Food / 30 December, 2023 / Christina Walter

Playful Packed Lunch Recipes For Kids School Meals

Embarking on the new school year and pondering what to include in your child’s packed lunch? Rest assured, you’re not alone.

From playful egg snacks shaped like chickens to savoury chicken and red pepper pittas, along with wholesome banana-strawberry muffins and adorable Japanese-inspired picture sandwiches, this selection caters to diverse tastes. These recipes not only promise deliciousness but also boast simplicity in preparation, injecting an enjoyable and fuss-free element into your child’s lunchbox.

Packed Lunch Recipes

Picture Sandwiches


  • 4 slices bread
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise or butter
  • 1 slice cheese
  • 1 slice ham


  1. Spread the bread with mayonnaise or butter and place a slice of cheese on one and a slice of ham on another.
  2. Take the remaining two pieces of bread and use a knife or small biscuit cutter to cut four ‘windows’ out of each slice (cut any shape you like but make sure it’s smaller than 3cm; to make a bear, as we have, cut a circle, then carve out the ears with a knife). Pop these slices on top of the ham and cheese, so the fillings show through.
  3. Trim the crusts off the sandwiches and cut each into four. Don’t waste the cut-out pieces of bread – fry them in butter and serve with a sprinkling of cinnamon powder and sugar.

Chicken and Red Pepper Pittas with Tomato Yoghurt Sauce


  • 2 white or brown mini pitta breads, halved
  • 50g plain yoghurt
  • 2 tsp tomato ketchup
  • 1 little gem lettuce, separated into individual leaves
  • ½ red pepper, deseeded and white pitch removed, cut into thin strips
  • 60g sliced roasted chicken breast


  1. Lightly toast the pitta breads in the toaster, then set aside. In a small bowl, mix together the yoghurt and the tomato ketchup, then season with pepper. Set aside.
  2. Spread 1 tsp of the sauce in each pitta half. Layer in a gem lettuce leaf, folded in half if needed, a few strips of red pepper and a few slices of chicken. Finish with a drizzle of the remaining sauce.
  3. Pack the pitta sandwiches into the lunchbox upright, stacked tightly against one another. Alternatively, wrap in food-safe wrap to ensure the pitta sandwiches hold onto their delicious fillings until lunchtime.

Cockerel Egg


  • 1 egg
  • ¼ carrot
  • 2 black sesame seeds


  1. Pop the egg in boiling water for 10 mins. Remove, cool, then peel. Slice 5mm off the flattest end of the egg, to make a base so the cockerel can stand up.
  2. Peel the carrot and cut off a 2mm slice, then cut out a triangle (approx. 5mm long on each side) for a beak. To attach the beak to the egg, use a knife to make a horizontal incision, and slide the triangle in.
  3. To make the cockerel’s cockscomb, cut another carrot slice into a half-moon and cut a zigzag shape on the outer edge; make an incision on top of the egg and slide in the carrot piece. (Leave the cockscomb off if you’d rather make a chick!)
  4. Add black sesame seeds as eyes, pressing them lightly into the egg.

Houmous-stuffed Piccarella Peppers


  • 3 mini piccarella peppers
  • 40g houmous


  1. Cut the peppers in half lengthways, remove the stems and scrape out the seeds and white pithy bits using a teaspoon.
  2. Using a teaspoon, divide the houmous between the peppers and smooth over using the back of the spoon to ensure the houmous stays neatly inside. Pack the peppers tightly into your lunchbox, ensuring they’re secure.

Banana Strawberry Muffins


  • 3 bananas, the more ripe the better
  • 25g honey
  • 80g apple sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 120g plain flour
  • 100g wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 120g strawberries, roughly chopped into small pieces


  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/gas mark 5. Place 12 paper muffin cases in a 12-hole muffin tin and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas well. Add the honey, apple sauce, eggs and vanilla extract and mix well.
  3. In another smaller bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and mix well. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir to combine thoroughly. Add in the chopped strawberries and stir well.
  4. Divide the mixture evenly between the 12 paper muffin cases and bake in the oven for 15-20 mins until risen and golden. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely before packing them into the lunchboxes.

Strawberries with Choco-vanilla Yoghurt Dip


  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 50g vanilla yoghurt
  • 60g strawberries, hulled and halved


  1. In a small bowl, stir the cocoa powder into the yoghurt until smooth and well-combined. Transfer to a small airtight container to pack into the lunchbox along with the strawberries and this deliciously healthy snack is ready for dipping come lunchtime.

Packed lunch recipes from Ocado.

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