Have the nutritious goods on hand for the 11am cry of “I’m Hungry!”
As the new school year gets started, it’s time to get the team organised. We all know this year is looking a little different with kids’ school and parents’ work schedules both looking set to take place from home, but that doesn’t mean your routine goes out the window. In fact, now, more than ever is the time to put a schedule in place and embrace the new normal — starting with the family’s snacks!
These three lunchbox snacks are easy to make (definitely get the kids involved!), can be made in advance and stored for the week and have ingredients that can be easily swapped out depending on your tastes and supermarket availability. With some easy substitutes, you can make them all vegetarian or vegan, nut-free and even gluten-free depending on your family’s dietary requirements (and your school’s packed lunch rules).
Let’s get meal prepping!
These frittatas are super simple, packed full of protein, are gluten-free, nut-free and can be made dairy-free as well. Start off with the base ingredients and then experiment with your kid’s favourite flavours. Make it fun by seeing who can come up with the best, crowd-pleasing combo!
This recipe makes six portions and can be served hot or cold and paired with a salad if you want to make it a yummy lunch option rather than a snack.
½ Cup milk
1 Cup grated tasty cheese
1 Cup filling
2 Tbsp parmesan cheese
Pinch of garlic powder and salt (both to taste)
Filling Option 1 – The Lazy
1 Cup frozen mixed veg (peas, corn and carrots are a safe bet)
Filling Option 2 – The Leftover
1 Cup leftover veggies – choose 2 to 3 for best results (I’ve used finely chopped broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, carrot, mushrooms and capsicum in various flavour combos)
Filling Option 3 – The Crowd Pleaser
60g diced ham (or bacon)
Sneak in some mushrooms or cherry tomatoes for added veg! Failing that ½ Cup frozen peas or corn is another tasty, kid-friendly option
Filling Option 4 – The Little Gourmet
½ Cup frozen spinach (thawed and drained)
1 Tbsp ricotta
½ Cup cherry tomatoes
1 Tbsp freshly chopped basil (or dried basil)
- Pre-heat oven to 180°C.
- Whisk together eggs, milk, garlic powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl, mix together your chosen filling, along with half the grated cheese.
- Grease a six-hole muffin tin and divide filling evenly.
- Top with remaining grated cheese.
- Pour over egg mixture.
- Sprinkle with parmesan.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until cooked through (springy and firm to touch).
These oaty muffins continue to be a winner in our kitchen despite being adapted from a lactation muffin recipe used when my son was just a newborn. It’s another recipe that has some easy substitutes — swap out the butter for olive or coconut oil (or if you’re like me and realise halfway through that you don’t have enough), experiment with different flavoured yoghurt and vary the sugar depending on your tastes.
Keep these in the fridge for up to 3 days, or store in the freezer.
1 Cup quick-cooking oats
1¼ Cup plain flour
½ Cup brown sugar (or substitute coconut sugar)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ Cup milk
½ Cup greek yoghurt
½ Cup butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 Cup flavour of choice: ripe (or overripe) mashed bananas, blueberries or choc chips are all tried and tested in this kitchen!
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Sift flour into a large mixing bowl and stir in the rest of your dry ingredients.
- Melt butter and combine with milk and yoghurt.
- Lightly beat the eggs and vanilla essence.
- Add all the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine (be careful not to over mix).
- Stir in your favourite flavour.
- Divide mixture evenly into a 12 hole muffin tray.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
Sassy Mama tips:
- If you are using a flavour that’s already quite sweet, like ripe bananas, reduce the amount of sugar you add.
- Breastfeeding? Make it a lactation recipe by adding 2 Tbsp each of brewer’s yeast and ground flaxseed.
Back in June, when we were all enjoying staycations and revelling in the glorious three weeks that was the Hong Kong summer, I was lucky enough to indulge in a few hotel stays. A common theme on the breakfast menu were delicious chia pots. My son was quickly convinced and we discovered that while these look fancy, but are so simple!
The chia pudding lasts for five days in the fridge after you make it, perfect for whipping up on a Sunday afternoon of meal prep.
½ Cup chia seeds
1½ Cups non-dairy milk (my favourite is coconut milk)
2 Tbsp maple syrup (or other sweeteners)
1 Tbsp vanilla essence
- Whisk together all ingredients in a large bowl. Make sure all the seeds are separated.
- Divide evenly between four containers (or stretch to five containers for slightly smaller serves).
- Refrigerate for at least four hours, preferably overnight.
- Top with your favourite fruits.
- You can’t beat a summer combination of mango, pineapple and coconut. Pureé a whole mango and divide evenly over chilled puddings. Add some diced pineapple and coconut flakes and you’re good to go!
- Your kids favourite berries are sure to become a firm favourite. Save time and avoid wastage (we all know how quickly berries go mouldy in Hong Kong!) by adding a couple of spoonfuls of frozen berries.
- Leftovers – as the week goes by, throw on any fruits that you need to use up.
Sassy Mama tip: If you don’t want to make a full batch, use a ratio of 1 part chia seeds to 3 parts non-dairy milk.