If there’s one thing parents don’t have a lot of, it’s time – specifically, time to pack lunch boxes (which we unfortunately do have a lot of!). So, next time you’re in a pinch, give one of these easy, fuss-free lunch box ideas a try!

‘MAKE AHEAD‘ LUNCH BOX IDEAS

Pasta salad

Cold pasta? Gross. Pasta salad? Delicious! We’re not sure why a simple name switch-up allows us to pack the world’s easiest lunch box filler for our kids, but it works, and we’re not going to question it. All you need to do is cook some pasta (macaroni is a favourite in the Mini Hippo household), add some steamed veggies and your dressing of choice and you’re done – you can store it for days in the fridge. We love this recipe from Recipe Tin Eats, but there are so many similar lunch box ideas available online.
Note: If your kids prefer warm pasta, simply heat it up before school and pop it in a Yumbox Zuppa!

Fried rice

Leftovers disguised as lunch box meal prep? We’re here for it. While you won’t want to leave this one in the fridge for longer than a day or two before packing it into your kids’ lunch boxes, we do love fried rice for its ability to feed the family for dinner and feed the kids for lunch the next day. It’s relatively healthy (particularly when you pack a tonne of veggies into it) and so easy – give this recipe from allrecipes.com a go!

Savoury muffins

We never thought we would choose savoury muffins over sweet, yet here we are. Obsessed. Not only are they a healthier alternative to the breakfast favourite, they’re also great as the ‘main meal’ of your kids’ lunch box. And, you can pop pretty much anything you (or rather, your kids) feel like into them! Peas, zucchini, carrots, capsicum, olives… you name it. For a great starter recipe, try this one from Healthy Little Foodies.

Sausage rolls

We love this bakery-fave-turned-lunch-box-staple for a number of reasons. One, they’re delicious. Two, the kids rarely say no to having them in their lunch box. And three, they’re sooooo easy to hide veggies inside for extra nutritional benefits. The kids think they’re getting party food at school, and we can send them off knowing they’re eating a healthy lunch – it’s the ultimate win, win! Plus, the kids will happily eat them hot or cold (refer to our earlier point about the Yumbox Zuppa!). Check out this recipe from Kidgredients to get started.

Trail mix

While trail mix requires almost no prep time (pretty much just as long as it takes you to dump bags of nuts, dried fruit, seeds and whatever else you fancy into a large container) it does require some pre-planning when it comes to purchasing ingredients. You can fill it with anything you like, though it might be a good idea to follow this expert guide if you’re in need of inspiration. We can just about guarantee it will become one of your favourite lunch box ideas.

‘MORNING OF’ LUNCH BOX IDEAS

Hard-boiled eggs

When it comes to quick, easy, and nutritious breakfasts, hard-boiled eggs are almost impossible to beat. You should boil the water before adding your eggs to the saucepan – according to this fail-proof guide for boiling eggs, this makes them easier to peel – giving you plenty of time to go off and do whatever else needs doing in the morning.

Meat and cheese skewers

Got meat, cheese but no bread? Skewers it is! Simple chop your ingredients into squares or strips (rolled up and stabbed through the middle to retain their shape) and you’ve got a fun take on the classic sandwich – no bread necessary. Your kids can put in requests for their favourite ingredients, or you can fill your Yumbox Chop Chop with a variety of ingredients and let them do the skewering themselves.

Veggie bowl

We count our lucky stars each and every day that poke, buddha and nourish bowls have burst onto the scene – they’re the easiest way to use up all of your veggies, and make your kids think they’re getting a meal that is a lot fancier than it actually is. The key to any good veggie bowl is variety and a delicious sauce – we love Kecap Manis, sweet chilli or teriyaki, plus a good drizzle of Kewpie mayo. This recipe is a great place to start.

Roti bread and dips

An exotic delicacy that looks way more impressive than it actually is? It doesn’t get much better. All you need for this lunch box filler is a selection of dips (popped into the smaller compartments of your Yumbox) and some roti bread, or naan, or Lebanese bread, torn up in the larger compartments. It’s filling and oh so easy, and guaranteed to stay fresh in their Yumbox throughout the day when packed with an ice pack.

Yoghurt and fruit

This one ticks all the boxes when it comes to probiotics, fibre and tasty nutrients! Use Greek yoghurt as your base then raid the fridge to use up all the fruit you would have otherwise forgotten about. Top it all off with some honey, fruit puree or granola (or all of the above) and your kids have the ultimate on-the-go breakfast. Check out this article for inspiration.