Healthy Ideas for School Lunches

It’s been a while since I have written a blog as life with a husband, two children, an online business and back working full time this year has kept me busy.

This year our little family has grown into the life of school. My daughter Avery started prep this year, which means the start of many years of preparing school lunches. So I thought I would share with you my tips on how I provide my daughter and my son Archie who is at kinder with a healthy lunch each day.

My biggest tip is to find the right lunchbox! Hate losing lids to containers that you put in your children’s lunches? The solution is to use a lunchbox that has compartments. This also enables you to mix up the children’s lunches each day. There are lots of great products out there and the one I bought for my children is the Yumbox, pictured below.

Baja-Blue-Org-Open-Empty Parisian-Pink-Exterior-No-StarsPink-Open-4-Comp

These lunchboxes are leak proof so you can add foods like yoghurt, pureed fruit and it seals with one lid. They are BPA-free and phthalates-free and are dishwasher safe. They come with different compartments inside and you are helping the environment by not utilsing plastic wraps and other plastic bags to store and protect food. They also fit perfectly in the bottom of the squiggle two compartment lunchboxes so you can add more food for both of their school lunch/recess breaks in the top compartment.

So what types of food do I prepare for my children? Here is a list of all the things I include:

  • Wholegrain sandwiches or wraps filled with so many different combinations
  • Carrot Sticks
  • Red Capsicum Sticks
  • Celery Sticks
  • Slices of Cheese
  • Cucumber
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Corn on the Cob or sliced off
  • Fruit cut up including watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, blueberries, mango, kiwi, raspberries, apples, oranges, pears, mandarins, grapes etc.
  • Yoghurt
  • Left over veggies from dinner
  • Left over cold pasta i.e. penne (gluten free)
  • Cold homemade chicken nuggets with homemade tomato sauce (recipe in the first Healthy eBook)
  • Dips especially hummus (children love to dip food)
  • Cold pieces of frittata or mini egg delights (recipes in the first Healthy eBook)
  • Cold meats
  • Olives
  • Dry wholegrain biscuits and cheese
  • Pureed fruit (my children love my apple sauce recipe)
  • Sultanas
  • Medjool Dates
  • Dried Fruit (check no added sugars)
  • Boiled Eggs
  • Avocado slices
  • Omelet wraps with lots of different combinations
  • Zucchini Fritters
  • Rice crackers
  • Healthy homemade sweet muffins or biscuits
  • Left over homemade skewers, lots of combinations i.e. chicken satay, veggie skewers, honey and soy chicken.
  • Left over healthy pancakes (recipe in the second Healthy Lifestyle eBook)

This is by no means a full list but are some of the ideas I utilise for my children’s lunches. Raw nuts and my healthy treat balls would be great too but most schools don’t allow nuts due to allergies.

My children have always loved a mezze plate or antipasto plate full of lots of choices. It makes lunchtime more enjoyable and interesting. Here are a few pictures of my children’s lunches and I hope this gives my lovely fellow mummas some ideas.

Lisa x

Lunch boxes 2 Lunch boxes 3 Lunch boxes Lunch boxes 4

 

 

Turmeric

Recently I had a foot injury that inhibited me from my normal exercise regime. Wow wasn’t I one grumpy mumma, just ask my husband and family! Which is why I decided to write about turmeric and it’s wonderful health benefits.

Turmeric is a natural remedy for anti-inflammatory and I was adding it as much as I could to my diet to help my injury heal as fast it could. The health benefits of turmeric are endless and include:

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Natural antibiotic
  • Prevent prostate cancer
  • Strengthens ligaments
  • Treatment for skin disorders
  • Cure cough
  • Prevents asthma
  • Reduce risk of colon cancer
  • Treat depression
  • Prevent Alzheimer’s
  • Reduces arthritis
  • Detoxify the liver
  • Blood purifier
  • Boost metabolism
  • Anti-oxidant
  • Reduce risk of blood clots
  • Prevents stroke
  • Reduce bad cholesterol
  • Improves digestion
  • Slow the progression of multiple sclerosis

