Lunch boxes

Taking a lunch box to school or work can be much healthier than buying meals and unhealthy snacks every day.

Mini meat balls

Serves 4

Ready in 20 minutes


500 g lean beef mince

2 tbsp (30 ml) chutney

2 tbsp (30 ml) tomato sauce

2 baby marrows, grated

¼ cup (60 ml) uncooked oats

1 egg, beaten

2 tsp (10 ml) dried mixed herbs

1 tbsp (15 ml) ground coriander

3 tbsp (45 ml) chopped fresh parsley

½ tsp (2,5 ml) salt

lemon juice and black pepper to taste

2 tbsp (30 ml) sunflower or canola oil for frying


  1. Place all the ingredients, except the oil, in a mixing bowl and mix with your hands until well combined. Season with lemon juice and pepper.
  2. Shape the mince mixture into small balls using about 2 tbsp (30 ml) of mince per ball.
  3. Heat half of the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Fry half of the meat balls until golden brown on both sides.
  4. Reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for a few minutes or until cooked. Spoon out and repeat with remaining meat balls and oil.
  5. Allow meat balls to cool and pack in a lunch box with a dipping sauce of your choice, such as sweet chilli sauce, tomato sauce or plain low-fat yoghurt. Include fresh veggies and an unrefined starch like baby potatoes in the skin or corn on the cob, to ensure a balanced meal. Alternatively serve warm with salad ingredients and a starch as a light meal.


  1. When buying sauces like chutney and tomato sauce, read the food labels to make sure you choose a good quality option that is lower in sugar and salt.
  2. The meat balls can also be served with fresh fruit or leftover cooked veggies like sweet potato, butternut or even corn on the cob. Baby potatoes in the skin also work well. The meat balls are delicious as a filling for pitas with salad ingredients.
  3. This recipe makes about 12-15 small meat balls.
  4. Meat balls are perfect for supper too. Prepare double the recipe and enjoy some of the meat balls for dinner with roasted butternut or sweet potatoes and green veggies. Keep the rest in the fridge for up to 2 days to pack into lunch boxes.

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