lunchbox

Easy Lunchbox Rollup Ideas

Rollups are a great lunchbox idea for kids who don’t love sandwiches but want something that’s easy and fun to eat. Once I got the idea for Rollup Week on Instagram, the ideas were rushing into my head faster than I could keep up with!

Basically anything that you can eat on a sandwich can be rolled up. Here are some of my favorites:

BLT Rollup

BLT lunchbox

BLT lunchbox

Bacon, lettuce and tomato is a classic combination! Here I’ve swapped out mayo for avocado and rolled it all up in a tortilla before packing it in this lunchbox. Here, I’ve used 1/2 an avocado, mashed and spread it onto a tortilla. Then I added 2 slices of cooked bacon, a handful of shredded lettuce and 4 cherry tomatoes that I sliced. I rolled it up and sliced into pieces.

Burrito Rollup

Black Bean Burrito Lunchbox

Black Bean Burrito Lunchbox

Burritos are a perfect lunchbox idea! Here we’ve got black beans (recipe adapted from Pamela Salzman) with quinoa (instead of rice), lettuce and peppers. I love burritos because they’re so adaptable. Got chicken? Use that! Hate peppers? Eliminate them! Basically anything that you put on a taco can be used in a burrito and rolled up in a tortilla. Add a thin layer of quinoa or rice to half of the tortilla. Top it with beans (or chicken or any other protein). Add other toppings, such as veggies, cheese, salsa, sour cream, etc. Roll, slice and pack!

Strawberry Sunbutter Rollups

Strawberry Sunbutter Rollup

These are totally similar to the Banana Rollups that we pack and love, but different enough to keep it interesting. Know what I mean?
I’m allergic to nuts, so we’re nut free around here. Sunflower seed butter is my go-to substitute. Using strawberries here is a great change of pace from banana. Spread a thin layer of sunbutter (or any nut butter) on the entire tortilla. Add berries in one line in the bottom third of the open tortilla. Here I used 5 strawberries that I sliced. Roll, slice and pack!

Pizza Omelette Rollups & Berry Cream Cheese Rollups

Pizza Omelette Rollups & Berry Cream Cheese Rollups

Pizza Omelette Rollups & Berry Cream Cheese Rollups

Here’s a twofer: Pizza Omelette Rollups and Berry Cream Cheese Rollups. The Pizza Omelette Rollup is made with two eggs that I flat fried in a pan. As they were cooking, I added dollops of tomato paste (about 2 tablespoons), mozzarella cheese and basil. With the heat on medium low, I waited until the cheese had melted. I slid this out of the pan and onto a board and let it rest for a few minutes before rolling. Eggs are a great substitute for tortillas for gluten free folks!

For the Berry Cream Cheese Rollups, spread a thin layer of cream cheese onto a tortilla. Add berries exactly the same way as you’d do for the Strawberry Sunbutter Rollups. Here I’ve used whole blackberries. This also works beautifully with mango and mint!

Avocado Carrot Sushi Rollups

Avocado Carrot Sushi

Avocado Carrot Sushi

I’m allergic to fish, so the sushi that comes out of my kitchen is always made with veggies. They’re easy to make and fun to eat! I’ve got a tutorial posted here that shows how I make avocado sushi. Give it a look!
All you need for this is nori sheets, rice, rice vinegar, avocado and carrots (lightly steamed). Want to give this a little nutritional boost? Use quinoa instead of rice, or add another protein.

Do your kids like rollups? Let me know in the comments below. Feel free to download these photos and add them to the LaLa Lunchbox library so that your kids can choose them regularly. If you like what you see here, follow along with me on Instagram where I post regularly.

Pasta Lunchbox Ideas

I hadn’t realized how many ways there are to serve pasta in a lunchbox until I launched Pasta Week on Instagram. But wow! The ideas are limitless! Here’s a roundup of the ideas I’ve shared with links to recipes where applicable.

Beyond the traditional mac and cheese lunchbox, there’s a world of ideas using pasta to pack up for school lunch!

