Looking to think outside the lunchbox when it comes to prepping your child’s school lunch this year?

If you need some food inspo that goes beyond the trusty Vegemite sandwich, Dietitian Sharon Natoli has come up with some eggs-cellent recipes that are so good they may not even make it to lunch time.

Sharon also shares her simple lunchbox hacks that will save you precious time in that mad morning rush to get everyone out the door.

Sharon’s top 5 lunchbox hacks

1. As kids head back to school in the summer time, it’s important to take steps to keep the lunchbox cool to reduce the growth of any harmful bacteria. Choose an insulated lunch box, a small freezer pack, or include a wrapped frozen water bottle.

2. Involve children in planning and preparing their lunch box. To help with their decision making provide a short list of options that consist of healthy choices. Children are more likely to eat something they have helped to select.

3. Eggs are a highly nutritious food and provide a range of essential vitamins and minerals for children’s growth and development. Offer children a range of egg options for their lunch box such as mini frittatas, egg rolls, egg salad or omelettes that can be sliced and eaten with fingers.

4. To avoid soggy sandwiches while still including veggies in the lunchbox, include options such as snacking cucumbers, colourful cherry tomatoes, celery sticks and crunchy snow peas.

5. Cut up different types of fruit on the weekend and keep it in different containers. Provide children with a different mix of fruits over the course of the week to help keep their fruit intake varied and interesting, while also being easy to eat and time saving.

3 eggs-cellent lunchbox ideas

Ham, Egg and Tomato Calzone

Prep time: 25 mins

Cook time: 20 mins

Serves: 8

Ingredients:

Dough

  • 2 cups (300g) plain flour
  • 2 tsp (7g) instant yeast
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup (185ml) warm tap water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Filling

  • 3 eggs
  • 100g sliced ham, diced
  • 1 large tomato, finely diced
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ⅔ cup (70g) shredded pizza blend cheese

Alternative fillings

  • Egg, capsicum and grated cheddar
  • Creamed corn, shredded chicken, pizza sauce

Method:

Dough

  1. To make the dough, combine flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl
  2. Add water and oil. Stir to form a soft dough
  3. Knead on a lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic
  4. Set aside, covered, while making the filling

Filling

  1. Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes (medium boiled eggs)
  2. Drain and immerse in cold water
  3. Peel and chop into 1cm dice
  4. Combine chopped eggs, ham, tomatoes, oregano and cheese
  5. Mix well

Calzones

  1. Preheat oven to 220°C/200°C (fan-forced) and line 2 large baking trays with baking paper
  2. On a floured bench, cut ball of dough into eight equal pieces. Roll out each piece to a 12cm circle.
  3. Divide filling into 8 portions, approx. ⅓ cup per portion. Spoon onto one half of each of the dough circles. Fold pastry to enclose filling and pinch edges together
  4. Place calzone on prepared tray and cook for 15 minutes, or until golden and crisp
  5. Serve warm or cold

Air-fryer Mini Egg and Mince Parcels

Prep time: 25 mins

Cook time: 65 mins

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 6 small (50g) eggs
  • 2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
  • Egg wash, for brushing
  • Tomato relish or tomato sauce, to serve

Filling

  • 500g beef sausage mince
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • ½ cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard

Method:

Soft Boiled Eggs

  1. Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil then cook for 3 minutes Eggs should be soft boiled, so they don’t overcook in rolls
  2. Drain and immerse in cold water
  3. Peel

Meat Filling

  1. To make filling, place mince, onion, carrot, garlic, parsley and mustard in a large bowl
  2. Season with salt and pepper
  3. Mix well
  4. Divide mixture into six and roll an egg into a portion of sausage mince to enclose

 

To assemble

  1. Place pastry sheets on a flat surface and cut each sheet into three even strips
  2. Place sausage covered eggs at the end of each length of pastry
  3. Press down gently to flatten slightly and shape mixture into a rectangle to fit pastry
  4. Roll up to enclose filling, brush end of pastry with egg wash to seal
  5. Brush egg wash over each roll. Place rolls seam-side down
  6. Preheat air-fryer to 180°C, place 2 rolls in the basket and cook for 20 minutes or until cooked
  7. Remove and repeat with remaining rolls
  8. Serve warm with relish or sauce

Oven Method

Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C (fan-forced) and line a large baking tray with baking paper. Place parcels onto tray leaving a 2cm space between them. Cook for about 35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and crisp.

Zucchini Slice

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes

Serves: 12

Ingredients

  • 3 zucchinis, grated
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 200g rindless shortcut bacon, finely diced
  • 1 ½ cup (150g) grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup (150g) self-raising flour
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 7 eggs
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ cup (120g) smooth ricotta
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved

Method

  1. Preheat oven 180°C/160°C (fan-forced) and grease and line a 30 x 20cm (base measurement) pan with baking paper.
  2. Combine grated zucchini, onion, bacon, cheese and flour.
  3. Whisk oil and eggs together and stir into flour mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Pour into prepared pan and smooth the surface. Dollop tbsp. of ricotta and arrange cherry tomatoes over the top. Bake 35-40 minutes or until top is golden. Serve warm or cold.