Lunch Box Loving + Banana Bread

School lunches are a big part of my weekday mornings.  Two of my three kiddos are at school, with next year seeing all three there, I’m an old hand at the school lunch box.  I’m definitely not one of those uber-organised, make-the-lunches-the-night-before kinda girl. I’m a more of a chuck-it-in-the-lunch-box-whilst-loudly-reminding-my-girls-to-get-their-school-uniform-on kinda girl.  If I had $1 for every time I ‘reminded’ the girls to put that #$%&ing uniform on I would be able to employ someone else to do the morning routine.  Whilst the evening before isn’t my bag, a bit of Sunday baking and organisation is.  I need to have tasty, nourishing snacks and meal options on hand to pop in the girl’s lunch boxes or all they get is just cut up fruit and veg, which no kid wants to open a lunch box and find just that.  This weekend will see me cooking up a storm, accompanied by the whirlwind of mess, in my kitchen.  I’m not a clean cook, but that is a story for another day.

Today, I offer some lunch box loving I have found in my travels in internet land that may end up filling your little ones, or even your own, lunch box in the coming week.  I feel a weekly wrap up of all the good lunch box options out there may just have to become a regular feature.

Spelt muffins from Colour Me Anna.  These look like a really yummy basic muffin recipe.

Easy mini lasagne from Planning With Kids.  My bread hater loves these for lunch, either cold (kids hey!) or warmed up in and popped in her thermos.  Just make sure you remember a knife and fork.

Nut free muesli bars from Lisa Corduff.  These are an absolute winner and feature in my girl’s lunchbox often.  Even my fussy middle one likes these!

Choc-nana and sesame biscuits from Hello Lunch Lady. How good do these look?  I think it is physically impossible for Kate Berry to make anything look bad in her photos.

This Sunday’s bake off will see me busting out my banana bread as I have a glut of bananas turning a lovely shade of black in my fruit bowl.  Does the food world need another recipe for the ubiquitous banana bread?  Probably not, but I offer up this version anyway. It tastes delish and is pretty nourishing to boot.  It is gluten-free, dairy-free and processed sugar free just because that is what I felt like making when I developed this one.  It can even become a vegan super star if the eggs are replaced with a chia gel.  See here for lowdown on chia gels and other egg replacements.

 

Yet Another Banana Bread Recipe

1 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
2 large bananas, mashed
2/3 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
decorations – I banana cut into rounds, pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes

Preheat your oven to 180C or 170C fan forced.

Pop all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix together with a spoon (can it be any easier!).  Pour the mixture into a loaf tin lined with baking paper.  To decorate simply sprinkle the banana rounds, pumpkin seeds and coconut flakes on top.  Place into your preheated oven and bake for 40-50 minutes.  If the delicious cinnamony-banana smell wafts through your kitchen any earlier, check to see if it’s cooked.  Let cool in the loaf tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire tray to cool completely.  I can never wait this long and always slice off the the end piece and slather it in butter whilst still warm, but that’s how I roll.

As a parent of school kids and a nutritionist, I fully understand the importance of healthy school food.  Stay tuned for lots more info and inspo about healthy, nutritious and yummy food that you can pop into your kids lunch boxes.

Here’s to moving forward

x Lia

Mackie’s Chocolate Milk

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My son was a little bit addicted to chocolate milk in his super fussy years.   Just like his days of white-blond curls adorning his beautiful head have gone, so to have his super-fussy, refusing any food that didn’t come out of a boob days.  In those dark and frustrating times he seemed to live on toast, milk and air.  It didn’t help that he is naturally a little mite (I fear he has inherited my petite stature), I’m sure people thought I wasn’t feeding him at all.  I was!  He just wasn’t into food.

With two older children to wrangle as well, I took the easy route and gave him what I knew he would eat.  Toast and milk.  I know there was way more than just toast and milk, but my memories of that time focus on this.  My middle daughter was also pretty good at creating her own havoc with my plans to feed my kids nourishing food.  Our chickens were well fed during this time, that’s for sure.

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In order to try and nourish his little body I devised a cunning plan to make sure his beloved chocolate milk was full of the good stuff.  I bought a decent blender and started with just full cream milk, cacao and honey.  Initially, he told me it was yuck and he wouldn’t drink it.  However, every time he asked for chocolate milk (daily!) this is what I gave him.  Blow me down, he eventually started drinking it.  I then decided to boost it a bit more and added banana, which was a downright fail. Next step was to add frozen banana instead to make it more like a milkshake, all cold and creamy.  It is amazing how changing the texture of a disliked food can all of sudden make it a liked food.  He even started eating frozen banana pieces all on their own, woohoo.  I thought that I would try and take this milk even further and added avocado for a good fat and fibre hit.  He didn’t even notice this change and hoovered it up.

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I have never met a child who can drink chocolate milk quicker than my little fella. He will have his ‘chocolate milk’ most mornings as well as his breakfast.  Mackie is now what I consider to be an ‘eater’, trying new foods and inhaling favourites.  Like most kids, some days sees him eating way more than others.  He follows his hunger cues and I just go with it and I don’t let it stress me out like it used to.

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Mackie’s Chocolate Milk

Serves 2

2 cups milk of choice (cow’s, almond, whatever your little person is into)
1-2 tsp cacao powder, depends on how chocolately you like it
1-2 tsp honey, depends on how sweet you want it
1 frozen banana
1/4 avocado

Pop everything into a blender and blitz until smooth and creamy.  Serve in a favourite glass, fancy stripey straw optional.