Tag Archives: pasta

Lunch box ideas?

School lunch box ideas.

With the school term fast approaching I’ve been thinking of different foods that I can use in my little mans lunch box that are nutritious and yummy.

He is a very fussy eater so coming up with different food ideas that he won’t get ‘bored’ of but foods that will also sustain his hunger, give him energy, are healthy options and are a nice variety.

He is only 3 but is very picky. He used to be a great eater and ate everything I have him, right up until he was about 2.5 years old. Then, like a switch, he ‘didn’t like anything’.

I try many options in his lunch box but the majority of the time, the lunch box comes back with the prepared food still not touched. Such a waste of good, wholesome healthy food.

I’ve tried asking him what he would like to eat. He still won’t eat it. I end up packing things that I know he will eat. Not always the healthiest options but he will eat it.

It makes me question, is it better to feed them what they like and want knowing it will get eaten?

Or pack him what I think is a better and healthier option knowing that it may possibly come back home untouched and know, my little guy went hungry as he didn’t like what was prepared for him?

He isn’t one of those children that sees other children eat and decided he wants to eat the same. He isn’t swayed by peer pressure. He is very head strong and is very confident.

So below are some options that I pack for my little guys preschool lunch box. I’d love to hear what you pack in your little ones lunch boxes.

Vegetable pancakes –
Yes I purée vegetables and put it in a pancake mix then make ‘regular’ pancakes. Great way to hide vegetables as my little man loves pancakes but ‘doesn’t like vegetables’.

Cereal –
I pack either Nutri grain or mini wheats. Yes I know they have sugar, but not as much as Cheerios or fruit loops and many other cereals. My little man will eat both and it’s a good easy way to get him to eat whole grains.

Crackers –
I make home made ones with my ThermoMix, they are quite healthy and really tasty. He eats them plain. If I have made a batch I will pack brown rice crackers or vita wheats. Again he eats them plain. Another easy way to have him eat while grains.

Cheese sticks –
A good source of dairy and protien and they keep well. If I have no cheese sticks I will cut up cubes of cheese. Full day of course.

Yogurt squirts –
I pop these in the freezer the night before school to ensure they stay cold for his lunch box. He will only eat vanilla and that’s fine. It’s another way to get dairy in his lunch box and brewing a squeeze pack, no mess and no need to pack a spoon.

Fruit squeeze pack / jelly squeeze pack –
I know some of you will think SUGAR but, I go for the lowest with no added sugar. He refuses to eat solid fruit even if I cut it up, so this way he is still getting fruit, some fibre and it’s a ‘sweet treat’.
I have tried making my own and using the refillable squeeze packs but he won’t touch them. I’m happy to buy them as its something I know he will eat.

Left over cold meats –
Example of i make mini meatballs for dinner, I will cook extra and pop those into his lunch box. He happily eats them cold. Or an extra sausage. Again if u cut it up he will eat it cold. Or even chicken tenders or home made chicken nuggets. So easy to make, good source or protein and iron and he will eat them cold.

Cold pasta –
Befor you think I’m nuts, it’s easy. I cook either shells or spirals, let them cool and put some in his lunch box. He likes cold pasta. I usually do while grain pasta or spinach. He won’t eat the ‘red’ but I find he doesn’t mind the ‘green’ or ‘brown’. Good carbohydrates and being low GI keeps his energy levels up.

Banana bread fingers –
He thinks it’s cake 😉 occasionally he will eat it. Plain though, no butter and it must be cut in rectangles. I again make my own in my ThermoMix so has almost no sugar and I again make it on half kamut and half wholemeal flour rather than plain white. Kamut flour is high in protein. You could also use chickpea flour.

An alternate in the banana bread fingers could be mini fruit muffins? If you make them yourself you can cut down in the sugar. I know some may question why cutting down on sugar in children.

Well 1 it rots teeth, 2 it can cause health issues and 3 if sugar is not burnt within the body from activity or exercise its stored as fat and our nation is already overweight. I don’t see I big issue in using either natural sugar sources such as fruit over refined sugar and I also think so much food has hidden added sugar that by cutting down on some can not hurt.

