Some of you might have seen the Daily Mail exposé of school lunches around the world, with mouth watering trays of delicious looking lunches. While it might be tempting to uproot your family and move to Brazil or Greece in search of the delicious school fare, it is much easier to recreate the presented recipes in your home packed school lunches. Here's how.
I simply adore Spanish food. It's healthy, colorful and so tasty. It's also very easy to adapt to room temperature lunches. In the presented lunch I packed a filling potato tortilla, with a sauté of chicken breast slices, chorizo and shrimp. On a side we have baby tomatoes, fresh green peppers, strawberries and almonds. If you haven't cooked with chorizo before, please do. A little goes a long way to flavoring the dish. Another lunch idea is to create a chorizo and sweet pepper omelet. With some hearty bread on a side and fresh vegetables it would really refresh your lunch packing routine. If you are interested in more Spanish-inspired lunches see our blog tapas approach to packed lunches, which will help you to create a simple and delicious tapas-style packed lunch.
The Italian emphasis is to create a balanced meal across all the food groups. This lunch is a good example of what can be recreated in any kitchen. Simple pasta with homemade tomato sauce, oven roasted meatballs (that taste just as good at room temperature), mini mozzarellas, grilled zucchini slices, grapes and a little candy treat. If you're looking for other Italian inspired lunch ideas, think about the antipasti platters full of roasted and grilled vegetables, apples, pears, delicious morsels of Italian cheeses and high quality cold cuts. A bit of olives and olive tapenade would complete the feast.
To add a bit of exotic touch to your packed lunches, why not look towards Brazil as the inspiration? Think colorful vegetables and fruit, bean salads, cheese breads and nuts. In this lunch I packed the following: homemade cheese puffs, cheese, grilled pork tossed with corn,beans and cilantro, olives, fresh vegetables, passion fruit and a mix of dried fruit and nuts. The Brazilian school lunch pictured in Daily Mail almost got me the next flight to Rio de Janeiro!
Greek food must be one of my favorite global cuisines. It not only tastes good, it's good for you! We explored the topic of adapting the Mediterranean diet to your packed lunches. Embracing the Greek cuisine as your inspiration will surely produce delicious results. In this Yumbox I packed herb and lemon baked chicken breast, rice pilaf, greek yogurt with pomegranate seeds, tomato-cucumber salad, stuffed grape leaves and olives.
Here's a very sophisticated lunch idea for all you office lunch packers. It is inspired by a very traditional pub lunch, called Ploughman's Lunch. It is basically a lunch platter that consists of cheese, pickle and bread. You can make it as simple as you like or as fancy as you desire. Here I went a bit more gourmet with a mix of Stilton and aged cheddar, served over very dark malty bread and mâche salad. On the side I packed crispy apple slices, green apple and date chutney in the dip well, a bit of ham, pickles and tomatoes to complete the assortment.
Living in France I could easily verify with my kids if the French school lunches look anything like they were depicted in the Daily Mail article. According to my trusted sources, they do get the itemized dishes, but they don't look anything as good as the picture. Oh well. But here's a nice and simple French packed lunch that would work well for office, school or even a picnic. In this Yumbox I packed slices of roast beef, cornichons, radishes, slices of brie cheese, strawberries, clementine and sugared almonds. A nice piece of crispy baguette is packed on a side. If you like the French approach, check out our blog post about French school lunches and get inspired!