Ideas for great packed lunches

What should I put in my child’s lunch box?  It’s confusing and difficult to know what to put into a packed lunch.  You want your kids to actually eat their lunch.  You want to pack a healthy lunch.  You want them to have variety and your kid wants a cool packed lunch.  Look no further for cool lunch box ideas that kids will love.  In fact they will rule in the packed lunch competition. What is the basis of most lunch boxes?  Sandwiches!  And what makes a good sandwich?  Good insides AND good bread.  The industrial loaf may be conveniently sliced and square but it is neither filling, nor tasty, nor healthy.  No it is not.  And you can read more about it here.  On the other hand, it is difficult to buy real bread in most parts of the world and many people think that making bread at home is both difficult and time consuming.

lunch box ideas packed lunch ideas
Buns with raisins – great on their own or with cheese

We are here to tell you it’s not!

Here is a recipe that is totally simple and takes 5 minutes to put together and 20 minutes to bake.  What is more the buns keep fresh for days so you can either bake the whole batch at once and use them up in packed lunches over a few days or you can bake a few every day, putting the dough back in the fridge between baking batches where it will keep for 2-3 days.  Further, you can use the recipe plain or you can add different things to provide variety and cater to your child’s changing tastes.

lunch box ideas
Buns with lots of seeds – great for tuna sandwiches

Easy bread for packed lunches

Take a big bowl and mix the following together about 8 hours or so before you want to bake (yes, just mix with a big old spoon – there is no need to knead):

– 650 g flour (white or whole wheat/spelt or a mixture)
– 600 g cold water straight from the tap
– 3 g instant yeast OR 6 g dry yeast OR 12 g fresh yeast
– 12 g salt

Cover the bowl with cling film and pop it in the fridge.  The dough will puff up so make sure there is lots of room in the bowl.  The point about the 8 hours is that you can make this in the morning and bake it at night or you can make it at night and bake it in the morning.  It depends when you have 20 minutes on hand to bake. When you are ready to bake (at least 8 hours later to give the dough a chance to rise) pre heat the oven to 230 degrees centigrade. Take a baking tray and line it with grease proof paper.

Take the dough out of the fridge and, using a big spoon, make blobs of dough on the tray about the size you want your buns.  Small ones for small people and bigger ones for bigger people.  Try to “stack” the dough so that the buns are more round than flat when they bake. Pop the buns in the oven and bake them for 20 minutes.  Remove them and let them cool on a wire rack. That is all.  It, over, no more work.  Just slice them in half to make sandwiches or pop them whole in the lunch box with other yummy things.

food for lunch boxes
Buns with coriander and parsley – great for ham sandwiches

For variety you can add, for example:

– a handful of raisins or other dried fruit
– a handful of nuts or seeds
– a handful of chopped olives, sun dried tomatoes, fresh herbs (or all three!)
– a handful of chopped ham or crumbled bacon
– a handful of grated carrot or beet root or chopped celery
– a teaspoon of spices
– a big spoon of sauteed onion and/or garlic
– a handful of crumbled feta cheese or grated cheddar cheese (or any cheese)

You can add ANYTHING and it’s fun if you make this bread WITH your kids so they can decide what they want in their packed lunch and even begin to experiment with flavours.  Trust me, they will wait while you are baking, snatch them off the tray warm so you need to bake more, and be totally interested in their lunch box, looking at packed lunches in a whole new light and eating everything up.

If you would like to learn more about bread and how easy it is to bake it at home, come and take a bread course with us.  We will love to welcome you!

ideas for packed lunches
Buns with candied fruit – great as a break time snack

10 thoughts on “Ideas for great packed lunches”

  1. These sound great! Can you make them with sourdough? Would you take double the weight of fresh yeast as the amount of starter and refresh it with 25% of the flour?

    1. Yes that is exactly what you do but because the dough is so wet, you don’t need to refresh. Double the fresh yeast amount and use that weight in RYE sourdough, add everything else, stir and pop in fridge. It will fluff up almost as much as if it was yeast!

  2. Seems like a great recipie, thanks. Do you add the seeds, herbs etc before the 8 hours in the fridge or just before baking? Would it affect the dough rising if other ingredients were mixed in at the start?

    1. Hi Sophie, I add the seeds, etc before the 8 hours in the fridge. Having stuff in the dough does impact the rise (weighs is down) but as this is going to fluff up and be baked as buns, it does not make much odds. Let me know how you go. Jane

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