Ursula Walsh has shed over 56lbs since starting her Instagram account Mom Fitness Diary to document her weight loss. The Mexican mum-of-two, who lives in Co. Offaly, has amassed thousands of followers, all eager to keep up with her daily tips and recipes.
“Now that the kids are heading back to school, it’s tricky to dream up tasty and filling lunchbox ideas they haven’t seen one hundred times before.
To help makes things a little more interesting, I’ve put together ten different healthy and balanced combinations, with nut-free alternatives for those who can’t bring them into school.
1. Banana Pancakes & Fruit
This is my usual banana pancake recipe: 1/2 cup of raw oats, 1 banana, 1 egg, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Blend all the ingredients and cook as regular pancakes. Send a piece of fruit for them to enjoy with it. You can cook them a night before school or else cook batch them for the entire week. Once prepared you can also freeze them and wrap them in individual portions. Take out the night before you need them.
2. Cheese-Ham Rolls, Carrot & Cucumber Sticks
You can make cheese rolls with cheddar or with cream cheese and ham. I part-boil the carrots and cut up a few cucumber sticks. Add some oat biscuits too.
3. Shaped Sandwiches, Nuts & Fruit
Sandwich filing ideas: Ham & cheese, cream cheese and banana, peanut butter and home made strawberry jam, almond butter, tuna salad, chocolate spread with strawberries. For an alternative spread to almond or peanut butter, you can use pumpkin spread with some honey.
4. Grated Apple and Cheddar Quesadilla
To make the quesadilla, simply grate one apple and some cheddar cheese and combine them. Place the mixture inside a wholemeal wrap. Fold in half and cook in a frying pan until the cheese has melted. Cut in four triangles and it’s ready to go. These are delicious and kids love them.
5. Crackers, Cheese and Fruit
This is a very simple idea, especially for those days that you’re in a rush. Pop everything in the box, adding grapes or apple slices to enjoy with the cheese.
6. Veggie-egg Muffins, Fruit & Yogurt
To make these delicious muffins, simply chop a some green and red peppers, 1/2 tomato and 1 tablespoon of chopped onion. Combine them in a bowl with 1 egg, grated cheese, sea salt and pepper. Place mixture inside muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius
7. Chicken strips, Popcorn & Fruit
Those leftover pieces of chicken from dinner are a great option for the next day’s lunch box. Add some popcorn on the side and a piece of fruit. Result: a very complete and nutritious lunch box.
8. Apple Chips, Nuts & Raisins
These apple chips are so easy to make! Simply slice an apple as thin as you can. Cover a tray with greaseproof paper. Place the sliced apple on top and bake for 30 minutes at 150 degrees Celsius. Allow them to cool down to crisp. You can sprinkle them with a bit of cinnamon -they are delicious! (You can make sweet potato crisps as well). Instead of the nuts you can use a mix of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and coconut.
9. Almond Butter Rice Cake Sandwiches, Banana & Yogurt
This option is a quick and healthy one that kids love. For an almond butter alternative you can use pumpkin seed butter with 1 tablespoon of honey.
10. Baked Oats, Yogurt & Fruit