The Lunchbox

Broodtrommel-en-snackdoosje-middelgroot
Unlike the UK and France, where I’ve been told kids get a warm and nutritious lunch at school, here in the Netherlands we send our children to school with the traditional lunchbox. Every morning I find myself in the kitchen preparing sandwiches for Pim and Sara, with some cold sides like fruit, cheese or vegetables (or whatever I find in the fridge). We don’t traditionally eat warm lunches here, and anyway there’s no means to warm up food in the school.

Because I’m quite often stuck in the morning for original ideas to fill the boxes, I’m thinking of creating a (printable) list of ‘ideas for the lunchbox’. Now I only have 10 minutes for this in the morning, so creating fresh sushi or sandwiches in the shape of an octopus is not for me (yes I know, my poor children). Do you have tips for me? Whether food items, easy recipes, good lunch boxes or shopping tips, I’m interested to hear. To be continued.

xxx Esther

PS Unbreakable stainless steel Eco Lunchbox from GreenJump.nl

12 COMMENTS - Add your own

1. Stephanie | December 30, 2010 | Reply

We’re going to be in th same situation next week when Mia starts school! Have you looked at http://www.annabelkarmel.com/?

2. Rachel | December 30, 2010 | Reply

I know the feeling our mornings are very hectic here and I’m just not organised enough to prepare anything the night before! I bought these Foogo jars for my daughters, they have been brilliant. You can fill them with soup or warm up last nights left over pasta, risotto, fish pie etc. They are easy for little hands to open and means they still have something warm to eat on a cold day…. and so much quicker than making sandwiches! http://tiny.cc/7zmc7

The other thing the girls love (& is super quick) are tortilla wraps – I fill them with humous & carrot or tuna salad etc – just roll them up and they eat the whole thing!

3. Joslyn | December 30, 2010 | Reply

It is a challenge for sure! This is a great site if you want veggie options: http://veganlunchbox.blogspot.com/2005/11/seitan-sandwich.html
She has a book too which is great – a bit time-consuming but once you get it down, it’s easy-peasy. We also have some lunchtime cold recipes on our blog too (shameless self-promo, but it’s true :)

4. peggy | December 30, 2010 | Reply

I have this book and I like it a lot, easy and good ideas!
http://www.annabelkarmel.com/bookshop/lunchboxes

5. Annie | December 31, 2010 | Reply

I like the bento-box style products from , and they have a bunch of recipes as well.

6. Annie | December 31, 2010 | Reply

oops … the website is http://www.laptoplunches.com

7. Delphine | December 31, 2010 | Reply

Hi Esther,
I have 3 kids, one on its way for mid Jan… and being French in Amsterdam, I can not go for the sandwich lunchbox. I bought a wide opening “thermofles” at Bever (the camping and outdoor shop on Stadhouderskade 4) and fill it up with basic warm lunch. I had a closing plate (voedingbakje) from Hema so that the kiddies can pour the food, eat easily, and keep the remainings in the plate (so I can check how much they ate)

My best : couscous & sausage “rokworst” (couscous can be prepared the day before and just warmed up in microwave)

THE secret, pour hot water (easy for tea drinkers) in the jar 10 min before putting the food in, so the inside is warmed up. Then the meal is acceptably warm at lunch time.

Good luck !

8. Esther in Amsterdam | January 3, 2011 | Reply

I like all of these tips! I’m going to experiment a little in the next few weeks and start my list! Thanks! x

9. Esther in Amsterdam | January 3, 2011 | Reply

I might even try hot lunches ;-)

10. Erin | January 4, 2011 | Reply

Love the idea of a list. I’m always standing there with the cabinets open searching.
I use bento style lunchboxes and sometimes it’s a struggle to fill each of the containers with something healthy that I won’t just see again in the afternoon when I unpack it after school!

11. Tine | January 8, 2011 | Reply

In Taiwan, moms pack dinner leftovers (or fresh ingredients) in these stainless steel lunch box, very similar to the picture you have here. School kitchens are equipped w/ giant steamer and heats up the lnch boxes for the kids to enjoy a nice warm lunch.

12. Emilie in Paris | January 9, 2011 | Reply

What about a slice of quiche, like the one you did a post on? It does require a bit of preparation but could be a welcome change to a sandwich…

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