Masthead header

Category Archives: Lunchbox Ideas

Homemade Shredded Chicken Breast for School Lunchboxes

I love a BBQ Chook bread roll, it’s a quick and easy lunch to make the family.  However they are too expensive to have often and high in fat, but I have found an alternative.  I purchase a kilogram of chicken breast (it’s cheaper from the supermarket deli than packaged in the meat section), poach […]

Continue Reading...

How to Pack a Healthy Lunchbox

This is a guest post by Mona author of The Lunchbox Revolution The school lunchbox is one of the hottest topics when it comes time to get the kids organised to go back to school.  My goal is to take some of the stress out of your morning rush and help you pack a lunch […]

Continue Reading...

  • Deb Horne

    The lunch ideas look great! I also love the idea of sorting lunch out on the Sunday WITH the kids :) ReplyCancel

  • meandmyreadymadefamily

    I am so glad you did this guest post! They are some great ideas to involve kids in packing their lunches. Because lets face it. If they don’t have a say they probably won’t eat them!!ReplyCancel

    • It’s amazing what kids will do if they can be involved in the process!ReplyCancel

  • […] The Organised Housewife with some tips for packing a healthy lunchbox. […]ReplyCancel

  • Rachel

    Some solid and useful information, thank you.
    I’m going to be a little controversial here. Let me begin by saying I have every respect for parents who go to the time and expense of investing in wholesome food and quality containers etc I have put 3 step children through the school routine and still have my youngest 3 in school. It is my experience that particularly where money is tight it is better to feed them well at home where you know how much they really eat. The 4 pm snack attack is a great time to “dose them up” on fruit/ veg and wholefoods. Sending them to school with brown rice is ok if you know they love it, however if they are unsure their peers will be happy to tell them it is “yuck” etc. “Sweet” treats – Favourite fruits
    “savoury” nibbles – crackers, cheese, dips, sandwiches, wraps, muffins.
    Presentation is important, what will it look like after it is shaken, tipped upside down, exposed to temperature variations etc. Is it going to be safe to eat?
    Is that $10 container going to go missing in week one? Sometimes a “disposable” water bottle with stickers to personalize it outlasts and out wins against the $15 brand name one. Is it cute for them, or you?
    Just some things to think about :) ReplyCancel

Packing hot lunches for school kids

A few weeks ago I wasn’t feeling the greatest so my wonderful husband very sweetly let me sleep in and he got up and made the kids their lunches.  It was cold and miserable outside, he thought out of the square (or lunchbox in this case) and remembered I had some Thermos in the back […]

Continue Reading...

  • Ness

    my kids have taken heaps of outside the box hot things in their thermos’
    chicken drumsticks
    homemade pizza sliced into strips
    spring rolls
    hot dogs (put the sausage in the thermos and send the fixings in a lunch box)
    dim sims
    hot roast sandwiches cut into strips
    fish fingers
    they have taken a lot of the stuff on your list too :o) I love sending a hot lunch on a yucky cold day :o)ReplyCancel

    • Anne W

      We take hotdogs in a thermos when we go to the footy or otherwise out and about on a cold day! I preheat the thermos and the hotdogs, then refill the thermos with fresh boiling water and put the dogs in. A bag of rolls, bottle of sauce (and if we’re feeling fancy, a ziplock bag with grated cheese!) and we’re good to go with a hot meal/snack for a lot less than the food outlets would charge.:-)ReplyCancel

      • Anne W

        Just remember to take some tongs or at least a fork so you can get the dogs out of the water – burnt fingers aren’t fun and nor is trying to pour the water out on the ground and pouring out the hotdogs accidentally as well…ReplyCancel

  • Holly Kyte

    i love this idea, my only fear is that my kids will complain and not eat it, they are use to sandwiches fruit and a snack. They are a bit fussy. My boy is 7, he may like the idea, and my girl is 5.
    The other problem is the teacher once complained when i didnt pack a sandwich.ReplyCancel

  • Nat

    When I was in school mum often packed me a thermos. After about the third time it spilled all through my bag, she started to pack a plastic mug and a packet of cup-of-soup instead. At lunch I’d take it to the tuckshop and they’d fill the cup with boiling water. A great alternative to a thermos – lighter weight and no spills. Cup-of-soup is really cheap too!ReplyCancel

  • AngPj

    I got some similar Smash thermoses at Big W this week for $8.88. Butterfly or skull pictures on them.ReplyCancel

  • Deb

    Where do you buy the nudie drink poppers..??ReplyCancel

  • Michelle @ Jarrah Jungle

    Is it bad to admit that while Iv been renovating my kitchen Iv had a few sneaky bowls of 2 minute noodles because its the only thing I can be bothered cooking in the garage aka makeshift kitchen! I agree its not the healthiest meal but kids (and me!) like them and their quick, cheap and easy so why not. I love the idea of the thermos what a smart hubby you have, should put him onto lunch duty more often :) ReplyCancel

  • Jaime Humphrey

    Hi Kat I love this idea but was wondering does the food go off sitting it that wrarm temp for a few hours don’t want to make my girls sick. Also have you ever tried a hot dog??ReplyCancel


      I have the same reservations….but then I think back to my school days when I used to take in ham and cheese sandwiches. I never got sick, even though these days I fear they would need to be refrigerated to be safe. I think it should be fine to take hot food in a thermos. And did you read the posts further down regarding hotdogs? xxxReplyCancel

