With school summer holidays coming to an end in Australia, it’s time to start planning for the school year ahead! Whilst my little ones aren’t yet in “big school” (primary) we still like to have easy choices for snacks and lunches during the week.
I love to meal plan for the week ahead so that I won’t be stuck for ideas when it’s been a long and busy day. Some of our favourite snacks and meals are quick, super easy, allergy-friendly. Full of delicious organic fruits and vegetables to keep us healthy and full of energy for active days of play and learning.
If you’re looking for some new lunch ideas or new snack inspiration, below are some of our go-to food choices:
Sweet Potato, Zucchini and Black Bean Tortilla Wraps
This can be a messy one but they are so delicious it is worth the risk! To make, simply fill a tortilla with pre-roasted sweet potato, zucchini and carrot cubes, some diced red capsicum (or ‘red bell peppers’), diced tomato, cooked black beans and diced avocado. Squeeze the juice of a fresh lime over the tortilla ingredients as your ‘dressing’. Add oragano on top, fold your tortilla ‘soft burrito style’, wrap a section of the tortilla around the bottom to hold it all in place and you’re in business!
Vegetable Mini Pizzas
We love homemade pizzas in our household. They are simple to make, the kids can help and it is a great way to get your little ones to enjoy their vegetables.
For the crust: Boil and mash up two large sweet potatoes in a large bowl. Now add to your bowl half a cup of oat flour (you can use almond flour instead if there are no nut allergies in your household), a good pinch of himalayan salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoons egg replacer and 2 tablespoons of water. Mix all ingredients throughly until a ‘doughy’ ball of sweet potato goodness is formed. Divide sweet potato ‘dough’ into four smaller balls.
Roll out your sweet potato pizza ‘crusts’ to about 1/2 inch in thickness. Top them with organic tomato paste and vegetables of your choice - we change ours up often but usually favour a combination of thinly sliced asparagus, some kale, chopped red bell peppers (capsicum), diced tomato, some baby spinach leaves and thinly sliced zucchini - the best bit is getting to be creative! Bake at 200°C for 10 minutes (or until crust starts to brown). Serve your mini pizzas warm or cool.
Apple, Carrot, Chia and Oat Muffins
These Apple, Carrot, Chia and Oat Muffins make for an easy snack, and they are a great way to get more vegetables into your little ones.
Once a smooth batter is formed, add to your mixture some finely chopped grated carrot, finely chopped apple, and two teaspoons of black chia seeds (or you could use white chia seeds if your little one is fussy). Mix until all ingredients are well combined.
Add mixture to a lined muffin tray (makes 6). Bake for 20-25 minutes at 180°C (until golden on top and you can pop a knife in one and pull it out clean). Let cool, then serve.
Chickpea Burgers with Green Bean and Sweet Potato ‘Fries’
Who doesn’t love a good burger?! I usually purchase ready-made burger patties, and there are plenty of good healthy options out there - such as these organic veggie patties from Bite Me Foods. Paired with sides, a good veggie burger is delicious, provides a good source of protein and is a quick and easy choice.
Cook your veggie burger patties according to packet directions. To make your ‘fries’, peel and cut a large sweet potato into batons and chop up some green beans until they are a good size for little hands. Par-boil your sweet potato batons for 3-4 minutes. Then, pop them in the oven at 190°C for around 5-10 minutes on one side (until browned ever so slightly), then flip them to crisp up the remaining side for around 5 minutes. Once out of the oven, sprinkle on some rosemary and/or a pinch of himalayan salt. Boil your green beans for 5 minutes, then drain and pat dry.
Your ‘fries’ are now all ready! Serve your veggie burgers on burger buns of your choice, with your green bean and sweet potato ‘fries’ as a side, and enjoy!
Homemade Sushi Rolls
With some vegetables, brown rice and this handy sushi kit you can enjoy homemade sushi rolls for a healthy snack! There’s plenty of options for the filling too - from batons of carrot, cucumber and zucchini, to strips of eggplant, capsicum, tofu and avocado. Fun to make - and even better to eat!
Animal Pasta Salad
A pasta salad is one of our favourite lunch options as it is quick and easy. Prepare pasta of your choice according to packet directions (there are some great ‘animal’ shaped pasta options out there!), and let cool. Once pasta is cooled combine with vegetables of your choice (this is your chance to load in as many vegetables as you want! We like to make it as colourful as we can - with diced zucchini, diced carrot, diced yellow capsicum, green capsicum, red capsicum, lentils, chickpeas, quartered grape tomatoes, broccoli - the list could go on). To finish, add pesto or dressing of choice. This is an easy one to make the night before too - just store in an airtight container in the fridge and you are ready to go the following day.
Zucchini, Green Pea and Sweet Potato Fritters
Fritters are a great addition to the lunch box, or a nice after school snack option. These fritters are so easy to prepare, which makes them prefect for back to school (or kindy!) time.
Combine in a large bowl 3 cups grated zucchini (ensuring all water content is squeezed out beforehand), 1 cup grated sweet potato, a generous handful of green peas and 1/2 a cup of chickpea flour (almond or coconut flour would also work well here).
Now add 1 clove minced garlic, 1 teaspoon egg replacer, 2 tablespoons water, 1/2 a teaspoon himalayan salt, a sprinkle of black pepper, juice from 1 lemon and a small handful of finely chopped parsley. Stir to roughly combine all ingredients.
Grab a large plate and using a teaspoon spoon out your mixture into balls, slightly flattening them on the plate. You will end up with 8-10 ‘fritter balls’, depending on how big you want to make them. Now heat a tablespoon of coconut oil in a large frypan over a medium heat. Add your fritter balls, cooking well on each side until they are nice and golden. Let cool and serve!
Avocado, Banana and Kale Icy Treats
These icy treats are a cool after school (or kindy!) treat on a hot summers day. The night before school (or kindy), simply blend up a small handful of kale until smooth, then add to your blender a whole avocado and two frozen bananas. Blend these additions until smooth and well combined with the kale. Place blended mixture in ice lolly molds, and pop them into your freezer. The ice lollies will be all ready to enjoy after school!