Nuts & Berries
Gooseberries come into season in winter. These lovely little orange berries are packed with antioxidants and are a natural source of fibre. Pack a handful of gooseberries into your kids lunchboxes along with an assortment of roasted, unsalted nuts. If your child is not a huge fan of fresh fruit, pick up a Very Berry Roll or Very Berry Protein snack pack from the Checkers Simple Truth range.
Boiled Eggs with Celery Sticks & Hummus
Boiled eggs are a great source of protein for little ones. If you fussy eater doesn’t mind a hard-boiled egg, add one to their lunch box with celery sticks, chopped carrots and a dipping sauce of hummus or chunky cottage cheese. Bulk up the protein content by tossing in two slices of turkey or chicken loaf. This is finger food at its best and should keep the kids going during cold days at school or home.
Cinnamon Banana Bran Muffins
Kids love muffins and we all know how important it is to include fibre in our diets – especially for little tummies. Vamp up the classic fibre-rich bran muffin with a generous sprinkle of cinnamon. Cut down on the sugar content by adding a smashed banana into the mixture. Or, grate an apple into the batter to create a lovely cinnamon apple bake flavour.
Encourage the kids to join you in baking their lunchtime treats. Baking has been proven to be a great sensory activity for kids, as it allows them to get their hands dirty while learning a new skill. Pick up a few kid-friendly silicone muffin trays at your nearest Crazy Store.
Butternut Mac ‘n Cheese Cupcakes
Macaroni and cheese is always a winner. Spice up your kids lunchbox with a few butternut Mac ‘n Cheese cupcakes. We promise these aren’t as difficult to make as they sound.
All you really need to do to is roast half a butternut squash in the oven. Cook the macaroni on a medium heat for 6 – 12 minutes, and prepare a basic cheese sauce out of flour, butter, milk and cheddar cheese. Scoop the roasted butternut out of its hard outer skin, and smash it up with a fork. Add the smashed butternut to the cheese sauce, cooking it down to form a thick gravy. Lastly, add the macaroni to the gravy mixture, mixing well. Scoop small portions of the butternut Mac ‘n Cheese mixture into a greased muffin pan and sprinkle the tops with extra cheese or bread crumbs. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
Tip: If your mixture is too liquid, beat up an egg and add it to the Mac ‘n Cheese. This will help solidify your cheesy cupcakes bites.
Cheesy Pizza Quesadillas
Pizza for school lunch! Absolutely. Trick the kids into thinking they are tucking into a gooey slice of pizza by substituting heavy wheat laden bases for wholewheat tortilla wraps. Use a basic marinara sauce to start out your faux pizza. Add grated cheese, chopped ham or a veggie medley to the base. Then top with a second tortilla wrap. Sandwich the pizza in a toaster press or in a deep griddle pan. Wrap in tin foil to keep warm for the kids lunch.
Food Lovers Market stock wholewheat wraps and other assorted health products at their stores located around Joburg. Stop by their mega store in Stoneridge Centre to find the perfect melting cheese for your little ones pizza treat.
Chicken Noodle Soup
Winter wouldn’t be the same without a hearty chicken noodle soup. Don’t just brew up this delightful meal when the kids are under the weather. Soup packs a nutrient punch and keeps little bellies full for longer. Use whatever recipe you have. Just be sure to add as much vegetable content as possible. Boost the healing properties of your broth by sprinkling in a pinch of tumeric and grated ginger.
By Tarryn Jameson