  • Trish

    Some schools have an issue with the hot water, our school doesn’t allow noodles or cup-a-soups. May pay to check with your schoolReplyCancel

  • paperwhite

    We have started experimenting with this too. just be warned that the hot stuff is still REALLY hot at lunchtime, DS burned his mouth on chicken soup and he’s now a bit shy of the whole idea.ReplyCancel

  • Sherilee

    My kids have had hot soup but I hadn’t thought of fried rice, etc. Am curious how you have hot Cheerios though….
    You could easily do 2 min noodles with a few frozen peas and corn thrown in to add a healthier content. Just a thought.ReplyCancel

  • Susan

    Try cooking BBQ sausages and popping them in the flask. Our kids (youngest now 15) still ask for them on car trips that start early in the morning!!ReplyCancel

    • thats a fantastic one to add to the list Susan, great idea, my kids love left over BBQ sausagesReplyCancel

  • Leanne Renehan

    My kids love cocktail franks in their thermos. I pop them in boiling water for about 10 minutes then drain them and seal the thermos. Kids say they are perfect temp at lunch. We drain the water from noodles when they take them too.
    I have also sent party pies once as well and my daughter loved them.
    My kids get lunch orders very rarely so it is a great way to give them a bit of a ‘junk’ treat once in a while.ReplyCancel

    • I gave my kids a few in their thermo last week and they loved it. It is a great treat to occasionally have.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda

    We toss chicken nuggets, taquitos & pizza bites in ours as well. Sometimes I toss a little napkin or something to absorb any moisture but kids love it! ReplyCancel

  • mumbo

    I have used these little Thermos’ for years (3girls – 16,15,10yrs) they are great for hot lunches – noodles, leftover spag’bol’, pasta or stews.
    I have also successfully used them for fruit salad in summer. Cut up a big bowl of fruit salad which will last 2/3 days if not eaten beforehand, then in the morning when I get up to pack lunches 1st thing is to place the Thermos’ in the freezer, for say 1/2hr while getting all other jobs/things organised. Come back and scoop some fruit salad into the pot, seal & pack. My girls love this cool alternative to sanga’s on a hot day.ReplyCancel

  • Vannessa Bradbury

    my dear daughter loves cup a soups and quite often takes them in her thermos to schoolReplyCancel

  • Melissa

    Just wondering how long it is safe to leave something like chicken nuggets in a thermos before it is unsafe to eat?ReplyCancel

  • Melissa West

    Taco meat in the thermos and send the “fixings” for ‘make your own tacos’.ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca Macdonald

    I’m wondering about things like chicken nuggets and grilled cheese. These are some of my picky eater’s favorites, but I’m worried they will be soggy by lunchtime. He will NOT eat a sandwich (unless it’s grilled cheese), so packing lunch is tricky.

    Among my go-to meals are left over pasta, ramen (no liquid, just a sprinkle of Parmesan) and peanut butter and crackers (I use medicine cups for the PB).ReplyCancel

    • Things like nuggets and grilled cheese are at risk of going soggy if condensation starts to build up. Would he eat them cold? It would just be like cold chicken cuts. And if you added a little sauce to the grilled cheese, just call it cold pizza ;) ReplyCancel

  • paperwhite

    a hot sausage in the thermos, and a buttered hotdog bun in the lunch boxReplyCancel

How to make heart shaped cupcakes

As I have mentioned previously we don’t ‘do’ Valentines Day here.  But… maybe I’m wrong, maybe ‘I’ do do Valentines, I like to put a little note in the kids and hubbys lunch boxes along with a little red heart chocolate.  Just something simple to let them know they are loved.  I’m actually going shopping […]

Continue Reading...

  • Awesome idea Katrina.ReplyCancel

  • Prerna

    Oohh.. LOVE this.. Thanks for sharing, Katrina!ReplyCancel

  • Katrina

    These look fantastic. I am going to make them for my youngest daughters birthday next month. I have only recently started following your blog and LOVE it!!!! I am even keeping up with the daily tasks.ReplyCancel

  • terry

    I tried the heart shaped cupcakes but they did not come out that way . do you only use 1 marble? Do you put it in the pan before the batter or after?ReplyCancel

  • […] can’t beat gorgeous heart cupcakes, and you only need a muffin tin and some marbles or […]ReplyCancel

  • Sydney Simmer

    These look amazing!! I might give them a go this weekend. Now to find a marble substitue..? :-) ReplyCancel

Planning food for lunch boxes is just as important as planning dinners

You all know I am a huge fan of meal planning.  At the beginning of each week I sit down and organise what meals we will have for the week and then do one big grocery shop. However, this year I am trying to make more of an effort to plan the kids lunch box […]

Continue Reading...

