Guilt-free meals that are delicious AND easy super to make?? Yes please!! Our favourite healthy living cook, Luke Hines, was nice enough to share eight of his favourite healthy, no-fuss lunchbox recipes. From light snacks to things that are slightly more filling, these are perfect for encouraging your little one to eat healthy, and for staying on top of your own healthy eating plan!
Luke said it best: “We often start the year with the best of intentions to eat well and look after ourselves and our family, but too easily we can fall off the wagon when we don’t have healthy food options on hand. The key to staying on track and sticking to your healthy resolutions in 2018 is simple and easy healthy preparation.
“When you prepare deliciously simple recipes that taste great and can be enjoyed anywhere, you are way more likely to achieve your health and wellness goals! Your kids will be the envy of the playground with these healthy lunchbox recipes, also perfect for the boardroom or lunches at work.”
So without further ado, check out these hunger-fighting, hassle-free, and – most importantly – healthy lunchbox recipes below!
1. Fruit skewers
Kicking things off with a super easy one. You can’t go wrong with fruit! The best thing about these is that they can be personalised – you can use whatever fruits you, or your little ones, love the most, from strawberries, to bananas, to mangoes and watermelon in the summer! Plus, these will easily help you meet the recommended two fruits a day.
Luke says: “I love these quick and easy fruit skewers! Perfect for the summer months, they’re super easy to pack in the lunchbox and give colour, flavour and variety to your taste-buds.”
- Seasonal fruit (pick your favourites), sliced
- Lemon juice (optional)
- Wooden skewers
1. Slice your favourite fruits into desired shapes and sizes.
2. Carefully thread fruit onto wooden skewers.
3. Store in an airtight, leak-proof lunchbox (we recommend the Cloc Tritan Containers from Neoflam).
Tip: If you’re making these ahead of time and packing them to take to school or lunch, drizzle with a little lemon juice to prevent the fruit from going brown.
2. Chocolate chip cookies
Can you say “mouth-watering?” That’s what these are. Perfect with a cup of tea or coffee at the desk at work, and the best way to reward your little one for eating well at school!
Luke says: “You can’t pass up a delicious homemade chocolate chip cookie! Delicious when they’re just out of the oven and still warm, and great for keeping as a ‘secret’ stash on your desk, ready to enjoy when 3pm-itis kicks in. These never disappoint, I hope you LOVE them!”
For the cookie
- 2 cups almond meal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
- 1 vanilla pod, split and scraped
For the choc chips
- 1 cup cacao butter
- 1 cup cacao powder
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 vanilla pod, split and scraped
1. Line two baking trays with baking paper. For the raw chocolate, stir together all the ingredients in a saucepan over low heat until lovely and runny. Pour the melted chocolate mixture over one of the prepared baking trays and set in the freezer until rock solid.
2. Once solid, break the chocolate into small chips using a rolling pin or the end of a wooden spoon, then return to the freezer until needed. Preheat the oven to 180C.
3. In a bowl, combine the almond meal, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Mix well, then stir in the coconut oil, egg yolk, honey or maple syrup and vanilla seeds to bring everything together to form a dough, adding a little extra coconut oil if needed to make the batter stick together a little better. Gently stir in 100g of the chocolate chips.
4. Arrange tablespoons of the mixture on the second baking tray, abou 3cm apart. Bake for 8-10 mins, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool and firm on the tray for 5-10 minutes before eating.
3. Cacao bliss balls
Now for something a little more grownup, perhaps, than a chocolate chip cookie, but still just as decadent and, most importantly, delicious! These bake-free, pop-in-your-mouth bliss balls make the perfect recess snack, and are great for keeping on your desk at work for when those hunger pangs hit right before lunch!
- 10 pitted dates
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
- 2 tablespoons cacao nibs
1. In a food processor, combine the dates, cashews and raw cacao powder. Process until a paste is formed and the ingredients are completely combined. Add the coconut oil to soften the mixture and process to combine.
2. Add the cacao nibs and pulse a few times (in the food processor) to combine them into the mixture.
3. Roll your mixture into small, snack-size balls, using about one tablespoon of the mixture for each one. Just smaller than a golf ball is a good size!
4. Store them in the fridge to keep them firm and fresh for up to two weeks!
4. Muesli bars
Muesli bars have long been a lunchbox favourite among children and adults alike. These ones are delicious and guilt-free, they make the perfect lunchbox accompaniment.
Luke says: “I love this recipe, especially to make in a big batch on Sundays! Then you have a healthy muesli bar snack, ready to go for the week ahead, meaning you’ll have the best food to pack in school lunches!”
