Healthy, delicious and easy lunchbox recipes

1. Fruity low-fat banana bran cake

Fruity banana bran cake

Ingredients (serves 12)

  • 100g low sugar bran flakes
  • 250ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 75g ready-to-eat dried apricots, chopped
  • 50g sultanas
  • 50g light muscovado or soft brown sugar
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 banana, mashed

 

Equipment

Mixing bowl, mixing spoon, 500g (or 1lb) loaf tin, measuring scales, wire rack, greaseproof paper and measuring spoons.

 

Method

  1. Put the bran flakes into a mixing bowl and add the milk, apricots and sultanas. Stir well. Cover and leave to soak in a cool place for 1 hour, stirring from time to time.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan oven 160°C, gas mark 4. Line a 500g (or 1lb) loaf tin with greaseproof paper.
  3. Add the sugar, flour, beaten eggs and mashed banana to the soaked mixture and stir thoroughly. Spoon this mixture into the prepared tin.
  4. Transfer to the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 50-55 minutes. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out carefully and cool on a wire rack.

Preparation time: 20 minutes, plus 1 hour soaking
Cooking time: 55 minutes
Approximate cost for recipe: £1.32
Approximate cost per serving: 11p

 

Handy hints

You could change up the recipe by using dried cherries or dried blueberries instead of apricots, and raisins instead of sultanas.

Keep the cake in an airtight tin and use within 1 week. If you like, freeze individual slices in small freezer bags, ready to take for a packed lunch – they will have defrosted by midday.

Download Fruity low-fat banana bran cake recipe

 

2. Cheesy veggie wedges

Cheesy veggie wedges

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 100g dried pasta shapes
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 courgette, grated
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 4 eggs
  • 50g mature Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 teaspoons dried mixed herbs
  • Ground black pepper

 

Equipment

Pan, oven safe frying pan, grater, chopping board and knife.

 

Method

  1. Cook the pasta shapes in boiling water for 10-12 minutes, until just tender. Drain thoroughly and rinse with cold water to cool them quickly.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan and gently cook the onion for 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat and add the courgette, carrot and pasta, mixing well.
  3. Beat the eggs and add the cheese to them. Stir in the dried herbs and season with some pepper. Pour into the frying pan and cook over a low heat for 4-5 minutes, without stirring, to set the base. Meanwhile, preheat the grill to medium-high.
  4. Put the frying pan under the grill and cook for 4-5 minutes until the surface has set and is golden brown. Cool completely if serving for a packed lunch. Cut into wedges and wrap in cling film or greaseproof paper and chill until needed.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Approximate cost for recipe: £1.88
Approximate cost per serving: 47p

 

Handy hints

When taking packed lunches to school or work, try to use an insulated container and include a small ice pack to keep things cool and fresh.

You could use cooked potatoes instead of pasta. You’ll need about 300g altogether, chopped into chunks.

Download the Cheesy veggie wedges recipe

 

3. Tasty chicken wraps

Tasty chicken wraps

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 4 wraps or soft flour tortillas
  • 4 tablespoons low-fat soft cheese
  • 4 tablespoons low-fat natural yogurt
  • 1 skinless roast chicken breast, chopped into small chunks
  • 100g canned sweetcorn, drained
  • ¼ cucumber, finely chopped
  • 4 crisp lettuce leaves, shredded
  • Ground black pepper

 

Equipment

Mixing bowl, mixing spoon, knife, chopping board and cling film.

 

Method

  1. Lay out the wraps or tortillas on a work surface.
  2. In a mixing bowl, stir the soft cheese and yogurt together until smooth.
  3. Add the chicken, sweetcorn and cucumber. Season with some pepper, then mix well. Spread an equal amount over each wrap, then top with the lettuce.
  4. Roll up each wrap tightly, slice in half, then wrap in cling film. Keep cool until ready to serve.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: None
Approximate cost for recipe: £3.20
Approximate cost per serving: 80p

 

Handy hints

If you’re packing these wraps into a lunch box, try to remember to put a small ice pack in with them to keep them cool and fresh.

If you’re not keen on cucumber or sweetcorn, use grated carrot or add slices of tomato instead.

Download the Tasty chicken wraps recipe