The beginning of February can be a busy time for many parents. The final few weeks leading up to a new school term is a typical flurry of activity – books and essential school supplies need to be bought, shoes must be shined, uniforms altered and grocery shopping needs to be well and truly sorted for school lunches.
5 Easy and delicious snacks for healthy lunches
To make life a little easier during this busy time and the stress of the whole school year, keeping some simple snacks on hand can make a world of difference on the organisational front. These healthy snack ideas are simple to prepare ahead of time and most can be stocked in the freezer or fridge to keep them fresh and lasting longer.
Hummus has to be one of the easiest and most versatile savoury dips out there. Not only that, it is also incredibly easy and cheap to make at home. Having control over the ingredients that go into your homemade batch also makes it a much healthier alternative to pre-packaged options.
The basic mix requires the following ingredients:
- 1 tin chickpeas
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 2 tbsp water from tin of chickpeas
- Paprika, to season
Simply puree the chickpeas in a processor with the garlic, lemon juice, tahini, salt and chickpea water. Then, slowly add the olive oil. If necessary, add extra chickpea water to achieve your desired consistency.
Serve the hummus with a sprinkle of paprika. This dip can be enjoyed with pretzels, crackers and a variety of raw veggies, such as carrot, capsican, celery and cucumber.
Rice Paper Rolls
These refreshing, bite sized rolls can be packed full of colourful veg. While rolling the rice paper can take some time and practice to master, it’s worth it for just how tasty they are.
Keep things simple by combining shredded or finely sliced fresh cucumber, carrot, capsicum and cabbage with cooked vermicelli rice noodles and fresh coriander. Then, following the instructions given on the rice paper package, soak the paper, fill them and roll. For a simple dipping sauce, combine:
- 2 TBSP soy sauce
- 2 tsp rice wine vinegar
- Juice of ½ lime
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 clove finely chopped garlic
- Optional: finely chopped chilli
Pizza wheels are delicious served hot or cold. They store well in lunch boxes and serve as tasty morsels to tide the kids over before dinner.
Ingredients – Makes 24
- 2 sheets defrosted frozen puff pastry
- 6 tbsp pizza sauce or pesto
- 2 tsp dried basil and oregano mix
- 1-2 cups grated cheddar cheese
- Diced ham, optional
- Diced olives, optional
Preheat the oven to 180°C or 160° fan forced. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Spread each defrosted pastry sheet with 2-3 tbsp of red pizza sauce or pesto. Sprinkle over the herbs and and chosen toppings first, followed by the cheese. Roll each sheet tightly so it forms a scroll, then slice evenly. Place the wheels on the lined tray and bake for 10-15 minutes.
Zucchini and Chocolate Muffins
It may not strike you as the most appropriate pairing, but zucchini is a surprisingly delicious addition to chocolate muffins! Not only is it a fabulous way to sneak some undetectable greens into a seemingly decadent treat, the addition of zucchini creates a delightfully moist and fluffy mixture. We especially love this recipe for Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins.
Chia pudding with seasonal fruit (mango and vanilla, cherry and choc)
If yoghurt is already a lunch box staple, consider mixing it up with healthy homemade pudding. Those of the chia kind are some of the easiest to whip up, only requiring time in the fridge overnight to set. This recipe for chocolate chia pudding serves four ½ cup servings that can be kept for 4-5 days.
Pair with seasonal fruits such as cherry, kiwi fruit, berries or banana. For a tropical twist, omit the cocoa and top with in-season mangoes or pineapple. If you have particularly picky eaters on your hands, you can blend the pudding once set to create a smoother consistency which hides the appearance of the chia pods.
Browse the IGA marketplace to shop back-to-school grocery essentials.