  • PaulineN

    Fantastic ideas for lunch box prep. How long does cut up watermelon or other fruit last in the containers? I find watermelon goes a bit blah a day or so after cutting?ReplyCancel

    • Mishelle Smethurst

      If you put it in Tupperware fridgesmarts, I’d normally get at least a week. (I do go in every few days to drain the liquid that builds up though)ReplyCancel

    • I cut the watermelon up the day I buy it, usually only takes a few minutes, it rarely lasts any longer than 2 days in the fridge before its eaten, either as snacks or added to lunch boxes. But I agree watermelon is just one of those fruits that needs to be eaten quickly. I find we eat more fruit when it’s pre cut.ReplyCancel

  • Liz Hawkins

    OMGoodness!! I can’t explain how excited I get looking at these pictures LOL!!ReplyCancel

    • LOL, if you like me I love seeing how other people do things, so I can understand ;) ReplyCancel

  • It’s like you’re reading my mind LOL I’ve been thinking about this and now I can actually do it … thanks! :O)ReplyCancel

  • Niki Jonesano

    I absolutely love this post. I can not stress the importance of a good lunch for kids. It is my ‘thing’ if you know what I mean, I put as much, if not more time, into lunch boxes than dinner. I can not stand the thought of my kids hyped up on chemicals, colours etc. Funnily enough it is nearly impossible to do lunch boxes without these nasty’s. I am forever learning & looking up new things. I have a nearly 17 year old, all the way down to a 6 year old & I still take care of their lunch supplies, the older boys can get their own, but like you I always have a great range of foods for them to choose from, now if I could just get as passionate about the dinners, ha.ReplyCancel

  • Good lord you are a freak (I mean this in the nicest possible way!) I don’t know how you get the time to do all of this stuff? I would love for my house to be cleaner and more organised but I spend the whole day chasing my tail and never get anything done!ReplyCancel

  • :( Looks like Howards don’t do the Deep Split anymore??ReplyCancel

    • They should do Peta, I just couldn’t find a link to it on their website, but you will definitely find it instore, they have quite a good selection of sizes to organise your fridge.ReplyCancel

  • jenny

    This is a BRILLIANT idea. With 5 kids i always stuggle to have enough for everyone to have the same thing. I love the idea of a plan! (why didnt i think of that!!!)ReplyCancel

  • Maree Weeks

    Love it! Only need to worry about two lunches a week for school, but should do it for me at home!ReplyCancel

    • That’s a great idea Maree, might make me eat and snack more healthily.ReplyCancel

  • mel

    Love this idea. Would love some ideas on what to pack in a lunchbox to fill the tummies of my always hungry kids. :) ReplyCancel

  • Julia K

    I have four kids – three at school and one grown up.Each day their lunch box contains 5 things:

    1) Main item ie a sandwich / wrap / dinner leftovers eg fried rice,

    2) fruit (usually fresh but sometimes tinned depending on availability)

    3) savoury snack (vegie sticks / crackers / dip / savoury muffin)

    4) sweet treat (cupcake, banana bread, muffin or cookies)

    5) calcium hit (yoghurt / flavoured milk or cheese).
    We are very lucky in that all our classrooms have fridges for lunchboxes. I try and make lunches the day before while my kids are eating their afternoon tea. They take their lunch out of the fridge in the morning and it goes straight into the school fridge.

    I have made a list of favourite foods in each of these five categories and it makes it easier to throw the lunches together quickly and ensures they get plenty of variety. This works well for me.
    Our school tuck shop operates on two days per week. I usually let them have tuckshop once or twice a term as a treat. They had it today and my goodness – it came to about $25 !!!!! Now that there are three of them at school – it may only be once a term !ReplyCancel

  • Another Mum

    Would love to see your plans on what you have feed your kids. With one now at school doing lunch boxes is a new thing (he was feed good food at daycare). Need inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • Louise

    Do you leave the precut fruit and the deli meat in the fridge all week?ReplyCancel

{Back to School} Freezable lunch box baking

This week has been the start of a very busy few weeks in our home.  I have all my 3 kids celebrating their birthday’s in the next 2 weeks, along with other family birthdays.  We are also in back to school mode, kids back into their school bedtime routines, getting kids items labelled, bags and […]

Continue Reading...

  • Ana

    Hi there, whenever I have frozen pikelets or muffins they don’t taste very nice after about 1 week or so and my kids won’t eat it any longer. I put them in Pyrex container or Decor tellfresh. Am I doing something wrong? I see that you freeze things for a lot longer than that. Many thanksReplyCancel

    • Lisa

      I use ziplock bags and they taste fine even after a couple of months in deep freezeReplyCancel

  • These are great. I do this too although I can only do it for child No 1 as child no2′s preschool allows NO home cooking at all in their lunchboxes. They state healthy food only (so no packaging) but when I sent a home made raspberry muffin it was sent home! Makes lunch box filling for her a real challenge.ReplyCancel

    • Leigh

      That is interesting Amanda. What school is this that no2 goes too? No cooking, but no packaged? So is it just raw food?ReplyCancel

  • love the 100+ cookies!! Great list!!ReplyCancel

  • These are fantastic! For a working, very time poor mum like me any help to make the kids lunches easier is greatly appreciated. Thankyou !ReplyCancel

  • What great ideas, so easy and yummy. What more could you want?!ReplyCancel

  • Emily @ Have a laugh on me

    You have just made my evening! My fussy daughter is starting school but I know I’ll be able to get her to eat the scrolls, muffins and I love the pantry ideas! Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Merryl Chantrell

    Thanks for the Easy Peasy Cheesy Vegemite Scroll recipe. They have always been a lifelong fav of mine.ReplyCancel

