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Paint Your Kitchen Green & Have Fun With Greens This St Patricks Day!

Paint Your Kitchen Green & Have Fun With Greens This St Patricks Day!

Belinda Smith | March 16, 2019

 

Eat your greens!

How many of you heard your parents say that when you were growing up? Some of you may have even said it to your own kids.

But do you know what? We do need to eat our greens. They are so important for our body. They help our energy, lungs, skin, teeth, bones and sleep, and so much more.

When we travelled around Australia on our mission to transform children’s health, parents told us that getting their kids to eat their vegetables was difficult enough, but getting them to eat their greens was even harder. Quite often the problem is that children (and adults) taste with their eyes not their tongues and greens visually do not look appetising to many.

We’ve run our Mad Food Science Program in over 100 schools around Australia and served over 27,000 children, parents and teachers a green smoothie to taste. Sure, there have been some who have declined to taste it, but most do. And then many come back for more.

Why has this experiment proven so successful? Because it makes it fun to taste a green drink, even though some kids say it looks like snot or puke. So why not have fun with greens this St Patrick’s Day? Let’s get into some of the fun you can have with greens in your kitchen!

 

Greens Tasting Plates

Greens Snack SamplerDepending on the age of your children, you can make up a St Pats greens tasting plate. For older kids, cut up a whole heap of different greens and display them on a chopping board. For younger kids, pop them in a muffin tray for a bit of fun.

I got this image from Be Brave, Keep Going which has a whole feature called Muffin Tin Monday which has loads of fun ways to use the muffin to help you get kids to eat more foods.

 

Green Le Snack Cheese Dip

I recently shared a video of how to make your own version of Le Snack Cheese at home in my lunchbox e-Course Facebook group and also in the TWC Facebook group. Both videos received lots of positive comments with people trying it out and their kids loving it. One of our lunchbox community members took it up a notch and turned it green by adding some baby spinach. Here’s what you need to make St Pat’s Le Snack Cheese Dip. Serve this with some delicious plain crackers, like any of the Ceres Organic crackers from TWC.

Ingredients
100g of tasty cheese, grated (from the block to avoid anti-caking agents)
150g full fat sour cream
A small handful of baby spinach

Method

1. Heat a frying pan over medium heat, add in a small amount of butter

2. Add the handful of baby spinach, season with salt and pepper and wilt the spinach until it’s soft

3. Remove and allow to cool

4. Blitz the baby spinach in a food processor or nutri-bullet kind of device until it’s a paste, set aside

5. Take a small saucepan over low heat and add in the grated cheese and the sour cream

6. Stir to mix the cheese and sour cream together as it melts

7. As it starts to melt, add in the baby spinach and stir to combine

8. When the mixture has no lumps and it’s runny, pour it into little pots and refrigerate to set. Takes about 2 hours. Can be frozen and used in lunchboxes. Will last in the fridge for 1 week.

 

Green Kabobs

Green Fruits and VegetablesKids tend to love food on sticks. Again depending on the age of your kids, you may like to make up the kabobs in advance of just cut up an array of greens and let them have fun making them too.

Mix it up if you can. Have some vegetables and some fruit. Some ideas include:

  • cucumber
  • celery
  • green capsicum
  • a little floret of broccoli
  • sugar snap or snow peas (cut in smaller pieces)
  • green grapes
  • kiwi fruit
  • green apple
  • honey dew

 

You could even jazz it up a little and cook them on the BBQ with a bit of pineapple juice sprinkled over to give it a yummy caramel coating as it cooks.

Green Smoothie

A Cup Of Greens Before School SmoothieYou simply can’t go wrong with a green smoothie made with fruit and then some baby spinach added to turn it green. There are loads of green smoothie recipes you can find online but here’s the recipe for one my kids love and it gives them a cup of greens in a drink before school.

 

Green Wraps

It doesn’t take many real food ingredients to make some fun St Patricks Green Wraps at home. All you need is:

Green Spinach Wraps1 handful of baby spinach
¾ cup wholewheat flour
¼ cup brown rice flour
2 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup milk

Throw it all into a blender and blitz. Then let the mixture rest for about 10 minutes before pouring some of it into a hot pan. Swirl the batter so it spreads out and then cook until the mixture starts to firm up. Gently flop to the other side and allow it to cook.

 

For more fun and inspirational real food ideas for every day and the lunchbox, join our communities at therootcause.com.au or Facebook or Instagram.

If you’d like The Mad Food Science Program to come to your school, go here to make an enquiry and we’ll send you an information pack for you to take to your school.