Turmeric comes in two different ways, fresh or as a ground spice. It is becoming more and more popular and you will now find the fresh variety available in most supermarkets. It looks similar to fresh ginger however is orange in colour.Turmeric
There are so many ways you can add turmeric to your diet. Some examples include adding it to your smoothies (either fresh or ground spice), including it in marinades, soups and dressings. Below are a few Healthy Mumma recipes that have both fresh and ground turmeric added including:

Laksa Paste
Chicken and Prawn Laksa Soup
Tandoori Paste
Tandoori Dressing
Tandoori Chicken Salad
Smoothies
Vegetable Soup
Chicken Curry
Lamb Curry
Tandoori Chicken with Guilt Free Rice
Tandoori Lamb with Guilt Free Rice
Tandoori Cabbage
Vietnamese Curry

Chicken and Prawn Laksa Soup Tandoori Chicken Tenderloins and Tandoori Dressing Tandoori Chicken Salad Lamb Curry 2 Tandoori Cabbage  Chicken Curry 2 Turmeric Vegetable Soup Turmeric Smoothie Tandoori Chicken with Guilt Free Rice Homemade Laksa Paste

These recipes can be found in the two Health Mumma eBooks and a few were sent out as free recipes to my loyal subscribers. This week my subscribers will be receiving a free recipe for a yummy Vietnamese Curry. If you would like to receive free recipes, healthy inspiration, tips and special offers subscribe at the bottom of the page.

So why not start adding turmeric to your lifestyle, it has an enormous amount of health benefits for you and your family.

Overview!

Thought it was time I did my second overview of all my blogs I have written to date. Since starting up Healthy Mumma almost 18 months ago I have had lots of wonderful new followers and thought that there may be some topics of interest to those that may not have been following from the start.

So here is the list of blogs I have posted so far from my first blog to my most recent:

Welcome to the Healthy Mumma Blog
Why Use Himalayan Salt?
Healthy Snack Ideas
Why Use Coconut Oil?
Why Use Filtered Water?
Tips for Making Meals Child Friendly
Tips for Eating Healthy
Why Use Raw Honey?
Tamari v Soy Sauce
Before and After
Check Labels
Eliminate Cane Sugar
Miso Paste, is it Healthy?
Quinoa
Cacao v Cocoa
Healthy Nutritional Fibre
Is Eating Healthy Expensive?
A Balanced Healthy Lifestyle..
Healthy Alternatives to Wheat Flour
Exercise.. Get Moving!
Alternatives to Pasta
Sauerkraut… Superkraut… Fermented Foods
White Potatoes vs Sweet Potatoes
Hemp Seeds
Eating Out
Alternatives to Dairy
Tapioca Flour
Apple Cider Vinegar
Healthy Oils
Healthy Treats
Bone Broth
Juggling
Smoothies
Healthy Mumma Turns 1!
Healthy Dressings
Healthy Mumma Staples and Cheat Sheet
Nutella Craze
That Sugar Film
Winter
Just Be!

If you are interested in reading any of the topics above simply continue to scroll down the page until you find the one you want. If you have been reading all my blogs to date there might be one that you are interested in reading again.

I’m hoping Healthy Mumma is providing you all with lots of healthy inspiration, tips and simple, easy, healthy changes to you and your family’s lifestyle. Would love to hear from all my fellow mumma’s out there, simply leave a comment at the top of this blog!

Nutella Craze!

So I obviously wrote my blog this week when I was feeling strongly about this subject. Before you read this blog I don’t mean to pick one product in the marketplace and totally pull it apart. My reasoning for this blog is to inform my readers that things may not seem as they appear. I almost didn’t post this but have a read and hopefully I have highlighted to you something that you didn’t already know.. So here goes..

If you haven’t heard about the latest craze of Nutella donuts then you must be living under a rock! Every time I go on social media something is mentioned about them and all the cafes are advertising them as the hottest new thing out. I don’t why this gets to me so much but Nutella really is an unhealthy food item. What gets me the most irate is that I have seen it advertised as a healthy breakfast option for children! They say on their website “it can be eaten any time of the day when you feel like eating bread or toast.” Let me tell you why Nutella should only be given to children in moderation if at all!

Since starting my Healthy Mumma online business I’ve learnt that when you package products you have to abide by Australian Food Standards which includes listing all ingredients contained in your products. Not only do you have to list the ingredients you also have to list ingredients in descending order (by ingoing weight). This means the first ingredient listed contributes to the largest amount and the last ingredient listed contributes to the least. For example, if sugar is listed near the start of the list the product contains a greater proportion of this ingredient.

