Lunchbox habits

My aim in the kitchen is to reduce my impact without it taking a heap more time or effort. And given the time of year it felt fitting to bring it to life by talking about how I roll when it comes to school lunchboxes.

My 3 top habits for lunchboxes:
#1 Cook extra at your evening meal
Pop a portion into lunchboxes when you serve to avoid someone eating it all! A good solid 'main' in the lunchbox is a great way to get something really substantial in there and takes the pressure of having to fill it up with lots of other stuff. Favourites in our house are sausages, lasagne and quesadillas. My kids are happy to eat leftovers cold, but you could always reheat in the morning and pop them in a thermos.
#2 Bulk cook and freeze
Whenever I bake something I double or even triple the recipe, cut into portions and throw the extra in the freezer. If it works, I get the kids involved in the baking and they're way more into eating it.
#3 Use what you have
The change I have made that has saved me the most time is going to the supermarket less often. Instead of popping out to the shops I will always find a way to make do with what we have. Maybe that means the kids get 'pizza alla leftovers' for dinner/lunch, or I bake chocolate cake with grated zucchini because that's what we have heaps of, or I throw a random selection of tail-end veggies and a few chunks of cheese on a skewer and call it a snack... whatever I can come up with to use that will save a trip to the shops.
Read on for some of my go-to lunchbox regulars.

Hummus: I use this recipe and add random veggies I have on hand. I crank it out in bulk and freeze it in small batches.
Savoury Muffins: I use this recipe and just mix up the veg depending on what I have on hand. They freeze super well.
Ham or Egg rolls ups: Fill with things like cheese, cucumber, carrot, capsicum, hummus... whatever you
have on hand. Depending on what you put in the middle they might be freezer friendly.
Quesadilla: I make bulk wraps, fill with cheese, tomato, mince, beans, spinach, ham etc and fry. Freeze once cooked, or freeze the wraps on their own.

Pizza alla leftovers: Whatever is in the fridge + cheese on a pizza base and bake.
Mac'n Cheese bites: If you're making macaroni cheese, throw some leftovers into muffin trays, sprinkle with cheese and bake for 15mins.
Mouse traps: A go to if the pantry is bare and the bread is stale. Marmite or relish + cheese, grill for 5 mins.
Granola clusters: I make granola and pack it with yoghurt for a filling snack.
Bliss balls: Take your pick. I don't get the fancy medjool dates because they're expensive. I just
soften regular dates by boiling them in water for a while.

Hand pies: Yep they're a thing! I make pastry and then fill with leftovers - savoury or sweet.
Lunchbox slice: Take your pick!
Banana Bread: This one is awesome for using up an excess of ripe bananas.
B&E Pie: DIY pastry, eggs, onion, grated courgette/butternut and ham rind (I cut the rind of
ham when using it for sandwiches etc, throw it in the freezer and then finely dice it for use in pies, soups or anything that needs flavour). 
Pinwheel: Pastry + left over vegies + tomato sauce + cheese. Roll it up and bake for 15mins.

Do it your way

I cook most things from scratch - not because I love spending time in the kitchen, but because if I do - I can spend less time at the supermarket, save money, reduce packaging waste and I get better at
using food I already have.
If it all feels a bit much, I get it - just go with a change that works for you:
- Maybe you can try making a bit of extra dinner one night and popping the left overs in the lunchboxes
- Or next time you feel like there's nothing in the pantry for lunches you challenge yourself to skip a trip to the shops and make do with what you already have
- Or next time the kids ask for pancakes for breakfast, you double the recipe, make some extra mini ones, and throw them in the freezer.

One small change.


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