 

Share your glorious greens creations with us on Instagram with #myTWC

 

Chocolate Protein Bombs

Chocolate Protein Bombs

Belinda Smith | February 3, 2019

 

Forget the marketing on packets of biscuits which say ‘Perfect For Lunchboxes’ because they really aren’t.  These packets are usually loaded with sugar, additives and preservatives and are usually empty carbohydrates – high energy, low nutrient foods. Now these Chocolate Protein Bombs really are Perfect For Lunchboxes. They’re naturally sweet from the dates and are packed with protein from the seeds, so they will offer longer lasting energy.

 

Ingredients

10 medjool dates
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup pepitas
1 tbsp chia seeds
½ cup coconut flakes
½ cup oats
2-3 tbsp cacao powder*
2-3 drops peppermint oil or flavour (optional)
Pinch salt
Desiccated coconut (to roll balls in)

*My family like 85-90% dark chocolate so I used 3 overflowing tbsp of cacao. Adjust the amount to suit your family or use carob powder if you’re making these for little ones to enjoy too.

 

Method

1. Soak dates in warm water for 5 minutes

2. Drain dates, then throw into a food processor or Thermomix

3. Put the rest of the ingredients in the food processor or Thermomix

4. Blitz until the mixture comes together – blitz until you get the consistency you want (I still leave mine a little chunky because the kids don’t mind the texture of the seeds but if your children prefer not to have lumps, just blitz for longer)

5. Roll into balls – I make mine smaller than the store-bought bliss balls because they are easier to pack into the lunchbox (I just pack 2 instead of 1 big one)

6. Place desiccated coconut onto a plate. Now roll the ball in the coconut. Give it a little shake to get rid of any excess coconut.

 

Freezing / Storage

These are best stored in the fridge, then pack directly into the lunchbox – too easy. I haven’t tested freezing these yet but it’s not really necessary, they will last a month in the fridge anyway.

Another 2 Ways

Jaffa Balls: Replace the peppermint oil with orange – you could add a tablespoon of orange juice and some zest or use 2 drops of food grade orange oil.

Choco-Nana Balls: Replace the peppermint oil with half a dried banana popped int the food processor and a good pinch of cinnamon.

 

These bombs are a great way to get your kids involved in making their snacks. Why not have them whip up a batch on the weekend to pop into school lunchboxes throughout the week?

Find more healthy, wholefood, kid-friendly recipes on Bel’s website, The Root Cause.

 

Show us your favourite bliss ball creations on Instagram with #myTWC! 

 

These Chocolate Protein Bombs are the Perfect Hiking Snack

These Chocolate Protein Bombs are the Perfect Hiking Snack

Belinda Smith | February 3, 2019

 

Forget the marketing on packets of biscuits which say ‘Perfect For Lunchboxes’ because they really aren’t.  These packets are usually loaded with sugar, additives and preservatives and are usually empty carbohydrates – high energy, low nutrient foods. Now, these Chocolate Protein Bombs really are Perfect For Lunchboxes. They’re naturally sweet from the dates and are packed with protein from the seeds, so they will offer longer lasting energy.

 

The Story Behind The Recipe

Chocolate ProteinBombs Making

We have started shooting and writing for our forthcoming recipe book “Recipes from the Bus”. All recipes will have been created in, and/or photographed from our bus, while we’re on the road travelling around Australia. I created this recipe because one day we went hiking at Cape Tribulation in Far North Queensland. I packed our usual lunch boxes with morning tea and lunch but totally underestimated that we would still be there at 4.30pm in the afternoon. I had no afternoon tea. Our trip back campground was going to be 1.5 hours. There was no way we would make it back without killing each other unless we had something to eat. On Cape Tribulation, the few cafes were closed for serving food and so we had to resort to a packet of plain chips from the small supermarket. I created these Chocolate Protein Bombs for the next hiking adventure. There was no way I was going to get caught out like that again.

 

Just a reminder, you don’t need to be a master chef or have a big spotless kitchen to make awesome nutritious meals or snacks for your family.

 

Ingredients

10 medjool dates
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup pepitas
1 tbsp chia seeds
½ cup coconut flakes
½ cup oats
2-3 tbsp cacao powder*
2-3 drops peppermint oil or flavour (optional)
Pinch salt
Desiccated coconut (to roll balls in)

*My family like 85-90% dark chocolate so I used 3 overflowing tbsp of cacao. Adjust the amount to suit your family or use carob powder if you’re making these for little ones to enjoy too.