Let’s take a look at Nutella’s ingredients list and the order as it appears on the jar:

Ingredients: Sugar, Vegetable Oil (Palm*), Hazelnuts (13%), Skim Milk Powder (8.7%), Fat-Reduced Cocoa Powder (7.4%), Emulsifier (Lecithins) (Soy), Flavouring (Vanillin).

So as you can see the first ingredient listed is sugar which means this product is full of the stuff! Not only does it contain sugar it also contains Palm Oil an ingredient in itself that has a lot of controversy surrounding it which I won’t go into here as it would be an entire blog on its own. Nutella do however state the following on their website “Ferrero only uses 100% sustainable and segregated certified palm oil” however any vegetable oil should be avoided for health reasons. Again I have another blog on healthy oils that you can go back to that explains my choices of oils in my cooking.

Back to the ingredients list it also only has 13% Hazelnuts and uses artificial flavourings and additives. Nutella also explain on their website that it is free of artificial preservatives and colours that may be the case but it isn’t free of artificial flavours i.e. vanillin and also contains additives! This also makes me angry as for the general consumer you think ok great it doesn’t have any nasties in it, well it does! The way they have worded this is very clever but still misleading to the consumer, they explain that it doesn’t have any artificial colours but what they don’t state is that is DOES have artificial flavourings in the form of vanillin an artificial flavour for vanilla. This to me is misleading information to the consumer.

The scariest thing that people don’t know about Nutella is that it contains monosodium glutamate (MSG), also known as E621. It is cleverly hidden inside the artificial flavour vanillin. Again I could write an entire blog about MSG and the harmful effects it has on our bodies but basically it has been proven to act as an excitotoxin which stimulates the reward system of the brain, so we think it tastes better (than it actually does) and consequently consume more.

So why am I blogging about Nutella this week! I decided that since I have been so annoyed at the current craze of this unhealthy chocolate spread that I would experiment. It’s taken me a few tries but I have come up with a delicious and healthier version of Nutella (see pic below). If I can get one person to stop eating Nutella and making their own healthy version I feel as though I’ve done something positive for someone else’s health and wellbeing.

Healthy Nutella
My loyal subscribers will receive my recipe for this healthy version of this delicious chocolate spread. So if you haven’t subscribed and would like this recipe and other free recipes subscribe at the bottom of any page on my website. Hope you all enjoy it, my two and half year old son loves it!

Archie Nutella

Healthy Dressings

After launching my second eBook recently the topic of healthy dressings came to my mind! I’m pretty sure with the combination of my two eBooks I could put together a smaller eBook just on dressings. Cooking for me is all about flavour and dressings are the perfect way to add flavour to your meals. I love to experiment with different combinations.

Even before starting my healthy lifestyle I never bought pre made dressings. The reason I didn’t buy them was because making your own dressings is super easy! Since starting my healthy lifestyle and an even bigger reason to make your own dressings is so you know exactly what goes in them. If you take the time to check the ingredients in the pre made dressings you buy at the supermarket you may be a little surprised. They are generally full of lots of nasties, sugar, salt, preservatives and artificial flavours.

Dressings really do only take a minute or two to make and the combinations are endless. I generally have all the ingredients in my pantry or refrigerator as part of my Healthy Mumma staples and can whip up a dressing last minute.

There are so many ingredients you can use including lemons, limes, apple cider vinegar, raspberry vinegar, tamari, avocado oil, sesame oil, rice malt syrup, raw honey, verjuice, mustard, garlic, ginger, himalayan salt, fresh cracked black pepper, tahini, fish sauce, avocado oil, macadamia oil, almond oil, flaxseed oil, extra virgin olive oil, olive oil, coconut oil, rice wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, fresh herbs, dried herbs, spices, greek natural yoghurt, coconut yoghurt, coconut milk, coconut cream, capers, miso paste just to name a few. These ingredients are definitely all pantry staples for me. They can be cold or heated dressings to suit whatever meal you are making i.e. salads or a hot main meal.

One of my favourite ways to dress my salads especially my lunches is to use my homemade sweet chilli sauce. This recipe can be found in my first eBook, Healthy eBook or to save time can be purchased from my Healthy Store online.

