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Saturday, July 20, 2024
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Delectable delights

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Easy lunchbox treats to brighten up your child’s day.

A new school year can quickly leave parents feeling tired, time poor and uninspired – especially when it comes to packing school lunches.

It’s great finding sneaky ways to pack more goodness and healthy alternatives into the food our families eat.

These five recipes take a classic treat and add more nutrients and goodness to the mix. It’s perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth (without damaging the teeth!). They’re also great to bake in bulk and freeze to keep on hand for snack emergencies.

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Who doesn’t love an experiment? This weekend gather the kids to make one of these treats, serve them to the rest of your family, and then reveal the secret ingredient. We’re betting you won’t be able to guess the secret ingredients!


Black Bean Brownie

We all love a Brownie, right? Black beans don’t have much taste so you can bet your bottom dollar the kids will never know. Black beans are packed with protein, calcium, fibre and antioxidants – no wonder we’re trying to get more of them into our diet. See if you can taste the difference.

Yield: 9-12 brownies

  • 1 ½ cups black beans (drained and rinsed very well)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup, honey, or agave
  • Pinch uncut stevia or 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup chocolate chips
  • Optional: more chips, for presentation
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C
  2. Combine all ingredients except chips in a good food processor, and blend until completely smooth. Really blend well. (A blender can work if you absolutely must, but the texture and even the taste will be much better in a food processor)
  3. Stir in the chips, then pour into a greased 8×8 pan. Optional: sprinkle extra chocolate chips over the top.
  4. Bake for 15-18 minutes, then let cool at least 10 minutes before trying to cut. If they still look a bit under-cooked, you can place them in the fridge overnight and they will magically firm up!


Nut-Free Cacao and Coconut Bliss Balls

Rolling these Bliss Balls are a great way to get the kids involved with meal prepping. Dates are the hidden ingredient here, which are a very energetic and nutritious food because they contain fibre, natural sugars and vitamins. Dates are ideal in a diet for students who have a demanding sport schedule, are under stress or are anaemic.

These Bliss Balls are super easy and really tasty to have on hand for lunch time or afternoon tea snacks.

Yield: 10-12

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tbs cacao powder or cocoa powder
  • 12 pitted fresh dates
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 2 tbs Maple Syrup
  • 2 tbs desiccated coconut, extra to coat
  1. Process rolled oats, cacao powder or cocoa powder, dates, 1 cup desiccated coconut and maple syrup in a food processor until almost smooth.
  2. Place another 2 tbsp desiccated coconut on a plate. Roll a 2 tbsp portions of the mixture into balls. Roll in coconut to evenly coat.
  3. Place on a lined tray in the fridge for 1 hour or until set. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.


Chocolate Quinoa Crunch Bites

This treat resembles a much loved kid’s cereal. Quinoa puffs are a far better option than other processed and sugary grains, offering protein and fibre. You can sprinkle leftover quinoa puffs on your cereal, muesli or yoghurt. See how much the kids love this one. It’s a quick treat for everyone!

Yield: 10-12

  • 200g dark chocolate, malted – I use 70% dark chocolate
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa puffs
  1. Melt the chocolate and leave to cool for a couple of minutes, then fold in the quinoa pops.
  2. Use a small ice cream scoop to shape into small bite, and arrange onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  3. Move to the fridge and allow to set for 15-30 minutes.

Chocolate Pumpkin Zucchini Muffins

Nothing says welcome to summer like these Chocolate Pumpkin Zucchini Muffins. They are constructed with the most delicious combination of flavours. Pumpkin offers Vitamins A, E, C, K and B6, calcium and iron, while zucchinis are full of vitamin C. An easy recipe to double or triple and freeze for later. Make a batch of these muffins today!

Yield: 14 muffins

Dry Ingredients
  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini (moisture removed)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Wet Ingredients
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, separated (3/4 cup and 1/4 cup)
  • 1 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a muffin tin.
  2. Place dry ingredients (except for the cocoa powder and chocolate chips) into a medium bowl and mix.
  3. In a large bowl, crack 2 eggs and whisk. Add maple syrup, 3/4 cup almond milk, and pumpkin puree and mix again.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix. Then, add in melted coconut oil and mix again.
  5. Remove ½ cup of muffin batter without cocoa powder from the bowl. Set it aside for later.

Apple Cinnamon Muffin Recipe

Much loved by parents and kids this fluffy muffin recipe can be eaten for any meal during the day.

We all know the benefits of apples in fibre, vitamin C and potassium but adding cinnamon to the mix gives an extra boost of antioxidants, helping treat back to school virus infections.

Yield: 12 muffinsIngredients


  • 1 cup shredded apples (moisture removed)
  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbs coconut oil, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C and grease a muffin tin.
  2. Use a cheese grater to grate a large apple (skin on or off, your preference!). I prefer to use a medium/large grate, so I can taste the apple chunks.
  3. Place grated apple on top of 2 pieces of paper towel and squeeze out as much moisture as you can.
  4. Measure 1 cup of shredded apples and place into a medium-size bowl along with the rest of the dry ingredients. Mix.
  5. In a large bowl, crack 2 eggs and whisk. Add maple syrup, applesauce, almond milk, and vanilla and mix again.
  6. Combine dry ingredients with wet ingredients and then mix.
  7. Add in melted coconut oil and mix again.
  8. Fill each muffin about 3/4 of the way full (these are going to be big muffins). Then place in the oven and bake for 18-22 minutes or until the centre is cooked.
  9. Let cool for 5 minutes and then remove from the muffin tin to continue cooling.

Storage Tip: Let the muffins cool completely and store in an airtight container on the counter for up to 3-5 days or in the fridge for up to 7. Muffins can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.



Obviously, we don’t need to be giving our kids these sweet treats every day.

Moderation is the key, but you can bet these tasty recipes are better than reaching for a processed, sugary and preservative filled alternatives.

We would love to hear your feedback on these recipes. Did you guess the secret ingredients? Share your stories on our Facebook page.









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