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 Mumma Staples and Cheat Sheet

When I first started my little online business venture I put together two very useful documents as a result of lots of questions from others. These questions included what standard ingredients do you stock in your pantry and refridgerator? Where do you purchase these ingredients? What are their uses? What are their benefits? So as a result I put together two documents that you too might find useful including:

  1. Healthy Mumma Pantry and Refrigerator Staples: this includes a full list of all the ingredients I stock in my pantry and refrigerator. If you have all of these ingredients following the Healthy Mumma lifestyle is very easy. Don’t be alarmed when you see the full list and think wow that would be an expensive exercise to stock up on everything. When starting the Healthy Mumma lifestyle just gradually build up your pantry and refrigerator as you would when you first move out of home. It really doesn’t take that long and it eliminates a lot of the items you may have been purchasing before.
  2. Healthy Cheat Sheet: this includes a list of all the ingredients I utilise in my healthy lifestyle and explains the benefits of each ingredient, its uses and where to purchase it.

So this week I am finally sharing these two documents with you all. All you have to do is subscribe to my website, follow me on facebook and Instagram and then send me a quick email to info@healthymumma.com.au to receive your copies.

I hope these tools are useful to all those that are wanting a healthier lifestyle and don’t know where to start! I’ve taken the hard work out of researching ingredients and put all I know into these two reference tools. So if you haven’t already started your healthier lifestyle, why not start now!

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!

Bone Broth

Recently I was shocked to discover the brand of stock I was using which I might add is labelled organic was full of everything nasty! I’ve been a huge advocat for checking labels of all things you buy but for some reason I never checked the label of the stock I was buying. I guess I just assumed that if it was organic it was good for me, right?! Well no! Make sure you check the labels of everything you buy even when products claim to be something that they are not!

Which brings me to the topic of bone broth! I have started making my own bone broth for recipes and can I say the flavour and taste is amazing and tastes nothing like the stuff you buy. I discovered bone broth through following lots of amazing healthy people on Instagram and decided to give it a go. Well I will never go back!

Bone Broth

Bone broth is an ancient food that has been made for centuries as it is an inexpensive and verstaile source of nutrients. So what are the benefits of bone broth?

There are so many health benefits of bone broth including:

  • Great for nutrient adsorption and enhances the absorption of nutrients from other foods.
  • It is an excellent source of several essential amino acids including proline, glycine, arginine and glutamine that are often difficult to get from diet alone.
  • Excellent source of minerals that the body can easily absorb including calcium, magensium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and others.
  • It also contains glucosamine, chondroitin sulphates and other compounds that support joint health.
  • It provides the amino acids needed for collagen production. Collagen keeps the skin smooth, firm (reduces cellulite!) and reduces wrinkles. Collagen also supports hair and nail health.
  • Assists with gut and immune health because it is high in gelatin/collagen and supports gut health and its amino acids help reduce inflammation. Helps with healing leaky gut.

So you might be thinking what is the difference between bone broth and stock? They are basically made the same way but the difference is in the length of time it is simmered for. Stock is generally simmered between 3-4 hours whereas bone broth is simmered for 24-48 hours depending on the type of bones utilised i.e. chicken v beef bones. Bone Broth has a longer cooking time which removes as many minerals and nutrients as possible from the bones.

And how do you use it? You basically use bone broth in the same way you would use stock including base for soups, casseroles or stews, gravies, sauces and cooking vegetables to add more nutrients and flavour. I recently had some left over cabbage and cooked it in some bone broth and it was delicious! One way you can use bone broth which you definitely wouldn’t do with a standard stock is to drink it as a warm drink. The flavour of bone broth is so amazing and this is actually my favourite way to use it.

My subsribers this week will receive my recipe for how I make bone broth, it is really simple and easy, it just takes time but is so worth it! If you would like to subscribe to my website to receive free recipes, notification on my blogs, tips and special offers then visit the bottom of any page on my website to subscribe.

So why not add bone broth to the list of staples you make on a regular basis. It is super easy, inexpensive and so good for you! Another simple, easy, healthy change to you and your family’s lifestyle.

Healthy Oils

This week I thought I would blog about healthy oils. If you have been following my blogs from the start you will know that I have already blogged about Coconut Oil and why to use it. Well this week I’m going to share the range of healthy oils that I use in my healthy lifestyle.

If you have my Healthy eBook you will know that I only really cook with Coconut Oil. If you have the time scroll back through my blogs to read all about why I use Coconut Oil.

