You may have already ‘met’ Danielle from Keeping Up With The Holsbys. She’s guest posted here before, and she has been featured on Essentially Jess and The Illiterate Infant recently, among other things. I think she is wonderful. A great writer. A witty presenter. And a toddler food expert. She has two books, and another in progress. Visit her site here.

I love this post, and it is just what I need, with a little one now at pre-school. I confess, I am in a sandwich rut, and poor little Elki gets vegemite sandwiches, plus a few bits and bobs, in her lunch box. Thank you Mrs Holsby for your wisdom!


My toddler, D Man, started pre-school a couple of weeks ago so I’ve had to turn my hand to the art of the lunchbox.

Easy enough, you may scoff, but alas, I discovered the taste bud of the toddler is most discerning in the matters of the boxed lunch.

The Earl of Sandwich would be sorry to see how outdated his mode of lunch is these days, but if you don’t sandwich, what do you do?

I’m determined not to send any pre-packaged food, and I really want to keep his lunch boxes interesting and delicious, but of course, they must also be healthy, nutritious and nut-free.
Morning and afternoon tea are provided so I’m really only looking at midday sustainance.

The first couple of weeks I noticed anything too fiddly or big was coming home again and I decided to run a little experiment, which I’ve shamelessly shared with you all here.

I say shamelessly because I had varied results and I must admit to being a little demoralized when I’d make a cheesy spinach muffin or frittata bite and find it still nestled in it’s little lunch container well into afternoon tea time.

All of this said, lunch is a very subjective thing. What got sent home this week may be devoured next week and what my child turns his nose up at, yours may devour… I’ll give you the run down of everything packed here in case it provides you with inspiration, because sometimes, a little inspiration is all you need.

Please remember that I’m not doing anything amazing here. Sometimes I see lunchbox ideas with truly magical looking boxes that you’d expect a silver unicorn to pop out of.

Who has the time?

This is achievable stuff when you’re racing against the clock to get teeth cleaned, sunscreen on and find that elusive missing shoe.

Lunchbox 1 :


Lunchbox #1
Lunchbox #1

Steamed corn on the cob
Carrot sticks
Cheese cubes
Wholemeal seeded crackers
Sliced apple
1 piece of Pepita and Cranberry Anzac Slice

Verdict :  It was ready in seconds, and came home fairly well devoured.

Lunchbox 2 :

Lunchbox #2
Lunchbox #2

3 x Cheese and Spinach Frittata Bites
Cherry tomatoes
Cucumber flowers
Pitted olives
Dried fruit and seed mix
Sliced peach and blueberries

Verdict : Well, he wouldn’t have starved, but the part that took the longest to prepare was a bit of a fail (read : Bup bow – Fail)

Lunchbox 3 :

Lunchbox #3
Lunchbox #3

Tuna, Cream Cheese and Carrot Pinwheels
Carrot flowers and cherry tomatoes
Dried fruit and seeds with half a sweet biscuit
Peach slices

Verdict : Fishy Fail…..I think tuna is out in my son’s books.

Lunchbox 4 :

Lunchbox #4
Lunchbox #4

Hummus tortilla and cheese stars
Carrot sticks and apple slices
French Toast Cupcake with Cream Cheese and Sprinkles

Verdict : Supreme success! I think he even licked the cream cheese off the lid!

Lunchbox 5 :

Lunchbox #5
Lunchbox #5

Pizza Bread Hearts
Yoghurt and strawberry
A piece of  Super Yummy Healthy Muesli Bar

Verdict : Success, minus one little heart!

What did we learn?

I think with any meal, variety is key.  Different shapes make thing interesting, and a little planning means you really don’t need any extra time to get out of the sandwich rut.

The moral to the story is, you don’t win friends with sandwiches.

Recipes :

Tuna, Cream Cheese and Carrot Pinwheels

What you will need :

1 tortilla
½ small tin tuna
½ small carrot grated
a little lemon zest
2 tablespoons cream cheese
a couple of spinach leaves

What you need to do :

Mix tuna, carrot, cream cheese and lemon in a bowl to form a paste.

Spread evenly over your whole tortilla and lay your spinach on top.

Roll up and cut into pinwheels.

Don’t be put off just because it wasn’t a success in my lunchbox….it could be a winner in yours!

 Pizza Bread Hearts

What you will need :

2 slices of wholemeal seeded bread
2 teaspoons tomato paste
a pinch of basil and  oregano
sliced ham
a few olives
thinly sliced capsicum
(or whatever pizza topping your kids may enjoy)
grated cheese

What you will need to do :

Preheat the oven to 200C, and place a baking tray into the oven.

Cut out your heart shapes with cookie cutters and squash the bread flat with your hand.

Spread with your tomato paste onto bread and sprinkle your herbs.

Spread your grated cheese first and then place your ingredients artfully and pop onto your hot baking tray for about 7 minutes.

French Toast Cupcakes

Makes 8

What you will need :

4 slices of wholemeal or seeded bread, chopped into little cubes
2 eggs
1/3  cup milk
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1/3  cup sultanas
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1 tablespoon maple syrup, extra

What you will need to do :

Heat your oven to 180C and line a muffin tray with 8 patty pans.

Mix your eggs, milk and maple syrup together and pour over your chopped bread. Stir in your sultanas, and leave for 10 minutes to soak up.

Spoon your mixture into patty cases and bake until cooked and golden – about 15 minutes.

Leave to cool.

Mix the cream cheese and syrup together and spoon a little dollop on top of each one.

Top with coloured sprinkles if you have them.

I had so much fun doing this experiment. Every day I’d open his bag in anticipation to see how I went.  Hope this provides inspiration to you.

If you know anyone who may be in the sandwich rut, why not flick this over to them?  You may save their child from a lifetime of devon sandwiches.

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