Don’t Skip Breakfast! Quick and Easy Ways to Fit in Breakfast When You’re Busy

It’s not breaking news that breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day, but it seems that many of are not listening. In fact, a Harvard study found that up to 30% of us are not eating breakfast. While it’s easy to preach the importance of breakfast the reality is that most of us are busy in the morning. We’ve got early meetings, trips to the gym and getting the kids ready for school – not to mention the school drop off! Some days just getting out of the door on time is an achievement and breakfast is way down the list of priorities.

If you’re like me and always find yourself skipping breakfast due to a busy schedule, then these tips should help.

5 quick and easy ways to fit in breakfast

Quick and Easy Ways to Fit in Breakfast When You're Busy!

1. Make Smoothies

A smoothie is a quick and easy way to get a healthy breakfast when you’re in a rush. To make it even quicker you can make up smoothie bags – zip lock bags full of your ingredients that are kept in the freezer. I like to use banana, berries, chai seeds and a dash of honey, but the flavour options are endless. Simply pull them out of the freezer, add your milk of choice and blend. If you don’t have time to drink one at home, pop it in a travel cup and take it with you.

2. Make an Omelette

Omelettes are another healthy breakfast that you can prepare in advance. Chop up your fillings the night before (you can normally do a few days at a time) and then in the morning all you need to do is crack your eggs, add your bag of ingredients and wait the 3 or 4 minutes for it to cook. Breakfast in under 5 minutes! Add a slice of wholemeal bread for a more substantial meal.

3. Make Breakfast Muffins

Muffins don’t have to be unhealthy and there are some great recipes around for breakfast muffins. Make these in bulk and freeze them and then you can grab one on the run as you rush out the door. We really like this recipe and it freezes really well.

Quick and Easy Ways to Fit in Breakfast When You're Busy!

4. Keep breakfast foods at work

If you know you are often arriving at work without breakfast, why not embrace this and be prepared. Stock your work fridge with bread, cereal or yoghurt so you’ve always got something to eat when you get there. Even if your workplace doesn’t provide much it can be worth investing in a cheap toaster or a blender so you can make smoothies at work. Ask around the office and I’m sure others will chip in!

5. Keep it simple

Yes, it’s nice to have a lovely breakfast but sometimes you have to go with the easiest option. A slice of toast of a tub of yoghurt or a breakfast bar is better than nothing. Having a simple fall back option helps to ensure that you’re not left without. Stock your fridge with a few individual tubs of yoghurt that you can grab on the way out or pop some toast in while you’re getting ready. Any breakfast is better than no breakfast.

While it seems like you’re too busy, with a little bit of pre-planning you should find eating breakfast possible even with the busiest of schedule. It’s worth it – you’ll have more energy, be less cranky and start the day on a positive note!

Healthy Christmas Lunch ideas

They should call Christmas the season of chocolates and naughty treats. Everywhere you turn there’s a box of Ferrero Rochers or a plate of mince pies calling out your name. December is one of the hardest months to stay healthy, but with a little restraint it is possible to enjoy the festive season without missing out.

One great benefits of Christmas in Australia is that the hot weather makes it a lot easier to eat healthy without feeling like you’re missing out. Fresh seafood and delicious salads are perfect for summer weather, and still feel festive and indulgent.

Here’s a few simple ways to keep your Christmas menu healthy:

Switch the alcohol  

Definitely enjoy a drink or two over the festive season, but if you’re going to multiple Christmas events then the calories from alcohol quickly add up. Soft drink is almost as bad calorie wise, so why not try some flavoured water spritzers. Simply add your favourite fruits and spice blends to soda water, add plenty of ice and you’ve got yourself a delicious, festive feeling drink. We love this Pomegranate, Ginger and Lime spritzer.

healthy Christmas lunch alternatives

Embrace Seafood

It wouldn’t be an Aussie Christmas without some prawns and bugs, and if you make these the main focus of your Christmas lunch you’ll instantly be enjoying a healthier meal. If you’re asked to bring a dish to a function, try this Prawn, Mango and Avocado salad – it will definitely impress and you know that there will be a healthy (and delicious) option for you.

healthy Christmas lunch alternatives

Watch your sides

You really don’t want to know how many calories are in your favourite creamy potato bake, but you don’t have to miss out. There are healthier versions of almost all of the traditional side dishes even potato bake. There are so many great vegetable based side dishes that still feel indulgent. We love this cinnamon roasted sweet potato as a perfect side. Salads make a perfect healthy alternative – just watch the dressing! Avoid the Caesar salad and try this cranberry, fetta and walnut salad instead.