  • vkw

    thanks for the baking ideas and last Sunday I made enough of the vegemite scrolls+ the bacon and cheese ones and sandwiches that I froze.It certainly made school mornings less stressful,Now for some ideas to stop the bickering between the kids!!ReplyCancel

  • Angela Murphy

    These are great but all except one recipe is full of sugar. Do you have any recipes that can be frozen and then put in a lunch box that are healthy? Any savoury muffin recipes that kids will actually eat? I’m sorry to be demanding :-). I will explore your site later just in case you already have what I’m looking for.ReplyCancel

    • retromumma

      I make a NZ styled cheese muffin: 1cup SR flour, 1 egg, 1 cup grated cheese (try tasty or a combination of a couple of types), 1tsp mustard; salt, pepper, paprika and Milk to mix…… cook at 160-170′C for about 12mins (depending on size of muffin tin)…. these are great for breakfast or for school lunches. If they are going to school I sometimes cut and ‘butter’ them because if they are overcooked they can be a bit dry.. Good luckReplyCancel

  • elana

    desperately need ideas! What sandwich fillings freeze well.ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca Clarke

    That’s great thank you, I was wondering where I get one of those lunchboxes you have in the picture?ReplyCancel

    • Jodie

      it looks like a Tupperware lunchbox – can’t remember what that specific one is called though – sorry!ReplyCancel

    • Prue Collard

      sandwich keeper plus they are called, current colours are pink or blue $32. if you call Tupperware’s main number 1800 805 396 they can get you in contact with a local Tupperware dealer. im in Bayswater Melbourne so diff state.ReplyCancel

      • Rebecca Clarke

        Thank you Prue, love all the wonderful things on your blog.ReplyCancel

Super easy lunch box snacks Vegemite and Cheese scrolls

One of my kids favourite lunch box snacks for school are Vegemite and cheese scrolls.  At times I do make them from scratch but when I don’t have time I cheat. They can be made the night before, however, this is how I make them before school.  I grab 2 sheets of puff pastry from […]

Continue Reading...

  • Haha! Just made some last night for my crew! They love them :) ReplyCancel

  • My kids love them, I also do a pizza oneReplyCancel

  • we love them, but they never seem to make it to lunchboxes LOLReplyCancel

  • Never made them wIth puff pastry! ReplyCancel

  • I’m going to do this right now :) ReplyCancel

  • oh thank you!!! I can’t wait to make these for my kids!!ReplyCancel

  • I’m going to make these right now too!ReplyCancel

  • I made a batch of these and one of pizza scrolls on my day off, I freeze them in snap lock bags for lunches.
    I actually make a dough for mine, but will try the pastry idea too. Although the dough takes longer, it makes them more substantial I think. ReplyCancel

  • Froggooseandbear

    I am so making these! My non-sandwich eater would love them. Thanks!

  • how do you make the dough?ReplyCancel

  • I make the pizza ones, never made vegemite ones before.ReplyCancel

  • I also add finely grated carrot and zucchini to mine. Gives them a bit more substance and my Kids love them. They are my Vegiemite scrolls ;) ReplyCancel

  • Yep have made these several times now and just made another batch for lunches. ThanksReplyCancel

  • I use wholemeal flour for extra goodness..ReplyCancel

  • Cass

    I made a similar version of these this morning using tomato paste, thin strips of salami, olives and cheese. :) ReplyCancel

  • Monica

    I loved your mini salad roll idea – my girls went off with this in their lunch boxes this morning and now this wonderful idea. I am always looking for different ideas. Thanks!!!ReplyCancel

  • Caz

    I do these as twists for party food or special snacks. I started doing them for the kids when I saw them in the Cauliflower Conspiracy book but always have to bake more as the adults devour them too. Pesto is great for more developed taste buds.ReplyCancel

  • i love these i always do them, mine also like them with tomato paste, with ham and cheeseReplyCancel

  • Try sweet mustard pickles, ham and cheese – yummo! My friend makes them with sweet chilli sauce and they’re really nice too!ReplyCancel

  • Oh yum! I normally make mine with dough that I make in the bread machine, but these sound super delish!ReplyCancel

    • brella

      Hi Tanya. This sounds like a good idea. What dough recipe do you use? BrendaReplyCancel

  • mine are in the oven right now, fingers crossedReplyCancel

  • OMG I am LOVING you right now. I’m a bit challenged in the cooking department but these I can definitely do. Making them today! Thank-you!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Just made these for the first time. So easy & delicious. My two year old loves them!!ReplyCancel

  • @ Lisa – I will post the recipe I use when I’m home tonight.
    The pizza ones are awesome!ReplyCancel

  • Guess what my kids are having in the lunch box tomorrow!ReplyCancel

  • Again.. can I have a grown-up lunch box please? These look delicious. What a great idea!ReplyCancel

  • My sister makes these, so easy and very yummy !ReplyCancel

  • Nataliepola

    Thank you!!!! LOVE this!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Melissaannacox

    Ive also made these with ham, cheese and pineapple :) ReplyCancel

  • Chris

    my adult version is – spread with a curry base (I like tikka masala) sprinkle with grated cheese, feta and ricotta, chopped baby spinach. Fabulous quick party nibblesReplyCancel

