Winter Warmer Ideas for the Kids' School Snacks and Lunches

Winter Warmer Ideas for the Kids' School Snacks and Lunches

Winter has finally arrived in Australia, the cold weather has set in, and it’s time to start planning differently for the kids at school. Warmer wear such as jackets and long pants will always be on the school shopping list. But have you ever thought about warmer meals for the little ones’ lunch boxes and snack boxes? There are so many ways to please a hungry tummy at school. However, this time you don’t have to think outside the square because we’ve done all the hard work for you. Read on to discover unique winter warmer ideas to keep the kids happy at school mealtimes. You’ll love making these meals just as much as they will enjoy eating them.

Party pastries   

Party pastries are basically kids-sized finger food, such as pies and pasties, that fit perfectly into kids’ lunch and snack boxes. You can either make your pastries from scratch or there are plenty of bought options available in your local supermarket. But we think that since the rain will keep most of us inside during winter, why not have a cook-off with the kids? If you choose to make them yourself at home, you can also choose what goes into them. Even try and sneak some vegetables into your creations to make them that extra little bit healthier. 

Mini pizzas

A fan favourite with every kid is pizza, so this winter warmer is sure to please. Similar to party pastries, mini pizzas don’t take up much room in the lunch box. So, whether packing for lunch or recess, mini pizzas are perfect for putting in bento boxes. Bento boxes are compartmentalised lunch boxes or snack boxes ideal for separating foods for lunch or recess. 

Mini pizzas will also take only a small amount of time to prepare and cook. Especially if you batch-cook and place all the kids’ pizzas in the oven at the same time (there should be plenty of room because the bases are mini!). Mini pizza bases are also easily found at your local supermarket (and here is another chance to sneak some veggies into the kids’ school time snacks). 

Thermos soups

The perfect way to warm a cold and hungry tummy is to have a nice cup of soup on hand. The kids love soup at home during the winter months, so just think of some of their favourites that you can easily make up the night before. Or just use 15 minutes of your spare time on the weekend to knock up a quick batch for the week ahead. Chicken noodle, creamy tomato, or alphabet soup. Whatever you choose, you have a good chance of also getting some hearty nutrition into the kids at school mealtimes. 

A good idea is to keep the soup in a thermos to keep it warm throughout the school day. If you don’t own a thermos, you could also use drip-free drink bottles to keep the soup packed away until its ready to be eaten. Just ensure that when the kids need to heat up their soup a teacher is on hand to control the temperature of the reheat.

Thermos hot chocolate

Another great way to keep the kids warm and cosy during the colder days in the schoolyard. Use a thermos if you have one handy at home to put the hot chocolate mix into to keep it warm. Ordinary plastic drink bottles can still be an option here for carrying the hot chocolate mix in before it can then be reheated at school by the teacher. 

Every kid loves something sweet and hot chocolate is the perfect way to keep your kids smiling and warm at lunch or recess time. Pack in a couple of marshmallows too for the kids to enjoy while carefully dipping into their drink at school. 

Warm snacking muffins

Think warm, gooey caramel and banana, oozing white and dark chocolate and hot apple pie flavours. All you have to do is learn to bake – and it’s not too late! 

Firstly, if you haven’t already, purchase a thermos insulated food jar for your kids. This can become the storage container to keep your muffins warm in. By the time the kids get to them at recess or lunch they will still be soft and fluffy (not hard). A compartmentalised lunch box also wouldn’t go astray as you could separate your muffin snacks from lunch foods. 

Baking your muffins might at first be a weekend experiment (if you don’t know how to bake properly just yet). Since winter keeps us all indoors anyway, get the kids involved too. With all the sweet flavours you can think of, this will quickly become a popular winter activity with them. Once your baking game is sound, there are s so many variations to try out. The only thing you might want to hold back on is the amount of sugar you are putting into the muffin mix. Have fun but be health-conscious at the same time.

Last night’s leftovers

This is a great one for all those busy and time-poor parents. All you have to do is cook a little extra for the evening meal and keep some leftovers handy for the next morning. Simply refrigerate what’s leftover at the end of dinner and then simply microwave it in the morning and pop into a thermos. Kids love home cooking since they have grown up with Mum’s cooking for years. To have their favourite meal at school the next day will be a treat.

Foods that reheat well for the next day include:

  • Pasta
  • Curries
  • Meatballs
  • Quiches
  • Rice (mix with some of last night’s simmer sauce to flavour the rice) 
  • Chicken noodle soup (keep noodles short to avoid a stringy mess at lunch/recess)

Vegetable slice (ie – zucchini slice, cheesy potato bake with herbs)