Salads Tims Bday Sweet Chilli Sauce Velvet Chicken Dressings Photo
Whilst writing this blog I went through my two eBooks as I was interested to see how many different combinations of dressings I had included. As I thought, there were quite a substantial amount with over 25 different combinations. So this week I have decided that my loyal subscribers will receive my two favourite dressing recipes from my two eBooks. If you haven’t already subscribed to my website and would like to receive free recipes, healthy inspiration, tips and special offers subscribe at the bottom of my homepage. 

So why not throw out those pre made dressings and experiment with your own dressings. They really are quick and easy to do, add lots of flavour and are much healthier for you. Give it a go!

Healthy Mumma Turns 1!

Tomorrow marks the occasion of the first anniversary since I launched Healthy Mumma. Those that have been following and supporting Healthy Mumma since the start, thank you! I really was overwhelmed by the amount of positive feedback and support I received when taking the chance to start this journey. My number one aim is to inspire and share the knowledge that I have gained by showing other mums that leading a healthy lifestyle can be done, and it can be sustainable!

I have been able to live a healthy sustainable lifestyle around healthy eating and exercise for a number of years now and would never go back to my old ways. I feel healthier which means I also feel happier. I strongly believe that a healthy, happy mum means a healthy, happy family. If I can do it, you can too!

To celebrate Healthy Mumma turning 1 I’m very excited to announce that tomorrow I will be releasing my second eBook on the Healthy Mumma website! It has been another year in the making of trialling and testing out new recipes and I can’t wait to share these with you.

It’s called the Healthy Lifestyle eBook with another 110 healthy and delicious recipes. This includes breakfasts, smoothies, entrees, soups, salads, mains, sides, sweets, condiments, treats and more.

Chilli Con Carne  Steamed Barramundi Piri Piri Chicken with Sweet Potato Mash Chocolate Coated Strawberries
All recipes in the second Healthy Lifestyle eBook are cane sugar free, gluten free and diary free (either giving you substituting or omitting ingredients for dairy with the exception of the healthy coleslaw and butter chicken) and there is a substantial selection of nut free, vegan and paleo friendly recipes.

Pancakes with Caramelised Banana and Raspberry Syrup  Prawn and Bean Salad Smoothie 12 - Strawberry Delight Tomato Soup
So keep an eye out tomorrow for the launch of my new eBook. I hope I can continue to provide over the next year useful ideas, tips, and inspiration to all the mummas out there wanting a healthier and happier lifestyle. If you haven’t already done so, make the change, you won’t regret it!

Smoothies

This week I thought since I’ve been posting lots of pics of smoothies thanks to my mum in law after giving me a NurtiBullet I would blog about it. Smoothies really are a great way to get lots of healthy and delicious ingredients in one hit.

They are quick and easy to make and the combinations really are endless. My children love smoothies and love helping choose the ingredients for their smoothies i.e. pink smoothie with raspberries, purple smoothie with blackberries or blueberries, green smoothie with grapes, avocado, green apple. They are also a great way to hide those healthy ingredients your children may not be so fond of i.e. handful of spinach!

My favourite times to have a smoothie is at breakfast and as an afternoon snack for my children and I. I call the afternoon snack the 3pm hungers time. I’ve never really been a breakfast person but it really should be your most important meal of the day so I find making a smoothie the perfect solution. Smoothies can be packed full of so much goodness that they can be a meal in itself. My daughter has taken after me and I really struggle to get her to eat a decent breakfast, I find smoothies the perfect solution as she will always drink a smoothie. That way I know she has had something decent and is ready for the day ahead. My son however does take after his dadda and loves his breaky! So if you have a similar problem with your children why not try making them a smoothie, give it a go.

So what do you need to be able to make a smoothie? Smoothies were one of the first things I experimented with when starting my healthy lifestyle and at the time I had a blender, one that looked similar to this below but a much older model.

Breville Blender Pic
I recently broke my blender ironically making a smoothie! I broke it trying to blend a whole frozen mango cheek, it was an old model so it really couldn’t cope and it was obviously time to upgrade. Since then my beautiful mum in law gave me a NutriBullet and I have to say I love it. It really is perfect for the healthy and delicious combinations I like to create.

