What to cook these school holidays to make next term a breeze

Sometimes lunchboxes seem like too much work. Am I right? I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have days where I want to throw in the towel on healthy lunchboxes and pack some Tiny Teddies and Burger Rings, but generally I manage to avoid this feeling and it all comes down to a little a little thing I like to call being prepared.

Sure. There are weeks where I absolutely suck at being prepared and have to run to Coles for some fruit and popcorn because, you know, I’m human…

Here are a few of my favourite things to make in advance to make healthy lunchboxes a breeze.

Freezer-friendly lunchbox recipes

Blueberry breakfast cookies

blueberry breakfast cookies
Perfect in the lunchbox or with a morning cuppa.

I love lunchbox items that can be made well in advance, but I’m so down with freezable lunchbox items that double as make-ahead breakfasts. These blueberry breakfast cookies fit the bill and sound like something even the fussiest of kids could get behind.

Made with only a handful of typical ingredients like oats, bananas and coconut, they’re easy to make and would be a fun holiday baking activity to get the kids involved in.

Zucchini slice

Zucchini slice for lunchboxes
Dense, juicy, salty… mmm…

Everyone’s favourite MasterChef outdid herself with this recipe. Yeah, it’s good old zucchini slice. Nothing new or fancy, but boy is this one yummy. And bacon basically makes it instantly kid-approved, doesn’t it?

If you have a fussy little one, try turning it into invisible zucchini slice by blending the eggs, oil, onion and zucchini together before mixing with the other ingredients.

Once the zucchini slice has completely cooled, wrap individial portions in two layers of cling wrap (or seal in an airtight container) for an instant, veggie and protein packed lunchbox main that will have your kids drooling.

 

Green eggs and ham

green eggs and ham for lunchboxes
Roll ’em, stack ’em, skewer ’em!

An oldie but a goodie, my Green Eggs & Ham recipe is a freezer favourite. They get their vibrant green colour from a handful of dark green baby spinach, so your little one’s lunch will be colourful, delicious and nutritious!

Hulk muffins

These green spinach muffins are hands-down my kids’ favourite green food! (Starting to notice a theme here?) In fact, they’re the reason The Fussy One no longer runs at the sight of green food. They freeze beautifully and are a yummy sweet treat you can pack, knowing you’ve also added in a tonne of extra green veg while you’re at it.

Cheesy vegetable muffins

Cheesy zucchini muffins for lunchbox
Corn, zucchini, capsicum – oh my!

Cheese, veggies and bacon seem to be a winning combo with kids and adults alike, and these cheesy vegetable muffins manage to pack all that flavour into a cute little muffin package.

Recipe author and founder of Little Peeps Eats, Rachel, says that you can use whatever veggies you have handy which I love! Using what you already have means you save money and avoid waste.

Probiotic apricot bliss balls

probiotic bliss balls with apricot and coconut
Tangy apricot with coconut and just a hint of healthy! 😉

Take a break from the usual choc-date bliss balls and get some good bacteria into the kids at the same time. These probiotic bliss balls pack a bunch in both taste and health! They’re like a multivitamin you can keep in your freezer!

There you have it – 3 sweet and 3 savoury recipes you can make before the holidays end to keep your freezer stocked for the term ahead. What other recipes would you add to the list?

Need more ideas? Come and join our lunchbox group on Facebook!

 

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Probiotic bliss balls – freezer-friendly!

Bliss balls are a yummy sweet treat in any lunchbox! They’re also fabulous for hiding some added nutritious ingredients in, like seeds, oils, superfood powders, vegetables, and even probiotics. Yep! Probiotic bliss balls are a thing! You heard it here, ladies and gentlemen. These probiotic bliss balls are easy, yummy, reasonably healthy for a sweet treat and your kids will love them!

You might be wondering why I don’t just get the kids to pop a supplement or eat some yoghurt, which is fair enough given the marketing hype around some probiotic products. The truth though is that, well, they’re usually pretty garbage.

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Apple donuts – raw, paleo, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free!

A few years ago, apple donuts became a craze in our house! I started out having them for breakfast when I was trying to lay off the grains, and before long the kids were eating apple donuts of their own. Back then, our apple donuts were nothing more than apple rounds covered in peanut butter, but as the kids have gotten older and realised that real donuts exist and they’re prettier than apple smothered in peanut butter, I decided to jazz ours up a little bit!

Raw apple donuts with icing and sprinkles
These raw apple donuts can be made as fancy or as simply as you like!
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7 of the best healthier Easter chocolate recipes

Easter is only a few days away! Can you believe it? Whether you celebrate Easter, Ostara, something in between or nothing at all, you can’t deny that being only a couple of days away from the one day of the year where it’s perfectly acceptable to literally wake up and eat copious amounts of chocolate in your pyjamas is really freaking exciting. How about a few chocolate Easter recipes to get you started? 😉

If you’re a parent of young kids with little self control and you’re not feeling the chocolate excitement, I’d encourage you to read this post from nutritionist Mandy dos Santos on the Little Peeps Eats blog.

We’re personally a number 1 in this house. Does that surprise you? While I’m all for healthier options for kids, I don’t think it should mean missing out and it should absolutely be in consultation with your kids. Easter comes but once a year, so if they want to go wild on the Cadbury – go for it. It doesn’t mean you can’t add in some healthier options too, like the ones on this list!

1. Yoghurt filled Easter eggs

all natural yoghurt filled easter egg
Cadbury Creme Egg, anyone? Image: cleanfoodcrush.com

Do chocolate eggs with white and golden insides that look just like Cadbury Creme eggs but without the high sugar content and weird ingredients sound good? Then you’re going to love these
healthy chocolate yogurt-filled Easter eggs!

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Lunchbox Slice – gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free

This morning, after two weeks of perfecting this lunchbox slice recipe, I sat out on my deck photographing it and noticed two rainbow lorikeets in my neighbour’s Callistemon and thought to myself, “I’ve already tested this lunchbox slice recipe on the kids. I wonder if the birds will like it?” So, I threw them a slice of it, crumbled up into bird-friendly sized pieces and stood still waiting for them to come over. It didn’t take them long – they flew over the fence a few seconds later, straight onto my lawn and gobbled up every crumb of the lunchbox slice! So not only is this allergy-friendly and kid-approved, it’s also bird-approved! Haha!

Lunchbox Slice Recipe - suitable for nut-free schools
This lunchbox slice is gluten-free, nut-free, and dairy-free!
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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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