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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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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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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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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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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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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