Banana and oat lunchbox treats

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I am a fan of squeezing as much nutrition into each meal as I can when it comes to preparing meals for my children. Adding a pinch of turmeric and cinnamon to their quinoa porridge to reduce inflammation, a sprinkle of kelp in the Lentil Bolognaise to assist with healthy thyroid function, a handful of Gogi berries in the smoothie for a dose of amino acids and a vitamin C boost , etc. This list goes on…and on.

There are mornings though when my children’s one and only simple request is that their porridge isn’t too ‘busy’. They just want simple flavours without all the fuss. Understandable.

This Banana and Oat Slice, inspired by Dale Pinnock, is simple in flavour and has just a handful of ingredients but fulfills my nutritional value test. It is packed with calcium rich Tahini, omega rich flax seeds/linseeds and oats which are super high in magnesium to boost the immune and nervous system.

It could easily double as a breakfast bar for those mornings where the accidental sleep-in doesn’t have to mean sacrificing a quality breakfast, but they do make a beautiful lunchbox treat.

Banana And Oat Slice

Makes approx  16 pieces

Ingredients

  • 2 large ripe bananas
  • 2 tbsp Tahini (or any other nut butter you have on hand)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 3 1/2 cups organic porridge oats
  • 2 tbsp flax seeds/linseeds
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil + extra for greasing tin

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F and grease a 20cm x 20cm baking tray with extra coconut oil.
  2. In a small pot add honey, coconut oil and Tahini and gently heat until evenly combined. Remove from the heat.
  3. Add the Tahini mixture to the bananas and mix until well combined.
  4. Add flax seeds/linseeds and oats to the mixture and combine well.
  5. Press the mixture into the the greased tin.
  6. Bake for approx 20 mins or until golden.
  7. Allow to cool before slicing with a serrated knife.

 

Banana and Oat slice mixture photos 001

 

 

Banana and Oat slice cooling rack photos 015

 

Enjoy!

 

Teaching tweens how to set boundaries

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It is human nature to avoid pain, including emotional pain, whether it is ours or someone else’s. So we need to help our children navigate the fear and guilt that may come with learning to set boundaries.

This morning my daughter wanted to have a ‘strategy meeting’ regarding how to deal with a boy that, according to his friends, ‘liked’ her. It should be said from the outset that these feelings were not mutual, and her friends had been sure to make this clear to this poor boy. My daughter is sensitive and was feeling uncomfortable, not only about the unwanted attention but also about how to address the issue and this boy.

Many of us, when unexpectedly placed in a situation where it is difficult to say ‘no’, will agree to something that is to our own detriment. Most of us have had the experience of agreeing to help out or be there for others when we don’t have the time, energy or resources ourselves.

Saying NO can be awkward and uncomfortable and this makes it difficult for tweens to set boundaries.

When we do things out of guilt or obligation – please others even when it contradicts what’s best for us or avoid expressing our thoughts and feelings when someone upsets us, we are succumbing to fear. We may fear rejection, so we say yes and abide by what we feel is expected of us. We may fear confrontation, so we go along with things just to make it easier. We may also feel guilt as a result of saying ‘no’ or hurting someone’s feelings.

So how do we explain to our children not only WHY it is important to prioritise our own well-being but also HOW?

Learning to set boundaries are key skills in creating healthy and emotionally sustaining relationships. If we can teach our  children to first recognise and then proritise their own well-being we are teaching them self-worth. When our children can recognise and accept what they truly desire, they no longer have to look for approval outside of themselves, which gives them the freedom to be who they really are.

“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others. We can’t base our own worthiness on others’ approval.”

– Brené Brown

My daughter and I talked about how to sit with having hurt someone’s feelings. It was important for her to be able to see that though her honesty meant this boy was disappointed she wasn’t in fact being rude. She was being truthful and sometimes often even for adults this can take a lot of courage. Our obligation to others is to be respectful, however we are not responsible for the other person’s response. We are only responsible for ourselves.

And with that we skipped off to school together discussing homework  and how to get it finished on time.

