Monthly Archives: August 2018

Lunchbox Packing: Less is More!

I’m still in disbelief that the school year is starting next week!  I totally don’t feel prepared.  In fact, I haven’t purchased anything from the school supply list yet but confident it will all come together by the first day of school.  I’m working on a blog post that includes a bunch of lunchbox tips and ways to help make sure your child eats the foods in their lunchbox with minimal waste!

I’ll be sharing some of my tips in separate IG posts and the one I’m sharing today is all about focusing on variety and balance instead of volume.  When packing lunch for a child, it’s easy to overdo it on portions especially when the thought may be that the more you pack, the more they will eat-but it’s quite the opposite.  Kids have small stomachs and really do not need large portions.  While each child is unique with appetites that vary, one thing I’ve learned from personal experience is that the less I pack, the more my son eats.   Part of it may be that too much food may just be overwhelming or unappetizing.  But I’ve also found that if I give too much of a certain food that he really likes, that’s all he will eat.  So I provide smaller portions and focus on a colorful variety of foods instead of volume and it’s worked wonders for me.  Also, results in less food waste!  I also find that packing lunch in a bento box (versus separate containers) helps to keep portions small and neatly packed.

What do you usually pack for your child’s lunch?  I would love to hear it! Let me know in the comments below.

Strawberry-Banana Yogurt Muffins

Happy Friday! How is your day going?  Well it’s about to get a whole lot better with these little gems.  I’m a big fan of baking muffins, mainly because they are so easy to make and portable!  Perfect for little kid hands and adult hands alike.  Once you have a good basic recipe down, the mix-ins (like these strawberries) just elevate the flavor & nutrition!  BONUS: these muffins freeze really well and are a great addition to lunch boxes!  and with the school year in full swing, we could all use some good lunchbox ideas, am I right?!

In addition to bananas and berries, these muffins are packed with other wholesome ingredients like applesauce, greek yogurt and oats!  I made this recipe gluten-free (I recently started following a gluten-free diet for health reasons, I’ll explain in another post soon), but you can totally make them regular using all-purpose flour and basic oat flour.  If you can’t find gluten-free oat flour, simply make it by placing a few cups of gluten-free rolled oats in a high speed blender and blending until you achieve a fine, flour-like consistency and then measure out accordingly.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (I use the brand Cup4Cup)**
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free oat flour (see note above for details on how to make it)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of ground cinnamon 
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large overripe bananas (the darker, the better!), cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1 (5.3 ounce) container plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, chopped

**this also works with whole wheat flour, but the consistency of the muffin will be a bit more dense.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a muffin tin with liners; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, add the bananas and mash well (I use a potato masher or hand-held electric mixer).  Add in the applesauce, egg, maple syrup and yogurt and whisk to combine.
  3. Add in both types of flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Stir until evenly moistened.  Fold in strawberries.  Spoon batter into prepared muffin liners.
  4. Bake 20-25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Remove from pan; cool completely

Sweet Potato Banana Muffins

Some things are perfect on their own, but even better together- like sweet potatoes & bananas.  If you ask me (and my 3 year old), sweet potato & banana are one of the best veggie-fruit combinations for muffins.  I love sweet potatoes for countless reasons including the fact that they are super versatile and loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber and health-promoting phytonutrients.  And since they are low glycemic and high in fiber, they help to keep a steady handle on blood glucose and prevent spikes in blood sugar.  So adding them to baked good or even smoothies gives a mega boost of nutrition and helps to keep you feeling full and satisfied.

These muffins are super moist and aside from bananas packed with other yummy ingredients like greek yogurt and applesauce.   They also freeze really well and make the perfect addition to a lunchbox! Oh and best part, it only requires 1 bowl making cleanup a breeze!

Fun fact: While Americans often use the names sweet potatoes and yams interchangeably, they are not related.  Yams are native to Africa and Asia and are drier and starchier than sweet potatoes.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour**
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sweet potato, cubed, peeled and steamed
  • 2 medium ripe bananas (the darker, the better!), cut into quarters
  • 2 tablespoons 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1 (5.3 ounce) container plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce

** for the flour, I combined 3/4 cup cup4cup gluten free all purpose flour + 3/4 cup spelt flour.  But you can use any unbleached all-purpose flour and 100% whole wheat flour.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a muffin tin with liners; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, add the sweet potato and banana, mash well (I use a potato mashed, but the back of a fork works too).  Add in the applesauce, eggs and yogurt and whisk to combine.
  3. Add in both types of flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and cloves.  Stir until evenly moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin liners.
  4. Bake 20-25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Remove from pan; cool completely