Top tips for a market-filled lunch box

Having a healthy lunch can help you and your child avoid the mid-afternoon energy slump.

If you’re looking to save money and time, the Saturday Fresh Market is the perfect place to stock up on lunch essentials, whether it’s for school lunch boxes or making yourself a tasty treat to get you through the workday.

Keep it fresh

There’s nothing healthier than vegetables in a school lunch box.

Make things easy on yourself by cutting up carrot, capsicum and celery sticks and storing them, covered in water, in an airtight container to keep crunchy and fresh all week.

Just replace the water every second day and pat dry a handful of veggie sticks with paper towel or a tea towel before popping them in a beeswax wrap or container.

If you want to be extra fancy, include a pot of hummus, peanut butter, cream cheese, pesto or your favourite dip. Cherry and grape tomatoes make an awesome and nutritious snack as well.

Keep costs down by choosing seasonal fruit for the lunchbox. Some top options that hold up well in a school bag include:

  • Mini pears and apples
  • Mandarins
  • Bananas
  • Kiwifruit
  • Grapes
  • Berries

With berries, just separate them into small containers in the fridge so it’s easy to pop them into a lunchbox each day and keep them protected.

Protein fix

To help get you and your child through the afternoon, pack lunch boxes with protein-filled options.

The Saturday Fresh Market has a wide selection of cheeses, deli meats, eggs and delicious baked good to serve them with. For something simple you can add beer sticks or jerky, combine yoghurt with granola muesli, or simply chuck in a boiled egg – it comes with its own container!

There’s something about finger food that makes the experience delicious so why not try the lunch box version of a grazing platter, curated by the Saturday Fresh Market? For a mini antipasto feast grab some felafel, deli meat, olives, fetta and sundried tomato or create a ploughman’s lunch with pickles, cheese, fresh crusty bread, ham and boiled eggs.

Pastry pinwheels are a super easy and convenient alternative to sandwiches, just wrap up your favourite fillings in frozen pastry and bake. This recipe is a great place to start, then you can try different combinations like salami and pizza sauce, chicken and pesto, or turkey and cranberry sauce. For some extra goodness, add baby spinach or fresh herbs.

To cut down on your lunch preparation time, snap freeze the pinwheels on the baking tray then store them in the freezer in a lunch-sized container or beeswax wraps. Just grab and go in the morning, they defrost really well in time for lunch and will keep the other food cool in the meantime.

Snack time

Now, there’s no point eating all the healthy stuff if you can’t reward yourself with a treat. But treats don’t have to be bad for you. When you purchase your snacks at the Saturday Fresh Market, you avoid overly processed food and high sugar bars.

Purchase snacks lovingly prepared by Saturday Fresh stallholders for a convenient and easy sweet treat, such as:

  • Popcorn
  • Biscuits
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Bakery goodies.

Keep your bakery treats fresh all week by popping some in the freezer and putting them in the fridge or the lunchbox to defrost overnight for those end of the week lunches.

If you prefer to cook yourself, especially if you need to avoid food allergies or processed sugar, why not try making your own muesli bars with dried fruit, seeds and nuts (if your child’s school allows them).

This recipe is a great jumping off point, and you can substitute the seeds and sultanas for any dried fruit, nuts, or even chocolate chips – just make sure you add the chocolate at the same time as the fruit, after you’ve finished toasting the dry ingredients.

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