If you would like to learn more about taking brave steps in your own life, or perhaps you have a tween that you feel would benefit from learning more about resilience, I will be holding a series of Art and Yoga workshops in and around Melbourne where we will explore these ideas in a creative and supportive environment.One workshop is for adults and the focus is on Bravery and Courage. The other workshop is for tweens and parents/caregivers and addresses Resilience. No yoga or art experience is necessary.

Bookings open shortly but places are limited, so if you are interested in being notified early jump over here to register.

Michelle Seelig is the proud mother of 2 creative, courageous girls and has worked in health and well-being for 25 years. She is a qualified Yoga Teacher, Health Coach and an artist with a Masters degree in Art Therapy. Using art, yoga and coaching practices in her workshops Michelle combines her skills and insights to deliver a unique, creative and transformative experience.

 

 

4 easy steps to a healthy lunchbox

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What kids eat over the course of the day has the potential to set them up with good energy levels, good concentration and a good mood, if done right.

I am pretty conscientious when it comes to healthy lunches. I aim to include minimally processed whole foods and homemade snacks most days.  The closer it is to nature the better. I also prefer to use all organic produce where possible (thus reducing the pesticide load and impact of added hormones on growing bodies). Add to this a drink bottle filled with plain water and we are setting our children up with healthy food habits and a healthy future.

My able assistant here is the lunchbox itself, which serves as my guide. I use those lunch boxes that have 4 neat little compartments, 2 of which can conveniently hold sealed containers. Not only do they provide the perfect tool for wrapper free lunches (look for BPA free and check they are made from recyclable plastic –  my kids seem to go through a few each year) but more importantly they are the perfect tool to create a balanced lunch. These 4 compartments are my best friend in the don’t-have-time-for-too-much-thinking morning rush, and can be yours too.

The perfect school lunch in 4 compartments

1. Main course

2. Fruit and vegetables

3. Something savoury

4. A healthy sweet treat

Making sure kids get a balance of healthy fats and protein alongside energy-giving, wholegrain carbohydrates will help to keep blood sugar levels stable, ensuring good concentration and mood. It is important to keep changing it up too. Adding variety from one day to the next ensures the necessary balance of nutrients over the course of  a week. This also helps our children develop their palate. I have never prepared separate meals for my children and whilst they have their favourites, they are enthusiastic about new foods and dishes.

Main Course

The main course should provide a combination of lean protein,  healthy fats and carbohydrates. These carbohydrates should take the form of vegetables and minimally refined whole grains.. Good fats to include are avocado, nuts and seed butters  or a drizzle of olive oil. Some proteins that are lunchbox friendly include legumes (whole or as the base for a spread), organic meats, eggs and dairy.

  • Sandwich/ wraps – (sourdough, stoneground, organic breads for sandwiches or flat breads/ nori sheets for wraps) with eg. fetta and avocado/ tahini and miso
  • Leftovers that work really well  include nasi goreng, stir fry, quinoa based salads, vegetarian curry with grain, pasta-style salads
  • Homemade pastry triangles
  • Nori rolls/ sushi
  • Frittata muffins
  • Burgers

Fruit and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are an important part of the diet as they provide a wide range of nutrients as well fibre to help the digestive system function properly. Try to serve a rainbow of colours and as much variety as possible over the week.

  • cherry tomatoes
  • carrot / cucumber / celery sticks/ snow peas/ etc.
  • fresh fruit: berries / cherries/ pear / apple / stone fruit pieces

Something savoury

This includes either a savoury snack or a protein (depending on how much protein is already included in the main course)

  • boiled egg
  • cubes of marinated tofu
  • edamame (young soy beans)
  • cubes of cheese/ dip with rice biscuits or vegie sticks
  • nuts
  • small container of chick peas
  • homemade popcorn
  • rice cakes with protein based spread: nut butters, miso paste, hummus

A healthy sweet treat

  • fresh dates
  • date and coconut rolls
  • homemade bliss balls
  • homemade muffins / biscuits (sugar content reduced by 1/2)
  • dried fruit
  • pureed fruit with yogurt
  • oven roasted pear sprinkled with cinnamon

It doesn’t take much effort to create healthy school lunches. The key is being organised with a stocked fridge and pantry at the start of the week and then it is just a matter of mixing and matching  to create nutritional balance.