Newsletter, February 2017

Think Outside the Traditional Lunchbox

2017 is well under way now. We have been back at school and work for a few weeks and are all settling into new routines and changes to our daily programs. Well most of us anyway. Many of us start the year off with great ambition around our eating patterns, exercise regimes and general wellbeing for both ourselves and our children. But as the weeks progress this gets seemingly more difficult.

Breakfast, as we are aware, is very important not to skip. It’s the first meal we eat after hopefully 7 – 9 hours of sleep. Breakfast fuels our bodies and helps it perform at its optimum level.

Dinner is a meal we should try enjoy with our family. It’s a time of bonding after a busy day. Dinner should be a relatively light meal (avoid those heavy starchy food) and should be eaten at least 3 hours before bedtime. This ensures your body has, or at least has started, digesting your food.

But what about lunch? The meal that is slap bang in the middle of your busy day and kiddies school day. The meal that you cannot supervise your children eating. The meal that makes up 1 third of what we eat each day. What should our children be taking to school? What should they be eating? What are the correct portions? How to I find the daily inspiration? Let’s answer some of these questions…

The Golden rule is that balanced, healthy lunchboxes shouldn’t be a chore!

The Top 6 Items to Include in Your Lunchboxes!

Include foods from the following food groups in healthy proportions:

Carbohydrates
The main fuel for the body and essential for active, growing kids. Whole grain starches keep kids fuller for longer.

Proteins
Protein is essential for the young growing body to function optimally. Try to stay away from processed meats, as these are high is Saturated fats. Try packed individually like chicken strips or boiled egg; proteins that can be used for sandwich fillings like left over meats for dinner, tuna or if needed low fat cold meats. Other options are to left-over chicken, fish or cheese to pasta salads.

Dairy and dairy alternatives
These are a good source of calcium, magnesium, vitamin B2 and vitamin D which aid the growth of strong bones and teeth. Try little yoghurts, cheese cubes, flavoured cream cheese (this can be used as a dip or veggies or a replacement for butter) Make a delicious fruit and yoghurt smoothie – this is like a yummy two for one deal.

Fruit and/or vegetables
Sneak these nutrient-packed foods into meals and snacks as often as possible, and keep options exciting. A little bit of sneaky sneaky will only benefit them. There are great precut fruit and veggie options in store, add a dip, make cute skewers, you can even make funny fruit faces.

Small portions of healthy fats
Small portions of healthy fats found in plants (nuts, seeds, avocado pear and plant oils) and oily fish (sardines, mackerel, salmon, and herring) maintain cell membranes, aid absorption of vitamins and assist brain development. This is all about portion control.

Handy tip for nuts
Buy nuts in bulk, save money! Nuts are high in natural fats and can therefore go rancid rather quickly. To preserve the nuts, portion them into lunchbox portions, place these portions in small freezer bags, squeeze out all the air and seal. Label with the date and pop in the freezer for up to 6 months. They defrost within minutes from taking them out the freezer. Easy as that.

Water
Water being the best choice to add fluid to your child’s lunchbox to keep the body hydrated throughout the day!

Increase the “kid appearl” of water
Add fresh fruit juice or crushed fresh fruit, freeze it and serve as fruit slush in funky water bottles.

Top Lunchbox Tips

Keep lunchboxes fun and exciting! Use as many different colours as you can, create shapes and pictures with fun food. Serve items in unique containers. Use cooler boxes to keep the food cool and fresh – You also won’t end up finding half eaten lunch squashed at the bottom of the bag. There are loads of funky lunch boxes on the market that won’t break the bank. Stock up on few different options so you are not frantically trying to wash lunch boxes every night – or morning.

Plan ahead to be ahead! Compile weekly menus, cook a little extra in the evening and upcycle for lunch boxes, freeze what you can for use later.

Be snack wise! Pack healthy snack options. Go slow on high energy, sugary and fatty snacks – these are more treats than snacks.

Sneak in as many fruit and vegetables as possible! Precut fruit to be dipped in yoghurt or pureed fruit mixed into yoghurt, veggies in pasta salad. Don’t forget Retailers wide range of ready-to-eat sliced fruits and conveniently pre-packed vegetable options.

Alternate! If you can’t get them to eat whole grain bread – try one slice whole grain and one slice other bread – create a checker board with the two slices. Alternate spreads, use hummus, mayo, but butter or guacamole instead of butter or margarine.

Play with your food! Honestly who wouldn’t eat a cool looking fruit skewer or sandwich. Try leave a special little note showing you care. Use cookie cutters and cupcake cases. Let your kids come up with ideas for sandwich faces or fruit animals. Make them part of the fun – as far as possible.

