FOODWORLD
Healthy family meals on a budget!
New Zealand's Easiest Family Recipes
Serving healthy food to your family is challenging, especially when you are on a low budget. We have low cost meals for people on a budget with cost saving ideas and budget recipes. They are all healthy eating ideas and are cheap to prepare. Change the recipes to suit your family's tastes and the ingredients you have. Cutting costs on food doesn't mean you have to cut on quality. It's still possible to prepare meals that not only taste great, but are also good for you.
Healthy School Lunch Ideas!
Pack a good school lunch. Plan ahead and pack school lunches the night before, so you're not rushed in the morning. Better yet, get your kids into the habit of making their own lunches at night or in the morning. This will teach them about healthy and nutritious lunch box ideas too! For interesting and healthy lunch ideas for kids, try using wholegrain bread, poppy seed rolls, pita pockets, focaccia or ciabatta bread. And for fillings that are appealing and packed with nutrients

PACK A GOOD SCHOOL LUNCH
Plan ahead and pack school lunches the night before, so you're not rushed in the morning. Better yet, get your kids into the habit of making their own lunches at night or in the morning. This will teach them about healthy and nutritious lunch box ideas too! For interesting and healthy lunch ideas for kids, try using wholegrain bread, poppy seed rolls, pita pockets, focaccia or ciabatta bread. And for fillings that are appealing and packed with nutrients
* Wrap sandwiches in wax paper or re-sealable plastic bags - this will keep them fresh all day and prevent drying out.
* Don't make sandwiches that will get soggy - if there's tomato involved, secure between lettuce leaves or slice tomato and place in a small plastic container or plastic wrap.
* Try not to include foods that smell strongly - these may not make a good impression in the playground or the classroom.
* Include a range of foods - choose mainly carbohydrates for energy, dairy products for strong bones, other sources of protein and healthy fats.


Make sandwiches more exciting
Sandwiches don't have to be boring! Carbohydrates are vital for energy and can be different every day, with a little imagination. For interesting and healthy lunch ideas for kids, try using wholegrain bread, poppy seed rolls, pita pockets, focaccia or ciabatta bread. And for fillings that are appealing and packed with nutrients, try:
* Avocado and lettuce, tomato, cucumber and sprouts
* Hummus with grated carrot and tamari-roasted sunflower seeds
* Peanut butter with thinly sliced celery
* Vegemite with chopped walnuts

Pack a protein hit
For energy that's long lasting, incorporate a high protein snack in your child's lunch box. Try these simple and healthy lunch ideas:
* A small handful of roasted, unsalted peanuts with raisins or dried apricots
* A small tub of natural yogurt with dried fruit.
* Celery sticks with cottage cheese and chives
* Cubes of edam cheese and an apple
* Pita bread quarters with hummus
* Baked beans with corn chips

Consider sandwich alternatives
Bread isn't the only form of carbohydrate available - there are other grains that can be an equally food source of energy. Remember to use whole grains wherever possible for slow-release energy. School lunch box ideas don't have to be complicated either; instead of sandwiches, try:
* Brown rice salad with green beans, tomato and almonds
* Mashed potato with peas and sweet corn
* Couscous with roast tomatoes, courgettes and feta cheese
* Pasta spirals with cherry tomatoes and pesto
* A mini pizza with tomato paste, pumpkin, fresh tomato, sunflower seeds and fresh basil
* Sushi rolls with sticky rice and thinly sliced cucumber, red capsicum, carrot and avocado

Give a serve (or two) of fruit
Fruit provides valuable vitamins and minerals for good health and vitality. Include a piece of fruit every day in your child's lunch - apple, pear, banana, apricot, melon or kiwifruit. To make fruit more appealing, make a fruit salad with grapes, strawberries and orange. You can also include freshly squeezed fruit juice for an added serve of vitamins.

Add a salad
Give your kids a fresh produce based lunch for a change. Salad, along with a wholegrain bread roll, will provide vitamins and minerals. A simple dressing, such as light mayonnaise, can also be included in a small plastic container - alternatively, just use fresh lemon juice, a little salt and freshly ground black pepper. See which salads are your child's favourite at dinner time, before including them in a school lunch (and you can even use leftovers!). Alternative lunch ideas for kids need not be complicated. Try:
* Grated carrot with orange and pumpkin seeds
* Lettuce with tomato, cucumber and baby corn
* Green beans, tomato and avocado
* Potato salad with hardboiled eggs, chives and yoghurt dressing
* Roast vegetable salad with roasted courgette, beetroot, capsicum and sweet potato

Extras for energy
Kids use a lot of energy throughout the day - running around and thinking hard (the brain uses around 80% of all the energy we consume!) - so it's important to provide snacks for mid-morning or after-lunch energy slumps. Snacks from the supermarket can often be expensive, wasteful with packaging and contain unnecessary added sugar, salt and preservatives. Try making your own snacks at home instead. Some easy lunch recipes can be made ahead of time, so you can include your kids in the baking process and they'll eventually make their own! For healthy snacks,
try these lunch box ideas:
* Granola bars - these are easy to make at home with a base of oats, nuts, seeds and dried fruit, held together with honey.
* Pikelets - kids love making these and they can be included as a snack with a little jam.
* Cookies - there are many healthy alternatives to sugar-packed, store-bought biscuits. Try making your own, oat based cookies - rather than white flour based. Cut them into fun shapes and decorating with nuts, seeds or choc chips.
* Chocolate balls - using peanut butter as a base, add carob powder, chocolate chips, coconut, raisins, honey and chopped nuts. Roll in coconut or sesame seeds.
* Instant dessert - combine mashed banana, apple sauce, plain yoghurt and a little cinnamon for a quick (and healthy) lunch box treat.

Drinks
As well as solid foods, kids need adequate hydration during the day; it's essential for growing bodies and minds! Remember to ensure drink bottles have a secure lid. For school lunch drinks, try:
* Water bottle (the best drink choice!)
* Fruit juice (get freshly squeezed varieties with no added sugar or artificial sweeteners)
* Plain or flavoured milk (great for a dose of calcium)
* Fruit smoothie (combine milk, yoghurt, banana, berries and a little honey)

Healthy family meals on a budget!