Packing a Healthy School Lunchbox

With the start of another school year upon us, parents are preparing themselves for the routine task of making school lunches. And did you know that over a school year, parents will pack approximately 200 lunch boxes per child!! The lunch box dilemma begins.

With a third of a child’s total daily food intake being consumed at school, it is important that what you include in your child’s lunch box provides all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals needed for energy, growth and learning. After all, packing a healthy lunchbox every day is one of the most important things you can do to help support your child’s energy levels, behaviour, focus, and ability to learn. No pressure, right?

We all know that school mornings are usually a busy, often chaotic, time in many families and and often it’s easier to resort to prepackaged, processed items as a way of saving time. However most of these foods are filled with excess sugars and lack optimum nutrients. Research has showed that the vast majority of children are eating far too few vegetables, and over 90% of children have energy-dense, micronutrient-poor snacks (‘junk food’) in their lunch boxes (National Health Survey: First Results, 2014-15) and unfortunately one in four children aged 2 to 16 are now classified as overweight or obese.

But keeping a balance between the nutritional needs of growing children and offering them foods they will actually eat and not return home can be challenging and overwhelming even for the most organised parents.

As a mum myself, I understand the struggle of packing a healthy lunch box that ticks all of the boxes.


Here are some simple strategies to banish school lunch burnout and help make healthy lunch boxes easy. After all, healthy kids are happy kids.

  1. Plan and Prepare- Think about what you are going to pack for lunches the night before, or even better, plan for the whole week. If you do little bits of prep throughout the week, you’ll be ready to assemble lunch in no time and you will find it will be far less stressful and time consuming.
  2. Avoid spiking blood sugar levels – Fat, protein and fibre slow down digestion and will keep your child feeling full, whereas sugar and starch digest more quickly and have the opposite effect. Therefore aim to provide: Complex carbohydrates for energy such as brown rice, quinoa, legumes, sweet potato and fruit ; Protein to keep your child full and maintain concentration levels such as chicken, fish, eggs, meats, or legumes; Healthy fats for brain food such as avocado, egg yolk, tahini used in hummus, olive oil
  3. Avoid processed and refined foods – these are usually high in sugars and preservatives many of which have adverse effects on behaviour.
  4. Reduce sugar – too much can greatly affect children’s behaviour and concentration, which ultimately affects how well they learn. Watch out for hidden sugars in muesli bars, muffins, biscuits and even flavoured yoghurt. Avoid soft drinks juice poppers and flavoured milk. Good old water is the best way to hydrate them — infuse them with different fruits overnight to pack them with natural flavours.
  5. Get creative – Make food visually fun for your kids. Cut fruit or sandwiches into shapes with cookie cutters, use kebab sticks with chicken and vegetables, or dips topped with funny faces using berries or pumpkin seeds.


Australian Health Survey: Nutrition First Results – Foods And Nutrients, 2011-12. N.p., 2017. Web. 21 Jan. 2017.

National Health Survey: First Results, 2014-15. N.p., 2017.

Sanigorski AM, et al. “Lunchbox Contents Of Australian School Children: Room For Improvement. – Pubmed – NCBI”. N.p., 2017.

My Pregnancy #2

Let me start by saying that pregnancy is very individual and that everyone has completely different experiences. So what works for one person in terms of supplements, foods, therapies etc may not work for another. 

This is what I have experienced so far in my second pregnancy and what I have done to manage my symptoms!

Trimester One:

Both in my first and second pregnancies, I have been very lucky in terms of symptoms. The main symptom I experienced with both is fatigue. However the second time around, I also experienced terrible nausea. I started to experience typical pregnancy symptoms from about week 6 onwards where I found myself in a zombie like state of exhaustion and for about 2-3 weeks felt so nauseas and unwell which was made worse by the fact that I was so tired and also had a toddler.  

Fatigue in pregnancy: This is a tiredness unlike any other tiredness I have ever experienced. You feel completely wiped out and exhausted. While during my first pregnancy I was able to take naps, this time was different and I wasn’t always able to take an afternoon nap. So the best advice I can give is to go to bed early. Some nights, I found myself in bed by 7.30pm right after my toddler was asleep. 

Nausea/ Morning Sickness: This is such an awful feeling and some days it was so bad I wish I was just able to vomit just to get some relief. I believe this was made worse by the fact that I felt so tired too. I felt nauseas all day long and some days it was even worse at night. However I started Acupuncture right away and after 3-4 treatments I found I was rarely feeling nauseas if at all. And while I didn’t feel like eating at all and the smell of certain foods almost made me gag, personally I found that eating smaller meals and blander foods such as rice and vegetables, rice crackers or fresh juices made me feel better and gave me enough energy to get through the day. 

Supplements: Having the right supplements are also extremely helpful as it allows you to receive the nutrients you need when you may not be getting them through your diet.  At a time when your body is going through so many changes growing a small human, there is a higher demand for these nutrients so while ideally it would be great if they can be supplied through the diet it just may not be possible. So if you are low in any of these, the baby will take everything it can from you, leaving you tired, pale and foggy headed!

Trimester Two:

I am now towards the end of trimester 2 and feeling much better! The nausea disappeared around week 9 and I started to feel the fatigue subside a little by about week 17 however with a toddler, I still have times when I feel utterly exhausted and in bed by 8pm. I began to do some light exercise again and began weekly pilates classes. I was able to eat more nourishing foods and the development of a little bump of course increases the excitement about the new little arrival!

Even though most women feel better in the second trimester, it is important not to push yourself. I continued with my supplements and made sure I used any extra energy I had to cook nourishing meals and batch cook food to freeze for those times I didn’t feel so great. I added some light exercise to my weekly routine and made sure I took some time out (even if just for 10 mins) for me! 

Stay tuned for Trimester Three!

Top 5 Healthy Summer Snacks for Kids

With summer fast approaching it’s time to rejoice and harness the energy of the sun.

Healthy summer snacks are key to keeping your child well nourished during holiday season. Young children need energy to help them grow, develop and reach their maximum potential. When children get hungry, not only does their behaviour and moods change but they can easily turn to quick unhealthy snacks to satisfy their needs.

With a little bit of planning, you can keep your child on track for a healthy summer with some healthy and tasty snacks to nibble on! A great way to get them onboard with the selections is to involve them in the planning.

Food has to be fun and tasty. Give them options. When they decide, it gives them a feeling of control and they are less likely to refuse eating.

It is important that the snack foods you provide are healthy, low in sugar and salt. Being a role model and buying food that is healthy will go a long way in shaping your child’s relationship with food too.


  1. Smoothies – these are perfect for the hot days ahead. Simply blend yoghurt, milk  (or alternative) and fruit such as bananas and berries. They also make a great power breakfast in the morning - Just add chia seeds for added protein. Get some silly straws to make them even more fun.
  2. Frozen fruit ( e.g oranges, bananas, watermelon and grapes)
  3. Cheese slices or cheese sticks either on their own or with low fat crackers
  4. Homemade frozen yoghurt icy-poles. Blend natural or coconut yogurt and fruit. Pour mixture into icy-pole moulds, freeze and enjoy. A great alternative to ice cream on those hot days.
  5. Carrot, zucchini or celery sticks combined with healthy dips such as mashed avocado or hummus (for very young kids, soften the vegetables)

TIP: Keep a bowl of fresh fruits and vegetables that are clean and ready to eat on the kitchen table or at the front and centre of the fridge so the kids can see and reach it.