Watch the snacks

Chips, dips and crackers are quick and easy ways to add unnecessary calories, but there are plenty of healthier alternatives. Fruit platters are perfect for Christmas, with delicious cherries, mangoes and stone fruit in season. Switch the crackers for rice crackers or cut up vegetables, and choose hummus and yoghurt based dips instead of the traditional creamy ones. Try this minty yoghurt dip or healthy Christmas Hummus.

healthy Christmas lunch alternatives

Healthier Desserts

If you are going to indulge in dessert (and why not!) try to stay away from the heavy, sugar filled cakes and slices. The chances are high that it will be a hot day, so why not enjoy a fresh fruit sorbet or a healthy fruit salad. If you want to be a bit cheeky these champagne and strawberry ice blocks are better than a big slice of pav, and definitely feel like a treat!

My final tip is to keep everything in moderation. It’s perfectly fine to enjoy your favourite foods, just watch your serving sizes and pick out what you really want to enjoy, rather than trying to have them all.

Have a great Christmas!

Thanks to Carol from My Bored Toddler for sharing her healthy eating tips with us.

Healthy and Nutritious After School Snack Ideas

When your child gets home from school, the chances are that they’ll be starving. If they’re anything like my own children, they’ll have barely touched their lunch, ran around all day, and be on the verge of a meltdown because they’re tired and hungry.

Before you let them go and play, having them eat a healthy and nutritious snack is highly recommended. You don’t even have to wait till they get home. With my younger children I know that they need food as soon as they are picked up, so I have snacks ready to go when they get in the car. The same can easily apply for older children, and most of them will devour it before you get home.

While you don’t want them to be too full for dinner, there’s normally around 2-3 hours before dinnertime so don’t be afraid to fill them up. As long as what they are eating is healthy and nutritious you should be fine. Try to avoid letting them fill up on junk food and snacks with little or no nutritional value.

Some really simple healthy and nutritious after school snack ideas include:

  • Cut up vegetables with hummus or guacamole
    Store bought hummus is generally quite healthy with very few (if any) additives, or you can easily make your own. I really love this homemade hummus recipe from Jamie Oliver.
  • Rice crackers with nut spreads, avocado or tuna
    For healthier options try to choose tuna in spring water and nut spreads with a lower sugar content. If you wanted to make your own healthy nut spread, then this recipe is easy.
  • Homemade mini pizzas using tortillas or wraps
    Kids love making these and they freeze really well. We like making them together in bulk on the weekends and freezing for later. We use tomato paste, a bit of cheese, and their choice of toppings. Buy or make wholemeal bases for an even healthier option.

Healthy and Nutritious After School Snack Ideas

  • Wraps and sandwiches made with wholemeal bread
    By switching from white bread or wraps to wholemeal, you are instantly increasing the amount of nutrients in the snack, and lowering the glycaemic index, meaning they will feel full for longer.
  • Oven baked sweet potato chips
    These are always a hit with the older kids, and they are perfect served with some salsa, hummus or guacamole. The best thing is that they are easy to make.
  • Smoothies with fruit, milk or yoghurt and honey
    Smoothies are a great way to pack lots of fruit into one meal. Simply add half a glass of milk, a handful of ice and your choice or fruit to the blender. Mix it up by substituting the milk for yoghurt or using a little honey for sweetness. I turn any leftovers into ice blocks (simply pour into ice block moulds and freeze – easy!) which are perfect for those hot afternoons.
  • Fruit with Greek Yoghurt
    By adding the greek yoghurt, it gives the fruit that extra kick of protein, and keeps them full for longer. Serve it with a dash of honey for some natural sweetness.
  • Savoury muffins
    There are so many great savoury muffin recipes out there (this is our favourite one) and they are great to eat in the car on the way home. This is another meal that you can make in bulk and freeze. They’re also great in lunch boxes.

Healthy and Nutritious After School Snack Ideas

I hope we’ve given you some simple ideas to keep the after school snacks healthy and nutritious. Make sure you also check out our tips for packing a healthy lunch box.

