Greek lunchbox meatballs – gluten free, low carb and paleo-friendly

I hear there’s this Greek saying:

“Μ’ένα σμπάρο, δυο τρυγώνια.”

It translates to something like:

“One shot, two birds.”

Which, to me, meant:

“I have this mince that’s going to turn bad soon, and this mint is looking a bit dodgy. I really need some protein for tomorrow’s lunchboxes, too. I know! Make the Greek meatballs you made often early in your marriage.”

And that’s how these Greek meatballs became Greek lunchbox meatballs.

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Probiotic Monkey Ice Cream Pops

My kids have been requesting ice blocks a fair bit with the warm weather, but the combinations have been getting a little boring. I sifted through a few kids ice block recipes online and not much was standing out. I wanted something chocolatey and delicious, without too much fuss.

Almost all of the kids ice block recipes I found either needed a custard base (yum, but too much effort on this particular day) or were full of sugar. Treats are great, but loading my two up on sugar after school when they’re exhausted is usually a recipe for disaster. So, I had to get a little creative and try something new.

Something new turned out to be a bit hit!

Bonus: these ice blocks are chockers full of good bacteria that are great for happy little tummies, thanks to my easy dairy-free yoghurt. Read on for the recipe.

Chocolate probiotic ice cream popsicles for kids
Photo: Jennifer Pallian on Unsplash
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10 ideas for protein in your school lunchboxes

Protein is an important food group for growing bodies. It helps with building muscle and repairing tissue, which is important for children when you think about how many falls they have throughout their childhood!

Protein is also:

  • a great source of amino acids
  • usually full of iron and b vitamins
  • helps the body produce hemoglobin
  • and supports the immune system when needed

The recommended dietary intake of protein for children between the ages of 4 and 8 is approximately 20g per day, yet many don’t get close to that.

Sometimes finding options that will keep well at school or that will suit a fussy eater – or both! – takes some trial and error, but it’s a useful food group in lunchboxes.

Children have a limited amount of food over a school day. It makes sense to ensure that a good amount of the food in their lunchboxes is going to keep them full and not cause a blood sugar spike. Fat is my go-to for this type of food, but protein is a close second, and a food group people tend to be more comfortable with.

I’ve put together this list of yummy protein-packed recipes perfect for your next kids lunchbox. Some of them might surprise you!

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Easy dairy-free yoghurt

Originally published 2nd February, 2015 as Easy Peasy Coconut Yoghurt.

Dairy allergies and intolerances can seem like a really big pain sometimes. Dairy-free replacements for milk, cheese, yoghurt and cream often contain weird non-food ingredients and taste nothing like the real thing.

I’ve spent some time dairy-free at my doctor’s request and it was a pain, so I can imagine how hard it is trying to feed a toddler or child who absolutely has to cut out dairy.

Nectarines with cream is one of my favourite desserts. I love love love a Mexican bowl loaded with cheese and sour cream. And cappuccinos. Oh, the cappuccinos.

When I went dairy-free, I really needed a replacement for a few of these things, and being a fan of real food, I wasn’t about to try any weird mock replacements full of goodness knows what. Coconut yoghurt seemed like a good place to start, so I gave it a crack.

There are heaps of different methods online. Many aren’t 100% dairy free, require weird thickeners or only seem to specify how to make coconut yoghurt with fancy equipment. I remember reading once about using probiotic capsules as a starter for something, so I thought I’d try it with yoghurt.

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5 things no one tells new school mums

Is this your first year as a school mum? Here are 5 things no one told me when my eldest started kindergarten.

1. Your child will cry

If you’ve made it past the first day and they didn’t, you’re not out of the woods yet.

Whether it’s the first week or the last term, your child will cry and not want to leave you at some point during their first year.

It might be because big school is scary and new or it might be because they’re exhausted and don’t want to go after months of perfect attendance, but mark my words – at some point, there will be tears.

Pro tip: Be patient, give them lots of extra love, and give them ‘mental health days’ when they need them.