I don’t send my little man to school with muesli bars as its a nut free environment. I also don’t like the idea of roll up as its loaded with refined sugar.

I’d love to hear your ideas for fussy eaters that won’t eat a sandwich or cut fruit and vegetables.

Email me :
Noordinarymummy@gmail.com

Easy sausage pasta bake!

Easy sausage pasta bake!

Like many of my other recipes, this one is easy with minimal ingredients!

Many if my friends are like me ‘time poor’ so this is quick, easy and one the whole family ‘generally’ like.

1kg sausages – whatever you like. I generally use beef or Italian. Chorizo is also a favourite 🙂
500gm pasta – again whatever you like spiral is my favourite
1 x cup grated cheese
1 x 495gm jar pasta bake – I generally use a tomato base one – if you like to make your own, use that. 🙂
1 x teaspoon ground chili (optional)

Cook the pasta – I use a teaspoon of oil in the boiling water as this will stop the pasta sticking to each other and the saucepan.

Brown the sausages then chop into pieces – I usually chop into pieces approx 2cm long

Preheat an oven to 180 degrees

Get a large oven proof baking dish and lightly spray with a non stick oil.

Put pasta, sausages and chili in dish and mix well.

Add the sauce and stir.

Evenly spread the grated cheese on top and bake on 150 degrees for approx 30 – 40 mins or until the cheese is golden.

Yummy!

Entertaining little ones.

Keeping your little one entertained.

Let’s be honest here, we sometimes wonder ‘what next?’ What can we do now? How can I occupy my little one?

Well I have also often have these thoughts, so here are a few of my favorite things to do with my little man.

1. Outdoor exploring – my little one loves the outdoors so we often go exploring in the gardens. Showing him flowers and various plants, insects, trees etc not only keeps him busy but also teaches him about his environment. Get involved and smell flowers, walk on grass, sit and play with dirt, lay on the ground and make picture out if the clouds in the sky!

2. Drawing with chalk – again outdoors. Get some giant chalk sticks and let your children’s explore on the drive way or pavement. Chalk is not permeant so easily washed away with a bucket of water or with the hose. Unleash your creative side and your little ones also! Draw animals, write words, create shapes – anything is possible – explain as you go and your little will will absorb all your knowledge, remember they are sponges!

3. Singing and dancing – every night when little man is in the bath we sing songs. This is a little special time for us and it keeps him in the bath a little longer than 2 seconds. Which is his usual. So if your little one is too busy to bath – get singing. Lots of nursery rhymes have hand actions and clapping and stomping are great for motor skills communicating. Our favorite is ‘eyes,ears,mouth and nose’ – ‘gloop gloop went the little green frog’ and ‘Open shut them.’ These are super easy and fun. Keeps both occupied and promotes language skills. Of course you don’t need to do this in the bath you can do this in the lounge room or anywhere.

4. Cooking – I know this sounds dangerous but I never give him sharp objects or anything that he can be harmed with. When I am preparing any meal I pop my toddler in his high chair and let him watch me. I give him a bowl, spoon, whisk and other plastic non shape utensils and allow him to imitate. This really helps with their development and learning abilities.

5. Sensory games – cheap and cheerful. Get some small containers from your Tupperware cupboard. Go to your pantry and pull out some rice and pasta, then head to your driveway and collect some pebbles approx 20mm in diameter then a small jug of water. Put the rice in one container, pasta in another, pebbles in another and finally the water in another. Allow your little one to sit and play with these. Not only is this another form of exploring but it’s teaching them different texture, shape, size and materials.

6. Reading books – my little guy loves to read! So every day we sit down and read at least 2 books. Not only is this quiet time, it also helps him to learn words, objects, images, colors and turning pages. He also sits by himself and turns the pages in his books chatting away to himself.

7. Chases – this can be indoors or out. Play catchies! You chase them then allow them to chase you. Also allow them to catch you and when you catch them. Make it special – give a little tickle or kiss. Guaranteed this will be fun for all involved!

If these don’t keep you and your toddler busy I’m not sure what will. 🙂

Remember they are only little for a short time so embrace their ability to learn and allow them to crate and learn to their full potential.