All the lunch boxes we’ve ever bought have been too big, too small or too leaky. I was starting to wonder if I would ever find the Goldilocks lunch box, you know, the one that’s just right.
That’s when I discovered the Yumbox which has been a game changer in the way we make and eat lunch. The lunch boxes come in a range of sizes; the original Yumbox (seen here in red,) the Panino, the larger Tapas (seen here in blue) and there’s a Yumbox snack box too. The Yumbox is a total box ticker. It’s BPA free, durable, easy to clean, doesn’t leak and it’s perfect for sandwich free lunches (although it fits a sandwich too.)
If you think the Yumbox is just for kids, then you might need to think again. The original Yumbox accommodates ½ cup portions of the 5 main food groups, fruit, vegetables, protein, dairy, and grains, which makes packing a balanced lunch box quick and simple. It’s perfect for picky eaters and portion control. The Tapas is larger still with five compartments (or four larger ones) and will satisfy bigger appetites.
Our lunch boxes always meet the same three criteria; they’re quick and easy to make and they’re sandwich free. I downloaded these super ace Yumbox plannners but the truth of the matter is that most days I fly by the seat of my pants and what’s in the fridge is what ends up in our lunch box.
Chicken and Pesto Meatballs, bococinni balls, Pesto and Cheddar Loaf, hummus, carrot sticks and grapes
Since we packed our Yumbox, we’ve eaten more fruit and veg than ever, we’ve saved a heap of cash and are snacking less. I now pack a Yumbox even on the days I don’t go to work because once it’s packed, I can enjoy an all day degustation.
I think it’s important to point out that I don’t buy specific items for our lunch boxes. I’m not a fan of processed food and prefer to make my own mainstay items, but mostly our lunch box is made up of what ever I find in the the fridge. With a set of core ingredients and a little bit of organisation, it’s really not that tricky to pack a nutritionally balanced and totally delicious lunchbox.
If you want to save yourself time and money – try these tips!
- Wash fruits and veggies as soon as you buy them
- Choose fruits and veggies that need minimum chopping, for example, grapes and cherry tomatoes
- Buy fruit and vegetables that are in season
- Think about using roasted as well as raw veggies
- Upcycle leftovers
- Batch cook a heap of your favourite lunchbox fillers and freeze in individual portions
- Always keep a dip in the fridge
- Plan to include protein and/or savoury bake, a dip and at least one serve of fruit and veggies
Ham crepe wraps, hummus, carrot sticks, cheesy cauliflower pesto bites and grapes
What to pack in your Yumbox
We always have at least one home made dip in the fridge at any given time for cooking or snacking or both. Any one of these will regularly appear in our lunch boxes and can be made in a food processor or Thermomix in under 5 minutes.
Fat Mum Slim’s Pretty Amazing Make-It-Yourself Hummus (gf, nf, df, vegan)
Pumpkin Hummus (gf, nf, df, vegan)
Thermofun’s Salsa (gf, nf, df, vegan)
Roast Pumpkin and Cumin Dip (gf, df, nf, vegan)
Kale and Basil Pesto (gf, vegetarian*)
*If made with a vegetarian parmesan alternative
Cheesy Cauliflower Pesto Bites, Roasted Pumpkin and Cumin Dip, Capsicum strips, Strawberries and Popcorn
I usually batch cook these and freeze them in individual portions.
Baked Meatballs (gf, df, nf)
Chicken and Pesto Meatballs (gf, nf)
Meat Muffins with Barbecue Glaze
Meat Muffins with barbecue glaze, roasted pumpkin, kale and basil pesto, capsicum strips, strawberries, grapes and popcorn
These are varied and include some of our old favourites and/or left overs.
