Break free from the normality of peanut butter sandwiches and try some of these healthy alternatives that don’t take long to make, but will guarantee that lunch boxes are coming back empty.
A tasty smoothie is great way to get fruit into kids, both young and old. Simply blend a banana with 1/2 cup of frozen berries, 1/4 of low fat natural yogurt and 1/2 cup of almond or low-fat milk until smooth. Add a tablespoon of honey for additional sweetness. Fill a small plastic bottle 3/4 full and seal with a lid and freeze until morning. This a great addition to lunch boxes in warmer climates as it keeps the rest of the lunch box chilled as it slowly defrosts.
Gluten Free Wraps
It’s easy to make your own gluten free wraps and fill with your choice of sandwich fillings. I like to make buckwheat wraps using buckwheat flour and water before filling with chicken, lettuce and tomato or salad and sliced beef. To make the wraps, whisk together 100g of buckwheat flour with 375 mls of filtered water, 1 egg and a pinch of salt. Heat a frying pan with a dash of butter or olive oil and add 1/4 of the mixture to the pan, like you’re making a pancake. Cook on medium to high heat for 1 minute on each side and cool. Fill with your choice of sandwich options and wrap. Makes 4 wraps.
Boiled Eggs with a Seasoned Salt Dip
Eggs are full of protein and are great addition to the school lunch box. Boil eggs until medium to hard, cool and peel. Serve with a small container of seasoned salt for dipping. I make a salt out of 1/2 teaspoon each of freshly ground fennel seeds and coriander seeds mixed with 1 teaspoon of natural sea salt flakes.
Vegetable Sticks with Hummus
Disguise vegetables as chips by slicing them into sticks and serving with a delicious hummus dip. Use carrots, celery and cucumber as the sticks and buy a good quality hummus for the dip. Serve the vegetables in a small disposable cup with a couple of spoonfuls of the hummus at the bottom.
Banana Chips with a Raw Honey Dip
Banana chips are delicious when served with a small side of raw honey. Choose good quality banana chips and serve 1/2 cup per portion with the honey dipper.
Homemade Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets with Lemon
What kid doesn’t love chicken nuggets? Now you make your own chicken nuggets at home that are gluten free and healthy. They are easy to make and always welcomed with a cheer from the kids. Process 1 cup of rice cereal until they resemble bread crumbs. Using 250 grams of fresh chicken breast meat, cut into nugget size pieces. Run the chicken through rice flour followed by 2 beaten eggs before crumbing through the rice cereal mixture. Shallow fry in oil for 4-5 minutes, carefully flipping the chicken halfway through cooking. Cool and serve with a wedge of lemon for squeezing.
Fruit and Nut Balls
Dried fruit like sultanas or raisins can sometimes be found at the bottom of the lunch box, untouched and unloved. By making these fruit and nut balls for the kids to enjoy at school, you put the fun back into dried fruit. Using 1/2 cup of pitted prunes, 1/2 cup of pitted dates, 1/2 cup of walnuts, 1/4 cup of raisins and 3 tablespoons of dried coconut, blend well in a food processor until very well combined. Using clean hands, roll the mixture into walnut sized balls and store in the refrigerator until you pop 1 or 2 into the school lunch box.
Leftover Stews or Stir Frys
Don’t let last night’s dinner take up space in the refrigerator. Revisit dinner by adding it to a school lunch box. If you had a delicious meat stew the night before, serve it on a small bed of freshly made couscous or mix a few fresh vegetables through last night’s stir-fry and serve with a pair of kid-friendly chopsticks for extra fun!
Homemade Trail Mix
Make a bag of your own trail mix by mixing together your favourite nut, seed and dried fruits. I like to make a trail mix selection using walnut pieces, pumpkin seeds, raisins, almonds, dried cranberries, dried fig pieces and sunflower seeds.
Cherry Tomato and Cheese Skewers with a Yogurt Dip
Choose ripe little jewel like cherry tomatoes to skewer on to a toothpick with a piece of cheddar cheese. Serve with a small container of natural yogurt seasoned with salt and pepper and a dash of olive oil for dipping the skewers into.
Plain Yogurt mixed with an all Natural Jam and a side of Granola
Jazz up a tub of natural yogurt by topping it with a couple of tablespoons of all natural fruit jam. Serve with a small container of granola for sprinkling over top of the yogurt for great texture and added crunch.
Sliced Turkey or Chicken Pinwheel
Pinwheels are a fun and creative way to serve slices of smoked chicken or turkey. Taking a slice of the meat, layer with a slice of low fat cheese and a couple of leaves of spinach or roasted red capsicum. Roll and secure with a toothpick.