If the other lunch box ideas out there seem too complicated, or too boring, or not nutritious enough, here’s some good news. Lunch boxes don’t have to be complicated or boring, especially if you get your kids involved! Start by asking them what they would like to eat, make them part of the decision-making process. Better yet, get them involved in making some of the meals.
1. Cute Bento Sandwiches
Bored of the usual ham sandwich? Make a sandwich bento lunchbox for your kids by dressing them up with cute little animal shapes. You can make a bunny, bear, frog or anything your child likes. It is sure to bring a smile to their faces. They will find it hard to resist eating these adorable sandwiches, even if it does end up being ham and cheese. And because it’s a bento, you can also throw in lots of healthy fruit and veggies inside.
- 1 Japanese cucumber
- 1 slice cheddar cheese
- 1 slice ham
- 1 carrot
- 1 nori (seaweed)
Your choice of filling. We recommend ingredients such as:
- Strawberry jam
- Cheddar cheese
- Japanese cucumber
- Egg salad
- Cherry tomatoes
- Octopus sausages
- Make the sandwiches with the filling of your choice. For example, jam, cheese, egg salad or ham. It would be nice to have a combination of sweet and savoury sandwiches for more variety and surprise.
- Next, make fun characters to put on top of the sandwiches as decoration. You can watch this video to make some cute characters, or make up your own. Think of what animals or cartoon characters your kids like. Use cookie cutters to cut the sandwiches into fun and interesting shapes.
- Finally, fill up the bento with lots of fresh vegetables and fruit. Hint: Use salad leaves to make a jungle background for your animal characters.
Source: Just One Cookbook
2. Stir-fried Honey And Soy Sauce Beef Egg Noodles
This noodle recipe is extremely versatile. You can easily change things up according to your little one’s preference. For the meat, you can use any protein of your choice such as minced pork, BBQ pork, lamb, or prawns. The dish can be made in a large batch and stored in the fridge for a good five days. One-pot meals are the best when it comes to saving time and money.
- 200 g steak (cut into strips)
- 1 tbsp garlic (finely chopped)
- 1 tbsp vegetable cooking oil
- 1 bag mix vegetables
- 1 bag egg noodles
- 2 tbsp Maggi oyster sauce
- 2 tbsp Kikkoman soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Tiparos fish sauce
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp Gala Pure honey
- 1 tsp Perfect Fine Foods sesame seeds
- 1 tsp Yeo's pure sesame oil
- Mix the sauce together in a mixing bowl. Use half to marinate the beef for 15 minutes.
- In a small pan, add beef in and cook until just cooked.
- On a high heat wok, fry some garlic in oil until fragrant.
- Add mixed vegetables and toss well, followed by egg noodles. Pour the rest of the sauce in and stir well for about 5-6 minutes. Keep the heat on medium high so you don’t overcook the vegetables.
- Add the beef back in and mix well. Ready to be served.
3. Easy Homemade Sushi
Extra tips on sushi storage
- It’s best to make the sushi rice on the day you’re going to eat it. Refrigerated sushi does not taste very good as the rice gets dry and hard.
- If you prefer to make the sushi the day before however, you can. Carefully wrap the sushi rolls in cling wrap, place in a sealed container and store in the fridge. Try not to leave any hole because the rice will harden in the fridge’s low temperature or when too much air gets in.
- Remember to only cut the sushi rolls on that day that they will be eaten.
- Heat the sushi in the microwave using the lowest possible temperature and do bursts of 30 seconds. Once the sushi rolls are soft, you can cut them into your preferred width.
- Cook the rice following the instructions on package. In a separate bowl, mix vinegar, sugar and salt; stir until dissolved. Pour this over cooked rice and mix well. Let the rice cool down.
- Cut the cucumber and carrots into matchsticks, and the avocado and salmon into chunks.
- Place mat onto your worktop. Put nori sheet on top and spread the rice on it, leaving about 1.5 cm of the sheet empty at the end furthest from you.
- Place a thin row of salmon, cucumber, carrot and avocado in the middle of the rice.
- Wet the rice-free end with water and roll everything tightly in the mat.
- Slice and serve with soy sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger.
4. Vietnamese Coconut Braised Pork (Thit Kho Tau)
This is a traditional Vietnamese braised pork recipe with a hint of coconut in the gravy. You can make it for dinner but the great thing is, you can also use the leftovers to take to school the next day. Pack it with steamed rice and lettuce for a delicious and wholesome lunch box meal.
- 2 lbs pork belly cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1/2 tsp Vianco five spice powder
- 2 shallots minced
- 3-4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tsp Bann Tann palm sugar
- 3 tbsp Kikkoman soy sauce
- 3 tbspTiparos fish sauce
- 11.8 oz (350ml) Chaokoh coconut water
- 4 hard boiled eggs
- Cilantro for garnish
- 1 cup rice steamed
- Place 4 whole eggs in a pot with cold water. Heat up and boil for six minutes. Remove from heat and place the eggs in a container with cold water and ice so they are easy to peel. Set aside.
- In another pot or wok, saute the pork belly with the shallots, 5 spice powder, garlic and palm sugar. Allow the sugar to caramelise slightly.
- Add the soy sauce, fish sauce, and coconut water. Turn down the heat, cover and simmer for about 30-40 minutes.
- Finally, add the eggs into the stew and simmer for five more minutes.
- Serve with steamed rice and garnish with chopped cilantro.
5. Throw In Some Asian Snacks
Remember those snacks you loved as a kid? Things like haw flakes, Mamee noodles and Pocky biscuits. Add an interesting twist to your child’s lunch box by adding some unexpected Asian treats. Here are some of our best selling Asian snacks at Asian Pantry: