Lunch box ideas: 5 tasty lunches to keep kids (and adults) full until home time

Try these lunch box ideas out for size. You and the kids will love 'em

Lunch box ideas
(Image credit: Amazon)

Times are a-changin', kids are going back to school in September and more of us are going back into a socially-distanced office of some sort. But, one thing that hasn't changed is the fact that we all need lunch! So we've put some delicious lunch box ideas together to help keep kids (and adults) happy when there's a new routine to take to. 

Having a home-cooked meal most lunchtimes was a bit of a luxury after all, with (usually) no plain ham sandwiches in sight, so we've kept these packed lunch ideas interesting and (fairly) easy to prepare ahead, so that they are still sure to brighten up the day and keep you full until it's time to head home.

Keep scrolling for our roundup below and for even more adventurous eats you can head to our dedicated food section.

First thing's first: you may need to invest in a stylish new lunch box. See our range of cheap lunch boxes below for a bargain. Buy online to miss the in-store madness.

Special thanks to Aldi for many of the packed lunch recipe inspiration.

1. Plentiful pitta pockets

pita recipe inspiration by Aldi

(Image credit: Photo by Alexandra Golovac on Unsplash)

Serves 4 tots, 2 hungry tots or 2 adults.

Ingredients:

  • 4 pittas
  • 1/2 an iceberg lettuce (shredded)
  • 6 ham slices (sub grilled veggies if vegetarian)
  • 100g soft cheese (sub for homemade hummus if vegan)
  • 150g baby plum tomatoes

Method:

1. Place the pittas under the grill or in a toaster until golden

2. Meanwhile, wash the lettuce and shred, wash the baby tomatoes and cut them in half.

3. Chop the pittas in half so that each has two pockets and fill generously with the cream cheese or hummus.

4. Then fill with the rest of the ingredients (adults may want to add a little seasoning to the salad).

5. Wrap in tinfoil or beeswax strips and pop them in your lunch box with a cheeky bag of crisps maybe.

2. Tasty wraps

lamb wrap

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Serves 4 hungry tots or 2 adults.

Ingredients:

  • 4 soft tortilla wraps
  • 400g welfare chicken breast cut into strips/mini fillets (use Quorn as a veggie option)
  • 1 red onion
  • 1/4 iceberg lettuce
  • 150g coleslaw (sub shredded carrot for healthier alternative)
  • 150g hummus
  • Extra virgin olive oil 
  • Seasoning

Method:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6

2. While the oven is heating, place the chicken strips on a baking tray with a drizzle of olive oil and season, bake for 10-15 mins until cooked through. 

3. Meanwhile, slice the red onion and get the wraps out.

4.  Spread the hummus onto the wraps, topping with the lettuce and chicken (once cooked).

5. Finally, add the coleslaw or shredded carrot, a little more seasoning if you'd like and roll up the wraps before cutting them into two and wrapping individually in tinfoil or beeswax wrap ready for the lunch box.

3. Posh(ish) pasta salad

Morrisons veggie pasta bake

(Image credit: Morrisons)

Serves 4 hungry tots or 2 adults.

Ingredients:

  • 200g fusilli or penne pasta
  • 150g baby plum tomatoes
  • Half a cucumber
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 2 small carrots
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 cans tuna chunks in sunflower oil (sub for cooked chickpeas if vegan)
  • 8 tbsp mayonnaise (sub for more olive oil if vegan)

Method:

1. Begin by cooking the pasta in a big saucepan of salted boiling water as per the packet's instructions.

2.  Meanwhile, chop or grate all the veggies so they are fine, flake the tuna or drain the chickpeas smashing them a little.

3. Drain the pasta once cooked and refresh under cold water, draining off the remains. 

4. Add the pasta to a large mixing bowl with the rest of the ingredients and combine together, adding the mayonnaise or olive oil, any additional seasoning and why not serve with a little grated cheese for an even more tasty result?

5. Pop it in a sealed container and you're done.

Really into posh nosh? Try this fish finger sarnie but shhh (it's Jamie Oliver's secret recipe).

4. The fancy frittata

summer frittata

(Image credit: Tesco)

Serves 4 hungry tots or 2 adults.

Ingredients:

  • 70g smoked pancetta strips or bacon
  • 1 medium red onion 
  • 6 free range eggs
  • 70g baby spinach
  • 150g baby plum tomatoes
  • 60g grated mature cheddar
  • 1 pepper (colour of your choice)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Seasoning

Method:

1. Pre-heat the grill

2. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs with the seasoning and add the grated cheese.

3. Thinly slice the onion, dice the pepper and chop the tomatoes in half.

4. Heat a pan up on a medium heat with a good glug of olive oil.

5. Chop the pancetta into small cubes and sauté this in the pan, adding the pepper and onion until softened.

6. Then add the tomatoes and spinach, stirring to help it wilt.

7. Turn the heat down and pour the egg mixture in so everything is evenly covered. 

8. Continue to cook for 5 minutes on a gentle heat until the egg begins to set.

9. Finish it off under the grill for a couple of minutes until the top is set.

10. Let it cool before cutting into wedges and popping into a sealed food container. 

Note: This can be stored in the fridge to a couple of days and will be a substantial meal if served with a small bread roll or some fruit for pudding.

Eggs are so versatile, and we've more frittata recipes for you to try. While if you want a complete roundup of all the glorious egg recipes going, we can help too.

5. Pea and mint soup a go-go

Serves 2 hungry tots or 2 adults.

Ingredients:

  • 320g frozen peas
  • 1 brown onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 big sprig of mint
  • 40g cheddar cheese (omit if vegan)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 90g dry cured streaky bacon (omit if vegan)
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1 large white potato
  • Olive oil 
  • Butter (or vegan spread)
  • Seasoning
  • 2 x ciabatta rolls

Thanks to Gousto for this delicious recipe.

Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/ 160°C (fan)/ 350°F/ Gas 4.

2. Peel and chop the potato into small cubes, peel and slice the onion, chop the garlic.

3. Add the bacon to a baking tray and cook for about 25 mins until cooked and golden.

4. Meanwhile, boil the kettle and heat a large soup pot with olive oil over a medium heat.

5. Add the onion and fry it for 4-5 minutes until softened. 

6. Add the potato, garlic, bay leaf and seasoning, cooking for another couple of minutes.

7.  Dissolve the stock cube into 500ml of the boiled water and add this to the pan.

8. Bring everything to the boil and cook for about 10 minutes until the potato is tender. 

9. Meanwhile, blanch the peas and remove the stalk of the mint. 

10. Half the ciabatta rolls, buttering both bases.

11. Remove the bacon from the oven when done, add a rasher to each buttered ciabatta base along with a slice of the cheddar cheese, put the top of the ciabatta back on top and pop them both on the side of the oven tray, along with the remaining bacon. Place back in the oven for 5 mins.

12. Meanwhile, add the mint and blanched (and strained) peas to the soup pot. 

13. Stir, then take it off the heat, remove the bay leaf and blitz. 

14. Sprinkle some of the (finely chopped or completely blitzed for kids) remaining bacon in the soup and add to a heated Thermos flask to keep it nice and hot until lunch! 

15. Serve along with the bacon and cheese ciabatta toasties which will be most delicious fresh out the oven, but a hot minute in the microwave will also do the trick).

Still hungry?