6 simple thermos-friendly school lunch ideas

Photo: Thermos/U Konserve
Photo: Thermos/U Konserve 

It's that time of the year when the cold is settling in and kids are craving comfort foods. There's always the dilemma of how to keeps those soups, casseroles and risottos hot until lunchtime, and parents are lucky we have so many options available these days.

Consider reputable brands of insulated containers such as Thermos, U Konserve, Lunchbots, Contigo and Kleen Kanteen. Most do double duty keeping food cold in the summer and hot in the winter, meaning your child can have temperature-controlled sustenance from home.

Always take into account most schools' nut-free policy when considering what to put in your child's lunch box. Ensure satays, slivered almonds, peanut garnishes and other nuts are only eaten at home.

Here are 6 easy food ideas - along with recipes - to warm them up in the schoolyard.

1. Pasta

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There are so many things you can do with pasta; from this sausage and tomato recipe to the ever-popular macaroni cheese to this creamy fettucine pasta bake, these dishes will go down a real treat at school. Use ingredients you know your child will love and omit the ones they won't like.

2. Stews and casseroles

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Stews and casseroles have long since stopped being foods to fear for kids. Children growing up these days can be treated to this lentil stew, hearty lamb, barley and rosemary stew and easy beef casserole for a tasty lunch that probably doubled as dinner the night before. There's also this chickpea casserole for another vegetarian and budget-friendly recipe.

3. Soup

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Photo: Nicole Avery

If you've been lucky enough to score a young soup fan, then load them up with substantial soups such as pumpkin soup, tomato soup with pasta and basil, lamb and pasta soup and slow cooker chicken and rice soup. Any of these can be made into smooth soups by whizzing them up with a hand blender.

4. Risotto

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Photo: GoodFood
 
Risotto is the ultimate portable comfort food. Send them to school with bacon, parmesan and broccoli risotto, a simple herb risotto, or a hearty chicken risotto.
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5. Noodles

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Kids can be fanatical about noodles so they'll be thrilled to find them in their lunch boxes. Try sweet and sour noodles, hokkien mee and easy drunken chicken noodles, as well as potato noodles with vegetables.

6. Patties and nuggets

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They make the perfect finger food but should be kept hot - try these patty and nugget recipes. You can also use leftover risotto to pan fry small arancini-style patties. There's  Salmon and potato patties, chickpea and tuna patties, fish cakes, oven-baked chicken nuggets and cous cous patties.