As I have mentioned before, I am regularly asked by parents, “What is a good product to put in my child’s lunch box?”
Today again, whilst doing a supermarket shopping tour, I was asked this very question. I have to admit it is one I struggle to answer as I am not the greatest fan of many packaged products. They are all hype, all marketing and I always visualise a greedy man sitting behind the packaging rubbing his hands together with glee!
Please do not get me wrong! There are some WONDERFUL products out there that have made a lot of our lives much easier, happier and healthier! It’s just that when you look at the overwhelmingly MASSIVE ranges on the shelves, I have to say, many just don’t meet the cut. I wouldn’t put them into my system on a daily basis and I’m sure many of you would agree, upon closer inspection, that many of these products are not good enough for your kids on a daily basis.
Once we truly start being aware of the sugar, fat and salt content of many of these colourful, attractive and cartoon-covered products, not to mention the lack of fibre, we realise how we may have been too easily overlooking our own resourcefulness and brilliance to come up with tasty, healthy and appetising snacks- all on our own!
Think back to when you were a child. What did your mum give you to take to school? Fruit? Yoghurt? Cheese? Baked muffins or biscuits? Good old sandwiches?
Go back to basics! Get out of the supermarket aisles. Ignore the marketing. Perimeter shop!
This month I’m going to give you 2 sensational treats to pop in the lunch boxes– 1 straight from mother nature, and the other needing a little TLC from yourself 🙂
The humble APPLE!
Yes that’s right! Apples! Last month there was a WHOLE scientific report written on this magnificent fruit- “The Apple Report” by Shane Landon. It makes me laugh that a whole report was written on something we SHOULD KNOW is so good for us, but anywho, whatever works! 🙂
So what are the TOP 8 features of apples and why should there be one EVERYDAY in the lunch box?
Well aside from their delicious crunchy and sweet texture and taste (if you buy the variety in season at the time!), apple’s have the following features:
- Potent source of powerful antioxidants- a Choice study showed red delicious apples had 10 times the antioxidant capacity of 30ml of Himalayan Goji Juice reinforcing their value as an affordable and more desirable way to optimize antioxidant intake
- A low GI of 38, meaning they deliver a slowly digested and sustainable source of energy
- Minerals potassium, calcium, iron and zinc- good for a healthy heart, strong bones, and a healthy immune system
- Vitamin C as well as B vitamins-for healthy skin and maximal energy
- No fat, cholesterol or salt
- No added sugar or additives
- A rich supply of FLAVONOIDS- potent phyto-chemicals that protect our cells and bodies from damage and disease- eat the peel though as this is where these are concentrated!
- Loads of FIBRE- thus keeping us regular and helping to prevent cancer, cardiovascular disease, and much more!
When comparing the apple to a muesli bar, consider the difference over a term (10 week period) of selecting a medium sized apple for the lunch box 3 days a week, OR one of the 3 “healthier” muesli bars identified by Choice as meeting all of the nutrition criteria for lunchbox snacks.
Over the duration of a term the “healthier” bar provides, compared to an apple:
-61% more calories
– at least 20 times more fat
– 50% less dietary fat, AND
-almost 3 times the sodium
Shocking isn’t it? And to add to that the muesli bar contributed 42grams of SATURATED fat over the term, whilst the apple contributed none!
Consider the impact over the year, and YEARS at school….
So it IS true what they say…an apple a day really DOES keep the doctor away! This should be enough to convince any child to chow them down! Try making apple “slinky’s”. SO much fun! 🙂
Ok, the other Lunchbox item for the month is a good old home-baked muffin!
From one of my favourite cookbooks- Nourishing your Heart and Soul by Elizabeth Stewart. Give them a go 🙂
If you like them, and I KNOW you will, you can order Elizabeth’s book online at www.asugarfreecollection.com
Banana Walnut Muffins
A great way to use ripe bananas! Did you know that bananas are rich in dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals, especially potassium? All in all, they are a concentrated bundle of energy 🙂
You will need:
Olive oil spray
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
½ cup unsweetened apple sauce
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 cup mashed banana (2 large bananas)
¼ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
¾ cup wholemeal self-raising flour
¾ cup self-raising flour
Preheat the oven to 180ºC and lightly spray a 12 capacity non-stick muffin pan
Beat the eggs, honey and vanilla together for a few seconds until foaming
Warm the apple sauce and stir in the bicarbonate of until it becomes light and frothy
Fold into egg mixture with mashed banana and walnuts
Fold in sifted flour very gently until just mixed
Spoon evenly into tin and place half a walnut on top of each muffin
Bake for 20 minutes or until muffins spring back when lightly pressed in the centre
• Sometimes fresh muffins can be all too tempting and it can be hard to stop at one! 🙂
• Why not try freezing these yummy treats so they stay fresh, can be more easily portion controlled and on hand when you need them?
• After allowing to cool completely on a wire rack, individually portion in cling wrap or freezer bags
• Simply allow to defrost over night for the next day or defrost in microwave for any time convenience!
The kids will love these, and so will you.
I certainly had some superstars in my Tour today who knew their thing and had some GREAT ideas- Leanne- that was you in particular! 🙂 Send us in your ideas!
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