Three healthy and simple back to school lunch box recipes

It is back to school and this year won’t be quite the same in a handful of ways, one of them being lunchtime. With the uncertainty of when and whether school cafeterias will be opened, parents across the UK are having to think fast about how preparing a lunch box will fit into the daily mix. Not only that but now more than ever it is important to keep boosting our kids immune systems and make sure they are getting all the healthy and nutritious ingredients they need. Little Cooks Co, the award-winning subscription based cooking kit service for kids, is here to help with lunchbox inspo! We share 3 of our favourite and simple back to school lunch box recipes.

All the recipes are designed by a registered nutritionist and based on the latest science and research, not outdated models of calorie counting. The recipes use whole natural ingredients, no refined carbohydrates (which are a key driver of obesity), and all ingredients in the box are organic.

Britain is in the midst of a crisis in children’s health with rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes, mental health and screen addiction soaring. Concern is growing about the impact technology is having on society and relationships – parents want to spend what time they have with their children doing something fun and memorable but often lack time and inspiration.

Bubble & Squeak

You can adapt this recipe to make the most of yummy seasonal veggies or just whatever you need to use up in the fridge.

Prep time: 30 mins
Allergens: none

Ingredients:
· 400g potatoes
· 150g peas
· 150g sweetheart cabbage
· 40g spinach
· 1 courgette
· 1 carrot
· 1 onion
· 3 cloves of garlic
· Glug of olive oil

Method:
1. Scrub your potatoes (no need to peel), chop into 1 inch pieces and cook in a saucepan of water for 20 mins until soft. Add the peas for the last minute to soften them
2. While the potatoes are cooking finely chop the onion and garlic and everything else into small pieces (no need to peel the veggies – just make sure they are clean)
3. Fry the onion and garlic for a few minutes and then add the other vegetables and fry on a low heat for around 15 mins until softened
4. Add the strained potatoes and peas and use your wooden spoon to break the potatoes up until there are no big chunks left. Fry for another 10-15 mins, stirring regularly
5. For the last 5 mins flatten the mixture and let it crisp up in the pan. Turn it out onto a plate and allow to cool before cutting into slices
6. Perfect served with fried egg and salad, or a boiled egg in packed lunches

Veggie Nuggets

Include these in lunchboxes with a little dipping sauce or have in the fridge ready for when snack attacks hit.

Prep time: 20 mins
Allergens: none

Ingredients:
· 2 potatoes
· 3 carrots
· 100g peas (frozen is fine)
· 1 onion
· 2 cloves of garlic
· 1 lemon
· 50g flour + more for rolling (we used oat flour by whizzing up oats in a blender!)
· Pinch of salt
· Oil for frying

Method:
1. Grate the potatoes and carrots and finely chop the onion and garlic cloves
2. Heat some oil in a frying pan on a low heat and gently cook the vegetables + the peas for 5-10 minutes until softened
3. Transfer into a mixing bowl and stir in the juice of a lemon (be sure to remove any pips!), the flour and a pinch of salt
4. Allow to cool and then use your hands to shape them into balls (make sure to wash your hands well first!). The mix should make around 12 nuggets but you can make them as big or as small as you like
5. If the mix is a bit sloppy just mix a little more flour until it holds together when you squeeze it
6. Place the balls onto a plate and pop in the fridge for 10 minutes
7. Next, scatter some flour onto another plate and roll the chilled nuggets in the flour, squishing them down a little into patty shapes
8. Rinse the frying pan and then heat some more oil to fry your nuggets
9. Fry for 3-4 minutes on each side and then leave to rest on some kitchen roll to soak up any excess oil. Eat once cool or store in an airtight container in the fridge or up to 3 days

Cheesy Chicken Balls

Some days are all about the comfort food!

Prep time: 10 mins
Allergens: none

Ingredients:
· 2 organic chicken breasts
· 1 cup of grated cheese (or a glug of oil)
· 1/2 onion
· 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs
· 1 egg
· 1/2 tsp of salt, smoked paprika and Worcester sauce

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 170c (180c if not fan assisted)
2. Pop the onion in a food processor and whizz till fine
3. Add everything else and whizz till fully combined
4. Either use a spoon or your hands to make meatball size balls
5. Place on a baking tray and bake for 20 – 25mins till they are golden

Recipes by Little Cooks Co