It can be challenging to pack nutritious and craveable school lunches. The Chefs of Rattan Direct offer some clever ideas for keeping it interesting.
A Japanese tradition, The Bento Box remains the cornerstone of a healthy Eastern diet. The ratios of food groups are interpreted in many ways, but the Western adaptations usually aim for a smaller protein section, a smaller carb section, and the biggest section for vegetables.
For parents, the challenge is to mix it up each day and provide an interesting healthy lunch kids find exciting enough to want to eat.
Turkey Meatball Dippers with Pesto Bows
Mix turkey breast mince with a little salt, dried sage, onion powder, paprika and soy sauce. Roll into balls and bake in the oven until cooked through. About 10 minutes. Serve with tomato sauce to dip (use our pizza sauce base). Mix cooked pasta bows with a little pesto, a touch of mayo, and a touch of yogurt.
Paprika Chicken Legs with Rice Salad, Tortilla Chips, and Avocado Dip
Bake chicken legs with paprika, oil, a touch of garlic powder, salt and a squeeze of lemon. Give them about an hour until the skin has browned and the flesh is tender. Make a rice salad with cooked rice, peas, sweetcorn and a dash of soy for interest.
For a child-friendly version of guacamole, mix very ripe avocado with a dash of lemon juice, a touch of salt, and a shake of garlic powder. Tone it down by adding a little mayo and a little yogurt.
Chicken Sausages with Sweet Potato Wedges
Bake chicken sausages with wedges of sweet potatoes and a drizzle of olive oil until browned and cooked through. 20 to 30 minutes.
Turkey Roll Up Snack Attacks
Spread slices of turkey breast with cream cheese and roll around crisp iceberg, red cabbage, and grated carrot. Some bagged salads will provide this mix ready to go. Cut rounds of cheese, salami, and cold cuts, to match a handful of crackers.
Mini Pizza Pie
The homemade pizza sauce for these mini pizzas doubles up as a dip. Make a batch and freeze in small portions. Put one tin of chopped tomatoes in a saucepan with a tablespoon olive oil, a pinch of salt, a pinch of sugar, and a little garlic powder.
Add half a tin of water and simmer until thick and sweet. Blend if you like, to remove the lumps. Using mini tart rings, or egg poaching rings, cut out rounds from ready-made pizza dough that are slightly larger than the rings.
Press the dough into the rings, up the sides, and add tomato sauce and cheese. Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes or until the dough is cooked and the filling bubbling.
Cheese and Bean Quesadilla
Mash a can of drained beans with a pinch of garlic powder, oil, and lemon. Spread over a tortilla wrap. Add grated cheddar and mozzarella, then put another wrap on top. Bake in a hot oven or cook in a frying pan on both sides until the bread is crisp and the cheese melted. Leave to cool before slicing.
Sandwiches; PB&J Stars, Mini Bagels, Cheese Savory Pinwheels
You can get mini bagels or cut a regular bagel down to size. We used plain cream cheese in ours. Use sliced wholemeal bread and cut out into star shapes. Mix together grated cheese, grated apple, grated carrot and finely diced red pepper with mayonnaise. Spread over a tortilla wrap, roll, and slice.
A great way to use pizza dough! Mix soft butter with cinnamon and sugar. Spread over dough, cut into strips, twist and bake at 375F for about 20 minutes.
Fruit Skewers with Yogurt Dip and Fig Roll Bites
Skewer cubes of fruit onto small toothpick skewers. You can snip off the sharp ends for younger children. Serve with tiny pieces of fig roll and natural yogurt mixed with a little raspberry jam.
Chocolate Dip, Breadsticks, and Berries
Mix chocolate spread with a splash of milk to loosen into a dip. Serve with mini breadsticks and a handful of berries.
Peanut Butter and Apple
Mix peanut butter with enough water to form a smooth dip. Toss apple slices in a mix of lemon juice and water to slow down the browning process.
Popcorn and Marshmallow Chocolate Drizzle with Fruit
Mix plain popcorn with mini marshmallows and drizzle with a little melted chocolate. Leave to set before serving with cubes of fruit.