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5 easy ways to mix up kids’ lunchtimes

When sandwich fatigue sets in, you need some new lunch ideas - but that’s not always easy when you’re time-pressed, need to satisfy picky eaters and keep costs down. Here are some versatile ideas for lunches that the kids will love and won’t break the bank.

  1. Tortilla wraps

    Tortillas are so versatile, and the beauty is, you can often use the same ingredients to go inside or on them – staples such as grated cheese, tinned sweetcorn, or peppers – but in different meals. One day you can make wraps (let picky eaters compile their own for a stronger chance of success), the next cheesy quesadillas, and you can even use them as pizza bases in these tortilla pizza cups.

    Tortilla wraps
  2. Potatoes

    All hail the humble spud! Whether baked with a cheese and tomato topping (or choose your own – the classic beans and cheese is no faff), salt and vinegar wedges to go with fish fingers, or to bulk up an omelette, they’re hearty, filling and there’s almost no end to the ways you can prepare them.

  3. Eggs

    They’re the hero of the kitchen. When you’ve boiled, scrambled, fried and omeletted a million times over, there are still options. For example, mini egg and cheese muffins and pea and ham pasta frittatas use only two or three additional ingredients but create a completely different meal.

  4. Dried noodles

    You can substitute noodles for the pasta in the above frittata, or throw in a handful of frozen veg, some seasoning and soy sauce for a simple stir-fry. Try this turkey version and throw in whatever veg you have to hand. Noodles are also a great way to add substance to soups – break up into smaller pieces before boiling and mixing into their favourite ones.

    Dried noodles
  5. Rice

    Another storecupboard staple that’s perfect for mixing and matching, depending on what you have in your fridge. This Jamie Oliver rice stir-fry is a school dinner you’ll be happy to eat too, while this pea and pesto risotto is simple, tasty and it’s likely you already have the ingredients in. If you have leftover risotto from dinner, don’t throw it away – you can turn it into risotto cakes for lunchtimes. Simply divide into ‘cakes’ before dipping in flour, egg and breadcrumbs and frying to piping hot.