Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Healthy Lunch Box Ideas

Here are some ideas to make your life easier and to ensure that your children have good, wholesome food to take to school and to have in-between meals.

The basics

There are certain basic principles that you need to keep in mind:
  • It takes planning - you need to plan ahead so that you buy the correct foods for making snacks and lunchboxes
  • Resist the "easy" option to buy cold drinks, crisps and chocolate bars - in the long run this is going to ruin your children’s health
  • Resist your children's demands and manipulations for high-fat snacks and fizzy cold drinks
  • Remember that children are different to adults - they have a much smaller stomach capacity, so they need regular snacks and some children have a much higher energy requirement because they're more active than adults
  • Remember that children are similar to adults - they also like interesting and tasty food that looks good enough to eat, but they may not appreciate very sophisticated foods
  • Lunchboxes may have to replace three to four meals a day - that breakfast that wasn't eaten, the mid-morning snack, lunch and the mid-afternoon snack - a whole menu in one box!
  • Packaging is important - buy a sturdy plastic container that's big enough to accommodate the food you want your child to take to school without getting squashed, and consider buying a small non-breakable flask  for keeping cold foods and drinks cold, and hot foods and drinks hot
  • Eating a variety of foods gives children and adults the best chance of obtaining a balanced diet
  • Select foods from all the food groups every day:
    • Milk and dairy products;
    • Fruit and vegetables;
    • Breads and starches;
    • Protein foods like meat, fish, eggs and legumes; and
    • Fats and oils, including nuts.
Children need healthy foods and drinks to snack on or to take to school. Here are some suggestions:
a) Food
Cereals, breads and starches
  • Low-GI, wholewheat, brown or rye bread or buns, various healthy breads, crisp bread (rye or wheat), wholewheat biscuits
  • Pita bread, or hot dog/hamburger rolls, or pancakes/flapjacks, or mini pizzas, or bagels (buy the wholewheat varieties if possible)
  • Wholewheat muffins or muffins made with fresh fruit like banana, dried fruit like raisins/sultanas/dates, or nuts; cheese muffins
  • Oat cakes or oat crunchies, health or energy bars (only for children who are very active and who don't have a weight problem as these foods are quite high in fat)
  • Granola cereal or unbuttered popcorn
  • Muesli or bran rusks
  • Rice cakes (buy various flavours)
  • Baked potato with a filling (keep warm in vacutainer)
  • Potato salad (dilute mayonnaise with fat-free yoghurt)
  • Cooked corn on the cob or mielie bread
Protein foods
  • Lean cold cuts (ham, beef, chicken, tongue)
  • Grilled chicken pieces (wings or drumsticks)
  • Cooked, chopped or minced meat or chicken/turkey
  • Cooked or canned sausages (only for thin and very active children as sausages contain quite a lot of fat)
  • Homemade hamburger patties (use lean mince)
  • Boiled eggs
  • Cooked, flaked fish
  • Canned fish such as tuna, pilchards or sardines
  • Smoked fish like snoek or mackerel
  • Biltong (cut off the fat or choose ostrich or game biltong)
  • Meat or fish spreads and paste
  • Cooked, minced legumes, baked beans or tofu
Milk and dairy foods
  • Yoghurt (plain mixed with honey and nuts or fresh fruit, or read-made, flavoured, low-fat varieties)
  • Cottage cheese (flavour plain cottage cheese with tomato sauce, mashed banana or avocado, nuts or dried fruit, or buy ready-made flavoured cottage cheese - check the fat content and buy the fat-free versions)
  • Cheeses (all types, use grated or cut into cubes)
  • Cheese spread
Fruit and vegetables
  • Fresh fruit - apples, pears, naartjies, oranges, plums, peaches, grapes, litchis, mango, pineapple or melon pieces, figs
  • Dried fruit and fruit rolls, mebos, dates or fruit dainties
  • Carrot or celery sticks, baby tomatoes, cucumber wedges, lettuce
  • Vegetable muffins (grated carrots and baby marrows can be added to a basic muffin mix)
  • Pumpkin fritters
  • Potato cakes
Fats and oils
  • Mono- or polyunsaturated margarine or lite margarine as a spread on breads, etc
  • Nuts, peanut butter
  • Nutella spread
  • Crisp bacon (crumble and add to fat-free cottage cheese)
  • Avocado - mash and use instead of margarine
  • Low-fat or lite salad dressing, or mayonnaise diluted with low-fat yoghurt
(Use this category sparingly to ensure that inactive children don't gain weight)
(Add taste, colour and variety to lunchboxes and snacks)
  • Chutney - try different varieties
  • Tomato sauce
  • Piccalilli, or mild mustard or pickles
  • Gherkins
  • Olives
  • Vinegar
  • Lemon juice (add to mashed banana to pre
    vent discolouration)
b) Drinks and liquid foods
  • Milk, plain or flavoured
  • Homemade milk shakes (puree fruit with low-fat milk, add honey and/or vanilla flavouring)
  • Yogi-sip
  • Milk/fruit-juice blends
  • Fruit juice, still or sparkling
  • Soda water - flavoured, still or sparkling
  • Energy drinks for children who participate in sport or who are very active
  • Hot chocolate or cocoa made with skim milk
  • Soups
  • Cold water and ice for sports meetings