NutriBullet
There are so many affordable blenders that you can purchase to make healthy and delicious smoothies. I did have my eye on a Vitamix which is much more expensive and is a little more than just a blender but the NutriBullet is doing the job just fine for us at the moment.

There are so many healthy ingredients you can add to your smoothies, check out my Healthy eBook for lots of different combinations or follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to see the smoothies that I make for my family and I as I generally list the ingredients included in them. My second eBook is almost ready to be released and will also have a number of yummy smoothie combinations. Here are a few pictures of ones I have posted on social media lately, all my smoothies are dairy free, gluten free, sugar free, vegan and paleo friendly.

   
So why not add smoothies to your lifestyle, they are quick, easy, healthy and most importantly delicious! Children will love them! Another simple, easy, healthy change to you and your family’s lifestyle.

Juggling

Recently I put it out there and asked you what you would like to read about in my blogs. A very supportive friend of mine suggested I write about how I juggle it all! Children, husband, work, my little online business, family, friends, exercise, household and the list goes on. Well when I actually took the time to think about my life and all the things I juggle I was surprised at how much I actually do juggle and how many other mummas out there do the same.

If you ask any of my family and friends one of my biggest traits is that I am a highly organised person. I guess that’s why I ended up in the sports and entertainment event/venue management industry. This definitely for me has its advantages when trying to juggle my little business and all things that come with being a wife and mother. With being organised also comes planning. I’m the biggest planner, I love to do lists and take the time to plan my meals on a weekly basis. It only takes less than half an hour to plan your meals for the week and write a shopping list. I strongly believe that by doing this it saves you time and money. It means one trip to the supermarket or local markets a week saving you time (that you could be using to cook instead of shopping more frequently) and saves you money as you are not impluse buying and only buying what you need.

As for cooking, well I obviously love to cook. I make cooking a healthy and delicious meal a priority for my family and I. I would much rather take the time to cook a meal than buy take away as I know I am providing my children with healthy nutritious meals, it definitely costs less and I honestly believe cooking yourself tastes better! I will generally pre prepare most of my family’s meal that night when my second child is having his daytime nap and I’m not working that day (dreading the day his daytime naps finish). This allows me to quickly put the meal together at dinner time. For example if we are having a stir fry I cut everything up whilst my son naps making it quick and easy to cook later on. The days that I work I choose a meal that can be completed quickly and on the table within 30 minutes. Again this comes back to pre planning your meals for the week and choosing quicker meals for the days you might work.

Not only is cooking healthy and delicious meals a priority but exercise is also important to me. I strongly believe that a healthy, happy mum means a healthy, happy household. I’m very lucky to have a supportive husband that I can take the time out to exercise. I also believe that by exercising I am setting a good healthy example for my children.

Like most mumma’s with their own little business most of the work is done when the children are tucked up in bed asleep at night time. This is definitely the time when I work on things like my orders, blog, new recipes, my eBooks, newsletters etc.

As for all the other household duties i.e. cleaning, washing, maintaining a home etc. I try to do something everyday to ease my load rather than leave it all to pile up and get totally overwhelmed that it will take me a full morning or even a day to complete. Gone are the days when I worked full time and Saturday mornings were allocated to cleaning my house from top to bottom. As a mumma I’ve had to let go of the fact that my house will never be completely clean all at once ever again (haha)!

Then most importantly it’s easy to get mothers guilt and be too busy doing everything else like cooking, cleaning, washing, working etc and forget to simply play with your children. I try to take the time everyday to do something with my children, can be as simple as reading them a book together or playing a game of hide and seek. At the end of the day what is most important to me is my husband and my two children and I sometimes have to remind myself of that and not worry about all the other meaningless chores that come with being a wife and a Mumma!

Healthy Treats

This week I asked my hubby what should I blog about. What can I inspire other mummas to do, what healthy tips and ideas can I share? There are so many but I literally have had a mental blank this week. Then my hubby suggested I blog about my healthy treat balls and a whole range of inspiration, tips and ideas that go with them.

When I first became a mum I fell into the trap of going to cafes to meet with other mums on maternity leave and having coffee and a treat! What happened was the treat didn’t become a once off treat it became an often treat, full of everything bad for you and hence my health suffered. After having Avery my “baby weight” as they call it came off, I can’t blame being pregnant for my weight gain it was the year after I had Avery and my lifestyle that I have to blame.

