Back to school – the lunchbox dilemma!

Summer holidays are finally over and my three children were up EXTRA early Monday morning with the excitement of the return! To be honest I had mixed feelings but was encouraged by their enthusiasm.  We had a great Summer and I really enjoyed the break from the schedules and routines… but most of all I enjoyed the break from having to prepare the lunchboxes every morning!!!

The break has done me good… I am returning to the challenge with renewed vigour and optimism… for the moment anyway.  No doubt within a few weeks I will be reduced to the early morning cold sweat… wondering what I have in the cupboard and WHAT I am going to feed my super fussy son who believes there are only two food groups worth mentioning… Meat and Sugar!

To ease us all into things and to give myself a bit of a head start I did spend some of the Summer modifying a flapjack recipe.  The fussy one does love flapjacks and the original recipe was from Rachel Allen’s Food for Living Cookbook.  They are heavy on the butter and the sugar and taste sooo good!  I decided that if I could make them a little more healthy and fussy one still liked them then I’d have a win-win on this one at least.

Here is the finished recipe and YES the fussy one has been eating them all week…

5 oz butter
5 oz coconut oil
4 oz light muscovado or soft light brown sugar
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 oz ground almonds
1-2 tbsp chia seeds
2 oz milled seed (I use Aldi milled linseed, sunflower seeds and blueberry seeds)
10 oz oats


  1. Preheat the oven to 180oC and line a Swiss roll tin or baking tray (approx. 25 x 38cm) with baking parchment.
  2. Place the butter, coconut oil, sugar, maple syrup and vanilla extract into a medium sized pot and place over a medium heat, stirring frequently until the butter and coconut oil have melted and all ingredients are well mixed.
  3. Place ground almonds, chia seeds, milled seeds and oats into a large bowl, mix and then add the melted butter mixture.
  4. Mix well then pour into the prepared tin and spread out evenly.
  5. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool then cut into squares.
  7. Enjoy!
Tasty and healthy - a winning combination
Tasty and healthy – a winning combination
Although I have spoken about the positive side to butter in a previous blog, I do hold with everything in moderation!  I am happy to replace some of the butter called for in the original recipe with Coconut oil as it is great for brain function, has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal benefits and can help to reduce skin problems such as eczema.  The maple syrup replacing some of the sugar contains maganese and zinc which help boost the immune system.    The milled seeds and chia are high in vitamins, minerals and fibre as well as omega 3 fatty acids.  Not a bad addition to the lunchbox I think!


Now I have to work out what else to put into the lunchbox… has anyone else this lunchbox dilemma with a fussy child? My little one won’t eat sandwiches, fruit, dairy for snacks.  If anyone has any suggestions or comments please let me know!


Science blogger and writer; Owner of Dr. How's Science Wows; Mother of three junior scientists who have taught me that to be a great scientist you need to look at life through the eyes of a child!

2 thoughts on “Back to school – the lunchbox dilemma!

  • September 5, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    they do look scrummy – I just don’t have time to bake at all at the mo and my daughter seems to have gone on strike too!
    Mine are really fussy too – daughter will generally eat anything as regards dinners but doesn’t like grapes, cut up apple, bananas, yogurts, raisins etc. For sandwiches, she likes huge BLTs which would go everywhere in a lunchbox.
    Son is fussy but at least he is consistent and likes the same stuff every day!!

    • September 5, 2013 at 9:12 pm

      Yes I know what you mean Lorna, I feel like I feed my children fairly well in the home but the lunchbox is really tricky. They are not very into sandwiches at all and the fussy one would not consider eating a piece of fruit for me. I can’t feed him flapjacks forever… ;0)

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