Kids are back to school this week and we all love a bit of inspiration on how to switch things up and keep our children's lunchboxes varied and packed with healthy options. We've chosen four wholesome and easy-to-make lunchbox favorites which will nourish and provide lots of energy for the day!
Dried Fruit Bars - scroll down to see the other recipes!
Makes: 14 bars / Prep Time: 15 mins / Set Time: 30 mins
1 cup raw or roasted almonds
1 cup dried dates, pitted
1 cup dried cranberries
1. Blitz or slightly crush the almonds on a low speed to roughly cut them. You want them to still be quite chunky.
2. Squeeze the dates to make sure they don't have any strap pits., then add them into the food processor with the cranberries and pulse until the ingredients start forming a ball. Scrape the sides of the bowl to prevent the mixture from sticking.
3. Line a 20cm x 20cm baking pan or slice dish with baking paper. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan, pressing the mixture using the back of a large spoon.
4. Top with another piece of baking paper or cling wrap and freeze for at least 30 minutes to set.
5. Cut evenly into squares, rectangles or mini nuggets.
This recipe is gluten-free, dairy free and refined sugar free.
Tuna Cheddar Lunchbox Bites
Prep Time: 10 mins / Cook Time: 17 mins / Total Time: 27 mins
170g tuna, drained
1/3 cup sour creme
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup onion, minced
2 tbsp parsley
3 large eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1, Preheat oven to 325F and lightly grease a 12-cup mini muffin tin.
2. Put the drained tuna into a bowl and use a wooden spoon to break it apart into very small flakes. Mix in the sour cream, tomato paste, sweet onion and parsley.
3. In a small bowl, beat together the eggs and the salt. Add them to the tuna mixture and stir to combine thoroughly. Add the cheese and mix.
4. Divide the mixture between the mini muffin cups; I used a 1 1/2 Tablespoon ice cream scoop. Bake tuna cheddar bites for 15-17 minutes or until they are set.
5. Remove bites from oven and let stand in the tins for 5 minutes. Use a sharp knife or offset spatula to loosen around the edges of the bites and remove them from the tin. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.
This recipe is gluten free.
Lemon Coconut Slice
Makes: 20 slices / Prep Time: 15 mins / Set Time: 30 mins
2 cups pitted dates, halved
3 cups desiccated coconut
2 tbsp coconut oil or butter, melted
2 cups desiccated coconut
zest and juice of 2 lemons
3 tbsp coconut oil or butter, at room temp
3 tbsp liquid honey or pure maple syrup
3 tbsp coconut creme
1. Place the dates in a bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to soak for 10-15 minutes. Drain the water and set the dates aside. Line an 18-20cm square slice tin with baking paper.
2. Put the dates, coconut and oil or butter in a food processor and blitz until well combined. You might need to stop it a few times to scrape down the sides with a spatula.
3. Using the back of a large spoon, press the base mixture firmly into the lined tin. Place it in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm up.
4. Place all the topping ingredients in the food processor and blitz until you get a thick, creamy consistency. Spread the topping over the base then place it back in the freezer for another 15 minutes.
5. Remove from the freezer and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
This recipe is gluten free and refined sugar free. It is also dairy free if you don't use butter.
Vegetarian Rice Paper Rolls
Makes: 8 rolls / Prep Time: 30 mins / Cook Time: 6 mins / Total Time: 36 mins
1 cup rice noodles dry
1 package rice paper rolls
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup shredded purple cabbage
1 bunch cilantro large stems removed
1. Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil
2. Cook rice noodles according instructions on package. Drain and set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, fill with warm water for the rice paper rolls
4. Gather all your ingredients in an assembly line. The bowl of warm water, rice paper rolls, cilantro, a bowl of carrots, a bowl of cabbage, and noodles
5. One at a time, dip a rice paper roll in the water until it becomes loose. Shake excess water and place smooth-side down on a plate or clean surface
6. Place a small handful of cilantro, then carrots, then cabbage, and last the noodles on the bottom of the rice paper roll about 1 inch up. Start rolling with a “roll and tuck” technique. As you are rolling with your thumbs, use your other fingers to “tuck” the fillings in. This will help keep a tight roll. Fold in the left side, then the right and finish rolling. Repeat steps until all rolls are made
This recipe is gluten free
Ways to customize your rice paper rolls:
Use whole wheat pasta, vermicelli or soba noodles
Instead of rice paper rolls, use lettuce wraps
Try adding bean sprouts, lettuce, avocado or capsicum for a flavorful crunch
Add tofu for an additional protein boost