It’s hard to believe that we are now into February, with Summer holidays now a distant memory. The working year has well and truly begun; children have returned to school and university students are squeezing the last out of their freedom in the next few weeks. While this reality sets in, the question of what to pack in the lunchbox is often pondered in supermarket isles.

I encourage you to think outside the box this year, and with a little forward planning you can make some great choices at home before you are tempted by expensive items at the supermarket.

> Think about the taste preferences of those you are packing for.

> Don’t forget to consider any allergies or intolerances such as lactose, gluten, peanuts etc

Lunchbox Ideas

> Home made muffins make a filling lunch box additive and can be very versatile: savoury or sweet, and it’s very easy to throw in healthy extras to fill you up and add fibre. Muffins are also a clever way to disguise vegetables with children, such as corn and chive, ham, tomato and cheese, grated carrot and zucchini.

> The humble salad can be twisted to suit even the biggest appetite. Fill your salad up with protein such as boiled eggs, tinned tuna or salmon, grilled chicken or beef, cashews or walnuts, macadamias or chick peas.

> Potato salads can also be filling, add corn, chives, shallots and sour cream.

> Dressings and cheeses can add an extra element of flavour to a meal.

> Vegemite or peanut butter on wholegrain crackers is high and protein and fibre so should help keep the 3pm sugar cravings at bay. Also try cottage cheese or avocado on crackers.

> Try new flavours, be inspired with different recipes. Think ahead and prepare food as much as possible before you head. This makes it a lot easier to eat in the moment. I know that if I don’t cut my fruit up at home I am rarely bothered to do it at work. Making fruit salads and adding nuts, chia seeds, LSA mix help to make it more appealing.

> Frozen grapes are great for children, and adults as snacks, particularly on a hot day.

> Try making your own muesli bars so you can be adventurous with flavours, there will be much less salt than store bought ones.

I hope these tips have been helpful. Feel free to leave any other ideas you might like to share.

I will leave you with a recipe from Good Food website, try it today.

Have a healthy week,

Madeleine.

Oat and Carrot Slice

Image
Source: Good Food

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup plain white or wholemeal flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup moist shredded coconut
  • 1 cup sultanas or other dried fruit
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup neutral flavoured oil (such as rice bran or canola oil)
  • 1 cup grated carrot (about 4 medium carrots)
  • 1 cup grated apple (about 2 small apples)
  • 1/2 cup plain yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar

Method

Preheat an oven to 170°C. Line a 20cm x 30cm baking sheet with baking paper.

Place the oats, flour, brown sugar, coconut, sultanas, bicarbonate soda, nutmeg and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl and stir together with a wooden spoon until completely combined.

In a small jug, whisk together the eggs and oil until emulsified.

Combine the egg and oil with the dry mixture along with the grated carrot and grated apple. Stir to combine.

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking sheet, flattening the top with a spatula. Bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven to cool.

Meanwhile make the glaze by combining 1/2 cup plain yoghurt with 1/2 cup icing sugar. Drizzle all over the top of the cooled slice.

Slice into bar shapes and serve.

About Madeleine Baumgart

Dietitian/Nutritionist/Registered Nurse

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