Julie Goodwin’s fresh ideas for back to school lunches
If the thought of preparing back to school lunches for the coming term fills you with dread, then relax! One of Australia’s most celebrated and best-loved family cooks, Julie Goodwin, knows how you feel.
Weet-Bix™ and inaugural MasterChef winner, Julie Goodwin, have joined forces to create a fantastic new cookbook featuring tasty lunch box snacks – perfect for those hectic back-to-school mornings! There are 11 mouth-watering treats that kids – even the fussiest ones – will love.
“My sons are now 21, 20 and 18 and believe me there have been plenty of times I’ve run out ideas,” she laughs. “I know what it’s like to pack lunch boxes day in and day out, and how tricky it can be to come up with food to keep them interested that’s still healthy and no-fuss.
“My best advice is to prepare lunches ahead of time. Bake and make sandwiches on the weekends and then freeze them. Mix up the choices as well. Ask the kids what they might like to eat or try eating. If you involve them, instead of just plonking something in front of them day in and out, they’ll probably be more interested in trying new things.”
It features quick and easy tasty treats made with crushed Weet-Bix, including apple crumble muffins, hommus dip, mini banana and strawberry loaf, spinach parcels, zucchini and corn slice, sultana pikelets, samosa patties and more.
“It was a lot of fun developing recipes with Weet-Bix,” Julie says. “It just adds a good bit of fibre and a really nice texture to dishes. Any chance you get to look outside the square and try to create more interesting food for kids is worthwhile.”
Here Julie also shares some other great ideas and handy tips for tasty kids’ lunchboxes…
What is your biggest lunchbox time saver?
Prepare all sandwiches ahead of time and freeze them. Good quality ham, rocket and aioli sandwiches freeze well. As does corned beef, mango chutney and Jarlsberg cheese. Just pop them frozen into a lunchbox in the morning and they will thaw out by lunchtime.
What’s an idea of something kids can make ahead of time for their own lunchbox?
To get your kids interested in cooking I’d get them to do something like baked chicken wings that are already cut into pieces. Kids can just sprinkle some herbs and spices over and something like a teriyaki or barbecue sauce. They can then be popped into the oven. There’s no knife work involved so it’s pretty easy. Just make sure you explain how to turn on and off the oven and safely remove a tray. Later cool them down in the fridge. They’re a delicious addition to a lunchbox.
What’s your foolproof tip for getting kids to eat more vegies at lunchtime?
Well some kids really resist vegies so anything that makes them more appealing to kids gets a big tick from me! I’d suggest dressing up carrot or capsicum strips with a really nice hommus. Also encourage your kids to appreciate vegies more by getting them to shop for them with you or grow a few in the garden. They’ll be more into them if they’re invested. There’s a great recipe for hommus in my Weet-Bix eCookbook which could also be served with raw vegies or in a wrap.
What’s the worst kind of lunchbox you can give your kids?
One with nothing in it! I think if you at least attempt to provide stuff for kids to eat then that’s better than giving them nothing at all. Whilst we can all strive to give our kids healthy, balanced lunchboxes, there also shouldn’t be too much judgement about what is “ideal”. We’re all doing our best as parents.
What’s your idea of a balanced lunchbox for kids?
It should contain things that kids love to eat. So a spread of stuff – something crunchy like nuts or low-salt pretzels, some fruit or vegies like frozen grapes or cherry tomatoes, something substantial and starchy to get them through the day such as filo parcels, or a sandwich with something interesting inside. And don’t forget something fun too like a note from mum or a sticker! See the recipe for my spinach parcels from the eCookbook. They’re just as tasty at room temperature.
Simply enter your details HERE for a free electronic version of Julie Goodwin’s Weet-Bix Lunchbox Snacks Cookbook and a chance to win a hard copy of the cookbook.
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