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Lunch boxes that change with the seasons

To give your child the greatest possible ‘nutritional punch’ from the foods packed in their lunch box, just look to Mother Nature.

Farmers markets or the huge crates brimming with fresh produce in supermarkets are the best place to start. They’ll quickly tell you which fruit and veg are most plentiful (or in-season) at certain times of year. Take bananas for instance. To get optimum vitamin C, potassium, manganese and vitamin B6 from them, it’s a good idea to get creative with them in lunch boxes during the summer months. The great thing is, when they’re in-season they’ll be tastier too, and better value for money!

We teamed up with some of our favourite Aussie bloggers to help you make bananas, beetroots, pumpkins and zucchinis the star of your kids’ lunch boxes when they’re at their nutritional best. For more healthy lunch box recipes and tips see the HBF Lunch & Play Report.


Spring zucchini slice

From our friends at Stay at Home Mum

Image of Spring Zucchini Slice

Ingredients

  • 3-4 medium zucchinis
  • 1 onion
  • 100g diced bacon
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup self-raising flour

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180°C.

2. Finely chop the onion, melt the butter and gently fry the onion. Then add the bacon and cook for a couple of minutes.

3. Remove from heat and cool in the fridge. Grate the zucchini and place in a large mixing bowl.

4. Add cooled onion and bacon mix to the bowl with the zucchini and mix with the flour and cheese.

5. Lightly beat eggs and mix until well combined. Pour mix into a shallow baking tin, greased or lined with baking paper.

6. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the top has browned.



Summer banana oat balls

From our friends at Planning with Kids

Image of Summer Banana Oat Balls

Ingredients

  • 2 cups quick oats
  • 1 large banana
  • 3 tbsps honey
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds

Method

1. Mash the banana in a small bowl. The riper the banana, the better.

2. Pour the sesame seeds into a small bowl and set aside.

3. In a medium-sized bowl, add oats and mix in the mashed banana.

4. Add the honey and mix well. After mixing with a spoon, use your hands to make sure the mixture is well combined. If the mixture is too sticky, then add extra oats.

5. Using about a tablespoon of mixture, roll into a ball and then roll in sesame seeds. Continue until all of the mixture is used.

6. Place in the fridge to set for at least 30 minutes. Keep in the fridge in an airtight container.



Autumn beetroot and ricotta baked mini frittata

From our friends at One Handed Cooks

Image of Autumn Beetroot and
ricotta baked mini frittata

Ingredients

  • 2 medium beetroot, washed and stems and roots trimmed
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 leek, finely sliced
  • 1/2 zucchini, grated
  • 1/4 cup button mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup cream or milk
  • 1/4 cup tasty cheese, grated
  • 150g ricotta

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 12-hole muffin tray.

2. Roast the beetroot at 180°C for around an hour. Once tender, peel, place in a food processor and blend until pureed. Leave to cool.

3. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the leek and sauté for one minute.

4. Add the zucchini and mushrooms and sauté for four minutes or until soft, stirring occasionally.

5. In a large bowl, add the eggs, cream, cheese and ricotta and whisk to combine. Add the leek mixture and stir to combine.

6. Fill the muffin holes to 3/4 full. Add a teaspoon of beetroot puree into the centre of each frittata.

7. Bake the frittatas for 20 minutes or until they are set. Serve with ricotta or grated cheese.

.

Winter roasted pumpkin and feta pasta salad

From our friends at My Lovely Little Lunchbox

Image of Winter roasted pumpkin
and feta pasta salad

Ingredients

  • 1/4 pumpkin, chopped into small chunks
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g penne pasta
  • 200g baby spinach
  • 120g feta, crumbled
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180°C.

2. Arrange pumpkin on a large baking tray lined with baking paper, drizzle with olive oil and pop into the oven for 20-25 minutes or until cooked and golden.

3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook pasta according to packet instructions.

4. Drain and rinse.

5. In a large bowl, place the pumpkin, pasta, baby spinach, feta, lemon zest and juice and olive oil, and toss to combine.

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