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Easy ways to boost classic lunches

Struggling to think up new ideas for kids lunches during lockdown? We’ve emptied out our cupboards to think up some inspiring new recipes for feeding little ones using those kitchen staples you always have. Whether you’ve got rice, eggs and pasta or leftover bread, potatoes and tortilla wraps, read on to find a few clever ideas to change up home lunches.

  1. Jacket potatoes

    Bored of cheese or baked beans on jacket potatoes? Try something new…

    1) Be inspired by fajitas and pile on warmed black beans, cherry tomatoes, cheese and sour cream.

    2) Go Scandi and add cream cheese, smoked salmon and chives.

    3) Recreate favourite pizza toppings with grated cheese, cooked ham and diced tinned pineapple.

    4) If you’ve had a Sunday roast, mix up leftover roast chicken with mayonnaise, garlic and lemon zest for easy chicken mayo.

    5) Batch cook roast veg at dinner and save extras for your potato topping the next day – try roast courgettes, cherry tomatoes and aubergines with plenty of olive oil and basil.

    Jacket potatoes
  2. Tortilla wraps

    Tortillas can make great speedy lunches, especially when you use them for quesadillas.

    1) Try loading your quesadilla with kidney beans and smoked Cheddar for a tasty hot meal.

    2) You can switch the filling for whatever you fancy: try filling your quesadilla with tuna, Cheddar and spring onions for a twist on a tuna melt.

    3) Take inspiration from Spain for a quesadilla filled with smoky chorizo and roasted red peppers.

    4) Have a go at baking wraps in the oven to make homemade nachos – top with guacamole, soured cream and black beans for a classic nacho pile.

    5) Give nachos an Italian twist and top with mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and dollops of pesto.

    Tortilla wraps
  3. Eggs

    Want a simple switch for eggs and soldiers?

    1) Give plain soldiers a boost by slicing up melting cheese on toast instead.

    2) Instead of bread, try dipping with avocado slices, sweet potato chips or vegetables wrapped in ham for a healthier take.

    3) You can reimagine scrambled eggs by adding exciting ingredients: chop up cooked sausages, cherry tomatoes and mushrooms for a breakfast-inspired scramble to serve over toast.

    4) Get to grips with a simple frittata (try ham, peas and spring onion or feta, red pepper and bacon) sprinkled with your favourite cheese.

    5) Simmer tinned tomatoes into a quick tomato sauce, make wells in the middle and crack an egg into each gap for a quick shakshuka. Cover and cook until the whites are just set and the yolks are still runny.

  4. Pasta

    Pasta is a quick and easy lunch recipe for kids that you know they’ll enjoy.

    1) Why not try avocado pasta? Toss sliced avocado, halved cherry tomatoes and chopped coriander together with cooked penne.

    2) Mash super ripe avocadoes together with lemon, basil and garlic for a creamy vegan sauce.

    3) Cream cheese makes a great speedy sauce too, try dolloping into pasta with softened leeks, mushrooms and garlic.

    4) If you had a Sunday roast, toss leftover chicken with lettuce, Parmesan and crunchy croutons for a Caesar-salad inspired pasta lunch.

    5) If you’ve got leftover sausages, chop and mix into fusilli with pesto and spinach.

  5. Bread

    Struggling to get kids to enjoy another cheese sandwich?

    1) You could make a savoury French toast using fresh soft herbs and fried mushrooms.

    2) Make a Danish-inspired open sandwich topped with cream cheese and roasted red peppers.

    3) Sliced pear and sundried tomatoes make a tasty topping too!

    4) Top their favourite soup with homemade chunky croutons. Scatter oil-coated, diced bread with cheese and dried herbs before baking, then scatter over soups or even leftover casserole or traybake veg.

    5) Amp up the flavour by using fajita seasoning or curry powder on your croutons, before dropping on to creamy soups.

  6. Rice

    There’s always a packet of rice lurking about in the cupboard, so try one of these quick fried rice ideas:

    1) Stir in crispy bacon and beaten egg for bacon and egg fried rice.

    2) Throw in some prawns, sesame oil and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

    3) Clear out the veg drawer and add fried leeks, spinach, peas and any other green veg you've got to use up.

    4) Microwave rice can be jazzed up with a tin of butterbeans, chopped red onion, parsley and tinned tuna.

    5) Mix with cooked shredded chicken, black beans and chopped tomatoes in a warmed tortilla wrap for a simple burrito.