Experienced, Reliable, Trustworthy Nannies

The start of term 4 at school is already in full swing and the school holidays will feel like a distant memory soon. Long gone are the slower mornings with no rushing around preparing lunches and getting out of the house for school or kindy drop off. Some of us love the freedom that comes with school holidays, where as others crave the routine and structure that comes with the school term and extra curricular activities. Part of the usual morning routine always includes preparing lunches and snacks for school.

Today on the blog I will be sharing with you some of my favourite snack ideas and recipes that are lunch box friendly, healthy and quick and easy to prepare. I hope you enjoy testing out some of the delicious recipes.

Coming up with new and creative ideas for school lunches can sometimes feel like a struggle for some parents and nannies. Finding the balance between healthy and nutritious snacks and lunches that are not only delicious, but quick and easy to make. Along with options that you know your children will love! It can be so easy to choose the pre bought snacks that our supermarket shelves are filled with and to stick with familiar favourites. I am hoping to provide you with some lunch box inspiration with lots of easy to prepare ideas!

We all know how important it is to eat a healthy, balanced diet with lots of fresh fruits and veggies. It has long been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet there is new research showing the importance of eating healthy nutritious meals throughout the whole day and the impact it has on our children’s learning. Research conducted by Dr. Paul J. Veugelers at the University of Alberta in Edmonton has found that children who eat enough fruits, vegetables, protein and fibre perform better in school and are less likely to fail a literacy test. It has been demonstrated the independent importance of overall diet quality being linked to academic performance.

As a parent or nanny, this can sound a bit daunting, but I see it as an exciting opportunity to help prepare our children and support them in their development, learning, exploring and playing. It is not always easy catering for different likes, dislikes and allergies. One day your child may love strawberries and the next day be in tears over them being offered to them. This can be challenging for parents, but is not uncommon in most families. It is important to keep offering lots of healthy, fresh foods and trying new ways of incorporating fruits and veggies into your children’s diets. It is a great opportunity to become creative – there are not many children who don’t love chocolate brownies! I have found a wonderful recipe that has some hidden goodies in it ;-)

Seasonal fresh fruit

As we approach the summer season we have endless options of delicious fruit. Think juicy pears, apples, watermelon, strawberries and eventually peaches, apricots and nectarines. Yum :)

Seasonal veggies

Did you know that you can chop up and prepare veggies such as carrot and celery sticks and pop them in a container of water in the fridge? Fresh, crunchy veggie sticks ready to snack on without the hassle of having to prepare them each day is a winner in our eyes. They are perfect with dips, nut butters or cheese.

Fruit Whip Snack

Fruit whip

We love this super easy and healthy fruit whip! My husband who dislikes avocado so much that he calls it ‘green slime’ was even won over by this recipe and could not taste the avocado in it! Success! A great recipe for hiding healthy ingredients that your kids may not normally eat. If you are feeling brave, you can even sneak in some baby spinach leaves! This recipe can be frozen in little containers and will defrost in time for morning tea at school!

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Hummus dip

Home made hummus is perfect with your veggie sticks and has lots of great health benefits.

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Natural popcorn

Why not get your own popcorn maker (or make it on the stove) and enjoy making popcorn with your kids? They will love seeing the popcorn pop! We love a drizzle of apple cider vinegar and a sprinkle of salt, or some melted butter and honey drizzled on our popcorn.

Cheese and crackers

There are lots of yummy, natural crackers on the market that do not contain preservatives. Some of our favourite brands are Mary’s Gone Crackers and Baylies! They are an easy snack with some cheese, if your children are adventurous there are lots of delicious types of cheeses to try. We particularly love Udder Delights cheeses.

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Banana Bread

We are loving Donna Hay’s new basic banana loaf recipe. This healthy alternative to the traditional sugar laden banana breads is truly divine. Your kids will never guess that there is no refined sugar in their ‘cake’, there is plenty of sweetness from the coconut sugar and pure maple syrup. I sometimes like to substitute the buckwheat flour for spelt flour, and the grapeseed oil for olive oil.

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Banana Bread Snack

Apple ‘doughnuts’

I promise your kids won’t be disappointed by these little apple ‘doughnuts’! How gorgeous do they look? The possibilities of ‘toppings’ are endless! We love any type of nut butter or honey with toasted coconut and macadamia nuts.

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Berry Nice Brownies

These are a favourite in our household and everyone who has tasted them has been won over. Feel free to substitute the sweet potato for zucchini or beetroot, or add a block of 70% Lindt Dark Chocolate for a richer, more decadent treat! I love the hidden veggies – nobody ever guesses what the ‘secret’ ingredient is ;-)

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Muesli Bars Snack

No Bake, Nut Free Muesli Bars

These muesli bars are so incredibly simple and easy to make! I love that there is no baking time and they can be stored in the freezer. For an extra special treat why not try adding some chopped apricots and drizzling some dark chocolate over the top. These are a new favourite for us!

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Baked Banana Custards

These are so easy to make and only have a few ingredients. They are absolutely delicious and I love that they are only sweetened by fresh dates. These are so healthy that they can even be eaten for breakfast!! Instead of using ramekins I have made smaller ones in little cupcake tins, making them suitable for lunch box snacks. Don’t forget to keep an eye on them in the oven and adjust the cooking time until they are just firm on top if you are making the smaller ones. They are delicious cold too!

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Chia puddings

Chia seeds are a not so secret super food! These little chia puddings can be prepared in little containers the night before (or a couple of days before) and topped with your choice of yoghurt, fruit, muesli, nuts or coconut. They taste like a real treat and contain nothing but amazing benefits for your children’s health. They are great for any time of the day! The chia seeds can be simply soaked in coconut milk with some vanilla extract and a splash of pure maple syrup, or for something different I love these coconut spice roasted strawberry chia puddings

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Banana Chips Snack

Banana chips

As a child I loved having banana chips as a treat! I was so happy to find Lola Berry’s recipe, they are so simple and healthy to make, and they taste 100% better than the store bought ones! Recipe to follow.

Chicken and Feta Balls

We love this versatile recipe with lots of hidden veggies. These chicken and feta balls make a great snack for morning tea or as part of a salad for lunch. They can also be used to make homemade burgers and sausage rolls (also great for lunches!). The chicken mince can be substituted for turkey or pork mince and you can use different herbs and spices. Best of all you can make them in bulk and freeze them!

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I hope these lunch box ideas have provided you with lots of inspiration and some new and exciting recipes to test out this weekend. It is a great time to plan and prepare some healthy snacks for the coming week. Preparing some of these recipes in advance and freezing them, or storing them in the fridge will mean you always have healthy snacks on hand.

There were so many delicious recipes to share that I simply could not fit even a tiny fraction of them into this blog post. Next week I will be looking at some of my favourite go to websites and blogs for healthy lunch box and family friendly meal ideas. There are endless possibilities to cater for different likes, dislikes, personal preferences and allergies. Please pop by again next week to check out some more fabulous ideas.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend and enjoy testing out some of these recipes. I can not wait to hear what things you loved and any new favourites added to your lunch box list!

Jackie x