Back to school and work lunchbox ideas (part one!)

back to school lunchbox with veg and bacon muffins for Lunch Lady Magazine

Whether you're returning to school and work, or just stuck in a rut, making lunches can sometimes feel like a drag. Especially when you go to all that trouble only for kids to not eat it.

Our four-part lunchbox ideas series is here to help.

Packed full of great ideas and nutritious menus, these offerings will delight big and small people. 

Lunchbox ideas part one:

Lunchbox fillers

  • Hummus + fruit or veggie sticks
  • Veg and bacon savoury mini muffins (recipe below)
  • Trail mix
  • Popcorn
  • Bliss bar or balls


Veg + Bacon Savoury Mini Muffins (Makes 24 mini muffins)

Prep time: 20 minutes. Cook time: 30 minutes

  • 1 1/2 cups wholemeal spelt flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup natural or Greek yoghurt (dairy or coconut)
  • 1/2 cup milk (dairy or plant-based)
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (see tips)
  • 1/2 cup finely grated carrot
  • 1 cup cooked frozen peas and corn mix
  • 100g / 3.5oz bacon, diced and cooked
  • 3/4 cup grated tasty or cheddar cheese

What to do: 

  1. Preheat fan-forced oven to 180°C / 400°F / Gas Mark 6. Lightly oil two 12-hole mini muffin flexible rubber trays with cooking oil, or you can use paper mini muffin liners.
  2. Place flour and baking powder in a large mixing bowl and stir well to combine.
  3. In separate mixing bowl add yoghurt, milk and eggs. Whisk well to combine, and then stir through the pumpkin puree.
  4. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add in the wet ingredients. Use a large mixing spoon to fold through a little. Add in carrot, peas, corn, bacon and 1/2 a cup of cheese, and fold through the mixture.
  5. Divide mixture between muffin pans. Finish by garnishing the muffins with the rest of the cheese.
  6. Pop into the oven to bake for about 25–30 minutes, or until golden on top and muffins springs back. Allow to cool in the tray for about 15 minutes, and then place on a wire cake rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. When cooled down completely, store in an airtight container.


To make pumpkin puree, peel and chop about 350g / 12oz pumpkin. Place in steamer over saucepan and steam until softened. Allow to cool and then place in blender and whiz until smooth, or mash by hand.

For best results, use cheese that you grate yourself.

To make these gluten-free, substitute spelt flour with 2 cups of gluten-free flour.

To make vegetarian, omit bacon.


This recipe was originally published in Lunch Lady magazine Issue 23. Recipes by Dani Venn and photography by Jacinta Moore.

For more lunch box ideas see part two and part three and part four. (these are not linked)