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Five of the best lunchbox ideas

Try these delicious lunchbox recipes and never receive back your lovingly prepared lunches uneaten again

Posted: 21 August 2013
by Kate Donoughue

Ricotta with Apricots & Honey Sandwich

(courtesy Lunchboxes by Annabel Karmel, Random House, £6.99)

The following recipe makes 1 serving of filling – just use your child’s favourite bread. This goes especially well with granary bread.


75g (3oz) ricotta

1 tsp runny honey

3 ready-to-eat dried apricots, chopped


Mix together the ricotta and honey and stir in the chopped apricots.

Chicken Caesar Salad 

(courtesy Lunchboxes by Annabel Karmel, Random House, £6.99)

The croutons and dressing for this salad can be made the night before. Then all you need to do in the morning is sauté the chicken, mix all the ingredients together and toss with the dressing. You could even use ready-made croutons and cooled chicken breast, in which case all you need to do is assemble all the ingredients – so simple! Makes one portion.


1 tbsp olive oil

1 slice thick white bread, crusts trimmed and cut into small cubes

1 chicken breast

1 baby gem lettuce, cut into pieces

1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese


2 tbsp mayonnaise

1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

1 tsp lemon juice

½ small clove garlic, crushed

1/8 tsp Dijon mustard

A few drops Worcestershire sauce

A few drops Tabasco sauce


1 Heat the olive oil in a small non-stick frying pan and add the cubes of bread. Fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

2 Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces and add to the pan. Fry for 3-4 minutes until cooked through and leave to cool.

3 Mix together all of the dressing ingredients. Mix together the lettuce and chicken and toss with most of the dressing. Pack the grated Parmesan cheese and the croutons in a small separate plastic container for your child to scatter over the salad at lunchtime.

Veggie-licious Quesadillas

(courtesy My Lunch Box, Chronicle Books, £9.99)

A stay-hot food container will make these cheesy quesadillas taste just-melted. This recipe makes four servings – lunch for the whole family, then?


4 large wholewheat tortillas

25g (1oz) shredded Cheddar cheese

25g (1oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese

60ml (2fl oz) mild salsa

7g (1/4oz) chopped vegetables, like corn, mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers (choose your child’s favourites)

2 tbsp butter, melted


1 Preheat the oven to 200˚C/400˚F/ Gas Mark 6

2 Place two of the tortillas on a greased baking sheet. Place the shredded cheeses in a small bowl and mix well. Divide the salsa between the two tortillas, then top with half the chopped vegetables and half the cheese.

3 Top each with another tortilla to make two quesadillas. Lightly brush the tops of the quesadillas with melted butter. Bake for 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

4 Cut each quesadilla into four pieces and wrap individually in aluminium foil. Place in preheated, stay-hot food containers.

Chewy Granola Bars

(courtesy My Lunch Box, Chronicle Books, £9.99)

Oats make these bars healthy – tart and sweet dried cranberries make them a must-eat treat. Makes 12 bars.


140g (5oz) wholewheat flour

215g (71/2oz) rolled oats

75g (23/4oz) flaxseeds

1 tsp ground cinnamon

200g (7oz) firmly packed brown sugar

85g (3oz) honey

115g (4oz) butter, at room temperature

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

85g (3oz) dried cranberries, shredded coconut, sunflower seeds, nuts of your choice (optional)


1 Preheat the oven to 160˚C/325˚F/Gas Mark 3.

2 Combine the flour, oats, flaxseeds, cinnamon, brown sugar and honey in a medium bowl. Crumble the butter into the flour mixture and mix until it looks like small peas.

3 Make a hole in the centre of the flour mixture and add the egg and vanilla to the centre. Use a fork to combine the egg and the dry ingredients until the mixture is moist and crumbly.

4 Add the dried cranberries and the coconut, sunflower seeds and nuts (if using).

5 Spread the mixture into a greased 9in (23cm) baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes.

6 Cut into 12 bars when granola is still warm. Store in an airtight container to keep the bars fresh and chewy.

Dreamy Creamy Cupcakes

(courtesy My Lunch Box, Chronicle Books, £9.99)

These carroty cupcakes are topped with delectable cream cheese frosting. Makes 12 cupcakes.


65g (21/2oz) all-purpose flour

140g (5oz) wholewheat flour

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

2 eggs

200g (7oz) sugar

120ml (4fl oz) vegetable oil

1 tbsp vanilla

225g (8oz) shredded carrots

130g (41/2oz) apple sauce

170g (6oz) golden raisins

115g (4oz) chopped walnuts


225g (7oz) light cream cheese

115g (4oz) butter, at room temperature

200g ((7oz) confectioners’ sugar

1 tbsp vanilla


1 Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F/Gas Mark 4.

2 Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

3 Mix together the flours, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl.

4 In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla. Add the carrots and apple sauce.

5 Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until moistened and well combined. Stir in the raisins and walnuts.

6 Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

7 After the cakes cool, pack them in food containers.

8 For the frosting, mix together the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until well blended. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and mix until creamed together.

9 Pack the frosting in a separate container so your child can freshly frost their cupcake with a spoon at school.

For more great recipes, see Lunchbox Ideas and for more from Annabel Karmel's Lunchboxes, see Fabulously Funky Lunch-Box Suggestions

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Discuss this story

This his healthy, easy to prepare and delicious lunch box recipes will surely be a big hit! Its not surprising that a lot of reviews are posted online about different lunch box recipes that can entice children to eat.

Posted: 31/05/2017 at 11:56

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Great Sara Lins, so good.

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Posted: 24/05/2018 at 12:42

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