After a summer of sun, fun and festivities, the idea of getting into back-to-school routines can be quite stressful for parents. The early morning rush of breakfast and lunch box prep can seem daunting, but there are many ways to get ahead of the back-to-school panic by preparing delicious homemade treats that kids will love.
Here, Danielle Esplin, Barker's Marketing Manager and Mum to Sienna (8) and Cole (13) shares their top lunchbox hacks.
1. Save time with meal prepping
Setting aside an hour one evening when the kids have gone to bed to plan can help get you ahead during the school week. Select sweet and savory recipes that you can create in bulk to save time. Use Barker's NZ Apricot Jam to create Crunchy Apricot Slices. This traybake can be cut into tasty squares and are the perfect sweet treat to add to a lunchbox. It keeps fresh in a sealed container in the fridge or is ideal for storing in the freezer.
2. Encourage and involve kids in the process
Getting the kids involved is a sure way to make lunchbox prepping more enjoyable, while educating your kids about better food choices. They are also more likely to enjoy their lunchbox if they help in the prepping process. Muffin Frittatas with Barker's NZ Traditional Tomato Relish are a great way to sneak in the goodness of vegetables and is an easy recipe that you can enjoy making altogether. Change out with any vegetables you may have at home or you know your kids will eat.
3. Reduce waste and time with leftovers
Using up leftovers or what's in your fridge can be the making of a delicious school lunch, while also reducing food wastage. If you have an array of vegetables in the fridge, consider creating Leftover Lovers Sausage Rolls with Barker's NZ Sweet Chilli Relish. Being versatile and delicious, these are a tasty and filling addition to see your kids through the day.
4. Food safety is key
While tasty food is important, food safety is paramount. Make sure you are aware of the schools' allergy requirements to ensure that the food you've packed is not only safe for your kids but their school mates as well. Also consider getting an insulated lunchbox to keep food cool or a thermos for any hot food you make.
The key to school lunches is to remember that making colourful lunch boxes can be fun and rewarding. Knowing your kids are eating delicious, homecooked food means they are likely to keep healthy food habits as they get older.
1 medium onion, diced
1 capsicum, sliced
Oil, to saute
6 small boiled potatoes, diced
10 green beans, diced
Barker's Relish or Chutney of your choice
Fresh cherry tomatoes, sliced
Fresh herbs, optional
Salt & freshly cracked black pepper
Grated cheese or Parmesan
1 . Preheat oven to 180°C and grease muffin tins.
2. Over medium heat, saute onion and capsicum in a little oil for a few minutes until soft. Add diced cooked potatoes and green beans and saute for a further 5 minutes. 3. Transfer spoonfuls of cooked vegetables into muffin tins, approx 2/3rds full.
4. On top of the vegetables, dollop small amounts of relish and place cherry tomatoes.
5. In another bowl beat eggs and fold in crumbled feta. Season with salt and pepper and add fresh herbs if you have them handy.
6. Top the muffin tins with egg mixture, then sprinkle grated cheese on top. 7. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.
8. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving, or transferring to an air-tight container.
For Barker's New Zealand recipes and to shop online, please visit barkers.com.au