Holistic Living

Back to School Special; Packed Lunches!

Written by Samantha Farrugia

A weight loss coach and passionate home cook specializing in clean, healthy, honest dishes. Her aim is to make people aware of the healthy food options and to show them tasty and exciting recipes. Sam also works as a specialist teacher at San Anton School, so working with kids every day she understands the struggles of packed lunches and classroom rules. She runs Sam’s Bits and Bites which provides healthy outside catering for dinner parties, small events and kids parties.

Follow her on Facebook (Sam’s Bits and Bites) or Instagram (@samsbitsandbites) for her weekly inspirational recipes and ideas.

Back to School Special; Packed Lunches!

Summer is over and the new scholastic year is upon us, which means early wake up calls and packed lunch making. Most parents I know, dread planning for kids’ lunches as they simply don’t know what is quick, easy and healthy enough to give to their kids for school. Nowadays it is so much harder to find foods with all the different allergies in the classroom and the competition between the children themselves. Ultimately food = fuel and is what will provide your kids with energy throughout their school day so it is important that they are getting a balanced meal. Children who eat well at school are better at concentrating and staying on task.

Tips;

1. Have a standard lunchbox recipe routine where you make a different lunch each day of the week, and then rotate it weekly. (changed seasonally to include seasonal fruit and veggies)

2. Use an insulated lunch bag and pack a cold pack to keep the lunch box cold or pack a hot lunch into a thermos to keep it at a safe temperature.

3. Talk to your kids about their favourite ‘healthy’ foods and work out a few lunch box varieties based on their choices to keep them happy and make sure they won’t come back home with full boxes.

4. Plan food beforehand and cook in large batches, what’s left over can be frozen and left for the next week.

5. Offer flavoured water as an option. Water can be infused with sliced fruit, vegetables and herbs such as orange and mint, lemon, cucumber and all types of berries.

Here are 11 ideas and recipes to get you going.

1. Herb Grilled Chicken Strips (serves 2)

chick-copy1 tbsp mixed herbs of choice
1 tsp melted coconut oil
1 chicken breast sliced into strips
salt and pepper

  • Heat a grill pan until hot
  • Mix the coconut oil and mixed herbs and then massage into the chicken strips
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Cook the chicken strips on the grill pan till golden and cooked through.

2. Cucumber and Yoghurt Dip

1/2 cup finely chopped cucumber
1 tsp chopped mint
1/4 cup greek yoghurt
salt and pepper

  • mix together all ingredients, add a drop of olive oil if necessary.
  • (goes well with carrot sticks or with the grilled chicken strips)

3. Egg and Ham Muffins (makes 6)

muffins-copy75g ham finely chopped
1/4 cup grated cheese
6 eggs beaten
2 tbsp milk
50g cooked spinach
salt and pepper

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and prepare 6 muffin moulds
  • Beat together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper
  • Add the ham, cheese and spinach
  • Pour into the six muffin moulds
  • Bake for 25 minutes until each egg has set

4. Cauliflower Tabbouleh (serves 2)

tabbouleh-copy1 cup riced cauliflower (in the food processor)
1/4 cup cup chopped cucumber
a handful of chopped cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper

  • Mix together all the ingredients and season with salt and pepper
  • (optional: add chicken or tuna)

5. Pasta Salad

pasta-copywholemeal pasta bows
2 tbsp salsa verde
salt and pepper
slices of mozzarella
sliced tomatoes
chopped green peppers
slices of avocado
chopped cucumber
chopped grilled chicken breast

For salsa verde:
1 cup olive oil
handful parsley
1 tbsp capers
1 clove garlic
salt and pepper to season

  • cook pasta according to directions on the packet
  • make salsa verde by blitzing all ingredients together in the food processor
  • mix in all other ingredients and stir till combined
  • season with salt and pepper

6. Healthy Tortillas

tortillas-copy3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup flaxseed
1/4 cup coconut flour
30g coconut oil
1 large egg
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp cumin

  • preheat oven to 180 degrees
  • place all ingredients into a food processor and blitz till a dough is formed.
  • divide dough into two balls
  • roll out dough between two sheets of baking paper.
  • lift off top sheet and use a knife to slice the dough into triangles
  • lift up the sheet of paper with the triangles on and place on a baking tray.
  • bake for 8-10 minutes until tortillas are light brown and crispy

7. Ham, Cheese and Apple Wraps (makes 4)

4 slices turkey ham
1 sliced red apple
4 slices cheddar

  • make wraps using the ham as the wrapping and the cheese and apple as a filling.
  • use a toothpick to secure (cut off the pointy edge)

8. Banana and Strawberry Smoothie (makes 1)

1/3 cup greek yoghurt
1 banana
1/4 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen)
drop of water

  • blend all ingredients together until smooth.
  • place in fridge or freezer until ready for school

9. Apple Crisps

applechips-copythinly sliced apples
fresh lemon juice
1 pinch cinnamon

  • preheat oven to 200 degrees
  • toss the apple slices with the fresh lemon juice and sprinkle with cinnamon
  • lay apples on a baking sheet
  • bake for one hour, then remove from oven, turn the apples over and bake for another hour (keep checking them to make sure they do not burn)
  • remove from oven and let cool completely.

10. Quinoa Chicken Nuggets (serves 3)

30g chickpea flour
2 chicken breasts cut into cubes
2 eggs beaten
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
coconut oil

  • preheat the oven to 180 degrees
  • season the chickpea flour with salt and pepper
  • dip the chicken nuggets into the chickpea flour then into the beaten egg and then into the cooked quinoa till completely covered
  • heat coconut oil in a pan and pan fry the chicken pops to seal the quinoa.
  • place onto a baking tray and bake till golden and cooked through.

11. Banana Breakfast Bars (around 8-10 bars)

bananabars-copy2 medium bananas
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup honey
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup whole wheat or buckwheat flour
1 cup oats

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees
  • Line a tray with baking paper
  • Mash bananas in a large bowl and stir in the rest of the ingredients till combined.
  • Spread into baking tray
  • Bake for 20 minutes till browned around the edges and cooked in the centre.
  • Cool completely and slice into bars
  • (can be frozen for up to one month)

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