Coconut Oil

When thinking about oils you need to be aware that when healthy fats are heated above certain temperatures they oxidise and turn into bad fats. When cooking with high heat you need to choose an oil that will remain stable which coconut oil does.

Many of us would have many different types of oils in our pantry and the ones to avoid are vegetable, canola, sunflower etc. Simply swap these oils for coconut oil in your cooking.

There are a number of different oils I also use for dressings and to add flavour to meals when they are not cooked with high heat. These include Avocado Oil, Almond Oil, Flaxseed Oil, Macadamia Oil and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. My favourite is definitely Avocado Oil, something I didn’t even know existed until I started my healthy lifestyle. Make sure they are all unrefined and cold pressed to ensure you are consuming them in their most natural state.

Avocado Oil almond oil flaxseed oil macadamia oil 2

So why not add some healthy oils to your pantry as healthy pantry staple items. Throw out the bad oils and replace them with healthier alternatives. Another simple, easy, healthy change to you and your family’s lifestyle.

Apple Cider Vinegar

This week another healthy ingredient that many of you would have in your pantry already, apple cider vinegar. I’ve always had apple cider vinegar in my pantry however have had the wrong brand. I can’t stress enough about making sure you check your labels on the food that you purchase to ensure it doesn’t have any added cane sugar or nasties.

What is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar, otherwise known as cider vinegar or ACV, is a type of vinegar made from cider or apple must and has a pale to medium amber colour. Unpasteurized or organic ACV contains mother of vinegar, which has a cobweb-like appearance and can make the vinegar look slightly congealed.

My favourite brand of apple cider vinegar is Bragg as it is organic, raw, unpasteurised and naturally gluten free. When you look at the different brands of apple cider vinegar compared to Bragg’s you will notice that it isn’t clear like other brands as it hasn’t been pasteurized. As I have stated in previous blogs (Why Use Raw Honey?) pasteurizing is a heating and filtration process to make it clear, meaning all the beneficial enzymes have been lost.

You can generally find the Bragg brand in the health food section at the supermarket or alternatively your local health food store will definitely stock a healthy brand of apple cider vinegar.
Apple Cider Vinegar
What are the health benefits?

Apple cider vinegar has lots of benefits including great for detoxification, promotes weight loss, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, helps with digestion, alleviates skin problems, promotes soft and shiny hair, helps relieve asthmatics, gout, allergies, arthritis, relieves nausea, migraines, heart burn, chronic acid reflux, sinus pressure and infection, reduces inflammation, reduces and lowers glucose levels in diabetics, regulates PH balance in the body, gets rid of fingernail and toenail fungus, dissolves kidney stones, gets rid of build-up on your scalp and helps ward off sickness.

How to Use it?

Use in salad dressings, marinades, vinaigrettes, chutneys, flavour in cooking, use when a recipe calls for a vinegar or simply just add to half an avocado and enjoy with a spoon! I’ve seen my Dad do this many times and it is actually a great healthy snack idea.

So next time you are at your local store, why not purchase some apple cider vinegar to add to your pantry staples. It’s another simple, healthy change to you and your family’s lifestyle!

Tapioca Flour

This week I’m going to blog about another healthy ingredient that I have discovered since starting a healthy lifestyle, Tapioca Flour!

What is Tapioca Flour?

Tapioca Flour is obtained from the cassava plant. Despite it’s name it is not a flour made from wheat or grains and is gluten and wheat free. It is a slightly sweet, white flour that is high in starch.

You may recognise Tapioca in sweet puddings.
cassava plant - tapioca flour
What is the nutritional value of Tapioca Flour?

Tapioca Flour however has almost no nutritional value it predominantly consists of carbohydrates and is low in satured fat, protein and sodium. It has no significant essential vitamins or dietary minerals.
Tapioca Flour
So why use Tapioca Flour and how to use it?

The reason I use Tapioca Flour is because it’s not a grain, a legume, a potato, it isn’t refined, processed or unnatural so is the better healthier alternative.

The reason I discovered Tapioca Flour was because I wanted a substitute for corn flour in recipes. Something that wasn’t obtained from wheat although in saying that these days you can buy corn flour which is made from just that corn which is a gluten free product.

I now use Tapioca Flour as my number one thickening agent in recipes for glazes, sauces, fruit syrups and soups. You will see this ingredient appear in very small amounts in my second eBook when I finally get around to finalising it.
ceres organic topioca flour
So next time you visit your local store why not pick up some Tapioca Flour (preferably organic) and use as a healthier substitute to other thickening ingredients. Just another discovery that is a simple, easy and healthy ingredient to add to you and your family’s lifestyle.

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