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Food on the move: inspiration for school lunchboxes, when travelling, or going on picnics from the book, Simple, Fabulous Lunchbox Ideas.

Going on a road trip or planning a picnic? Try these recipes for fabulous food on the move.

Egg cups

  • 6 slices low-GI brown bread
  • extra-light margarine to coat muffin tin – about 1 teaspoon per cup
  • a thin spread of extra-light margarine
  • 6 extra-large eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease six muffin tin holes well.
  • Flatten the bread with a rolling pin until it is about half its original thickness.
  • Spread a thin layer of margarine over each slice of bread. The spread side will be facing the egg and not the muffin tin.
  • Mould the slices into the muffin tin and trim the edges.
  • Bake the bread cups for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven, but keep the oven on, and gently crack one egg into each bread cup. Season to taste.
  • Put back into the oven and bake for 18 minutes – this may vary a bit depending on your oven – until the eggs are cooked through.
  • Take out of the oven and shake the tin to see if the eggs are cooked. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
  • Remove each cup from the muffin tin and cool down completely on a wire rack.

Hint: These can be made in individual silicone cupcake holders and will make the lunchbox fun and colourful.

Nutritional information per egg cup:
energy 814 | protein 9,5 | carbohydrate 13,9 | fat 10,3 | gi 55 | gl 8

Star PB & J

  • 2 tsp each of  peanut butter and jam
  • low-GI honey and oats bread (2 slices)
  • First spread the peanut butter and then the jam over one slice of bread.
  • Then, close the sandwich with the remaining slice of bread and cut out the bread stars using a star-shaped cookie cutter.

Hint: Try different varieties of jam to add a twist to the good old PB & J. The fat in this sandwich comes from the heart-healthy monounsaturated fats in the peanut butter.

Nutritional information per whole sandwich:
energy 1 266 | protein 9 | carbohydrate 37,7 | fat 11 | gi 57 | gl 22

Mock sushi

  • 1 slice low-GI brown bread, with the crusts cut off
  • a thin spread of extra-light margarine
  • 1 tbsp. plain, smooth, fat-free cottage cheese
  • 3 cucumber ribbons (see step 3)
  • 30g smoked salmon
  • Flatten the slice of bread with a rolling pin.
  • First spread a thin layer of margarine and then cottage cheese over the bread.
  • To make the cucumber ribbons, peel a cucumber with a potato peeler to form three thin ribbons.
  • Place a thin layer of cucumber ribbons on top of the cream cheese.
  • Then place a thin layer of smoked salmon on top of the cucumber. Make sure that both the cucumber ribbons and the smoked salmon are in one thin layer as this makes it easier to roll up the “sushi”.
  • Roll up the “sushi” and cut into three pieces. Pack into a lunchbox and store in the fridge.

Hint: Make sure to pack the “sushi” quite tightly to avoid the rolls coming apart.

Nutritional information per whole sandwich:
energy 775 | protein 11 | carbohydrate 18 | fat 6 | gi 55 | gl 10

Couscous and cheese patties

Makes 12 patties

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup couscous
  • a wheel of low-fat herb-flavoured feta, crumbled
  • ½ x 250g tub ricotta cheese
  • 2 red salad onions, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • cake flour for dusting
  • a small amount of olive oil for browning
  • Pour the boiling water over the couscous and let it stand for at least five minutes.
  • Transfer the couscous to a separate bowl and add the feta and ricotta cheese. Mix well with your hands.
  • Add the onions and mix through. Season to taste.
  • Then add the egg to the couscous mixture and mix well.
  • Take tablespoonfuls of the couscous mixture and roll into balls using your hands.
  • Roll each ball in some flour and dust off the excess. Flatten each ball into a small patty with the palms of your hands.
  • Heat a small amount of oil in a nonstick pan and fry the patties for five minutes on each side. The patties should be golden brown in colour.

Hint: Your children will have a “ball” rolling these couscous patties.

Nutritional information per whole sandwich:
energy 486 | protein 4,7 | carbohydrate 8,5 | fat 6,5 | gi 65 | gl 6

Spicy chicknaks

Makes 4 x 100g portions

  • 1 x 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • salt, pepper and paprika to taste
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  • Dry the rinsed chickpeas on a paper towel and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  • Season to taste and bake for 40 minutes.
  • Lastly, allow the chickpeas to cool down completely before placing them in a container with a tight-fitting lid.

Hint: These are a great low-fat and low-GI alternative to crisps or nuts.

Nutritional information per whole sandwich:
energy 279 | protein 3,5 | carbohydrate 8,1 | fat 1 | gi 42 | gl 3

Pineapple cheesecake

Makes 6 cheesecakes

  • 7 digestive biscuits, crushed into crumbs
  • 30g bran flakes, blitzed in a food processor
  • ¼ cup extra-light margarine, melted
  • 1 x 250g tub fat-free, smooth cottage cheese
  • 300ml fat-free vanilla yoghurt
  • 1 x 340ml can evaporated milk (light)
  • a 8g packet sugar-free pineapple jelly – one that doesn’t need refrigeration to set
  • Mix the biscuit crumbs, bran flakes and margarine.
  • Divide the mixture into six small containers (about ½ cup each) that can fit easily into a lunchbox and press the crust into the base of the containers.
  • Combine the cottage cheese and yoghurt in a bowl. Set aside.
  • Heat the evaporated milk in a pan on the stove until it is almost boiling. Remove from the stove and stir in the jelly until it has dissolved. After that, set it aside to cool a bit – the mixture must still be warm when moving on to the next step.
  • Add the cottage cheese mixture to the warm jelly mixture and mix well.
  • Divide the mixture between the six containers and refrigerate until set.

Nutritional information per cheesecake:
energy 871 | protein 9,6 | carbohydrate 25,5 | fat 6,9 | gi 43 | gl 11


Find some mouthwatering picnic food recipes here.

About the book

Dietician Leanne Katzenellenbogen has lifted the lid on boring lunchboxes with her recipe book, Simple, Fabulous Lunchbox Ideas (Random House Struik). Each recipe includes the meal’s nutritional information, so you can be sure you are offering your family food that is varied and nutritious. She has drawn on her extensive dietary knowledge to produce recipes that are low in fat, have a lower GI and are higher in fibre than conventional lunchbox snacks. This makes them perfect for school lunches, road trips and for busy people on the go. The book is available at all good bookstores.

Try these other lunchbox and picnic food ideas for healthy, but yummy snacks.