Lunchbox Lady

Back to school for kids means homework for mum and dad, Silvia Hart the lunchbox lady to the rescue.

Instead Silvia's created her own, cheaper and healthier versions of the popular packaged foods.

"I've got muesli bars, these are so popular the cheese and cracker, orange and poppyseed muffin, some rice bubble bars and a cous cous salad. And I've taken them and recreated them in a healthy way and cheaper."

Silvia's top tip make food in bulk and freeze it to save time and money. You'll find there's always a healthier home-made alternative.

Recipes

Honey Puffed Rice Bars

Ingredients

130g butter

3 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon vanilla paste

5 cups rice bubbles

Method

On low temperature melt butter and combine in honey and vanilla. Allow mixture to cool. Once cool poor over rice puffs and mix. Press mixture into a rectangular cake tin and refrigerate for at least one hour before slicing into bars.

Makes 18 bars

**

Muesli Bars**

Ingredients

2 cup of rolled oats

½ cup of unsweetened desiccated coconut

1/4 cup of sesame seeds

1/2 cup of sunflower seeds

1/2 cup of raw pumpkin seeds

1 cup of dried, unsweetened cranberries or sultanas

100 grams of butter

1/2 cup of honey

Baking paper

Method

Grease and line a square baking tin with baking paper.

Cook the oats, coconut, sesame seeds, sunflower kernels and pumpkin seeds in a fry pan over low to medium heat, stirring occasionally until golden. Set aside to cool.

Stir in the cranberries/sultanas

Warm the butter and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly for 3 to 4 minutes or until combined.

Add butter mixture to dry ingredients. Stir well until combined.

Spoon the mixture into the tin. Use a large metal spoon to press the mixture down firmly and evenly. Cook for 30 minutes at 180c

Allow to cool and then cut into portions. The bars can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.

**

Quinoa, Chicken, Kale & Pumpkin Salad**

A great protein powerhouse of a salad. Designed to be made with Sunday night's roast chicken.

Ingredients

150g cooked quinoa

50g cooked chicken pieces

25g diced feta

50g cooked roast pumpkin

2 roasted roma tomatoes diced

2 leaves of kale, stalk removed, finely shredded

2 basil leaves torn

2 tbsp pumpkin seeds

1 tbsp of olive oil

½ tbsp apple cider vinegar

Method

Combine all ingredients in a bowl = DONE!

Orange & Poppy Seed Muffins

Ingredients

200g butter, softened

125g honey

2 eggs

4 tbsp yoghurt

juice and zest of 2 oranges

1 cup grated carrot

3 cups of plain flour

1 tbsp baking powder

3 tbsp poppy seed

½ cup of milk

Method

Preheat your oven to 200c

Place poppy seeds in milk. Cream together honey and butter until light and fluffy. Mix in one egg at a time until fully combined. Add in yoghurt, orange zest and juice and milk and combine. Combine flour and baking powder in a separate bowl then fold through until just combined. (The key to good muffins is to not over work the batter)

Oil muffin tins and divide mixture into 18 muffins.

Cook muffins at 200c for 20 - 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Quark cheese dip and crackers

100g of quark, salt to taste and 1 teaspoon of chopped chives... mixed.

Crackers - olive oil brushed pita bread sprinkled with garlic & rosemary salt roasted in oven until crispy.

Silvia's top 5 tips for choosing packaged foods

1. read labels! just because it says its healthy does not mean it is.

2. More than 10 ingredients - give it a miss.

3. Take the time to make your school lunch boxes healthy.

4. Protein up the lunch box - helps with with sustained energy release.

5. Cook in bulk and freeze - saves time and money.