Team work! Start a school lunchbox group. Create a roster with two or three moms where you each take turns to prepare lunchboxes on alternating days. This creates great excitement with the kids and takes pressure off you trying to be creative every day. Make sure you know what allergies each child has!

Snacks & Sandwich Alternatives

When packing snacks take into consideration how active your child is and pack accordingly. Don’t pack too many carbohydrates and fats if your child is not very active. Rather stick to fruit, veggies and dairy.

  • Fresh fruit, and ready to eat dried fruit options- there are loads in your local store. Try avoid sugar coated options.
  • Low GI breakfast bars and Handmade Almond Bar with Cranberries
  • Air-popped popcorn, pretzels, multigrain nacho chips, and wholegrain crackers
  • Smoothies – you can make so many different and great nutrition packed smoothies.
  • Cottage cheese, Mini Cheese Blocks and dips (such as Hummus and Guacamole)
  • Beef biltong or Ostrich biltong
  • Vegetable snack packs like Baby tomatoes, sugar snap peas, baby corn and carrots
  • Apple slices and peanut butter
  • Try freezing a small tub of yoghurt onto an ice cream stick as a healthy ice-cream alternative

What About Tasty Sandwich Alternatives?

Try these out and see how you go…

  • Homemade chicken pasta salad made with Pasta shapes (or gluten free pasta), left-over roast chicken or BBQ Mini Chicken Fillets, Tangy Light Reduced Oil Mayonnaise mixed with a dash of chutney, chopped soft apricots, diced cucumber and red pepper.
  • Mini Multi seed Wraps – spread with low fat cottage cheese and filled with Superfood Beetroot and Carrot Salad OR Rainbow Salad. Include a protein like chicken or tuna
  • Rice cracker stack with peanut butter and banana slices
  • Whole grain rolls can be alternated with regular bread to keep up the interest
  • Cous Cous Salad with chicken and colourful veggies
  • Try delicious Salad Jars – these are jars and can be made in advance

How Do I Learn More, You Ask?

Little Cooks Club offers a wide range of cooking programs for the whole family, even a full Lunchbox Program. Go to our Events page or contact your nearest Franchisee for the term agendas and see what’s happening in the next few months.

Featured Franchises

Witbank
Natasha dos Santos | 076 8236698
natasha@littlecooksclub.co.za

Natasha recently hosted her first Open day in her beautiful Kitchen in Witbank. All the eager Little Cooks made home-made pasta and got to choose from a variety of tasty toppings. The day was a great success and Natasha cannot wait to welcome all the eager Little Cooks and Junior chefs back into her kitchen. Book your spot now as space is limited and classes are filling up. You don’t want to miss out!

Sunninghill/Kyalami
Tamsyn Woudberg | 076 9442939
tamsynw@littlecooksclub.co.za

Tamsyn recently opened her kitchen to many eager young chefs for a morning of fun in the kitchen. The colorful kitchen was abuzz with excitement as they all explored the kitchen and heard about all the exciting programs on offer. Her agendas for the first quarter are out and classes resume from the first week of February. “I have a passion for food, cooking and teaching. Passing on my passion and knowledge to the youth is very important to me. I look forward to a fantastic year in my Little Cooks Kitchen with you all. Come and join in the fun” Tamsyn.

Teach Them Young

Exposing our children to food and cooking is a vital life skill that is unfortunately no longer being passed on to younger generations. This is by no means the fault of the parent or the school but more attributed to the current lifestyles so many of us live. Little Cooks Club offers a fantastic (if I may say so myself) At School Program at a number of schools around South Africa. If you would like to get involved in passing on the skill of cooking and passion for food to our youth at schools, there is a franchise opportunity for you.

The At School Program is available in many areas around the country! Contact Christine (headoffice@littlecooksclub.co.za) for more info.

Would you like to join our team and offer the complete Little Cooks Club program? Contact Christine (headoffice@littlecooksclub.co.za) for more info.

There is a huge demand for franchisees in the following areas:

Gauteng
Sandton / Morningside
Fourways/Dainfern
Bedfordview
Houghton
Pretoria East
Northcliff / Roodepoort
Hartebeesportdam

KwaZulu-Natal
Durban
Hillcrest
Pietermaritzburg

Western Cape
Cape Town
Durbanville/Bellville
Stellenbosch
Paarl/Wellington
George
Knysna

Eastern Cape
East London
Queenstown
Port Elizabeth

Head Office Contact Details

Head Office (for franchise enquiries)
Christine Phillips, 083 556 3434
headoffice@littlecooksclub.co.za

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