Packed lunches can become boring. Let's face it, there's only so many days of having sandwiches that any of us can stomach without crying out for something a bit more exciting - although of course there will always be the child who wants nothing but a ham sandwich for five years in a row!
But if sandwiches are not being eaten, you can come up with something different and a lot more fun.
For inspiration we've compiled five alternative lunch box meals – one for each day of the school week.
Day 1: Pesto pasta
Half a jar of pesto
Cheese or tuna
Boil the pasta, and strain when ready.
Add in enough pesto to taste and leave to cool.
When cold, spoon into a container and then add grated cheese or some tinned tuna on top.
Another alternative is to mix in roasted peppers cut up small.
Day 2: Sushi
This can be made using smoked salmon or vegetables. Cucumber or pepper are easy options.
300g sushi rice
One pack sushi nori
1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
Smoked salmon, cucumber or pepper
1 bowl of water to keep hands wet while working with the sushi
Boil the rice in the water until it is cooked and all the water has evaporated. Leave to cool
Add a tablespoon of rice vinegar.
Put the nori under a preheated grill for about 10 seconds, just to soften it a bit. Then place on a sushi mat. If you don't have a sushi mat, a bendable, smooth table mat is fine. You need to be able to roll the mat.
Take a piece of nori and place it on the mat, then spoon on a line of rice. Put the filling in the middle.
Using the mat, slowly roll the nori so that you are closing the sushi. Keep rolling until you reach the end of the nori. Splash a little bit of water on the end of the nori and roll it again to close it properly. You should now have a cylinder shape. Take a sharp knife and cut into six to eight pieces.
Day 3: Chestnut sausage rolls
400 g chestnut puree
1 grated onion
1 clove garlic chopped
2 tablespoon lemon juice,
2 tablespoon soy sauce,
375g puff pastry
Mix all the ingredients apart from the puff pastry.
Cut the pastry into rectangles 5cm long and 2 ½ cm wide.
Place filling in the middle of the strip and fold into sausage roll shapes. Make fork imprints at each edge to close properly.
Brush with milk and bake in the oven for fifteen minutes a 200°C/gas mark 6.
Day 4: Spinach and feta parcels
250g feta or similar type of cheese cut into small cubes
1 egg whisked
6 sheets of filo pastry
Pinch of nutmeg
Steam the spinach and let it cool, aiming to drain all water from it. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the cheese, nutmeg and the egg. Mix together.
Cut the pastry into strips 10cm long.
Place a spoonful of mixture on the top right hand side. Take the left hand corner and cover the mixture. You should now have a triangular shape.
Continue folding all the way down until you are left with a triangular parcel with no extra bits.
Repeat until all the mixture is complete. Brush with milk and bake for 15 minutes at 200°C/gas mark 6.
Day 5: Mix and dip
Children sometimes prefer to pick at different things. Oatcakes make a good base for a lunch as they are a healthy alternative to wheat products such as bread.
Make up a container of finger food. This could include oatcakes or rice cakes, cubes of cheese (or slices to put on the oatcakes), small pots of houmus, cherry tomatoes, celery, vegetable sticks. Make up a small container of plain yoghurt to use as a dip.
Check out our delicious recipes for nutritious, tasty and energy-filled after school snacks and lunch box treats.