini tarts always go down well with my children. They’re very versatile and you can fill them with just about anything you (or the children) fancy. Or whatever you happen to have lurking in the fridge.


Hedgehog Rolls from Eat Your Veg

I often find that when kids have helped to cook something, they’re much more likely to eat it and I can’t imagine many children not enjoying making and eating these cute little hedgehog rolls from Lou at Eat Your Veg. And not just hedgehogs, but tortoises, flowers and snails too!


Luchito Honey Glazed Ham from Eat Your Veg

Lou also offers us this majestic glazed ham, which I am definitely bookmarking to make at Christmas. Her children enjoyed thick slices of this to fill hedgehog rolls in their packed lunches. What incredibly lucky children!

bento sushi rice

Bento Sushi Rice Shapes from Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary

Elizabeth offers us a whole array of lunchbox ideas in her entry, including ingenious ‘ants on a log’, but it is her sushi rice shapes that I can’t wait to try first. They’re so simple but so effective; my daughter’s response when I showed her the photo was “Wow! Can we have those?”

Sweet treats

And now it’s time for some sweet treats. I like to think when I include a little sweet homemade something in their lunchboxes, it’s as if I’m sending a hug to my children while they’re at school. A bit twee perhaps, but I can be like that sometimes.

bread pudding

Bread Pudding from The Crazy Kitchen

I’d never have thought of including bread pudding in a lunchbox but after seeing this post from Helen at The Crazy Kitchen it suddenly seems like a very good idea, and one that would keep the kids’ tummies full all afternoon. I’m not sure my bread pudding would end up looking quite this beautiful though…

choc orange cranberry cookies

Chocolate, Orange & Cranberry Cookies from Utterly Scrummy

Just looking at these cookies makes me feel all Christmassy – what a great idea of Michelle from Utterly Scrummy to use chocolate orange (from her husband’s not-so-secret stash I might add) along with cranberries for a fabulously festive flavour. Personally, I think these would be far too good for the children, and would probably end up hiding them away in my own secret stash…


Super-Fruity Banana Loaf Cake from Eat Your Veg

For someone who says she’s not a baker, I’m always so impressed by the cakes Louisa posts over at Eat Your Veg. Doesn’t this fruity loaf cake look delicious? Plus it’s pretty good for you too, featuring no less than three bananas, dried apricots, sultanas, wholemeal flour and she replaces the usual butter with coconut oil and yoghurt. A perfect sweet treat for the kids’ lunchboxes I reckon.


Spiced Muesli Cake from The Crazy Kitchen

More festive baking next, this time in the form of a spiced muesli cake – a second brilliant entry from Helen at The Crazy Kitchen. It’s great cold in lunchboxes, but also makes for a comforting pud served warm from the oven with ice cream or custard. This cake really wouldn’t last very long in our house!


Soul-Cakes from Lavender & Lovage

These pretty Soul-Cakes from Karen at Lavender & Lovage are a cake-cum-biscuit, traditionally made on All Soul’s Day (just after Halloween) and were distributed by the rich to the poor of the parish. They are very easy-to-make and would be perfect with your afternoon cuppa, but do make sure you save a one or two for the children’s lunches.

lime cake

Easy Iced Lime Cake from Fab Food 4 All

My children’s school provides hot meals twice a week and when I ask them on those days what the best thing they ate was, it’s invariably an iced sponge cake of some description. So what a good idea to include it in their packed lunches too, and this iced lime cake from Camilla at Fab Food 4 All looks just the recipe to try.

spiced pumpkin and chocolate cupcakes

Spiced Pumpkin and Chocolate Muffins from Leeks & Limoni

These muffins look really rather decadent but according to Katharine at Leeks & Limoni they’re actually quite virtuous. They contain no butter at all and only a little sunflower oil, and of course there’s the pumpkin too. What’s more they’re incredibly easy to make. I’m sold!

fruit and nut balls

Dried Fruit & Nut Balls from Bangers & Mash

These fruit and nut balls sound so virtuous, you really wouldn’t expect them to taste good but trust me, they really do. Although a little part of me is wondering how they’d taste if they were dipped in some gorgeously dark chocolate… By the way, my girls’ school is OK with nuts (as ingredients in cakes and biscuits etc) in packed lunches, but do check your school lunch policy before sending these in.

So there you have it, our Family Foodies’ round-up of tasty recipes to help you put some pizzazz in your lunchboxes. But there can only be one winner.

And the winner is…

Our guest judge this month is Caroline Job, the mum of three behind the inspiring website that is Lunchbox World. You should pay the site a visit as it’s packed full of lovely recipes and helpful hints and tips, plus lots of cool lunchbox-related products. So Caroline knows a thing or two about what makes a good lunchbox filler.

This is what Caroline had to say:

“I was delighted to be asked to judge this month’s round-up.  Having set up the Lunchbox World business back in 2009, when my three kids started having packed lunches at school, lunch boxes are never far from my thoughts. Helping you put the fun back into packed lunches has always been my mantra!

“When I look out for new lunch box ideas, I am always thinking: they have to be fun, something the kids will eat, nutritious and above all, attractive and easy for them to eat. If they can be bite-size or in their very own portion, I feel it goes down into their tummies that much quicker! If we think it’s boring, the kids will too, so it is always worth the time and effort to make it FUN! I aim for the kids to bring home those lunch boxes empty (ie eaten), which then puts a smile on my face, as I then think “job well done”.

“There were so many fun, tasty, and nutritious entries, it was a tough decision. It would have been great to taste them all! But there were three that jumped out at me. The hedgehog rolls from Eat Your Veg are such fun and I am sure any kid finding them in their lunch box would gobble them up immediately! But I hesitated as the prep/cooking time was a long one. I was also drawn to the bite-size mini tarts by Bangers and Mash, but I was looking for something a bit more festive for this time of year.

Then bingo! I saw the delicious cranberry, orange and chocolate cookies made by Michelle at Utterly Scrummy. These tick all the boxes for me and they’ve got the festive flavour too.


So because it’s Christmas, I have a fun prize for Michelle. Hopefully every time you use it you’ll think of Lunchbox World. A fun dotty lunch box with matching picnic mat, that folds up into approximately A4 size, so very portable. Don’t feel you have to wait until spring though, you can picnic indoors as well as outdoors!

Thanks again for inviting me to judge your competition. If you are looking for more lunch box ideas, tips, hints and recipe ideas, do have a look at the Lunchbox World blog, where there are posts on family fun too, and the main Lunchbox World website, which is all about the world of lunchboxes!”

Congratulations Michelle on your thoroughly deserved win. Drop me a line with your address and your prize will be winging its way to you very soon.

Thank you to all our bloggers for sharing their lunchbox recipes. December’s Family Foodies challenge is now open over at Eat Your Veg and the theme this month is, rather appropriately, Kids Christmas. Louisa and I look forward seeing your fun and festive family recipes!


6 thoughts on “Family Foodies: top lunchbox ideas

  1. Gorgeous round up Vanesther! And what a fabulous array of inspiring and tasty lunchbox treats! I’m not sure I’ll let my kids caste their eyes on this little lot as there’ll be some stiff demands, but I shall be gradually working my way through the list. Wonderful challenge and wonderful entries. And wonderful hosting of course! And thanks to Caroline of Lunchbox World for the judging and prize.

  2. So many fabulous ideas for lunchboxes, I’m beginning to wish my kids were still taking packed lunches to school! The cranberry cookies are top of my list to try – there are plenty of others I want to bake, but I have to start somewhere!

  3. I am so excited to see these yummy lunch idea, will definitely try them…thank you for these great ideas…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s