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Is your child tired of the same old, stock-standard lunchbox sandwich? Why not try these suggestions for delicious and affordable fillings, compiled by Mbali Mapholi, Laager Tea4Kidz partner dietitian.

Finding the balance between healthy lunchbox items that kids enjoy and don’t break the bank is an ongoing challenge for many. And, many children don’t relish the good old sandwich, but these simple and cost-effective fillings will tempt their tastebuds and ensure their school year gets off to a nutritious start.

Nutrition on the go

“School meals must provide nourishment for growing minds, and the lunchbox stands as a pivotal component of a child’s daily nutrition, requiring a delicate balance between health, time efficiency, and budget considerations,” explains Mapholi.

Read these articles for more winning lunchbox recipes and cool lunchbox ideas.

Hummus and veggie sandwich

Nutritional benefits

Hummus offers plant-based protein, fibre and healthy fats, complemented by nutrient-rich fresh veggies to create a satisfying and wholesome option.

Hummus recipe

Blend 1 can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed), 2 tablespoons of tahini, 2 tablespoons of cooking oil, 1 clove of garlic or ½ teaspoon of minced garlic, juice of 1 lemon, and salt to taste.

Layer the lettuce on a slice of brown or seeded bread, add hummus and cucumber slices, add more lettuce and close with another slice of bread.

Chicken and pea pesto sandwich

Nutritional benefits

This sandwich pairs lean chicken protein with the nutritional benefits of peas, creating a filling and delicious sandwich.

Pea pesto recipe

Blend 1 cup of thawed frozen peas, 2 tablespoons of cooking oil, ¼ cup of grated parmesan cheese or a handful of nuts, salt and pepper to season.

Spread pea pesto onto a slice of bread (toasted or not). Add lettuce and cooked chicken pieces.

Tuna with a twist

Nutritional benefits

Tuna supplies omega-3 fatty acids crucial for brain health. A creative twist on this classic option is perfect for kids.

Tuna recipe

Combine canned tuna (drained) with mayonnaise or mustard and diced cucumber mixed up.

Spread mixture over the bread and add mixed herbs (optional).

Peanut butter and apple sandwich with honey drizzle

Nutritional benefits

Peanut butter provides protein and healthy fats, while apples provide fibre and natural sweetness.

Spread peanut butter on brown bread, layer with thinly sliced apples, and drizzle with honey before closing with another slice of bread.

Find inspiration for preparing packed lunches here and we’ve got even more budget-friendly lunchbox ideas for you.

Plan ahead

Candice Sessions, Laager marketing manager, says nutritious lunchbox meals don’t need to be time-consuming or expensive – the key lies with planning ahead.

“Weekday mornings can be rushed and stressful, so ensuring you can provide varied healthy sandwiches easily starts with planning. A weekly lunchbox planner is a great solution and will ensure that you have the ingredients on hand.”