Thanks to Carol from My Bored Toddler for sharing her tips with us. Carol is an Australian Teacher and the proud mum of two toddlers who have LOTS of energy.

A teacher shares her tips on how to pack a healthy school lunch

Packing a healthy school lunch is one of those tasks where most parents (myself included) start off the school year with amazingly healthy and beautiful looking lunches and then by the end of the year it’s whatever we can throw together from the cupboard.

While no one is expecting organic, homemade snacks and a completely balanced lunchbox each day, it’s important to remember that children spend the majority of the day at school, and their school lunch makes up a large percentage of their daily food intake. With numerous studies linking nutrition to behaviour and concentration, packing a healthy school lunch really is important.

We asked several teachers for their best healthy school lunch tips, and here are the most popular responses:

  1. Don’t forget breakfast.
    Yes this is about lunch boxes, but often the first break time isn’t until two hours after schools starts. If your child hasn’t had anything to eat before they leave home, that’s a really long time to go without any food. If mornings are a rush, try foods that can be eaten on the run like yoghurt and smoothies.
  2. Fruit break should be for fruit!
    Most schools offer a fruit break or a munch and crunch and many teachers reported frustration about the ‘fruit flavoured’ processed items that would be sent for these breaks. Keep it simple with fruit and vegetables for this snack time.how to pack a healthy school lunch
    Read the labels.
  3. Many lunchboxes are packed with what look like healthy foods, but are in fact full of sugar. Yoghurt pouches and muesli bars are some of the key offenders of this with many of the popular brands adding large amounts of sugar. Read the labels and find the brands that avoid the additional additives (they are out there!)
  4. Avoid the juice and poppers and stick with water.
    Water is all they need to drink during the day. Save the juice for treats and special occasions
  5. Try to include protein for morning tea and lunch.
    There are lots of different protein options including sliced meat (try to stay away from the processed meats where possible), chicken, eggs (hard boiled ones are great), hummus and tuna that work well for school lunches.
  6. Switch to wholemeal.
    Where possible try to substitute wholemeal or multigrain alternatives for white bread, wraps and crackers. If you bake snacks at home, use wholemeal flour instead of white flour. Swap white pasta for wholemeal pasta and use brown rice where possible.how to pack a healthy school lunch
  7. Avoid processed food
    Try to limit processed and packaged food as much as possible. The more natural ingredients that the food contains, the healthier it is. There are healthy, mostly unprocessed options that you can buy at the supermarkets these days, and they are definitely worth choosing over the highly processed options.
  8. Keep it simple.
    Keep in mind your child only has around 15 minutes at each break time to eat before they are allowed to play. Very few children will stick around to continue eating after that play bell rings, no matter how good there lunch is! Make sure the food is easy for them to eat and can be eaten quickly, otherwise it generally won’t get eaten.

Packing a healthy lunchbox doesn’t have to be difficult and it doesn’t have to be fancy. Your child will benefit from increased concentration, better behaviour and a healthier lifestyle.

Thanks to Carol from My Bored Toddler for sharing her tips with us. Carol is an Australian Teacher and the proud mum of two toddlers who have LOTS of energy.

Gluten-free cauliflower pizza crust recipe

Looking for a new recipe to tempt the family? It’s hard to go past pizza as great way to get the kids to try new and healthy ingredients. Get them to lend a helping hand in the preparation as well to help give you a better chance of getting your fussy eaters to eat well!

This Cauliflower Pizza Crust recipe is gluten free and Paleo. It makes one large crust or four small personal crusts:

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets (stem and leaves removed)
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzerella (preferably fresh, organic), grated
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. unrefined sea salt
  • (and sauce and toppings of your choice)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius and line a cooking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor, pulse small batches of cauliflower florets until cauliflower pieces are the size of rice grains.
  3. In a large pot, add the cauliflower “rice” and 2-3 tbsp. of water and cover the pot. On medium heat, steam the cauliflower for about 4-5 minutes until soft. Then transfer to a fine, mesh strainer and drain completely.
  4. Once drained, transfer the “rice” to the middle of a clean dish towel. Gather the ends to wrap the rice in the towel. Making sure the “rice” is wrapped in the towel, squeeze the rice to drain excess water. A LOT of water comes out, ensuring a crisp pizza crust.
  5. Transfer cauliflower “rice” to a large mixing bowl and add mozzerella, eggs, salt and garlic. Mix well.
  6. Scoop out the dough onto the  parchment-lined cooking sheet. Press the dough into one big thin-layered pizza crust or into smaller personal-sized crusts.
  7. Bake at 200 degrees Celsius for 35-40 minutes or until crust is golden brown and firm.
  8. Remove from oven and add your choice of pizza toppings and cheese. A favourite of ours is homemade pesto, fresh tomato, basil and mozzarella.
  9. Bake for another 10 minutes until the cheese is melted.
  10. Enjoy!