Do you have a favorite pasta lunchbox idea? Share it in the comments below!

school lunch roundup pasta

Pasta with Quick Meat Sauce

Here’s a meal that comes together in under 30 minutes, and works seamlessly from dinner to lunchbox leftovers. Score! The recipe has just 7 ingredients and is absolutely kid approved. It’s on steady rotation around here and is one of the few lunchbox ideas that I send in a thermos. I’ve used our Lunchbots thermos here.

Pasta with Quick Meat Sauce in a thermos

Pasta with Quick Meat Sauce in a thermos

Pesto Pasta

Pesto is something I didn’t eat for years. With nut allergies like mine, pesto is one of those things that can be dangerous. I love pasta. I love basil. It’s a natural flavor fit for me, so I developed a recipe that I’m absolutely crazy about, and so is my family! I love the simplicity of this recipe, and that I can freeze any unused pesto. This is a perfect example of “cook once, eat twice;” so make a big old batch for dinner and send it off in a lunchbox (assuming you have leftovers!) This is packed in our Monbento.

Nut Free Pesto Pasta Lunchbox

Nut Free Pesto Pasta Lunchbox

Tortellini Kebabs

This lunchbox idea doesn’t have a recipe, and it couldn’t be easier. Tortellini absolutely tastes more delicious on a stick, right? :) All you need are cooked tortellini, veggies of your choice and some lollipop sticks. Here I’ve used tomato and basil, but in the past we’ve used all different veggies (peppers, cucumbers, summer squash, cooked carrot, you name it!) This is packed in our Yumbox Panino.

tortellini kebab lunchbox

tortellini kebab lunchbox

Chicken & Veggie Lo Mein

I started making Lo Mein a few years ago after seeing it on my friend Karen’s feed and drooling over it. Karen runs the blog Healthy Gluten Free Family and has loads of great ideas to feed families. When I decided to give this one a go, it was an immediate hit with my crew. Now we’ve got it on repeat. I’ve modified Karen’s recipe slightly based on our preferences, and make this with either gluten free pasta or regular pasta. This is packed in our PlanetBox Rover.

Chicken and Veggie Lo Mein Lunchbox

Chicken and Veggie Lo Mein Lunchbox

Taco Pasta

We love tacos. We love pasta. It finally dawned on me to combine the two! The tricky part: coming up with a name for this! Is it Taco Pasta? Tacsta? Pasco? Something else?
Essentially it’s pasta with taco seasoning and veggies. For us, this is a fridge forage meal that uses up the odds and ends of the vegetables in the fridge. It also goes nicely with added grilled chicken. Here it’s packed in our Lunchbots Cinco.

Taco Pasta Lunchbox

Taco Pasta Lunchbox

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Valentines Day Lunchbox Ideas

Valentine’s Day is a fun little holiday that we don’t actually celebrate around here with any seriousness. Truth be told, the hubs and I exchange cards some years, but we forget some years. There’s usually some baking involved for the kids, but in general, it’s not a big time holiday at my house.

Still though, I like to include some lunchbox fun for the kiddos. Here’s a roundup of some fun lunchbox ideas for Valentine’s Day that I hope will give you some inspiration, plus links to my recipes for Pink Smoothie Pancakes and Pink Smoothie Waffles. Trust me on this one… your kids are going to love it!

First up, we’ve got Pink Smoothie Pancakes (recipe here)

Pink Smoothie Pancakes

Pink Smoothie Pancakes

You can whip up a batch of those pancakes and use them instead in your waffle iron to get this lovely lunchbox! (recipe here)

Pink Smoothie Waffles in the lunchbox

Pink Smoothie Waffles in the lunchbox

How about some pink sushi? All you need are some roasted beets to get that amazing color. (Recipe here)

Pink avocado sushi makes a fun lunchbox for kids!

Pink avocado sushi makes a fun lunchbox for kids!

Here’s a super quick idea: use a heart cookie cutter and cut out a bit of your sandwich with it to add some love. Fun toothpicks also accessorize this lunchbox nicely.