 

Method

1. Soak dates in warm water for 5 minutes

2. Drain dates, then throw into a food processor or Thermomix

3. Put the rest of the ingredients in the food processor or Thermomix

4. Blitz until the mixture comes together – blitz until you get the consistency you want (I still leave mine a little chunky because the kids don’t mind the texture of the seeds but if your children prefer not to have lumps, just blitz for longer)

5. Roll into balls – I make mine smaller than the store-bought bliss balls because they are easier to pack into the lunchbox (I just pack 2 instead of 1 big one)

6. Place desiccated coconut onto a plate. Now roll the ball in the coconut. Give it a little shake to get rid of any excess coconut.

 

Freezing / Storage

These are best stored in the fridge, then pack directly into the lunchbox – too easy. I haven’t tested freezing these yet but it’s not really necessary, they will last a month in the fridge anyway.

Another 2 Ways

Jaffa Balls: Replace the peppermint oil with orange – you could add a tablespoon of orange juice and some zest or use 2 drops of food grade orange oil.

Choco-Nana Balls: Replace the peppermint oil with half a dried banana popped int the food processor and a good pinch of cinnamon.

 

These bombs are a great way to get your kids involved in making their snacks. Why not have them whip up a batch on the weekend to pop into school lunchboxes throughout the week?

 

Christmas Gift Idea

At Christmas, roll these balls into a small size and then make into reindeer poop. Drop the coconut from the outside so it looks more authentic. Here’s a template to print off a Reindeer Poop Printable by The Purple Pumpkin Blog.

 

Find more healthy, wholefood, kid-friendly recipes on Bel’s website, The Root Cause.

 

Show us your favourite bliss ball creations on Instagram with #myTWC! 

 

5 Ways to Get Back Your Lunchbox Groove in 2019!

5 Ways to Get Back Your Lunchbox Groove in 2019!

Belinda Smith | January 15, 2019

 

Oh, it’s been bliss, hasn’t it? Not having the routine of having to pack lunchboxes every day for the last 4 plus weeks… Heaven. Alas, the time has come that we need to start preparing ourselves for it once again. Healthy lunchbox pressure season is here!

Many parents we’ve spoken to around Australia see packing lunchboxes as an inconvenience or a chore. It’s that thing they juggle for about 200 days of the year, and it’s usually done at stressful times of the morning or evening.

Without adding unnecessary stress to the job of packing lunchboxes, we need to understand the importance of lunchbox food. The food you pack for your child has a direct bearing on their behaviour, focus, concentration and their health. Lunchbox food makes up about 30-40% of what your children eat Monday to Friday, so it is important.

After having a break during school holidays, how can you get your lunchbox packing groove back? Here are 5 simple ways that you can start to make positive changes for your lunchboxes this year.

 

#1 Create A RoutineMuffin in a lunchbox

With only about a week or two to go until we start packing our 200 or more lunchboxes this year, it’s time to create that routine. I am not suggesting you pull the pin on the last glorious days of school holidays, just that you spend a little time getting your head around a schedule for getting things done, so your mornings go smoothly. Think about what time you:

  • need to be out the door
  • get dressed by
  • have breakfast eaten by
  • need everyone to be woken up
  • need to pack lunchboxes – will you do it at night, in the morning? Will you do it, or will the kids?

 

#2 Retrain The Family5 Ways to Get Back You Lunchbox Groove

Ok, so now I am going to suggest you pull the pin on a few days of the remaining school holidays and retrain the family in your routine to make sure the mornings go smoothly!

One way to sell this to the kids is about how you want to make sure you don’t end up being a shouty mum in the morning this year. I know, I know, it’s not usually your fault mornings go to poop, but taking some responsibility for how it can sometimes end up goes a long way for getting them on board.

Choose 2-4 days of the remaining school holidays and put your routine into practice. Get the kids up, breakfast happening, day clothes on, lunchboxes packed and get out of the house at the time you need to for school. Go somewhere to make the effort for the kids participating in the practice run worthwhile. eg. the beach, a café, to the park, whatever you think would work for your family.

 

# 3 Think Recess and LunchApple School Lunchbox Photo

It’s time to start thinking of food in terms of recess and lunch.

Sometimes during school holidays, in our excitement of having no routine, we also let our guard down on the sort of foods we eat. It’s ok because the kids are at home or you’re out, and you can always grab something else. That’s not the case when school returns.