My biggest tip when becoming a first time mumma is not to fall into the trap of eating unhealthy, quick and easy options and be careful when “treating” yourself! Those treats can become a regular occurrence which over time can cause a negative effect on your health i.e. weight gain.

When starting a healthier lifestyle I discovered that you can have a treat without it being unhealthy and full of cane sugar. There are so many healthy treat options that you can make yourself. This is where my healthy treat balls evolved. They are a great substitute for chocolate, cakes and lollies.
IMG_6531 Healthy Treat Balls
Currently I stock a local café with my healthy treat balls which gives mums in the area a healthy alternative to have with their coffee or tea. My aim is to try to get more of these options available in more cafes, it’s just making the time to visit the cafes to show them. I’m definitely not a saleswoman so I do find this hard but hey I have my hubby to learn from as Sales and Marketing is his trade.
Chocolate Balls Revitalise Revitalise Treat Balls
If you have a copy of my Healthy eBook you will know that I have a range of recipes for healthy treat options and I also have a Healthy Store where you can save time by purchasing some ready-made healthy treat options. Check it out here!

Alternatives to Dairy

Since starting the Healthy Mumma journey I have discovered so many of my Instagram and Facebook followers are intolerant to dairy. I try to limit the amount of dairy I consume in a day but haven’t given it up altogether. I still enjoy my coffee in the morning with cow’s milk, I’ve tried other alternatives with my coffee but I just don’t enjoy it and my one pleasure as a Mum is buying a coffee from my favourite local cafe!

In saying that other than the occasional natural greek yoghurt (full fat) I don’t have milk, cheese, ice cream or any other types of dairy. Actually I lie I do occasional have goats feta too but no other cheeses. The paleo lifestyle omits dairy from their diet as the theory behind it is that many of us do not have sufficient levels of enzymes necessary to digest it. To me this explains why so many of us are dairy intolerant.

The good news is there are so many other delicious alternatives that I have discovered instead of having dairy. These include:

Alternatives to Cows Milk

Instead of Cows Milk try any of the nut milks including Almond Milk, Cashew Milk, Macadamia Milk, Hazelnut Milk or try Coconut Milk or Rice Milk (Brown Rice). My favourite is definitely almond milk and I do love coconut milk too. Make sure they are unsweetened and not full of sugar.
almond-milk
Alternatives to Yoghurt

Instead of natural greek yoghurt try coconut yoghurt. It is so delicious however is a little pricey compared to other yoghurts but it’s worth it.
coyo
Alternatives to Ice Cream

Instead of ice cream made from dairy you will find the supermarkets are all starting to stock a lot more variety when it comes to dairy free ice cream alternatives. Generally the alternatives are all made from coconut milk or cream and are so delicious. My favourite brand at the moment is Cocofrio and they have a great range of delicious dairy, gluten and fructose free ice creams. I have to say that I actually prefer eating this to normal ice cream as it’s so delicious and the best part is its guilt free! Just a tip when buying dairy free ice creams, watch the sugar content, some of them can be loaded with sugar.
cocofrio1
Alternatives to Cheese

There are a few alternatives to cheese that I have discovered including a cashew cheese which consists of soaking cashews overnight and blending them with stock and adding a few other ingredients. The other alternative I have found is Nutritional Yeast or it can be called Savoury Yeast Flakes, this has a cheesy taste without the dairy and is a popular ingredient for vegans. It can be found at your local health food store and generally it’s stocked at supermarkets.
Savoury Yeast Flakes
If you can’t fully go off dairy, choose the full fat and not fat free version i.e. natural greek yoghurt. You may think you are doing the right thing by choosing the low fat versions however they are generally loaded with more unhealthy refined sugars to compensate for the fat. As I’ve blogged before, check the labels of everything you buy, flavoured yoghurt is generally also loaded with unhealthy sugar so stick to the natural flavours and add your own healthy flavourings i.e. natural sweeteners, berries, fruit etc.

I have to admit by reducing the amount of dairy I consume it has had the same positive affects as when I quit grains. So why not try some alternatives to dairy and see how it makes you feel!

 

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