  • Thank you! I just made them for the kids lunches tomorrow – YUM!ReplyCancel

  • Juliettemckeown

    Really like the photos – and of course the recepie!ReplyCancel

  • Dana Nelson

    These look marvelous! Unfortunately, to my knowledge, we do not have Vegemite in Canada… Any ideas for alternatives??ReplyCancel

    • hmm, I’m unsure, is Marmite similar?ReplyCancel

      • Rosie

        Yes Marmite is similar. Slightly different taste, but more or less the same thing.ReplyCancel

  • We made these and they were gone in an instant. ReplyCancel

  • [...] found  this recipe for Vegemite Scrolls over at The Organised Housewife [...]ReplyCancel

  • Rachel

    I just made these, and in the print friendly version you don’t mention to put them on their side to bake…!!! Doh – i have a lot of runny cheese on the baking paper !!!! Nevermind, i’ll try againReplyCancel

  • Lizzie

    Just wondering how these would freeze? I’d love to make a huge batch and freeze if possible, is that what you do? btw, I love the way you freeze sandwiches. Im going to buy a nice big plastic container and start doing the same as my first born has just started preschool, and even making him a lunchbox once a week is annoying me already lol… Im going to be terrible when he has to go everyday…… ReplyCancel

    • Lizzie

      Nevermind lol, I just realised they were in the freezer friendly section :) ReplyCancel

  • FergDelight

    Hey Katrina

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while and was hoping to engage you as a
    ‘journalist/writer of sorts’ for an initiative I’m working on for a
    client. I love your content, your pictures and all your tips and
    my ‘foody’ client loves your content too.

    Lunch box ideas is actually an area of focus for us this year and you have such great
    material already, it would be amazing if we could collaborate. You already use most of their products actually as part of your content.

    Not asking for a freebie. Just an opportunity to speak to you
    about the client, and what we’re hoping to do this year.  I think you may already work with one of my clients other brands previously: Chux. And you may already kinda know me behind the scenes, via some of the projects
    I’m associated with for Macleans Mums (and SJ).

    Anyway, I’m a working mum of two myself and the content you create is really invaluable. Life saving a lot of working mums like me would say. I just want to work with you to bring your content to my client’s audience. Can I give you a buzz about it this week?

    Look forward to hearing from you.


  • Belinda

    Think i might make some using a scone base! feel like cheese and vegemite now lolReplyCancel

  • I make the dough with
    approx 2 cups of self raising flour
    about 30grams of butter and
    about a cup of milk
    and a pinch of salt
    in the food processer untill just combined you dont want it to be sticky if sticky add more flour if to dry and crumbly add more milk. also I put the vegemite in the micowave for 10secs on half power to make it easyer to spread. I make up about lots at once and freeze the dough therefore you only need to clean the food processer once. also sometimes I add dryed mixed herbs in the dough. you can put any filling in the scrolls and great when you run out of bread and can’t be bothered to get moreReplyCancel

  • Jell

    I’ve done these several times, they don’t last long. Also do pizza scrolls – spread with tomato paste or BBQ sauce, sprinkle with grated cheese and diced bacon bits. Be creative and try other fillings.ReplyCancel

  • Sue

    Great idea… kids will love them – so will us grown ups! What brand of puff pastry do you use Katrina? I’ve never seen the large rectangle ones before. Where do you buy it?ReplyCancel

  • Brea Walker

    made them for lunch today… big hit. Thanks for the recipe.ReplyCancel

  • Dana

    Do you freeze the pre-prepared rolls, ready to dethaw, slice and cook, or do you cook first then freeze??ReplyCancel

  • Try the same recipe with spreading olive paste/tapas and crumbling Greek feta cheese. Before putting in the oven sprinkle some sesame seads on it.ReplyCancel

  • Mel

    My mother has been making pizza pinwheels for years it was our take a savory plate that was always a hit. We use spreadable cream cheese, tomato sauce and chopped up salami. Very simple and yummy!!ReplyCancel

  • Racheal McBurney

    hey katrina, do you freeze them cooked or rolled and fresh? xReplyCancel

Lunch box ideas – mini salad rolls

It has been awhile since I shared with you a snapshot of the kids lunch boxes, here is an alternative to a salad sandwich: Mandarin (peeled because my youngest finds it hard) Shape biscuits Cinnamon crumble muffins Bake at home dinner rolls, filled with sliced deli chicken, capsicum,  lettuce and cheese What salads do your […]

Continue Reading...

{BACK TO SCHOOL} Lunch box essentials for the pantry

We are back into our routine with making lunches, today I thought I would share with you some of the lunchbox essentials that are always stocked in my pantry. Rice crackers - if I don’t have any fresh or frozen muffins or cookies I will give the kids some rice crackers Apricot Balls & Pretzels – These are […]

Continue Reading...