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, plus extra for greasing
- 1/4 cup almond butter or butter of your choice
- 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup, plus 1 teaspoon extra
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 cups gluten free oats
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut
- 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup activated pumpkin seeds
- 1/3 cup sesame seeds
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chia seeds
1. Get started by preheating your oven to 160C. Now line a baking pan with baking paper and generously rub coconut oil on the paper and set aside.
2. In a medium-sized saucepan (we recommend any of the Induction saucepans from Neoflam), combine the coconut oil, almond butter, honey or maple, and salt. Cook on low heat, stirring until well combined. Remove from heat and add the gluten free oats, coconut, and half the nuts and seeds. Combine really well.
3. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top. Spread remaining nuts and seeds over the mixture and drizzle with 1 teaspoon of honey or maple syrup.
4. Bake in the oven for approximately 20-30 minutes until golden brown around the edges and the middle is semi set but still nice and soft and gooey. Remove from oven and cool completely in the pan. Lift from the pan by pulling up on the baking paper.
5. Transfer to a chopping board and cut into desired sized squares. Remove the baking paper and store in an airtight container like the Neoflam Cloc.
5. Veggie dippers
Just like fruit, you can’t go wrong with fresh veggies. Light and crisp and refreshing, they’re a great alternative if you or your little one aren’t big on fruits, or just want something different. These will also go a long way towards helping you meet the (sometimes tricky to reach) recommended five veg a day.
- Seasonal vegetables, choose your favourites
- Nut butters and/or dips
1. Thinly slice your favourite seasonal vegetables, keeping them fresh by storing in an airtight container like the Neoflam Cloc.
2. Serve alongside your favourite nut butters, chocolate spreads or dips.
6. Easy meatballs
What kid doesn’t get excited at the mention of spaghetti and meatballs – especially the meatballs part?! These are perfect for enjoying on their own, no messy spaghetti sauce needed, or as an accompaniment to a salad!
Luke says: “I served mine with fresh salad greens, avocado, cucumber and fermented vegetables.”
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 handfuls baby spinach, wilted
- 250 grams pork mince
- 250 grams beef mince
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 brown onion
- 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 free range egg
- Sea salt and cracked pepper
- Your favourite accompaniments
1. In a bowl, using your hands, combine all the ingredients well, until all flavours are well incorporated. Still using your hands, roll the mince into golf ball-sized meatball portions.
2. Heat a pan with coconut oil and fry the meatballs, making sure they are golden brown on all sides. Alternatively you can bake them in an oven at 180C.
3. Once cooked through, serve your meatballs fresh or store them in your Neoflam Cloc or other airtight container and take to school or work to enjoy.
7. Chicken skewers with smashed avocado
Chicken skewers are an easy, barbeque fave. They’re fun to eat and so versatile (you can marinate them in any flavours and spices you like). Plus, chicken and avocado – what’s not to love?
Luke says: “Nothing beats the easy combination of chicken and avocado! Good quality protein and healthy fats make the perfect lunch or dinner any day of the week!”
- 400 grams chicken thigh, breast or tenderloins
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, for frying
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp your favourite spice (Luke used cumin)
- Sea salt and cracked pepper
1. Thread your chicken onto wooden skewers and season with salt, pepper and your favourite spice. Set aside and heat a frying pan or griddle pan on medium high heat and grease with coconut oil.
2. Fry your chicken skewers 3-4 minutes each side until golden brown and cooked through.
3. Meanwhile, in a bowl combine your avocado, lemon juice and salt and pepper to season. Using a fork, smash it until rough and well combined.
4. Serve alongside your favourite vegetables or salad.
8. Almond granola
A great way to start the day, and great for taking with you to work for a mid-morning snack, too! Plus, super easy to store in a container so your little one can take it with them to school for recess.
- 1 cup macadamias, roughly chopped
- 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
- 1 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
- 1/2 cup pepitas
- 1/2 cup cacao nibs
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1 or 2 TBS maple syrup
- 1 TBS cinnamon
- 1 TBS pure vanilla bean extract
1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and line a large tray with baking paper.
2. In a bowl, mix the macadamias, pecans, shredded coconut, pepitas and cacao nibs.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla bean extract and create the dressing. Once well combined, drizzle over the nuts and mix throughout thoroughly.
4. Place your nuts on the prepared baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes, giving them a toss and rotating half way.
5. Remove from the oven, allow them to cool and serve with coconut yogurt and fresh berries.
A huge thank you to Luke Hines and Neoflam for sharing these mouth-watering recipes with us (I wrote this blog on a Wednesday morning, sometime between breakfast and lunch and now my tummy is rumbling!!).