Back to School series - MORE Lunchbox Recipes by Sophie Grace Jones

Back by popular demand: MORE of Sophie Grace Jones' lunchbox ideas. All on my list to try over the next few days :)

Image source: www.lisastorms.typepad.com

Couscous and halloumi salad

Cook 1 cup of couscous, add 1 tbsp of butter and use a fork to fluff up. Leave to cool. In a separate bowl add half a tin of washed and drained chickpeas and 1 grated carrot. Mix well and add to the couscous. Meanwhile dry fry half a pack of halloumi cut into small chunks until browned and add to the couscous. My daughter loves a spoon of mayonnaise on top or pesto (pesto not for lunchbox though, as it contains nuts).

Sausage and cheese breakfast bagel

Slice a bagel in half and toast under the grill. Place slices of Cheddar cheese over the top for a minute until melted. Meanwhile cook your child favourite sausage (we like the Quorn vegetarian ones!) once cool slice into long strips and place inside the bagel. Cut into easy child size pieces. You could also use mashed avocado and cream cheese.

Egg fried rice

Boil 100gr brown rice, drain and set aside. Meanwhile in a saucepan heat a little olive oil and add 1 chopped carrot, 1 chopped courgette, 5 chopped mushrooms and stir-fry until soft for a few minutes. Add in the rice and 1 egg and cook, always stirring, for 1-2 minutes or until the egg has browned.

Tuna and black olive pockets

Drain a tin of tuna and put into a bowl with 1 tbsp of mayonnaise, 6 chopped black olives, 1 small cucumber diced finely, a squeeze of lemon juice and mix well. Use Arabic bread or pitta breads and fill.

Banana and blueberry smoothie

In a blender add 1 banana, 1 cup of milk, half a cup of frozen blueberries, 2 tbsp of natural yoghurt and blend well. When my daughter is not taking this to school I would use almond milk or add in a large spoon of peanut butter for protein. 

 

Thanks again, Sophie! xx

If you would like to see more of the 'Back to school' 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.

Back to School series - Lunchbox Recipes by Sophie Grace Jones

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.

Mini pizzas

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.

 

Sophie xx

 

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.

Back to School series - The Essentials

Regardless of whether you have been back from your summer holiday a while or are coming back to the sandpit (or any other city for that matter) just in time for school: if you are a parent like me, whose first born is starting big school or nursery, you might already be hyperventilating and going through the list of questions: ‘Is this the right shoe? Where can I find labels to mark all my kid’s belongings? What could I pack for his snack, lunch, etc?’ 

Personally I have had a few panic attacks, as I feared not being prepared for school. The past four weeks in this household have been absolute madness and bordering obsessive behaviour about a house move plus (!) all the burocracy that changing employers in the UAE involves as husband’s started a new job. I would hate to think what it is like to be moving to a new country at this time of the year when you are unfamiliar with the system.

So here is a little guide I have managed to put together during our frantic back-to-school shopping sessions:

LUNCH BOXES

We have discovered a couple of super cool brands that produce very clever lunch and snacks solutions for the kiddies. We love how they are both BPA-free and dishwasher safe:

Smart Planet (available at Spinney’s)

  • Ultrathin Lunchbox Set - bento-style box with 3 compartments and a spork in an insulated carrying little case.
  • Collapsible Eco Meal Kit - you can choose between 3 or 4 compartments plus condiment lid (looove!) and spork.

SMASH (available at Centrepoint)

  • Yoghurt Mover - pot with removable and freeze gel walls that keeps yoghurts, cut fruit and purees cold for a few hours.
  • Snack tubes - nice and compact! Can choose between triple or double stack and fab to keep things like baby carrots, dips, biscuits, mini crackers etc
  • Sandwich Box - fab sandwich boxes so that we can stop feeling terrible about using all that clingfilm and foil for our kids sandwiches.

WATER BOTTLES

We like these because not only are they super fun but they also do not spill and again, are BPA-free and dishwasher safe:

  •  Munchkin Click Lock Flip Straw (available at Babyshop and Mothercare)
  • Camelbak Eddy Kids (available at www.mumzworld.com and The Change Initiative)
  • Tinc’s Big-Eye Water Bottles (available at mumzworld.com and also directly through their website www.tincuae.com with door-to-door delivery)  

LUNCH BAGS

  • GAP - no need for name labels on your kid’s backpack/lunchbag: GAP will monogram them for you plus they also have an interior name tag. We love the Pink Polka Dot (yes, pink!) and Sloe Gin with the adorable puppy print.
  • Crocodile Creek (available at Virgin) - if you are after designs for the younger children, Crocodile Creek do bold colours and fun themes: T-Rex, Robot, Vehicles, Owl (one can never have enough owl themed stuff) or Fairy.

LABELS

Do you remember when you went to school and either your mum had to stitch-embroider your name on your clothes or just grab a permanent marker and write your name on your school belongings x number of times? I do and to be frank last year I still stitched my son's name on his clothes. But of course our little sybarites would not settle for that and to be frank, today’s school labels are just really easy and practical: dishwasher/laundry safe, waterproof, peel-and-stick or iron-on.  There are tons of options, all as cute as the next!

SHOES

One thing little feet need is quality shoes that see them through all those days and hours at school. It will definitely be a shock for our little man as the nursery he attended last year (and we were - are! - in love with) follows a no shoe policy, so everyone including teachers, owners and parent walked around barefoot. Part  of our lifestyle around the house too, courtesy of my Australian husband.

Our Dubai favourites are PabloskyClarks and Geox, all available at the major malls. Advice we have been given by the experts is:

  • buy one size bigger to allow room for growth
  • soft, pliable sole but with good support
  • good cushioning for comfort
  • leather to avoid sweaty feet
  • avoid laces for the youngest kids, at least until the are independently able to tie the lace up

Got it!

Now … Stay tuned for ideas on school snacks and lunchboxes – coming very soon!!!