  • On Sunday nights I will spend about an hour in the kitchen making up some items to help get the kids through the nice week.
    Jelly-I make this using juice & gelatine
    Yoghurt- in a maker
    Donut muffins-make plain muffins then while warm, poke a hole in & add jam, then roll through sugar & cinnamon
    Fried rice-my teen doesn’t like sandwiches, but loves this. Cooked rice fried with a scrambled egg, bit if ham, frozen mix veg, & just plain soy sauce.
    Drumsticks-roast for an hr, then wrap in Al foil & freeze. Put into lunchbox frozen & we haven’t had problems
    I’ve also made ahead sandwiches & freeze these as well.
    I don’t premake all this every Sun, just a few items to help us grab things quickly

    Other essentials are popping corn that I microwave fresh that morning
    Fruit & vege- my kids prefer veg, so carrots sticks, beans, even mushrooms.ReplyCancel

  • Not just great ideas for school but would be great for work as well , thanks :) ReplyCancel

  • Muesli bars – homemade or store variety.ReplyCancel

  • My kids love cold fried rice or cold chicken wings/drumsticks as well. It makes a nice change from sandwiches for them :) ReplyCancel

  • And I make popcorn and store it in a Tupperware modular mate. Keeps it really fresh and I can just grab some to pop into their lunchboxes.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa

    Thanks Katrina for prompting up to stock up our pantries! We are gluten free/dairy free/nut free. Our staples include:
    * gluten free pretzels (
    * wholegrain sakata rice creackers
    * coles brand pear snack packs
    * rice cakes spread with “no nut” butter
    * cans of chickpeas (for making hommos)
    * dried apple snacks (

    • Lisaj_1979

      I love the tortilla’s! they keep really well for when the bread runs out.. My kids are younger and still like a simple lunch so even plain tortilla’s which i cut into shapes like cars or trains they love.. plus it’s easy and you can do it the night before if you pack it in a zip loc bag!ReplyCancel

  • I make my own Apricot Delight. Easy to do and much more cost effective! justfordaisy.blogspot.comReplyCancel

  • Bek – recipe on blog? Link please!!ReplyCancel

  • I agree with all these things. Ladies, did you know that microwave popcorn is one of the most toxic things you can buy? Make it yourself and spare your family the cancerous chemicals from the plastic/microwave combo. Please!!!ReplyCancel

  • I agree Lyndall – a friend of my daughter’s brought over a packet of microwave popcorn last weekend and I read the ingredients – omg – partially hydrogenated soybean oil was the one that stood out for me, not to mention artificial flavours (why do you need to flavour popcorn?!?) and colours (ditto). Popcorn cooked in coconut oil and a bit of salt on the stove is delicious and much less toxic.ReplyCancel

  • We pop our own for home but Coles has an organic popcorn ready popped which I keep in freezer and put into mini ziplock bags for a lunchbox treatReplyCancel

  • Bek Straughan yes, please share the link to recipe!ReplyCancel

  • I love all ur ideas. Diane Ballard the fried rice is a great option, Im adding it to our lunchbox menuReplyCancel

  • Sorry on iphone so did the lazy link up! Here is the link! Enjoy!
    It makes a big batch but lasts in the fridge or freezer! :-) ReplyCancel

  • Melissa

    I make wraps for my kids. They love them and are a great way to get veggies and salads into them. Avocado, cheese, grated carrot and cucumber, baby spinach leave and ham or turkey with a drizzle of salad cream. They always finish them.

    I freeze slices of fruit which they love in the morning and they help to keep the lunchbox cold.ReplyCancel

  • Channy

    How do you stop the cruskits going soggy by lunch time?

    • Lisa

      Hi Channy

      I wrap the boys rice cakes in alfoil & put in lunchbox. The lunchbox is made up at night ready to collect in the morning. I have done this for jam, cheese & vegemite & nut butters and they are still reasonably crunchy by lunchtime. I imagine cruskits would be the same. Hope this helps.ReplyCancel

    • Juanita

      I know this is late so I hope you see it! I find not putting butter or marg on helps keep them from going soft. I think they stay pretty crunchy with peanut butter on them.ReplyCancel

      • My kids don’t complain of them going soggy, but your right Juanita, there really is no need for margarine when spreading on peanut butter ReplyCancel

  • Can you freeze fried rice? Trying to be an organized housewife :) ReplyCancel

  • Yep I always do just in little/big containersReplyCancel

  • we do lots of hommus and guacamole with veggie sticks!!ReplyCancel

  • Meg

    Essentials here are premium crackers or rice cakes, homemade dried fruit, few tins of two fruits or similar. Baked beans or tinned spaghetti for the times my 6 yr old is refusing sandwiches and then some honey tiny teddys as an occasional treat for very good behaviour :) ReplyCancel

    • Zara

      Meg I was just talking to hubby about drying fruit, how do you do it?ReplyCancel

      • Julie

        Hi Zara
        A Dehydrator is the best way to dry fruit. Pick up a cheap one either online or at goodguys etc (i got one online for $70)…. to see if you like using it before you go on to buy a more expensive one (can get up to around $400-$500). Can make SO many things – biltong (dried  meat – it is a treat for some ;) ), vegetable chips etc…ReplyCancel

        • Pcorderoy

          Hi, I’d love to make some biltong using a dehydrator.. can you tell me how? thankyou!!ReplyCancel

  • Do the rice cakes not go soggy with with cheesymite? Maybe have to give its try…ReplyCancel

  • Both of my boys love Rice Crackers and the Apricot Balls. What’s Cheesybite?? I might try some rice cakes for them though, not a bad idea. I used to eat them often, haven’t bought any for ages. Other than Dried Apricots (and occasionally dried apples for Alexander) I can’t get my boys to touch dried fruit. They both inherited my dislike for sultanasReplyCancel

    • Cheesybite is the cheesy flavoured Vegemite, like vegemite but not as strong a flavour. ReplyCancel

