When it comes to packing lunches for the family, it can sometimes feel like a chore, but the reality is, it needs to be done and we’re here to help make it that little bit less daunting on us Mums.

We usually try to make sure the kids lunch boxes are full of nutritious food to keep hungry tummies at bay and to give them enough energy throughout the day. But whilst we make sure our kids are sorted, we sometimes forget that we also need a nutritious lunch to fuel our energy levels so we can keep on top of our own busy schedules and keep up with the kids.

We’ve got a few tips to help make your ‘Mum life’ just that little bit easier each morning.

To avoid unwanted stress, try to plan ahead what lunches yourself and your family will eat each day. If you already have the food in your house, it will save last minute trips to the supermarket while helping to cut down on cost and food wastage. It also proves to be a lot healthier as it stops you from avoiding the temptation of buying your lunch out each day where healthy options might not always be available to you.

If you can pack the lunches the night before, it will save you some time in the morning so you can sneak in some extra sleep or sit down and actually finish your coffee!

Include meals and snacks that you can make ahead of time and freeze. This will help to cut down the time spent in the kitchen in the morning.

Don’t throw out your leftovers from the night before. Leftovers, teamed with a salad can work perfectly for lunch the following day.

Keep your focus on your health. If you have the prepared food in front of you, you are less likely to indulge in an impulse buy at lunch time.

We’ve included a few lunch recipes that might help to inspire you.

 

Lebanese Lemon-Parsley Bean Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 (14 ounce) cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 ripe red tomato, diced
  • 1 medium cucumber, diced
  • ¾ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or mint
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • Small pinch red pepper flakes

 Method:

  • In a serving bowl, combine the prepared kidney beans, chickpeas, onion, celery, tomato, cucumber, parley and dill (or mint).
  • Make the lemon dressing: in a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and red pepper flakes until emulsified. Pour dressing over the bean salad and toss thoroughly. Serve immediately or let it marinate in the refrigerator, covered.
  • Serve with some wholemeal pita bread and hommus

*This recipe can be made the night before
** There is nothing quite like home grown, if your green thumb is a little lacking however why not try to make a little herb garden, this salad can be mixed up with a variety of your favourite culinary herbs, and its a great project for the kids to be involved in!

Honey Walnut Power Salad (serves 6)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups seedless red grapes, washed and cut in half
  • 2 cups edamame (steam-in-the-bag variety)
  • 1 cup uncooked bulgur or other grain
  • ¾ cup walnuts
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup water
  • Fresh baby spinach
  • Crumbled blue cheese
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  • Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add onions and saute on low for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft, golden brown and almost sweet tasting.
  • While onions are still cooking, pour bulgar and 2 cups water into a saucepan; bring to the boil and cook for 15 minutes, until most of the moisture has absorbed and the grains are soft enough to eat. Let cool for 15 minutes.
  • When onions are done, stir into the bulgar so the butter is absorbed by the grains. Season with salt.
  • Combine grapes and edamame in a large mixing bowl. Add cooled bulgar and walnuts. Whisk water and honey; pour over mixture and stir well. Add fresh baby spinach and crumbled blue cheese just before serving.

*This recipe can be made the night before, just keep the dressing, baby spinach and blue cheese in separate containers until ready to serve.

Rainbow Salad (serves 4)
Ingredients:

  • 2 small carrots, peeled
  • 2 Lebanese cucumbers
  • 2 ½ cups shredded red cabbage
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 80g baby Asian salad leaves
  • 50g fried noodles
  • 2 tablespoons Alfa One rice bran oil
  • 2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2cm piece fresh ginger, finely grated

Method:

  • Using a vegetable peeler, cut thin ribbons from carrots and cucumbers. Place in a large bowl. Add cabbage, onion, salad leaves and noodles. Toss to combine.
  • Whisk rice bran oil, sweet chilli sauce, lime juice and grated ginger together in a small bowl. Add to carrot mixture. Toss gently to combine. Serve.

Lunch Box Review

To make taking your own lunch with you each day that little bit more appealing, there are many different lunch boxes on the market to suit individual needs. Whether you’re after something to keep your lunch cold, something with portion control sections or a lunch box that is small and compact to fit into your handbag, here are a few we’ve found from Howards Storage World.

  •  Thermos Insulated Food Jar with Sleeve 355ml – Stainless Steel $34.95
    Great for keeping salads or pastas cool!
  •  Rosti Mepal To-go Midi Lunchbox – Pink $11.95
    Convenient size to fit into your handbag
  • Stackable Bento Lunch Box – Green $19.95
    Works well with portion control.

Drink Bottle Review

Watermate Infuser Drink Bottle $16.95

Great for those times when plain water isn’t quite right. This bottle has a removable infusion rod. It is leak proof & has a lockable lid. Includes a carry strap and includes measurements so you can track your h2O levels.

Watch this space as we will continue to share more delicious recipes throughout the year which the whole family will enjoy.

(Recipes sourced from: www.taste.com.au, cookieandkate.com,  pinchofyum.com)