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Whilst the rain continues to fall in Auckland unfortunately the price of food in supermarkets continues to rise. There is no better time than now for me to try and help out, with some money savings in the lunchbox.

  • First up is the lunchbox itself, try and buy a multi-compartment / bento style lunchbox. They are very affordable from places like the Warehouse and they help to speed up the process of packing the lunch and cutting down the need for cling film etc. 
  • Lunch Boxes don’t have to be filled with uber healthy food that might cost a fortune and that the kids may not even want. We might like courgette noodles but that doesn’t mean our kids do. Think 80% – 20% that’s 80% healthy. Again not a rule you need to stick to every day, just a guideline to think about.
  • Think ahead a bit, if you look at school lunches much like your dinners at home, think ahead a bit. You then might find yourself working dinner leftovers into your kids lunch boxes. Items like left-over, pizza, lasagna, cottage pie, meatloaf and even soup can all be a great lunch box addition. 
  • Don’t be afraid to buy some items in bulk, places like Bin-In and Costco offer bulk items which can be broken down and re-packed. Foods like crackers, chips, yogurt, croissants, nuts and fruits can be purchased in bulk and will last the time. Even a block of cheese can be easily sliced, avoiding the single serve options.
  • Ask your kid what they want? dangerous but I’m thinking more along the lines of a wrap versus a sandwich or a pasta salad. Once you’ve worked out a couple likes, then rotate those ideas from one week to the other. 
  • This might be hard but if you just set aside a bit of time on a Sunday to bake a tray of muffins, loaf like a banana loaf or even just a tray of chocolate cake. I’ve included my recipe for my super fast chocolate cake. It takes 4 minutes to pull together the ingredients then the oven does the rest.
  • Make sure they have a water bottle that you can fill in the morning, water brought from gas stations and the like have to be one of the biggest rip offs, not to mention the other temptations like energy drinks and flavoured milks. 
  • If you have 10 minutes the night before, make a start on the boxes that way the kids can possibly help out in the morning and finish them off themselves. 
  • Finally, if you get stuck for ideas, jump on-line or go to your local library, there’s lots of information and kids cookbooks out there for some inspiration.

Super fast chocolate cake

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 30-40 minutes

Makes: 1 tray

  • 100ml vegetable oil
  • 250ml Cream
  • 1 cup Boiling water
  • 1 tsp Vanilla paste
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups Caster Sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 tsp Baking soda
  • 1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1 3/4 cups Plain flour

In a large mixing bowl, with a whisk, combine ingredients one at a time starting from the top and working your way down.

Mix well until all combined (will be quite runny)

Pour into a greased and lined 20cm x 30cm tin

Cook in a pre-heated 180*C oven, for anywhere between 30-40 minutes. 

Check regularly, and skewer test to check when ready.