  • Donna

    Loving the suggestions. I always have popping corn in the pantry. It takes just minutes to pop some corn in the morning before school and it’s a nice treat to find in the lunch box.ReplyCancel

  • [...] The Organised Housewife has some great Lunch Box Essentials for the Pantry. [...]ReplyCancel

  • Marissa

    Thanks for those great tips. Dried fruit is also our trusted back up. Long(er) life flat breads & tortillas have also been handy to have in the pantry when bread supply is low. Fillings include, cheesymite, low fat mayo with grated cheese & grated carrot.ReplyCancel

    • Marissa

      Cheesybite, that is!ReplyCancel

    • hmmm…. is that all together Marissa? Might see if my kids will try it?ReplyCancel

      • Marissa

        Giggling at myself Katrina! No, they haven’t been brave enough to try all of those together yet. I do know a friend who adds a thin spread of vegemite to her salad sandwiches so I should probably “never say never”! ReplyCancel

  • colette

    might go try some apricot balls! I’ve seen before you having yoghurt covered somethings (sultanas??) Where do you get them?ReplyCancel

    • The yoghurt covered balls can be found in the health food section of the supermarket. The apricot balls are in the dried fruit section. Hope the kids enjoy them!ReplyCancel

  • Nikki

    There are some great ideas being posted! Our school has a Crunch & Sip Policy which means the ONLY snacks allowed are fresh fruit & if you must put in something else multigrain crackers & cheese or yoghurt. No drinks exept water. The school canteen also only has healthy options available. So our lunchbox looks like this: 1x Banana, 5x Strawberries, 1x healthy sandwich, Multigrain Crackers & cheese or yoghurt. It has taught the kids so much about healthy eating & i find our daughter making healthier choices at hone too!ReplyCancel

  • Tracey

    My kids also enjoy the dried crunchy bananas as a treat.ReplyCancel

  • HelenR

    Our lunchbox pantry essentials are pretzels, rice crackers, muesli bars, home cooked “air popped” popcorn, dried banana chips, dried apricots and sultanas.ReplyCancel

  • Jess

    Little tins of tuna & spaghetti.ReplyCancel

  • Vanessa

    I make a mix of rice party mix popcorn nuts and one bag of chocolate nuts. The chocolate element is small the bulk comes from the popcorn and it’s healthy with a small amount of treat being the chocolate. I make it in a large tub and use a measuring cup to scoop one cup into a zip lock bag.ReplyCancel

  • June

    Plain milk poppers a couple of a days a week. Don’t really do prepackaged food. Make our own yoghurt, chips, roasted chickpeas, roasted corn kernls, grain free bars. Everything is fructose free in our house.ReplyCancel

  • Jesta

    Pantry essentials for us are, 
    Big tub of seeds (sunflower and pepitas) dried apricots, banana chips and sultanas to make little containers of trail mix.Popcorn, Pretzels, plain corn chips, sesame snaps, large tins of two fruits ( I divide into small containers).Rice thins, dry biscuits (salada’s, cruskits, sakata’s), Plain marie or arrowroot biscuits.Dried cereal such as cheerios, mini wheats etcReplyCancel

{BACK TO SCHOOL} Freezable lunch box treats

Wow, a {DAILY TASK} on facebook last week caused a wave of discussion…. this was the task: {DAILY TASK} Start stocking your freezer with homemade freezable baking treats (muffins, cookies or scrolls) ready for school lunch boxes. My plan for baking this week: Blueberry Muffins Choc Muffins Jam Drops Savoury Scrolls Last week I got into […]

Continue Reading...

  • Can I just say thanks so much for sharing this! I’m always on the lookout for new freezer friendly recipes!ReplyCancel

  • My children don’t go back until Feb 3 best l start baking these recipes are fab thanks ReplyCancel

  • Thank you so much for this. With four kids at school and a hubby working I’m going to the best wife/mum around now ;) Awesome ideas. And will save do much by not buying pre made stuff. Cheers again. ReplyCancel

  • It was certainly a very helpful conversation. I have been baking mode since. Thank you for the link to my blog (A Multifarious Me). Hopefully someone will find that freezing tip helpful :-) ReplyCancel

  • What a fantastic list – I’m loving all the freezer recipes! Thanks, Kat, for all that typing and linking. A huge job!ReplyCancel

  • I was looking for one of these recipes last night and told hubby I couldn’t remember if I saw it on this fb page or stay at home Mum’s page. Long story short he told me I really should spend more time looking at this page so I could be organized enough to remember where I saw it!!! Cheeky bugger :) ReplyCancel

  • Just double checking all these recipes can be made in advance and piled up in the freezer and then pulled out of the freezer each day and thaw in the fridge or lunch box?ReplyCancel

  • Thanks! Suzie, we have a week to go too! Will try to use it wisely with these ideas!ReplyCancel

  • Thank you so much this is going to be a life saver AWESOME!ReplyCancel

  • Shakeah

    Jut wondering if it might also be a idea to have at the bottom of the page how long you can store say Muffins, biscuits etc in the freezerl
    Thanks again! Alot of Mums like me are very greatful for this page :) ReplyCancel

    • Most are up to 3mths… but they never last that long! :-)

      Also Shakeah, it’s about how you wrap the item. A lot are best individually wrapped and then bagged. Personally, because mine only last a week or two in the freezer, I use zip lock bags and the small clip-lock containers (depending on the item). Make sure the baking is completely cool before freezing.