Grilled Chicken With Piquant Salsa Verde recipe

Looking for some new healthy meal ideas to add to your repertoire?

Our grilled chicken with piquant salsa verde and Tex-Mex black bean salad is high in protein and dietary fibre. It also offers Vitamins B6, K and C, folate, potassium, manganese and phosphorus. And it tastes pretty good too!

Ingredients

  • Chicken: ½ a breast or two thigh fillets per person(breast for low-fat, thigh fillet for flavour)
  • ½ bunch basil
  • ½ bunch parsley
  • ½ bunch coriander
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 fillets anchovy
  • Olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon capers
  • 3 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 ears barbecued corn (or just microwaved if you’re in a hurry)
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Black beans cooked and refreshed in cold water
  • Red onion, diced

Method

  1. Make the salsa verde by adding the herbs, capers, anchovy, garlic and one tablespoon of lime juice and blitzing with a stick blender or in a small food processor. Add enough olive oil to make a chunky consistency, check for seasoning and set aside.
  2. Make the salad by shredding the lettuce and scattering on the serving platter. Remove the kernels from the corn by placing the ear, top down on a cutting board and gently easing your knife inside the kernels and pushing toward the board.
  3. Combine the black beans and corn in a bowl with the rest of the coriander and parsley, both coarse chopped. Add the onion and toss gently.
  4. Make a dressing with four tablespoons of olive oil and the two tablespoons of lime juice and whisk.
  5. Cook the chicken on a barbecue, grill plate or pan until just done and rest for five minutes.
  6. While the chicken is resting, add the dressing to the beans & corn and mix well. Scatter over the lettuce and garnish with the remaining basil.
  7. Top the chicken with the salsa verde.
  8. Enjoy!

Slow-cooked Bolognaise Ragu

Bolognaise is always a popular meal idea, and our slow-cooked Bolognaise Ragu is perfect as a winter-warmer or for anytime really! Slow-cooking is also a great way to help take the stress out of meal times by getting everything ready well before ‘arsenic hour’ begins.
Ingredients:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1kg gravy beef, excess fat trimmed
  • 175g pkt short-cut bacon rashers, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, trimmed, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled, finely chopped
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 800g can diced Italian tomatoes
  • 250ml (1 cup) chicken stock
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) red wine
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 600g fresh lasagne sheets, cut lengthways into 2.5cm-wide strips
  • Shaved Parmesan, to serve
 Method 
  1. Heat half the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook half the beef for 2-3 minutes or until browned. Transfer to a flameproof casserole dish. Repeat with remaining beef.
  2. Heat the remaining oil in the pan over medium heat. Cook bacon, celery, carrot, onion and garlic, stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until soft. Add to the casserole dish.
  3. Add tomato, stock, wine and bay leaves to the dish. Season with salt and pepper. Cover. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours or until the beef is tender.
  4. Use tongs to remove the beef from the dish. Shred the beef and return to the dish.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a saucepan of salted boiling water for 3-4 minutes. Drain.
  6. Add pasta to the dish. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Divide among serving bowls. Top with parmesan.
  7. Enjoy!

Hearty Spanish fish stew recipe

We love this hearty Spanish fish stew recipe! its quick, easy and makes a great addition to your dinner time meal repertoire.

Why its good: Fish, particularly wild caught fish are low in fat, high in protein and high in omega 3 fatty acids. The tomatoes are high in vitamins A, E, C and K, Iron potassium and copper. They are also the best source of Lycopene that reduces the incidence of stroke, inflammation and cholesterol.

