Packing a hot lunch for school or work is a real treat during winter – it sure beats a sandwich, just ask the kids.

Here’s 23 Thermos lunch ideas, the equipment you need and even useful tips to make sure the heat goes the distance!

When it comes to creating a hot packed lunch for the kids or ourselves, leftovers are fab. Casseroles can be reheated and packed, even sausages can be heated, sliced and shut in tight to trap the heat. Pack a bread roll and a some salad stuffs and you have a complete meal – right there in a lunch bag.

No left overs, no worries! Here’s 23 awesome winter warming meals to pack in a Thermos.


Thermos lunch ideas

1. Macaroni cheese

2. Fried rice

3. Soup – pack a bread roll to dip in too!

4. Chicken nuggets

thermos lunch ideas

5. Spaghetti (tinned or your favourite home made recipe)

6. Corn on the cob

7. Cocktail frankfurts

8. Noodles

9. Mini meatballs

thermos lunch ideas - meatballs

10. Mexican rice

11. Savoury mince

12. Ravioli – my kids love the Leggo’s brand, just boil and add sauce. So easy!

13. Tuna mornay

14. Mild curry (butter chicken is a popular choice!)

15. Home made sausage rolls

thermos lunch ideas - sausage rolls

16. Marinated chicken drumettes

17. Devilled sausages

18. Risotto

19. Baked beans

20. Mini quiches

thermos lunch ideas - mini quiche

21. Taco mince – pack a couple soft taco shells and salad to make tacos.

22. Mini meat pies

23. Stewed fruit


Which insulated container do I choose?

Of course, it’s SUPER important that food stays hot from the point that it’s packed to when it’s eaten. There’s a whole lot of insulated food containers to choose from, but look for designs your kids can easily open. You might be lucky enough to find one in your supermarket, but otherwise head to a department store or a camping store. Two brands I use at home and give a big thumbs up to are Thermos and U Konserve brand.

Thermos food flask – built tough for playground knocks

A durable build, the 470ml capacity Thermos food flask from Big W ($39) includes a handy fold up spoon and a lid which doubles as a bowl. This food jar will take all the knocks kids (and adults) can throw at it.

U Konserve insulated food jar – the primary schooler’s choice

Perfect for smaller appetites and littler hands, the 350ml capacity U Konserve is the primary schooler’s friend. No bells, whistles or spoons included, just a basic jar with an easy twist on and off leak proof lid. Buy the U Konserve insulated food jar from Naturally Sustainable ($27.95).

Kmart – the cheap and cheerful option

Looking for a bargain buy to pack your Thermos lunch ideas into? Meet the Kmart Food Jar ($8).A relatively cheaper option, you won’t want to re-home your children if this insulated food jar gets lost at school. Also as the mum of three kids, all wanting their own lunch jar, this is a budget friendly find!


Thermos lunch tips and hacks!

  • The secret to an insulated food container maintaining heat is preheating and keeping a tight seal. Fill the container with boiling water for at least five minutes (while you make your coffee, fill the Thermos!), empty, dry and fill with hot food. Seal tight.
  • Bulk out dinners a little with extra vegetables or grains so you’re guaranteed enough for a leftover lunch the following day.
  • For those who like to be organised, cook an extra meal or two on the weekend, store in individual serves and freeze. Thaw a serve the night before and reheat and pack in the morning.
  • If packing sausage rolls, mini pies or chicken nuggets, fold a piece of paper towel and push it into the bottom of the Thermos. Super handy to draw away condensation and prevent any sogginess.
  • Make sure spoons and forks can reach the bottom of the flask. Spaghetti is hard to reach with fingers!
  • As tempting as it is, don’t put insulated food containers in the dishwasher. Unpack them from the school bag straight away, add a couple drops of detergent and fill with boiling water. Screw the lid on tightly and let it sit for a bit before giving it a light scrub.

Do you and your kids love hot lunches? Let us know what you pack for a delicious lunch! And take a look at our previous post of 100 lunch box ideas for more inspiration.

Author

South Australian mum and self proclaimed foodie, Lexi can most days be found in the kitchen, apron tied firm and armed with a whisk or wooden spoon!

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