      I hope this helps :-) ReplyCancel

  • Wow, that is a huge blog post! Mammoth effort Katrina, well done :) It’s terrific!ReplyCancel

  • Thank you for these. I will be making the mini muffins, and the cheese and bacon scrolls today. :) ReplyCancel

  • thank you, thank you for this list! My plan was to find some recipes this week and now all I have to do is cook!ReplyCancel

  • thank you! have been waiting for this one, going to get baking now with the help of my Thermomix!! The Owl & The ElephantReplyCancel

  • THANK YOU SOSOSOSO much!!!! This has majorly helped me get my lil boys 1st yr @school more Organised & yummy ;DReplyCancel

  • Jos @sew, cook, laugh & live

    I was wondering where all the traffic on my blog was coming from! Thanks for sharing some of my fave recipes!ReplyCancel

  • I don’t have kids at school anymore but i do have a hubby that needs healthy goodies for work instead of buying crap! ThanksReplyCancel

  • Samy_savva

    I am a mum with a preschooler (school supplies all foods) but this list of food is WONDERFUL. My daughter and I get great enjoyment out of cooking/baking together and this will just continue it. My printer at work tomorrow is going to get a work out :-) ReplyCancel

  • Thank you so much for putting all these together in one. I was trying to follow it all on FB but this makes it SO much easier. Thanks againReplyCancel

  • brella

    This is quite a simple and economical recipe. My kiddies love to help me make these. I have not packed them for lunch yet ReplyCancel

  • Big thank you from my family. You’ve inspired me in many ways, love following your page!ReplyCancel

  • Trish

    A great list to inspire me and keep the kids happy too.ReplyCancel

  • Jo

    Awsome! Thanks for organising this list, I had been searching for ideas when a friend told me about your site. Great recipes and you have saved me time looking. ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer

    Great ideas. Thanks! Shared with friends. :) ReplyCancel

  • Candicelewi

    These healthy snack recipes are great, but as a working mum myself, I know there are others out there who are looking for healthy lunch box bars off the shelf as we have limited time for making our own. Supa Secrets snack bars are specially created for kids’ growing bodies, developing taste buds and active lifestyles. They use the best ingredients possible to ensure the kids get nutritional benefits – and my son loves the ballistic berry flavour! I found them in the health food section at Coles or you can get them online at

  • Jeltan

    I’m considering asking some of the Mums around if they would like to co-op – we could each cook bulk batches of one item and portion wrap. We only have to cook one thing (working and studying mum of 2 primary aged boys) but have a range of lunchbox foods in the freezer!ReplyCancel

    • That’s a great idea Jeltan.

      I am currently cooking my “friendly foods” for my Mum, my son, my husband and me. I find doing a big batch for the whole family is great… although I ran out of room in the freezer!!ReplyCancel

  • [...] I made some cookies. I used a recipe from The Organised Housewife’s back to school luchbox series. I followed it, I swear I did. The plan was to cook half the mix now and put the other half [...]ReplyCancel

  • [...] My oven has also been broken the past 2 weeks, which has been a struggle as I LOVE to bake.  The holidays will be a great opportunity to bake some muffins, cookies and restock the freezer of lunchbox treats. [...]ReplyCancel

  • Liz

    love this page! well done, finally a list where everythink is suitable to freeze & for lunchboxes! life made easy for me Im very appreciative :) and loving your cheats ways are awesome thanks heaps ReplyCancel

  • Michele

    Such a great list! Can’t wait to try some of these! You’ve done a fab job Kat :) ReplyCancel

  • All of my recipes are freezer friendly over at Friendly Foods for Fletcher!

    They’re also gluten free and dairy free… back to school for me tomorrow (I’m a teacher) so the weekend was full of baking – which I loved! The only reason I stopped was because the freezer was full!


  • Tegan

    Do your frozen treats unfreeze in time if they are in cooler bags? I would love to incorporate this with my children but my preppy has a cooler lunch bag and my kinders have theirs put in a fridge…ReplyCancel

    • Marie

      I take mine out f the freezer when i put their lunch boxes together the night before so they defrost in the fridge overnight :) ReplyCancel

  • Mel

    I’m thinking about doing some freezing for my girl starting kindy this year. They have a rubbish free rule (no packets, cling wrap etc) so would like to freeze without individually wrapping. Any suggestions of the best way to do this? Was thinking of placing baking paper between each layer in a tupperware container. Would this keep them fresh enough do you think?ReplyCancel

    • Marie

      i freeze on a tray and then once frozen pop everything in a snap lock bag :) ReplyCancel

  • Kali

    This has been fantastic! I have so far made the cookies and the bacon & vege slice and the kids seem to love them! With my baby starting school this year, I was sick of buying the chips to shove in all 3 kids lunchboxes! Wanting something easy, quick and relatively healthy for them! We are short on time with 2 of us at uni this year so these are great ideas! Thanks!ReplyCancel

Free Lunch box note printables, creating fun memories for the kids

As you all know I enjoy creating special treats for my kids lunchboxes, but another something special is when I pop in a little note.  I may do it just for one child and someday’s I do it for all 3, something to help boost their day.  Also another creative idea is writing a little […]

Continue Reading...