Ingredients:

  • 400 grams white fleshed fish like Barramundi
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 can diced tomato
  • 1 roast or grilled capsicum seeded and peeled
  • 1 cup fish stock
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed chili
  • ½ teaspoon crushed ginger
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 Bunch flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon Australian Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup organic quinoa
  • Mixed salad leaves

Dressing:

  • Lemon juice
  • Verjuice
  • Australian Extra virgin olive oil
  • Flax seed oil

Method:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot.
  2. Coarse chop the onion and garlic and add to the oil, cook until translucent.
  3. Add the paprika, chili and ginger and stir until fragrant.
  4. Add the tomatoes, capsicum and stock and simmer until slightly thickened.
  5. Cut the fish into bite sized chunks and add to the sauce and simmer until the fish is done. About 15 minutes.
  6. When the sauce begins to simmer put the quinoa into the rice cooker with 2 cups of water and cook. Check after about 15 minutes and add water if needed.
  7. Put all of the dressing ingredients into the salad bowl and when the when the fish and quinoa are ready, whisk and add the washed and spin-dried salad leaves and toss gently.
  8. Enjoy!

Grilled Turkey Salad Vietnamese Style

Turkey offers many of the key minerals and nutrients required for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. As well as tasting great, its as easy to cook and as versatile as chicken. Turkey also provides an opportunity to add a new twist to your weekly meal repertoire.

We’re loving this grilled turkey salad with its Vietnamese twist…

Why its good: Rich in protein, Phosphorus and selenium, Thiamin, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Potassium, and a very good source of Dietary Fibre, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate and Manganese

Ingredients:

  • Turkey breast steak – 200 grams per person
  • ½ Chinese cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 bunch spring onion, cut into fine rings
  • 1 bunch mint, coarse chopped
  • 1 bunch basil, coarse chopped
  • 1 bunch coriander, coarse chopped
  • 200 grams Mung bean sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • Unsalted peanuts for garnish, if allergies and diet allow

Method:

  • In a large salad bowl whisk the olive oil, sesame oil, fish sauce, lim ejuice and sugar. Taste the dressing and adjust so that no one flavour dominates.
  • Pan-fry the turkey on a fairly high heat. About 2 minutes each side. You want a caramelised outside, but juicy inside.
  • Rest the turkey on a plate, covered with foil for 5 minutes. Cut into fine slices.
  • Add all of the salad ingredients except the spring onions and coriander to the bowl and toss well. Top with the turkey and finish off with coriander, spring onions, and the peanuts if chosen.
  • Enjoy!

Lentil salad with beetroot, apple and grilled salmon

Beautiful beetroot is rich in vitamins and minerals and may also assist with blood flow and lowering blood pressure. Eat it raw in a grated beetroot and green apple salad, slurp it in a juice, or wrap beetroot in foil with ground cumin, salt and olive oil and roast until soft. Toss roasted beetroot with rocket, goat’s cheese and hazelnuts for a hearty salad.

Or give our lentil salad with beetroot, apple and grilled salmon a try!

Warm salads are an interesting and healthy way to eat during the cold months, using tasty seasonal vegetables. For this lentil salad, use French baby lentils because they keep their shape well. Once they are cooked, drain them and dress them in a little sherry vinegar while still warm to bring out their flavour.

Ingredients:

  •  4 medium beetroots
  •  1 tsp thyme, chopped
  •  230ml olive oil plus a little for frying and drizzling
  •  1/2 brown onion, finely diced
  •  1 carrot, diced small
  •  1 celery stick, diced small
  •  2 garlic cloves, chopped
  •  2 bay leaves
  •  300g French green lentils
  •  30ml sherry vinegar
  •  8 x 120g salmon fillet pieces, skin on
  •  10 mint leaves, chopped
  •  1 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  •  1 tsp Dijon mustard
  •  40ml lemon juice
  •  2 Granny Smith apples
  •  1 lemon, cut in half

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Wrap each beetroot in foil and roast for an hour until soft in the centre. When cool enough to handle, cut into 1-centimetre dice and mix with thyme and 100 millilitres olive oil.
  2. Sweat onion, carrot, celery, garlic and bay leaves in a little olive oil until soft.
  3. Add lentils, cover with cold water then bring to a simmer and cook until soft, but not mushy. Drain lentils and place in a bowl, add sherry vinegar and 30 millilitres olive oil and toss well.
  4. Enjoy!