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REVIEW: Little Mashies reusable pouches + 3 easy recipes

I first heard about Little Mashies about a year ago and they sounded like a dream come true. My kids were always wanting to buy pouch yoghurts when we did groceries because they were fun and easy and other kids had them. Sadly, yoghurt pouches sold in stores are chock full of sugar and/or absolute crap.

Just how much sugar and crap was highlighted recently in this great reference post over at Mumma Plus Three.

Vaalia My First Yoghurt? Should be healthy given it’s marketed as a great option when weaning your babe, right? Not so much. Almost 10% sugar and full of starches and additives. Slightly better than the Coles pouch (11.2% sugar) and the Paul’s pouch (11.7%). What about when you go for a healthy option, like Macro Organic vanilla yoghurt? 12.8% sugar! Admittedly, the ingredients list is a tad better on the Macro Organic, but you make up for that with the added sugar.

It’s really no surprise to me that on the few occasions my kids have eaten these pouches, they’ve ended up pretty hard to handle, followed by a whole lot of grumpiness in the afternoon.

After six months of being slightly disappointed my Little Mashies purchase kept being bumped down the priority list, hubby surprised me with a 10 pack he bought from biome and we’ve been using them ever since. So, what do I think of them?

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Christmas snowballs

They’re sweet, they’re chewy, they’re minty and they’re chocolatey. Best of all – they’re easy to make, contain no refined sugar, and they’re kid approved and lunchbox friendly. They’re my Christmas Snowballs!

These Christmas bliss balls are so delicious they were gone in less than 24 hours the first time I made them. Both the kids and hubby were grabbing them straight from the freezer and eating them without waiting for them to thaw!

Like most of my recipes, these freeze really well. You can put them straight into lunchboxes frozen, eat them straight from the freezer, or put a few in the fridge to soften as you want them.

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Our month of Halloween lunchboxes! [2017]

Last month we had so much fun with our lunchboxes! October 31 is Halloween and while it can be a divisive subject in my country of Oz, it’s my favourite celebration. Yep, I’d say it probably tops Christmas for me.

Did you know the celebration didn’t originate in America at all? In fact, it was brought to the USA by European immigrants much later on. Halloween’s origins date back to Ireland approx. 2000 years ago. The tradition of dressing up for modern day Halloween is similar to what the Celts did all those years ago – only they did it to disguise themselves from evil spirits wandering about looking for a living body to possess!

Packing creepy lunchboxes seems like a whole lotta fun in comparison, doesn’t it?

When October rolled around, I decided I’d try and send a Halloween themed lunchbox every single day of the month. Needless to say, some days were better than others and we had a few regular lunchboxes with some eye picks or plastic rats thrown in to keep with the theme, but it was still so enjoyable to get creative and the kids really enjoyed their fun food!

Here are some of our lunchboxes for Halloween 2017. If you’d like to see the rest, feel free to pop on over to Instagram and scroll through.

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Healthier sticky date muffins

These muffins are SO DAMN GOOD. I’ve never had a complaint from my two kidlets about them, and they’re just as delicious for grown-ups!

So many paleo and gluten-free baking recipes use almond meal which rules them out for lunchboxes with most schools, but these ones use coconut flour. It’s my favourite gluten-free flour to bake with and I’ll tell you why.

Coconut flour is about as good as it gets. It’s high in fibre, protein and healthy fats, while being low carbohydrate, low calorie, low GI, and free from gluten, wheat, soy, legumes and nuts. Great for those with gut issues and diabetes, and great for little kidlets who need some extra nutrition in their lunchbox without the insulin spike you get from wheat flour. Sounds pretty good, right?

Its only downfall is that it’s super thirsty, which means you can’t substitute it 1:1 in recipes. If you’re wanting to give it a shot, look for recipes that specifically call for coconut flour… like this one!

 

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Grain-free banana muffins

The kids will love these healthier banana muffins made with no grains, gluten, dairy (if you choose), and no refined white sugar. YUM! The sweetness in these muffins comes from honey and banana – still sugars, so don’t go crazy with them now!
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