Now that kids are back to school, parents are inevitably experiencing the lunchbox panic. It can be tough getting into the morning routine of getting kids ready and packing lunches ensuring that tots have a nutritious meal to keep them going throughout the day.
Instagram foodie influencer, blogger and mum, Lauren Hannigan (WhatLaurenEats) has teamed up with Lidl Northern Ireland to provide some tasty and healthy lunchbox recipes to help parents get prepared for the new school year. As her daughter Amelia (4), starts primary school this month, Lauren has been busy prepping in the kitchen to make sure that she is having a great tasting, healthy and balanced meal during the school day that won’t break the bank. Lauren has some top tips for parents out there who are having a lunchbox panic:
Lauren’s Top Tips
Keep it simple
There is absolutely no need to over-complicate things, you can’t go wrong if you just keep simple, especially if you are dealing with picky eaters. Make sure your store cupboard is well stocked with essential seasonings then you can make lots of different dishes out of the same ingredients to reduce waste.
Get the kids involved
Involving the kids in making their lunches not only keeps them entertained, but it also encourages them to be interested in food and aware of what they are eating. Also, if they are picky, they will know exactly what’s in it, so they are more likely to eat it.
Make your kid’s food as vibrant as possible by including lots of different fruits and vegetables. Challenge your children they to eat a rainbow, this will encourage them to eat the veggies and it also ensures they are having a nutritious meal.
All of the recipes I have put together are great both hot and cold, so you can make a big batch for dinner for the whole family and then send your child into school with leftovers in their lunchbox. Batch cooking like this reduces waste and saves time and money.
Shop for quality and value
The secret to creating delicious meals is good quality ingredients. When shopping for the week I try to plan ahead to what recipes I am going to make for us for the week and buy ingredients that can be used for several healthy, nutritious meals. Lidl Northern has a great range of fresh, healthy ingredients for amazing value, with even more savings to be had when using the Lidl Plus app. Lidl’s Waste Not initiative also means you can save more money on food that is near its Sell by Date, but is still perfectly fine to eat.
Super simple quesadillas
The first recipe is super simple, tasty and provides kids (and adults) with a balanced meal for their lunch. Amelia loved helping me to make these and I know they will be a firm favourite in her lunch box.
This recipe comes in at approx. £1.60 for a full quesadilla which would make two portions. Everything you need to make these can be purchased in your local Lidl store now.
You will need:
- Two Rowan Hill Bakery Plain Tortilla Wraps (£0.64)
- Two slices of Glensallagh Deli Style Irish Ham (£2.49)
- Slice of Deluxe Turkey Breast Slices (£2.19)
- Meadow Fresh Tex Mex Dip Selection (£1.99)
- 30g Rathdaragh Grated Red Cheddar and Mozzarella Mix (£1.69)
- Oakland Cherry Tomatoes (£0.79)
- Freshona Organic Sweetcorn (£0.89)
- Take a wrap and spoon two tablespoons salsa from the tex mex dip selection.
- Chop the ham and turkey into smaller pieces and add to your wrap.
- Cut a few cherry tomatoes into smaller pieces and add to the wrap.
- Add 30g grated cheese.
- Add two spoonfuls of sweetcorn from the tin.
- Place second wrap on top and press down gently.
- Add your wrap to a frying pan and cook for 2 mins on each side or until golden and cheese has melted.
- Slice into 6 pieces. Pop 3 slices into lunchbox and serve with some guacamole and sour cream.
Chicken and vegetable egg fried rice
This is a super quick and easy recipe that is perfect for lunches or dinner and can be eaten hot or cold. It’s healthy, tasty and using all Lidl Northern Ireland ingredients – it’s extremely good value for money.
The whole thing comes in at £2.84 and it serves 4. So only 71p for a high protein, nutritious and healthy lunch for all the family.
You will need:
- 200g frozen mixed vegetables (67p a bag)
- Two packets microwaveable rice (34p each)
- Two chicken breasts (£1.78 a pack)
- 2 medium free range eggs (85p a pack)
- Dark soy sauce (55p)
- Cut chicken into strips, add to a pan with some oil and two tablespoons of soy sauce and heat until chicken is cooked through. Set chicken to side.
- In a separate pan add your frozen vegetables and two packets of rice. Add a few tablespoons of water and cook on medium for a few minutes until veg has softened and rice is ready. Add in 2 tablespoons soy sauce and season.
- In a bowl whisk your two eggs together. Form a well in the middle of rice mixture and add in your egg. Scramble the eggs and then mix this through the rice.
- Add your chicken in and mix through.
- Serve hot or cold.
Crispy club sandwich
This recipe is perfect for packed lunches or to serve with some chips and salad for a midweek dinner.
This comes in at £1.31 for the club sandwich and the ingredients are all items that you can use throughout the week for other lunches too.
You will need:
- 3 slices of Connell Bakery medium white pan (55p for a loaf)
- Batts Lighter than Light Mayonnaise (69p)
- Slice of Rathdaragh Irish Mild White Cheddar (98p)
- 2 slices Glensallagh Low Fat Bacon Medallions (1.49 per packet)
- 1.5 Slices of Glensallagh Roast Chicken Breast (1.99 per packet)
- Iceberg lettuce (43p)
- Cucumber (45p)
- Cook off your bacon medallions in a pan.
- Toast your bread.
- Put your first slice of bread down and top with mayo and cucumber. Top this with second slice of bread.
- Add mayonnaise to the second slice and top with chicken, bacon and cheese. Top this with a third slice of bread.
- Cut the sandwich into quarters and use a cocktail stick to hold together if required.
Chicken Tikka stone baked sliders
Warm Lidl Northern Ireland stone baked rolls freshly baked at home and filled with tasty chicken tikka make the perfect lunch for little ones and adults alike. These little rolls are perfect for lunchboxes. I have made up 3 filled rolls. Each filled roll comes in at just £1.
You will need:
- Rowan Hill Part-Baked Bread Rolls (95p for 6)
- Glensallagh Tikka Chicken Pieces (£2.89)
- Batts Lighter Than Light Mayonnaise (69p)
- Lettuce (43p)
- Tomato (70p)
- Rathdaragh Irish Mild White Cheddar Slices (98p)
- Cajun seasoning (79p)
- Lemon juice (29p)
- Garlic (68p for 4)
- Sprinkle water on your rolls and bake for 10 mins. Once baked, cut in half.
- In a bowl mix three tablespoons of mayo, two teaspoons Cajun seasoning, teaspoon of lemon juice and half a teaspoon of garlic. Combine to make your creamy Cajun mayo.
- Spread some mayo on the bottom half of the roll and layer with lettuce, cheese, tomato and chicken pieces.
For more back to school recipe inspiration visit www.lidl-ni.co.uk.