Now is the perfect time to start shopping and preparing lunchbox foods we know will nourish their bodies and brains. Thinking in terms of what you’d pack for recess and lunch is a great place to start.

 

# 4 Eat At Bell Times Kids concentration at school lunch

Have you noticed how much kids eat when they are at home on school holidays? It seems they are always hungry!

Over the holidays, they may have become accustomed to eating foods at random times and foods which perhaps aren’t the best for nourishing their bodies and brains.

It’s time to start retraining the kids to think about food in terms of recess and lunch.

Tell them from this week, we’re getting back into the practice of eating when you eat at school. Either pack them foods for recess time or lunchtime or say the kitchen is closed until recess time or lunch time.

You are unlikely to win the popularity award with this, but it’s important to stand firm. In doing so, you can ensure your kids settle back into the school routine eating times without feeling hungry in between.

You can make life easier for yourself and the kids by ensuring they have a breakfast that will keep their tummy full. The best way you can do this is simply to ensure they have a good quality protein source and good fats with their breakfast. Eggs are a nutritional powerhouse and a great way to start the day, as are nuts. Try incorporating these into their breakfast.

 

# 5 Change Your HeadspaceCooking healthy lunches

I remember running a workshop to empower kids to understand why a healthy lunchbox is important and to teach them how to pack one. When I mentioned to them that their mum or dad will be packing about 200 lunchboxes this year, there was an audible groan from the parents in the crowd.

Changing the way your headspace around lunchboxes is crucial to keeping your sanity when it comes to packing lunchboxes this year.

For many, packing lunchboxes is painful – a necessary evil that needs to be done at the same time as everything else.

Instead start thinking about lunchboxes as:

  • an expression of your love for your child;
  • an opportunity to nourish their body and brain; and
  • how what you’re packing is helping them concentrate, learn and be the best version of themselves they can be.

When you bring this kind of love and headspace to packing lunchboxes, the task of packing lunchboxes will be infinitely better. No more groaning, and you’ll find yourself on your way to a more joyful experience.

 

If you find lunchboxes a chore or are just looking for some inspiration, visit Belinda’s website The Root Cause for some inspiration and read her article outlining what should go into your kids’ lunchboxes as well.

5 Simple Steps To Packing Healthy Lunchboxes

Get your lunchbox game in order by shopping our range of Cheeki products now.

Share your inspiring lunchbox foods with us on Instagram by tagging #myTWC.

 

Chewy Caramel Rice Bars

Chewy Caramel Rice Bars

Belinda Smith | January 3, 2019

 

LCM bars are popular in lunchboxes but they also have, on average, almost 2 teaspoons of sugar per bar. This is hardly the sort of food to help with concentration in class. This refined sugar-free version includes a dose of protein and good fats and has been kid approved at Lithgow’s Halloween 15 Festival (and by my own 2 of course!). I modelled this version off I Quit Sugar and Wholefood Simply – both are great sites for healthy refined sugar-free recipes.

 

Ingredients

4 cups puffed rice
30g butter
½  cup tahini*
½ cup rice malt syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

* use a little less than 1/2 cup if your children aren’t used to the taste of tahini

 

Directions

1. Heat a frying pan over medium heat.

2. Toast puff rice in the dry frying pan – one cup at a time. Shake the pan to move them around and be careful – they can burn quickly. You just want them to get a little crunchy. Set aside in a large bowl.

3. Melt the butter.

4. Add the tahini, rice malt syrup, vanilla extract and salt. Stir over heat until it creates a thick caramel sauce.

5. Allow sauce to cool slightly.

6. Pour sauce over the toasted puff rice, and stir through until it’s all coated.

7. Line a lamington or similar tin with baking paper.

8. Turn the coated puffed rice into the tin and press into the tin quite firmly. You can use the back of a spoon to do this.

9. Put in fridge for about 2 hours for it to firm up.

10. Remove from the tin and cut into suitably sized bars for your lunchbox. I tend to make these more squares than bars.

 

Freezing / Storing Instructions

Store in an airtight container in the fridge. They will be quite hard straight from the fridge but become chewy the longer they are out of the fridge. They can also be frozen and still maintain the same chewy texture in the lunchbox when they defrost.

 

Variations

Add some cacao to the butter mixture to create a chocolate version.

Add some mini chocolate chips or cacao crunch to the mix to create a choc chip version.

Add some peanut butter to the tahini mixture for a peanut butter version (not for at school).

 

Find more healthy, wholefood, kid-friendly recipes on Bel’s website, The Root Cause.

 

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