Onion and spinach Pakoras with Mint Raita (gf, nf, and vegan, df without raita)
Cheesy Quinoa Bites (gf, nf, vegetarian )
Pumpkin, Sage and Feta Mini Frittatas (gf, nf, vegetarian)
Lentil Falafel with Garlic Yoghurt Dip (nf, vegetarian)
Cheesy Cauliflower Pesto Bites (nf, vegetarian)
Pumpkin Sage and Feta Mini Frittatas, pickles, carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, hummus and melon chunks
As a rule, I don’t add baked goods to the lunch box but these savouries are a delicious exception. I batch cook these and freeze in individual portions.
Vegetarian Sausage Rolls (vegetarian)
Three Cheese, Spinach and Pesto Rolls (nf, vegetarian)
Massaman Chicken Rolls (nf)
Mini Ham and Corn Quiches (df, nf)
Three cheese spinach and pesto rolls, pumpkin hummus, carrot sticks, olives and strawberries
A nutritionally balanced lunch box contains at least one serve of fruit. I won’t lie, “finger fruits” like strawberries, grapes and blueberries are the easiest to prepare because you can just wash and go, but other seasonal fruits work just as well. David and I are totally opposite, I never met a fruit I didn’t like, and he only cares for grapes and blueberries. Generally, I pack our lunches based on what’s cheap, what’s in season and what’s most loved. My favourite lunch box treat is a banana sliced lengthways and sandwiched together with nut butter. Super yum!
Onion and Spinach Pakoras with Mint Raita, roasted sweet potato, capsicum and cucumber sticks and peach slices
Veggies feel the same love as fruit in this house. I love them all, David is more discerning. I refuse to buy veg only for lunch boxes, so we chuck in what we have to hand. The way I see it, I’d rather eat the same veggies for lunch every day than no veggies. Amirite or amirite? There are always carrot sticks to hand, and I’m rather partial to a strip of capsicum or cucumber too. Don’t underestimate roasted veggies – they also go great in a lunch box!
Ham crepe roll ups, cheesy cauliflower pesto bites, hummus, carrot sticks, grapes and granola bar
More lunch box favourites
Most items in our Yumbox are finger foods but some foods are worth making an exception for, like these proteins. I usually cook everything (apart from the egg) ahead and freeze in portions. We love boiled eggs, the Organised Housewife’s shredded chicken, pulled pork and falafels.
Boiled egg, cherry tomato, antipasto pasta salad, carrot sticks, salsa, melon chunks and banana and peanut butter
I don’t eat a lot of dairy but David is all about more cheese, please. If I add cheese to the lunch box, I’ll always do it with an extra fruit or veggie chaser. We include everything from bocconcini balls to cottage cheese. Cheese and apple, cheese and pineapple or cheese and grapes always go down a treat.
Baked meatballs, cheddar chunks, grapes, apple slices, carrot sticks and hummus
We rarely buy bread and if we do, freeze it for toasting or crumbing. These are our preferred grain alternatives and apart from the chips are all made from scratch.
Pesto and Cheddar Loaf (nf, vegetarian*)
Crepe roll ups (filled with ham and/or cheese) (nf, vegetarian)
Homemade crackers (gf, nf, df, vegan)
No bake Granola Bars (df, nf)
Natural corn chips (gf, nf, df, vegan)
Popcorn – I’m currently fan girling on Cobbs (gf, nf)
*If using vegetarian parmesan alternative
Black bean salad (leftovers,) cottage cheese and pickles, cherry tomatoes, pumpkin hummus, natural corn chips and melon chunks
We’re suckers for antipasto in this house. I think it adds a touch of budget luxury to the lunch box. Think olives, pickles, cold meat and for vegetarian options, we love this Antipasto Pasta Salad and the Kale and Basil Pesto Salad.
As if all these tips, tricks and recipes aren’t enough to tantalise your tastebuds perhaps I can tempt you with an exclusive reader discount? Simply head to Mini Hippo and add the code TAT2017 at checkout to get 10% off for your order (valid until 9 May.)
Have you got all aboard the Yumbox train yet? What would you pack in yours?
Where to buy: Mini Hippo
I was sent one Yumbox original and one Yumbox Tapas to review. All opinions and deliciousness are entirely my own.
Linking up with Kylie for IBOT