I am super excited! Sophie Grace Jones, a nutrition specialist mum, will be contributing to the blog with her tons of ideas on recipes for children, especially the type where you can 'hide' the unpopular vegetables (at our house, that is anything that resembles any shade of orange - one exception though: mandarins & family). At every mums gathering over the past two weeks, the lunchbox topic has come up again and again, and everyone including me seems to be in need of inspiration, so here are a few suggestions from Sophie:
Images source: Pinterest
Oat, banana, cranberry and apricot bars
In a large bowl mash 3 ripe bananas, and add in 150g oats, 4 tbsp flax seed, 8 finely chopped apricots, 80g dried cranberries, 3 tbsp agave syrup and 5 tbsp of apple purée. Mix well and pour into a lined baking tray and bake for 10 minutes at 180C. Leave to cool and cut into bars.
Mini broccoli and cheese quiche
Chop 2 small courgettes into cubes and boil in a saucepan along with 6-8 florets of broccoli for 6 minutes. Drain and set aside. Butter a muffin/cupcake tin and divide the chopped vegetables into the tin. Now to make the egg mixture use a large jug and add in 100g grated cheddar cheese, 5 whisked eggs, 180ml whole milk and a pinch of nutmeg. Mix well and pour over the vegetables. Add a little more grated cheese on the top and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 180C or until they look browned and not wobbly in the middle. Other popular fillings are ham and cheese, spinach and mushroom and ricotta and spinach. Makes around 10-12.
Spinach and cream cheese pasta
Finely chop half a red onion and fry for a few minutes in olive oil until softened. Add in 8 frozen spinach balls or 1 packet of fresh chopped spinach, and cook for a few minutes. Take off the heat and add in 100g cream cheese and mix well. Add to your child's favourite cooked pasta and sprinkle a little extra cheddar cheese on top. If you make this the night before just add a little olive oil in the morning and mix before putting the in the lunch box so it isn't dry.
Homemade humous and roasted vegetables wraps
To make the humous put the following ingredients into a food processor and mix well; 1 tin of drained and washed chickpeas (or dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and boiled until soft), the juice of 1 lemon, 2 chopped garlic cloves, 1 tsp cumin powder, 3 tbsp tahini, 3 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper. If the mix is a little thick add a little more oil or water when mixing.
Now for the roasted vegetables, choose your child's favourite veg (red pepper, onion, squash, beetroot, fennel, courgette, cauliflower) and roast on a tray with olive oil for 20 minutes at 180C. Once cool, chop into bite-size pieces. Make your wraps by using any flat bread and spread a generous layer of humous followed by a layer of the vegetables and wrap up. Cut into small, easy to hold pieces for the lunch box.
My daughter loves pizza and these are easy to make, great to freeze and cook quickly! Using either frozen pizza bases or Arabic bread, spread a layer of tomato purée to cover. Add your favourite topping, here are a few tasty ones: ham and pineapple, sun-dried tomato and feta, black olive and spinach, broccoli and pea. Sprinkle over a mix of cheddar and mozzarella cheese and bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melting. If you are going to freeze them, wrap in cling film and put in the freezer before baking.
If you would like to see more of the 'Back to school series' recipes, click HERE.
Sophie Grace Jones
Sophie enjoyed working as a professional nanny in London and Dubai, working with high profile clients. After having a daughter of her own, she decided to reach out to parents offering support, advice and to share her experiences through her online community Facebook page: Right Routine. Sophie has studied nutrition and has a huge passion for healthy eating and exercise, incorporating her learning into the recipes and ideas that she shares.