Quick Healthy Lunchbox Ideas
Tips & Bits

3 Quick Lunchbox Recipe Ideas

New school year means a new season of brain wracking to keep up with providing tasty, varied, economical and yet healthy lunchbox snacks. Eek! I rely on a few quick lunchbox recipe ideas to supplement my repertoire of other bits and bobs that get chucked into those pesky containers every day!

I’ve got 3 kids requiring lunchboxes. For my daughter I need to pack up to three batches of snacks some days that will last all those hours without getting spoilt. First break, second break and then snacks for after school before her activities start.

The ordeal, oops I mean task of throwing together these lunchboxes is made infinitely easier when I’ve done a massive shopping of course. I stand smugly in the pantry, lunchboxes neatly lined up side by side on the shelf and I take a handful of dried fruit from one bag, nuts from another, savoury biscuits from some or other box and wham them in the night before so all that needs adding are a few fresh things in the morning.

Then of course there are those days (plenty of them) where I stand in that same pantry shoulders slumped staring, staring and well, just staring at semi empty shelves trying to “will” non-existent snacks to jump out and say “pick me”!

What does make lunchbox assembly a fair bit easier is when I’ve whipped up a quick and simple homemade but healthy kid friendly treat from my list of quick lunchbox recipe ideas. The kids love these additions and when I’m feeling patient I let the kids take turns to make the recipes because yes, they’re really that simple! They’re the type of things that can be thrown together whilst you also get the dinner going.

Today I’m going to share with you 3 of our family favourites. These recipes could also easily be used as breakfast on the go ideas too.

Best Banana Bread

Best Banana Bread Lunchbox Ideas
  • 2 Cups flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 Egg
  • 2/3 Cup sugar
  • 1/2 Cup oil
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 3 medium bananas, mashed

Heat oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Mix beaten egg, sugar and oil together. Add to dry ingredients.Add essence and bananas. Don’t overmix. Pour into a greased loaf tin. Bake roughly 45 minutes.

Date Squares

Date Squares Lunchbox Ideas
  • 250g Chopped dates
  • 125g Butter
  • 1 Egg beaten
  • 1Packet 200g Marie biscuits broken
  • 125ml Chopped nuts or dry cereal
  • 125ml Coconut (optional)

Melt butter and dates in a pot over low heat until sticky. Remove from heat and stir in egg. Stir in biscuits and other dry ingredients. Press into a lined 22cm x 22cm tin and refrigerate overnight. Cut into squares. Supervise if making with the kids!

Breakfast Cookies

Breakfast Cookies Lunchbox Ideas
  • 1 1/2 Cups flour
  • 1 Cup oats
  • 1/2 Teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 Cup oil (vegetable or coconut)
  • 2/3 Cup honey
  • 1/2 Cup peanut butter
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Ripe mashed banana
  • 4 Cups cereal (ie. Rice Crispies, Oatees, Cheerios)
  • 1 Cup choc chips, raisins or chopped nuts

Heat oven to 180 degrees. Sieve together flour, salt and baking soda. Add oats. Microwave oil, peanut butter and honey about 30 seconds. Whisk in egg and banana. Stir peanut mixture into dry ingredients. Add cereal and cup of choc chips/raisins or nuts and mix. Pop golf ball size blobs onto a lined baking tray and flatten a little with a fork. Bake 10 mins. until lightly golden. Cool a few minutes and move to cooling rack.

Other Lunchbox Snack Ideas

Lunchbox Ideas And Snacks

What else can you pop into lunchboxes each day? It can get complicated keeping up with 3 children’s individual preferences which I only mildly indulge. Is the mild lack of tolerance me simply putting my foot down or rather that I’m too porridge brained to actually recall who has which preference? Probably a bit of both! My kids tend to eat a sandwich when they get home from school so I don’t put those into the lunchboxes otherwise it’s non-stop bread. Maybe it’s also a case of me not wanting to find an extra 5 minutes in the morning between the chaos to make sandwiches? Again probably a bit of both reasons / excuses.

Dried fruit, nuts, savoury biscuits, biltong, vegetable crudites, cheese, cold meats or fresh fruit all make ideal and healthy little lunchbox snack ideas. To be fair popcorn is quite a healthy snack too if it’s not completely drowned in layers of salty seasoning. We’re also muffin fans in our house. Sometimes I throw them together from scratch but I also like to keep a few packs of premix bran muffin mix in the pantry for the extra lazy or busy days. Snowflake has the lowest sugar content out of the main brands. You can add some cranberries or raisins to the mix or top with some muesli for crunch if you wish to personalise! On Friday’s they’re allowed a little packet of chips or a small sweet.

My 3 get heavily diluted fruit juice. They’ve never been big water drinkers and in our hot climate I need them to drink. I make up the bottles the night before and store in the fridge overnight so the beverage is nice and cold in the morning. If the bottle opening is large enough you can squeeze a few small ice cubes in to keep the drink cooler for longer.

What are your lunchbox lifesavers or tricks? Please do share with us in the comments! I’d love to hear from you.

One Stop Wanderlust showcases family travel and family-friendly outings in South Africa. Grab a coffee and stay on the blog to find more exciting wanderlust worthy ideas and tips.

12 Comments

  • Darcy

    Great tips in this article, thanks! The date squares sound really good. My husband takes his lunch every day and we try hard to keep the contents healthy. He also had a sweet tooth, so sometimes it can get tricky. Thanks!

    • Julie

      Thanks Darcy. My hubby also takes his lunch in and has a sweet tooth! The date squares are great because there’s no refined / added sugar. Have a fab week 🙂

    • Julie

      Thank you Elizabeth. School year has just started in S.A. so we’re going through a good phase currently but my inspiration will soon wane in a few weeks!

  • Amanda

    I also struggle with lunch ideas. It doesn’t help that I have very picky eaters. The one blessing I have is that mine are finally in middle school and now pack their own lunches. Now I just have to keep a well stocked pantry and refrigerator like you mentioned. Great lunch ideas!

    • Julie

      Thanks Amanda. I can’t ever quite remember who doesn’t eat this and who doesn’t eat that sigh! These recipes they all 3 agree on, yay!

  • Briana

    What a great post!! I definitely struggle with cold lunch ideas! The breakfast cookies look great and I’m excited to try them! Thank you for sharing!

    • Julie

      Thank you Briana. I struggle all round to find energy and inspiration for lunchboxes but these are fall backs for us that the while family enjoys!

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