When Miss Frugal started ‘big’ school she didn’t want to take a packed lunch as most of her friends were going to be on school dinners and the people on packed lunches have to sit on separate tables (what’s that all about?) so we gave in and paid the £1.85 a day for her to have school dinners.
She came home every night and told us excitedly what she’d had and every night I’d tell her that some grated carrots and cheese with a wrap followed by a small cookie was not enough for dinner but the next day she’d have exactly the same thing again! So by the time Master Frugal (the fussiest eater ever) started school we decided that we were going to move them on to packed lunches which, after the initial ‘We want school dinners’ whinging has worked really well for us.
I always include a piece of fruit, a yoghurt, a drink and something yummy like a homemade muffin (see below) and Miss Frugal will usually have a pasta salad or a sandwich with hers. Master Frugal is slightly harder to make for as he doesn’t like sandwiches so I usually try to include something like a sausage roll or some homemade cheesey pops (see below) for him. We used to put packets of crisps in too but they usually came home unopened so we don’t usually put them in anymore.
Just before the kids went back to school this year, I joined in the Innocent Twitter party co hosted by Christine and Maggy, to get some more ideas and I was so impressed with all the super organised mams out there. Some of my favourite ideas were:
- Fruit Kebabs – strawberries, grapes, melon, mango and pineapple kebabs.
- Make sandwiches in advance and freeze them. Get one out the night before and it will be defrosted by lunchtime the next day.
- Carrot sticks and houmous – I never thought of this but Miss Frugal loves it now, I usually add a pitta bread in aswell.
I usually have a baking hour on a Sunday where I make Muffins and our own version of cheese straws for Master Frugal. I then pop most of it into the freezer ready for the week ahead.
The Muffin recipe is the easiest muffin recipe I’ve ever come across – I posted it originally in September 2009 and it’s the most highly viewed page on my blog every single month and I still get e mails and comments on it now which is lovely.
Easy Muffin Recipe
300g self raising flour
125mls vegetable oil
- Mix the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients together.
- Combine the two, don’t worry if there are stilll a few lumps left.
- Add your ‘special ingredients’ – this could be anything you want! I like chopped Mars bars, white chocolate buttons and raspberries, blueberries, apple and cinammon, frozen black cherries – literally anything you fancy. If you’re adding fruit, I would use about 150g.
- Spoon into your muffin cases and sprinkle with a little bit of brown sugar if you have any. It’s not essential so I wouldn’t buy it just for this.
- Bake for about 20 minutes at 190 c.
We made apple and cinammon ones today and they smell gorgeous – can’t wait for them to cool down so I can try one 😉
My other old faithful packed lunch standby are cheesey pops, which are really just cheese straws but we use pastry cutters to cut them into shapes. When Master Frugal first started school we used to make them in Thomas the Tank engine shapes and they were one of the very few things he would eat so they were a bit of a lifesaver at the time. They’re still a favourite now although he is starting to be *slightly* more adventurous lately.
150g self raising flour
1/2 tsp salt
75g grated cheese
2 tbsp milk
- Mix together the flour and the salt and rub in the butter until your mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.
- Stir in the cheese, leaving aside a little bit for later.
- Mix the egg and milk together and add to the breadcrumb mix again leaving a little bit aside for later. Mix it together until it forms a soft dough.
- Roll out the dough to about 1cm thick and use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Obviously, if you’re feeling all g
- rown up you can just cut the dough into strips and so fancy twists with them 😉
- Line a baking tray with some greaseproof paper (probably not essential if you grease the tray but I like to do it anyway) and place your shapes on it.
- Using the leftover egg and cheese, top each shape with a bit of the egg mix and sprinkle some cheese on them.
- Bake for about 10 minutes at 200 c.
Innocent also sent us a lovely packed lunch box to decorate with stickers along with a few of their Innocent smoothies (which I buy anyway) but it was whisked away upstairs as soon as it arrived as it was the perfect house for some of Master Frugal’s little figures – it’s currently a GoGo mansion apparently! I asked him if he wanted to make it pretty for mammy to take a photo of and I just got ‘the look’…. Thanks for the thought though 😉