Has lockdown transformed you into a full-time teacher, entertainer and personal chef? Well, we have some quick and easy lunchtime recipes in place of the classic lunchboxes for kids to add some variety into your family isolation schedule. Best of all? You can get your kids involved too! That's one less meal to make...
1. Slice apples into 1/4" rounds and use a small cookie cutter (or a knife) to remove the core from each slice.
2. Get your kids to spread their peanut butter and/or jam on each half before putting the two slices together.
3. Enjoy your healthy bread-less sandwiches and save this recipe as a little lunch bag addition!
By Lauren Miashiro
Fun Pitta Pizzas
6 wholemeal pittas
175g tomato puree
125g medium cheddar, grated
Toppings of your choice (sweetcorn, tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers etc.)
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6.
2. Cut the pittas in half horizontally and put on a large baking tray, cut-side down. Spread the tomato puree over the pitta halves, then top with cheddar.
3. Use toppings of your choice to get the family to make funny faces on their pizzas!
4. Cook in the oven for 10-12 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbling. Serve with shredded iceberg lettuce.
Lunchbox Sushi Sandwiches
1 spinach tortilla or sandwich wrap
1 teaspoon cream cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozarella cheese
4 turkey(or chicken or ham) slices
1/4 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup ranch dressing (optional)
1. Cut edges of tortilla to make more of a square shape than a circle. Spread cream cheese along the far edge. It just needs to cover about 1/2" strip of tortilla.
2. The kids can spread mozzarella evenly over tortilla, starting where the cream cheese ends and leaving about two-inch strip on the end closest to you uncovered.
3. Arrange meat slices on that uncovered strip, and arrange carrots on top.
4. Now it's time to roll! The key is to roll it very tight. fold over the end with the turkey, and roll it tightly, squeezing it toward you as you fold/roll. Continue rolling and squeezing the tortilla, finishing by pressing the rolled sandwich down so the cream cheese 'glues' it closed.
5. Next, it's back to the parents to use a sharp knife and cut your roll into 1/2" pieces. Serve with ranch dressing for dipping if desired.
By Andi Gleeson
3 Ingredient Baked Broccoli Falafels
A head of a broccoli
100g of dried herby breadcrumbs
1. Preheat the oven to 170C
2. Boil your broccoli heads for 8-10 minutes on medium heat.
3. Drain the broccoli and blend them into tiny pieces.
4. Then add your blended broccoli to the breadcrumb mix and add your 2 eggs. Mix it up! The mixture should stick together but not be too wet.
5. Get your little ones hands washed and start grabbing lumps of your mixture (about desert spoon size) to roll into balls and put them on some tin foil on a baking tray.
6. Place your falafels in the oven for 20-25 minutes until they start to turn a golden colour.
7. Serve hot with a salad, in a wrap or with some dips or even cool them down for a nifty outdoor lunch box snack!
By Sarah Rainey
Potato (and Paprika) Tortilla
For your slightly older kids lunch who can help with the chopping!
3 tbsp olive oil
250g new potatoes, ends trimmed, thickly sliced
1 small onion, halved and sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
1/2 tsp dried oregano (optional)
1. Heat the oil in a deep 20cm non-stick frying pan. Fry the potatoes, onion and garlic for 10 mins until tender. Stir in the paprika and fry for 1 min more.
2. Beat the dried or fresh herbs into the eggs with seasoning, then pour into the pan. Stir a couple of times as the egg starts to set on the bottom of the pan, then leave alone to cook slowly over a very low heat for 10 mins until set, except for the very top.
3. Carefully slide the tortilla onto a plate. Slide back into the pan upside down, with the uncooked top now on the bottom, and cook for 1-2 mins more. Wrap in foil and serve warm or chilled.
By Sara Buenfeld
Pick and Mix Pasta
A quick lunch that pleases all the family, even your little one!
Loads of Pasta (for a healthier option try wholewheat)
Family favourite pasta toppings (cheese, olives, tomato sauce, pesto, grilled veg, etc.)
1. Get the family together for a hunt to find their toppings. Get your kids to help chop or separate choices.
2. Keep food options in separate bowls so that you can have a buffet style meal on the table.
3. Cook your pasta and serve hot. Transport your kids back to their school dinners with the pick and mix vibe to this lunch.
By Sinead Fox
Tuna and Bean Salad
3 tsp olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Large pinch of mixed herbs
Small pinch of salt
1 slice of pepper, choppped
2 spring onions, sliced
3cm piece of cucumber, chopped
1 heaped tbsp of mixed beans
1/2 x 160g can of tuna, drained
To serve: 1 thick slice of wholemeal bread and low-fat spread
1. Have all your ingredients prepped and get your kids to assemble their lunch bag salads.
2. Mix oil, lemon juice and mixed herbs and a pinch of salt.
3. Add to the salad, beans and tuna and mix gently.
4. Serve with bread and spread and complete your lunchboxes with a satsuma, a slice of malt loaf and 200ml of semi-skimmed milk!
Josie has grown up in London all her life and is an avid theatre go-er. She loves boogying along to her favourite musicals in the West End with her family. Her older sister always knows the best places to go in London for vegan food and her favourite attractions include the Victoria Palace Theatre and Borough Market.