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Back to School snacks and lunches: 3 ideas for healthy eating

February 2024

It is that time of year again! As we return to school and work after the summer holiday, the quest for the ideal lunchbox snack returns. Parents and caregivers will be readjusting to the back-to-school routine and may find themselves a little out-of-practice with their daily lunchbox creations. With our modern lives, busy schedules, fussy eating children, and lunchbox limitations, preparing daily lunches is no easy task – it requires us to juggle our time and resources and make good food choices, often balancing between healthy eating, and more convenient and affordable options.

Return to routine – whether you prepare your lunches in the evening or early in the morning, make sure you set aside enough time. Kids often like to prepare their own lunches, so this can be encouraged. If your routine is flat-out during the week, you may focus on the weekend to get the shopping and food prep done. Often you can freeze your lunchbox snacks, so they last the week.

Collaboration, shopping lists, and grocery shopping – discuss lunchbox ideas as a family and write a weekly shopping list for all the ingredients. Kids will have good ideas and often like to be involved in the decision-making process. Do your weekly shop in advance so you have all the ingredients on hand. Work together as a household to share shopping and lunch prep responsibilities.

Presentation – food in a lunchbox is often harder to present than food on a plate. Lunchboxes can get thrown around in a bag, and the food is usually kept at room temperature. Keep this in mind when preparing your food items. Beeswax wrappers, ice packs, or lunchboxes with compartments, can help keep food items fresh and in place, while improving presentation.

Feedback – often we can be quick to blame our kids for coming home with leftovers in their lunchbox. Ask them why they did not eat it and get feedback so you can adapt the lunch for next time. Ask yourself - would I eat it? Sometimes a simple snack that your child likes is all they need in their lunchbox to get them through the school day - followed up by a nutritious dinner in the evening or when they get home from school.

School Snacks and Lunches: 3 Easy and Healthy Recipes

Bread Baskets (makes x 6)


·      x6 sliced of bread (thin slice/sandwich slice)

·      butter or margarine for spreading

·      x2 large eggs (beaten with salt and pepper and a dash of water/milk)

·      other fillings: diced capsicum, sliced spring onion, diced ham, creamed corn

·      sliced tomato, chopped parsley (optional)

·      grated cheese or crumbled feta (30g)

·      muffin tray


·      Preheat oven to 180°C

·      Spread one side of the bread slices with the softened butter/margarine

·      Cut off crusts

·      Place bread buttered-side-down in a muffin tin

·      Put in fillings of your choice, and fill with beaten egg until ¾ full. Top with some of the cheese (and a slice of tomato and parsley if using), plus extra salt and pepper to taste.

·      Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes, or until the bread is crisp and the cheese is bubbling.


Hokkien noodle salad


·      450g (1pkt) fresh hokkien noodles

·      1 carrot

·      1 Lebanese cucumber

·      1 red capsicum, thinly sliced

·      1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken

·      chopped fresh coriander

·      2 tbsp (salt-reduced) soy sauce

·      2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce



·      Cook Hokkien noodles following packet directions. Rinse under cold water. Drain.

·      Cut carrot and Lebanese cucumber into match sticks.

·      Toss noodles, carrot and cucumber, thinly sliced red capsicum, shredded cooked chicken, chopped fresh coriander, salt-reduced soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce together.

·      Refrigerate for up to 2 days.

·      Serve in a well-sealed lunchbox container, with a fork and napkin.


Easy Oven Baked Falafels (Source:Easy Peasy Foodie original recipe here)


·       1 tablespoon olive oil.

·      2 x 400 g tins chickpeas drained

·      1 small red onion diced

·      4 garlic cloves grated

·      1 teaspoon chilli flakes more if you like them hot!

·      2 teaspoons cumin ground

·      1 teaspoon salt and Black pepper to taste

·      fresh parsley roughly chopped

·      fresh coriander (cilantro) roughly chopped


·      Preheat your oven to 200°C fan and lightly grease a large baking tray.

·      Place all the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and blitz together using a stick blender, or alternatively, blitz in a blender or food processor.  Note: you want to achieve a rough texture, with most of the chickpeas blended, but some still whole. You will need to scrape down the sides of the bowl between blending to make sure everything is well mixed and the right consistency.

·      Shape the mixture into 24 small balls. Flatten each ball slightly, then place on the prepared baking tray.

·      Put the falafel into the oven for 20 minutes, or until golden on top and cooked all the way through.

·      Can be served in the lunchbox as they are or wrapped in pita bread with salad.

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