When the kids go back to school, you may have to think about what to put in their packed lunches. A polytunnel can provide plenty of food – much of which can be used to make portable food that is perfect for lunch away from home.
Healthy Packed Lunch Ideas
Here are some school packed lunch ideas using your polytunnel-grown produce:
Vegetable Sticks and Dip
Even plain old carrot, courgette and peppers can be made enticing with a carefully arranged packed lunch and a delicious child-friendly dip. There are plenty of dips you could make that will encourage kids to eat their vegetables. How about a creamy bean humus, a home-made ketchup/ tomato based dip, or a vegetable and peanut blend?
Packed Lunch Sandwiches or Wraps
Of course, sandwiches are a lunchtime staple. You can stuff sandwiches with all sorts of good things from your polytunnel, from home-made jams, to humus, to bean burger/ falafels and ketchup… or you could simply use home grown salad to fill out a sandwich with other bought ingredients.
Mini Pizzas or Quiches
Another child-friendly option that can appeal to even the most fussy of eaters are home-made mini pizzas or quiches that can be made ahead of time. You can sneak in a lot of healthy vegetables without your kids even noticing.
Soup in a Thermos Flask
On cooler days, kids may also like the idea of a warm flask of soup that they can eat at lunchtime with some bread and butter. Soups that kids enjoy can include a warming lentil and vegetable concoction, a tomato soup, or pea and potato… though there are plenty more options so you may well find one that your kids enjoy.
Sweet or Savoury Muffins
Packed lunches should not be too healthy – kids will love some sweet treats too, of course. But by making your own you can make them some treats that are far healthier than they at first appear. Sweet muffins, for example, can be sweetened with fruit and/or honey rather than sugar, while in both sweet and savoury muffins, you can hide a range of healthy fruits and vegetables and the kids will never know.
Another healthier option for a packed lunch treat is an oaty, seedy flapjack. These will keep kids going all afternoon and can also be packed full of fruity goodness and sweetened with fruit and/or honey to keep the calories down and the healthiness up.
Fruit Roll Ups
Another great option for a healthy (or semi-healthy) treat for kids’ lunch boxes are fruit roll ups, which are made from fresh fruit that can be dehydrated to form leather like strips in your oven.
Do you make your own packed lunch items using produce you have grown in your polytunnel? Share your ideas in the comments below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.