We asked some of the UK’s favourite food writers and bloggers for their healthy lunch box ideas and tips. Georgie and Jo from Cooking Them Healthy share four of their favourite recipes.
These recipes were originally featured in our Box Clever: Healthy Lunch Ideas feature. Read the full article post to get more tips from Georgie and Jo, as well as ideas from other top food bloggers and writers.
Chicken Tortilla Wraps
A welcome alternative to sandwiches, children love wraps, and the chicken provides a good boost of much needed protein, key for growing bodies. The spices add flavour and interest as well as holding anti-inflammatory properties to help boost skin and support a healthy immune system. We like to cook with spice as much as we can, and strongly believe children are never too young to be introduced to a variety of flavours. Experiment with other fillings that children might like such as smoked mackerel or trout, grated carrot, raisins, spinach leaves, sliced beetroot etc.
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 4 wholemeal tortilla wraps
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 150ml sour cream
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1 red pepper, sliced
- Olive oil or coconut oil (for cooking)
- Take each chicken breast and cut into long finger like strips and place in a bowl.
- Add the spices and mix together to coat the chicken strips.
- Heat a frying/sauté pan to a medium heat, add a splash of oil and add the spiced chicken pieces.
- Cook the chicken for 5-10 minutes until cooked through but tender inside (if unsure, it is a good idea to cut a piece in half and have a look).
- Drizzle the honey onto the chicken and quickly stir through on the heat for a minute or two to caramelize. Leave to one side to cool.
- Place a tortilla wrap onto a clean surface and spread on a spoonful of sour cream, some sliced red pepper and avocado. Place the chicken pieces on top and wrap up. (A handy tip is to fold up the bottom of the wrap first then roll so that the middle cannot fall out one side).
Spelt Sweetcorn Fritters
These little fritters are wonderful. They take just minutes to make and can easily be made a day or two in advance and kept wrapped in the fridge for lunchboxes throughout the week. They are delicious served with a dip, such as hummus or Pea Tzatziki (below) or on their own. Sweetcorn is naturally sweet and full of fibre (key for digestive health), magnesium, iron and important vitamins like vitamin B – all great nutrients for energy levels.
Ingredients (Makes 4-6 fritters)
- 50g sweetcorn (frozen is fine)
- 100g spelt flour (ideally white as will result in a lighter fritter)
- 2 spring onions, sliced
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- milk/water/almond milk etc to loosen (approx 90-100ml)
- Place the flour, cumin, baking powder, sliced spring onions and frozen sweetcorn into a bowl.
- Make a small well in the middle and crack in the egg. With a gentle stirring action, begin drawing in the flour and other ingredients to form a thick paste in the centre.
- When the mixture has thickened, gradually add splashes of milk (or you can use water but milk results in a softer taste and feel). Keep stirring in the milk in small amounts until you have a thick yoghurt like consistency.
- Heat a little oil (ideally coconut or butter) in a non-stick frying pan and dollop in tablespoons of the sweetcorn batter.
- Leave each fritter for a few minutes until you begin to see little bubbles appearing on the top and them flip. They should be a lovely warm golden colour.
- Wait a few more minutes to make sure the fritter is cooked all the way through before serving.
This vibrant dip makes a refreshing alternative to the old faithfuls we are most familiar with. The peas provide a healthy dose of immune boosting Vitamin C, and we love garlic for its natural antibacterial properties.
- 30g cooked frozen peas
- 80ml natural yoghurt
- 1 small garlic clove
- 80g cream cheese
Simply place all the ingredients into a bowl and blitz with a stick blender or in a food processor until it reaches a smooth Greek yoghurt consistency with a lovely light green colour. This will keep well covered in a fridge for up to 5 days.
Our Banana Bread is made without refined sugar and is sweetened by mineral rich honey, maple syrup and banana. Spelt, an ancient cousin of wheat, has a lower gluten content and as a result is more easily digested than other white flours. You can of course use gluten-free flour if required. The dark chocolate chips add an indulgent feel and are packed with antioxidants. This banana bread freezes brilliantly, and a good trick is to slice it before freezing so you can just take what you need. It makes the perfect addition to a lunchbox for a lovely sweet treat.
Ingredients (Makes 1 loaf or 12 muffins)
- 190g white spelt flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 65ml honey
- 50ml maple syrup
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 90ml buttermilk or natural yoghurt
- 2 ripe bananas, mashed
- 50g butter, melted
- 1 banana, sliced, to garnish
- 50g dark chocolate chips (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- In a bowl, combine the honey, maple syrup, eggs, yoghurt, mashed bananas and melted butter and combine well.
- Sieve in the flour and add the baking powder, gently folding. Do this quickly and lightly to retain air.
- Pour the mix into a greased and lined loaf tin (24cm by 10cm), garnish with the sliced banana and bake in the middle of the oven for about an hour (up to 1 hour 10 minutes). Insert a skewer to test it’s ready and cool on a rack.
Get more healthy lunchbox inspiration and recipes in our full Box Clever: Healthy Lunch Boxes feature.