Heart cut out sandwich for Valentines Day lunchbox

Heart cut out sandwich for Valentines Day lunchbox

If you like these ideas and make them yourself, tag me on social media @lalalunchbox so I can see!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Homemade Dairy Free Chicken Tenders

Raise your hand if you like chicken tenders!

homemade chicken tenders dairy free easy recipe

Every time I make these, I wonder why I don’t do it more often. They’re super tasty, the kids love them, and they’re perfect for the freezer. That part about my apartment and my clothes smelling like chicken tenders can be a plus or a minus depending on the day.

homemade dairy free chicken tenders in a lunchbox

homemade dairy free chicken tenders in a lunchbox

I like to make mine dairy free lately, using oat milk and I don’t add cheese to the process. Most of the ingredients here are pantry staples, so it’s a great go-to for when you pick up some chicken breasts and don’t know what you want to do with them. This recipe makes enough for all 5 of us with dinner, or enough for dinner and a lunchbox for my 3 kids.

If you make this, tag me @lalalunchbox and let me know how it went!

Homemade Chicken Nuggets (Dairy Free)

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (4 halves)
1 cup panko
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons milk (I used unsweetened oat milk here)
3 eggs
1 tablespoon lemon zest
neutral oil for frying

Cut the chicken breasts into roughly even pieces and set aside. 
Place all dry ingredients into a shallow baking dish and combine thoroughly. 
In a separate medium sized bowl, beat the eggs and add the milk. Lightly beat with a fork to combine. 
These are your three stations: raw chicken, dry + wet. 

Fresh lemon zest makes these homemade chicken tenders bright and delicious

Fresh lemon zest makes these homemade chicken tenders bright and delicious

Place raw chicken pieces into the egg mixture and give them a 15 second soak before taking them out and adding to the dry mixture. Use your fingers to flip the chicken pieces to make sure all of the area is covered with the flour/panko/herbs. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat until all of the chicken is coated. 

Heat a cast iron pan to medium high. When hot, add the oil and wait about 30 seconds to a minute for the oil to heat. You’ll need enough oil in the pan to cover the entire bottom, but not so much that these are deep fried. I used about 1/4 cup. Add the chicken pieces, making sure not to crowd the pan. Time to flip them will vary depending on the size of your pieces and the heat of your pan. Mine took about 2 minutes per side. Repeat in batches. If your pan needs more oil, add the oil when there are no pieces of chicken in the pan and wait for it to come to temperature before adding more chicken. 

Pin it for later! Easy homemade dairy free chicken tenders.

Pin it for later! Easy homemade dairy free chicken tenders.

Golden Milk Waffles (Dairy Free and Nut Free)

Golden Milk Waffles for a dairy free nut free lunchbox

I’m all about my waffle maker these days.
I love making waffles because they’re a fun weekend breakfast treat that can carry over to the week ahead in the school lunchbox. It’s meal planning at it’s finest. Whip up a bath of waffles - these Golden Milk beauties, Veggie Waffles or Cheesy Waffles to make into a Grilled Cheese Wafflewich, and you’ve got some fun options for your child to choose from for the week ahead. You can add photos of these to the LaLa Lunchbox app library for your child to choose any time you’ve got extras on hand.

This sweet, spiced version is perfect with sliced fruit, or you can make a wafflewich with your favorite nut butter. These will stay fresh in your refrigerator for 2-3 days and you can freeze them for a month.

GOLDEN MILK WAFFLES

Ingredients for Golden Milk Waffles

INGREDIENTS
1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 large eggs
1 cup coconut milk (I use full fat)
4 tablespoons of coconut or neutral oil, melted
1 tablespoon date syrup or maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

Golden Milk Waffles in the making. Dairy free and nut free.
  1. Preheat the waffle iron and the oven to 200 degrees F. In a medium sized bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients.

  2. In a separate bowl, add the wet ingredients: apple cider vinegar, eggs, coconut milk, coconut oil, date syrup and vanilla extract and whisk together until just combined.

  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, making sure that everything is fully incorporated.

  4. When the waffle iron is hot, pour about 1/4 cup of batter to create each waffle (may change depending on your waffle iron). Close the waffle iron and cook for approximately 3 minutes, or until the steam stops spraying out of the sides.

  5. Use a spatula or your fingers to remove the waffle and repeat until the batter is finished.

  6. Place the waffles on a rack and place that rack in the oven to stay warm and crispy.

Golden Milk Waffles, Dairy Free and Nut Free