A week's worth of great, simple lunchbox ideas for teachers

A week's worth of great, simple lunchbox ideas for teachers

Forget about the kids – as a teacher, you’re packing a lunchbox for yourself every day. Your friends in corporate jobs might have access to a great office canteen and free cappuccino, but as a teacher, you’ve got to make your own lunchtime fun. There’s no time in a 30- to 45-minute recess to eat lunch at a restaurant, so your cooked meals are limited to what’s available at the school tuck shop. In the best case scenario, that probably means a scalding hot chicken pie or a packet of greasy slap chips.  

But it’s not all that bad. With a little bit of planning, you can make your lunchbox more exciting than it ever was as a child, and hopefully healthier too. Here’s a school week’s worth of easy ideas to add some fun – and nutrition - to your lunchbox. 

Monday: Mexican-inspired salad

This tasty, fresh and filling meal just takes a few minutes to prepare. 

You will need: 

  • Your favorite lettuce, roughly chopped 
  • Sweetcorn (fresh is best, but canned will also work)
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Black beans
  • Avocado, roughly chopped
  • Some diced red onion
  • Optional: leftover cooked chicken
  • Creamy dressing of your choice (we love something with coriander (cilantro) in it

Put down the lettuce as a base, and then add each ingredient in its own section. Drizzle with dressing and you’ll have a delicious deconstructed Mexican wrap!

(Source: adapted from http://www.familyfreshmeals.com/2014/07/fiesta-chopped-salad.html)


Tuesday: Turkey Cucumber Roll Ups

You will need:  

  • Peeled cucumber slices (peel length-wise; about 20 cm in length)
  • Sliced (not shaved) cold meat such as roast beef, turkey or ham
  • Half a tomato, diced
  • Grated carrot
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Cream cheese
  • Toothpicks

Arrange thinly sliced cucumbers closely next to each other to act as the “base” of the wrap. Smear on some cream cheese, place cold meat on top, and then add extra ingredients as you like. Finally, roll the cucumbers and spear them with toothpicks to keep them in place. And voila! The healthiest wraps you ever ate.

(Source: Adapted from: https://www.tastefullysimple.com/blog/blog-posts/turkey-cucumber-roll-ups

Wednesday: Three-bean pasta salad

You will need: 

  • Last night’s leftover pasta
  • Diced green beans,
  • chickpeas, 
  • celery and 
  • kidney beans. 

Combine the pasta, vegetables and beans in the ratio you like. Then, throw on a quick, delicious dressing by combining:

-2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, 

- 1/3 cup red-wine vinegar, 

- 2 tablespoons honey and 

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil. 

(Source: adapted from: http://www.marthastewart.com/903081/three-bean-pasta-salad


Thursday: Lunchbox kebabs

You will need: 

  • Skewers
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Mozzarella or cheddar cheese
  • Thinly-shaved ham

On the skewer, alternate cherry tomatoes, squares of cheese and pieces of thinly shaved ham. If you’re feeling adventurous, add picked onions, gherkins and/or olives to the mix. 

You’ll have so much fun eating these, you might mistake the staffroom for your favourite tapas bar.

(Source: adapted from http://www.itisakeeper.com/12883/lunch-box-kabobs/)


Friday: Chinese-style fried rice

Have some leftover rice from last night’s dinner? Spiff it up and enjoy a Chinese-inspired dish that will help you look forward to the weekend!

You will need:

  • Leftover rice
  • 1-2 eggs, lightly beaten 
  • Green or red pepper, diced
  • Ham / bacon / any other kind of meat
  • Mushrooms, diced
  • Anything else you’d like to add!

Throw all the ingredients in a pan together with a bit of olive oil and seasoning of your choice (we like to use a combination of sesame oil and soy sauce). Let everything cook on medium heat. When it looks almost done, add your rice and a touch more seasoning. 

What’s great about this dish is you can add two or seven ingredients, according to your time, tastes and what’s leftover in your fridge!

(If you want to go the whole hog, try this version: http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/15297/easy+fried+rice)