Too busy, lack of knowledge and not enough motivation are three reasons blogger and mum Kate Berry believes some kids are going to school without good old-fashioned home made lunches. Her blog, lunchlady.net.au provides a platform to share ideas, stories and help other parents start feeding kids simple, healthy food and is warm, witty and very down to earth – just like Kate, as we discovered.
How did the blog come about?
I started writing Lunchlady after my 9-year-old daughter came home and told me she was being bullied for the lunches I was sending her to school with. This was a bit of a shock to me, as the lunches I make the girls aren’t crazy or strange, they are just home made and unpackaged. I asked her if she would prefer me to feed her lunches that were similar to the lunches the kids ate at school, and she wanted none of that. She loved what she was given everyday and thought the kids at school were missing out. So we started the blog as a way of communicating with others in similar situations and to also inspire the uninspired lunch maker.
What are the biggest hurdles to preparing a home made school or work lunch?
I believe the two biggest hurdles most people struggle with are time and motivation. It is hard to motivate yourself when the big companies continuously offer you an ‘easier way’ and takeaway and lunch orders are so convenient. It does take a little getting used to and some organisation, but once you’re in the swing of things, making things from scratch is simple, rewarding and makes the house smell like a dream.
What is your fail proof, ‘all kids love it’ lunch time go-to?
One of the things I find myself making over and over are flapjacks. It was the first thing I posted on the blog, and I still make it regularly. It takes minimal time, minimal ingredients and it passes my ‘percolator test’, which is a recipe I can whip up and get in the oven in the time it takes the percolator to make my morning brew. How quick and easy is that! Another one I have found myself making a lot at the moment, because we are drowning in zucchinis, is zucchini slice. Both of these recipes can be whipped up in no time, with the most basic ingredients.
Best solution to a fridge full of random odds and ends would be…
I have two things I usually do with odds and ends. One is I put all the bits and pieces out on the bench and let the girls create their own pizzas, or I will whack a frittata together. The frittata works well with left over roast veg. So delicious!
Pantry essentials you can’t live without…
I make sure I have plenty of the basics. I stock up at my local whole foods co-op with bulk flour, rice, pasta, almonds, honey, oats, salt and sugar. I find these community run co-ops an amazing place to source local ingredients. We have our chooks out the back to give us eggs and I always make sure we have tonnes of butter. You really don’t need much – I don’t have time for making elaborate meals, I keep things simple in our house and that’s how it works. If I try to get fancy, it will all fall apart!!
Winter lunchtime food favourites?
I just bought all the girls a nice new shiny thermos each for this winter. It gets bloody cold here and a warm lunch is the equivalent to a lunchtime hug. The best thing about warm lunches is, you just need to make extra at dinner time so all you need to do is warm it up in the morning to pop in your thermos for the next day! I love making dahls and thick soups during the winter months. They stick to your insides and fill you up for the rest of the day.
Find more inspiring ideas at lunchlady.net.au