Easy solutions for lunchbox dilemmas

Is there room for more than a sandwich in your child’s lunchbox? Kiddies food guru Annabel Karmel thinks so. Be inspired by two recipes from her book Lunchboxes, which aims to solve every aspect of the lunch box dilemma.

‘What’s in a child’s lunchbox is important because it’s in childhood that eating habits are formed, and heart disease, obesity, osteoporosis and other diseases begin to develop,’ writes Karmel.

‘But since a handful of foods do most of the damage to children’s diets and health, just a few changes can go a long way to improving them – eating a nutritious lunch can lay the foundations for healthy eating in life.’


Finger-picking chicken balls

The grated apple adds delicious flavour to these chicken balls and they are very popular eaten cold or hot. Include a little tomato ketchup in a separate plastic container for dipping the balls into. Makes 20 chicken balls. Suitable for freezing


1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated
2 large chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp fresh, or half tsp dried thyme (optional)
50g (2oz) fresh white bread crumbs
1 chicken stock cube, dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Flour for coating
Vegetable oil for frying


Using your hands, squeeze out a little excess liquid from the grated apple. Mix the grated apple with the chicken, onion, parsley, thyme leaves, (if using), breadcrumbs and the dissolved chicken stock cube and roughly chop in a food processor for a few seconds. Season with a little salt and pepper.

With your hands, form the mixture into about 20 balls, roll in flour and fry in shallow oil until lightly golden and cooked through (about 10 minutes).

Stuffed pita pocket with tuna, egg and sweetcorn

Stuffed pita pockets with a nutritious filling make a good snack or light lunch. This tuna mix is delicious. Makes four pita pockets.


2 eggs
200g can tuna in oil, drained
100g (4oz) sweetcorn
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp white wine vinegar
4 spring onions, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A fee drops of Tabasco sauce
Salad cress (optional)
2 pita breads


Put the eggs in a saucepan of cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 7-8 minutes (the yolk should be solid). Drain and cool under cold water. Peel the eggs when cold.

Meanwhile, flake the tuna with a fork and mix with the sweetcorn, mayonnaise, white wine vinegar, spring onions, salt and pepper and the Tabasco sauce. Roughly chop the hard boiled eggs and add to the tuna mix with the salad cress (if using), stirring well.

Cut the pita breads in half to give four pita pockets and divide the mixture between them.