School lunches needn’t be boring, says Rachel Allen, and a little organisation and pre-planning will go a long way. Photography by Tony Gavin
Back-to-school time is a bit like New Year; we’re all full of good intentions and promises we intend to fulfil. Mine are, yet again, to stop biting my nails while driving (it’s the only time I ever seem to bite them) and to remember that just because I intend to go out for a run or hit the gym, I’m not actually going to get any fitter unless I stop procrastinating and just do it.
This time of the year is always a little bittersweet for me. I have loved the lazy mornings in bed and the long evenings, but my yearning for routine normally hits at the end of August when I’ve had a whole two months of lovely but haphazard disorderliness in the house.
I also crave autumn-winter clothes. Give me a cashmere scarf and boots over silky, light, summery garb any day. I’m normally the first one to rejoice at the chillier mornings and shorter evenings. Candles lighting, red wine and log fires are my idea of bliss.
Anyway, when it comes to school lunches, we all need to shake it up every now and then. Eating the same thing every day gets boring, but it can also be tricky to make lunch boxes that are both tempting and healthy, too. Of course, schools have clamped down a lot on the food that our children are allowed to bring in, and many only allow something sweet on Fridays. I love these chewy, seedy oat, apricot and date bars, right. They’ve got a great bite, so they are brilliant for our digestive systems, while the oats will keep the kiddies full of energy.
Our daughter, Scarlett, loves sausage rolls, and she decided that these are the best school lunch, so here’s the version, far right, that she’s taking to school with her this week.
These crunchy brown scones with seeds, also far right, are super sandwich material, and when they are split, buttered and filled with cheese and ham, they make a packed lunch fit for a little king.