A sandwich is a traditional staple in the school lunch box, but there can a number of reasons as to why you need something else as the main item in your child's lunch box. It could be:
- You have a fussy eater and sandwiches are not on the list of foods they will eat;
- You are looking to reduce the amount of processed foods the kids eat;
- Your child has a gluten allergy and doesn't like gluten free bread; or
- Simply to add variety to the kids' lunch box and expose them to new foods and meals.
Whatever the reason, with some thought and planning you can find plenty of alternatives to sandwiches. Here are five popular non-sandwich lunch items you might like to test out on your kids!
1. Lunch box beef triangles
These beef triangles are super easy to make and while you can make up the mince as per the recipe, you can actually use any left over cooked minced meat you may have in the fridge. It would work with Bolognese sauce (just make sure you drain off excess sauce first), savoury mince or left over taco meat. Wrapped up in puff pastry, the meat will give the kids a protein boost with some veggies tucked in as well.
Recipe link: Lunch box beef triangles
2. Savoury muffins
A savoury muffin can be a perfect alternative to sandwiches. They are easy for kids to eat and you can use what veggies and other ingredients you have on hand to make them. They are an item you can make a decent amount of at once, so adding the main lunch item can be as easy as taking a muffin from the fridge to the lunch box, saving you time in the mornings.
Recipe link: Bacon and egg muffins
3. Wraps or lunch box quesadillas
Wraps can provide a home for a wonderful assortment of fillings to nourish a child for lunch. You can use left over meats and veg or try salad with another type of protein like eggs or tuna. Think about what your child's favourite foods are and make up a special combo just for them.
A twist on the wrap is to make a lunch box quesadilla with wraps. You can make these up in advance and it can often be an easier option for little hands to eat as they stay together well.
Recipe link: Lunch box quesadillas
4. Zucchini slice
Zucchini slice is a great addition to the lunch box rotation. Not only is it a nutritious alternative to sandwiches for the kids, but it can be made in bulk and frozen as well. It can be handy to have a stash of lunch box items in the freezer for those times when family life is hectic. Simply remove the precut slices from the freezer the night before and defrost in the fridge ready to pack in the morning.
Recipe link: Zucchini slice
5. Rice paper rolls
Rice paper rolls are an excellent gluten free option for kids' lunches. It can also be a fun activity to make the rice paper rolls with the kids – just don't expect perfect uniform shapes! You can keep the rice paper rolls vegetarian or add left over roast chicken meat if you have some available. Slice up veggies like carrot, capsicum, snow peas, purple cabbage finely to serve up a rainbow of veggies to the kids.
Recipe link: Chicken, carrot and capsicum rice-paper rolls
Note: It is important that if you are putting alternatives like these in your child's lunch box that you also include an ice brick to keep everything at a cool temperature.