One of the fantastic benefits of buying local in-season produce is the superior quality and added sweetness. We’ve put together some of our favourite lunch box treats that replace refined sugar with the sweetness from our superb WA produce.
Quick and easy homemade muesli bars
Muesli bars are a popular lunchbox staple but often overloaded with sugar and preservatives which is why we love this easy homemade muesli bar recipe.
Start by simply combining a cup of rolled oats, a cup of sultanas, ½ cup of sifted wholemeal self-raising flour and ½ cup of coconut. Meanwhile, melt a large dollop of butter and a good squirt of honey. Mix the dry ingredients into the honey mixture until it clings together. Press the mixture evenly into a greased tin and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Cut into bars while hot and then remove from tin when cooled.
What's not to love about these muesli bars? They're quick, easy and use honey instead of refined sugar. Honey is high in antioxidants and antibacterial properties making it a fantastic sugar alternative. Look out for Swan Valley Honey as it is pure and unprocessed, straight from WA beehives.
Sugar-free banana bread
Forget the need for refined sugar in your banana bread by using the natural sweetness of Sweeter Banana lunchbox bananas. These Carnarvon bananas have gained an icon status in WA for their unique size but most of all their incredibly sweet and creamy taste.
WA foodie and mum-of-three, Rayne Bryant recently said she goes through at least three bags of these lunchbox bananas a week!
Our all-time favourite sugar-free banana bread recipe is this Coles recipe from Taste.com.au.
Hot tip - when your bananas are starting to become overripe, put them in the freezer. This will allow the bananas to retain extra sweetness perfect for your banana bread. Just remember to peel them first!
Brownes natural flavoured milk
Swap sugary juice boxes for Brownes Dairy's new 'A Hint Of' milk range. Made by West Australian mums for mums, this new range of flavoured milk is purely fresh milk from WA free range cows with a smidge of chocolate, strawberry, banana or vanilla. No added sugar or sweeteners and definitely no nasties!
For a great after school treat, try freezing the flavoured milk in icy pole moulds. They are the perfect healthy treat (and a hit of calcium) to cool your little ones down after an afternoon of sport.
Fun fruit creations
In WA we are fortunate enough to have access to an incredible range of locally grown fruit. One of the fantastic benefits of purchasing what's in season and locally grown is less travel time for your fruit which means added freshness (and sweetness)!
Make the most of our abundant Summer produce while it's in season. Look out for the beautiful, sweet summer fruit from the Gascoyne region - rockmelon, mangoes, grapes and of course bananas! Heading into the Autumn months you'll start to see kiwifruits, pears, apples, and watermelon rolling into your local store or farmers market.
Most parents have experienced the 'joy' of giving your child an apple in their lunchbox and it comes straight home but then you give them a fruit kebab and it's gone like magic! Fruit kebabs are a great fun way to increase your little ones' fruit intake. We recommend using popsicles for safety at school.
Another great trick is to dip fresh fruit, such as strawberries (we love Berry Sweet Strawberry Farm) into Greek yoghurt (try Mundella) and then pop them into the freezer. Three hours later you'll have your after-school sweet treat sorted. You can also try this with blueberries for a delicious antioxidant hit (look out for Mt Barker Blueberries).
So there you have it, our go-to refined sugar-free lunch box treats! Be sure to use #buywesteatbest to show us your favourite lunchbox creations and we wish you and your little ones a fantastic school year.