Just as we collectively breathe a sigh of relief as school resumes next week, the reality hits ... Lunchboxes.
The days of leisurely leftovers at the kitchen counter are over, and meal planning, lunchbox packing, recess organisation, crunch and sip cutting (shall I continue?) begins.
While many of us look forward to this time with a slight air of horror, one man who has it all figured out is George Georgievski of School Lunchbox fame. If you’re about to embark on the school season ahead, George is a must-follow on Instagram for inspiration, quirky captions and weeks worth of meal content.
George was kind enough to share an extract with us from his book, Lunchbox Express, as well as two recipes that are sure-fire hits for demanding primary schoolers.
Lunchbox Express by George Georgievski, Published by Plum, RRP $24.99, Photography by Georgia Gold
George's Lunchbox Philosophy
Start using the lunchbox a month or so before your kid starts school. That way they’ll be familiar with it by the time school rolls around and it won’t be yet another new thing to get used to.
Channel your inner creativity through your kids’ lunchboxes! An interesting and varied lunchbox is fun for your kids, too, and means they’re much more likely to eat what’s inside.
Keep it balanced and healthy
In each lunchbox, I make sure there is a portion of protein, some veggies, dairy, fruit and a healthy treat. I prefer to include sugar-free treats, as I don’t understand treats being automatically associated with sugar. Why reward your kids with something that’s not good for them?
Stick to bite-sized portions
Kids are too busy to mess around with large portions – they just want to go and play. A mixture of bite-sized food is easier to grab and go.
Remember the number five
Make sure you include five fresh items (three veggies and two fruits) in every lunchbox – essential nutrition for growing bodies!
Eat the rainbow
Rainbows make my girls happy, so I put a rainbow in their lunchboxes every day. This not only looks appealing, but is a great way to ensure your kids are getting a wide variety of nutrients.
The daffodil is such a happy flower. It’s bright, yellow and, to me, represents sunshine. So why not recreate them using food for our children to enjoy? Who would have thought that by using simple ingredients we could recreate happiness? I wonder if I made a few of these for my better half on Valentine’s Day I could avoid buying her flowers … I’ll keep you posted.
- oil spray, for greasing
- 6 wholemeal wraps
- 1 cup grated cheese
- 6 eggs
- salt and pepper (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 160°C. Lightly grease six holes of a muffin tin. Using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut two semicircles from each wrap. We don’t actually need the leftover rectangles, but don’t throw them out as they’re great for making spring-wiches.
- Pop a semicircle of wrap in one of the holes so the two corners are pointing upwards. Place another semicircle crossways over the first wrap, also with the corners pointing upwards. Repeat with the remaining wrap semicircles.
- Sprinkle the cheese into the wraps and crack the eggs on top of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper, if you like.
- Pop the muffin tin in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the egg is cooked through. Keep an eye on the edges of the wraps as they can easily burn. The daffodils look amazing on a platter and my girls love them in their lunchboxes.
Apple & Blueberry Br-uffins
The number-one question I am asked on my social media pages is what to do with bread offcuts. Now, as much as I’d like to say I take my daughters to feed the ducks at the lake (I don’t because we don’t have a lake near us, plus bread is bad for ducks), I hate wasting food and I always try to be as resourceful as possible. Apart from shovelling bread down my throat when I’m making lunches, I now tend to pop the offcuts in a zip-lock bag in the freezer and save them to make these awesome apple and blueberry br-uffins.
- 4 cups roughly chopped bread offcuts, thawed if frozen
- 1 apple, cored and sliced
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- butter, for greasing (optional)
- handful of blueberries
- Preheat the oven to 175°C. Drop the bread offcuts into a blender, then add the apple and cinnamon and blitz for 20–25 seconds until the ingredients are nice and evenly chopped.
- Grease a six-hole muffin tin or line with paper cases. Spoon the mixture evenly into the holes and press it in lightly with the back of a spoon.
- Grab the blueberries and pop them on top of the br-uffins, pushing them into the mixture, but leaving them half exposed.
- Pop the tin in the oven for 10 minutes or until the br-uffins are golden brown. They’re delicious eaten warm, but will also keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
If you don’t have any blueberries, 1⁄2 cup of raisins or dates will also work a treat.