  A Fantastic Site for PDF printable lunch ideas:  

 Pinterest boards for lunch ideas:

Monday, 26 August 2013


In class today we learned about diary and we had LOTS of questions!
For example, if you are lactose intolerant, how can you get your calcuim?
What if you want to use a milk substitute in your cereal or tea?

Look who's pinning!

 A few of the boys in my class have started Pinterest accounts to help them gather resources for themes we cover in class, as well as some of their favourite soccer players, foods and cute animals.

If you haven’t tried Pinterest yet, you might be one of the few!  Pinterest has gone from 47 million users in April 2013 to 70 million in August 2013 and now drives more referral traffic than LinkedIn, Google+, and YouTube COMBINED!  That’s some serious growth, right?
As an avid Pinterest user, I know what the fuss is all about!  It’s the easiest place to collect everything I love…visually!


1. Create very specific boards

This is very important. When you first get started on Pinterest, you will be tempted to have general boards. Don’t do this. What will happen is that you will start pinning all recipes to recipes and then before you know it you will have 300 recipes – from dips to desserts to crock pot beef stew. Segment as much as possible. Some examples
  • Tips and tricks (for posts like this one!)
  • One board per type of recipe (meals, crock pot, desserts, breakfast, sides and apps, parties, etc.)
  • One board per holiday (Christmas, Valentines, Easter, Halloween, etc.)
  • Sewing
  • Project Life
  • Memory Keeping (general scrapbook pages/scrapbook ideas)
  • Printables
  • Favorite books/books I want to read
  • Inspirational words
  • Photo inspiration

2. Create a completed pins board I have pinned about 2,000 items to Pinterest. That is a lot. I have found it very gratifying to create and use a completed pins board. Once I have made a recipe, done a craft project, etc. from Pinterest, I will repin the item to my completed pins board, along with comments about what worked/didn’t work, etc. This is very helpful for me – and for the followers of that board.

3. Follow a lot of people I love following a lot of people on Pinterest because it means I find a lot of great items to pin. Interestingly, Pinterest also adds you as a follower to boards that their algorithm thinks you will like. This helps you to find more great stuff to pin.

4. Learn your URL If you are a blogger, use this formula to search  pins from your site: So, for the Mom Creative, my URL is This is also a handy way to see what has been pinned from your favorite sites.

5. Pin from your favorite sites If you see something you like on a website pin it! (I have the Pin It tool installed on my toolbar, which makes it really easy to pin from any site. It takes about 5 seconds to install.) Pinterest is only as good as the stuff that is pinned on it, so it needs people to pin new items to it. Plus, pins help drive traffic to your favorite sites. (I’m so thankful every time you pin something from this site.)

6. Pin the specific URL of a post to Pinterest (not the generic site URL) This is an important one! When you see something on a site that you want to pin, be sure to click on the post so that you pin from the actual post – and not the main site URL. Otherwise, once that post moves from the main page, no one will be able to  find it. (Similarly don’t pin from a google image search – pin from the site the image came from).

7. Search pins to find new inspiration If you are researching ideas, check out the search function on Pinterest to find new ideas. The search function isn’t as robust as I would like it to be (it isn’t endless, you can’t sort by recent or popular, etc.), but I do always find SOMETHING worth repinning. I especially like using search when I am looking for a recipe, home dec ideas or party inspiration.

8. Write meaningful descriptions (include key words, @+a name will tag someone) Pinterest requires you to write a description of some sort. It is frustrating when a description is something like yum or must try and doesn’t tell the viewer what the picture is of. Be sure your description tells what the pin is.  It is also nice when you include the blog name or tag someone. 
9. Don’t post an entire blog post in your pin It is poor etiquette to paste an entire post/recipe etc. on a pin. Instead, when you pin an item, write a simple description of the item so people will click to get the full tutorial, recipe, etc.

10. Comment! Pinterest is a social site like Facebook and Twitter, so interact!

What would you add to this list?

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Classroom Computer Desktop Image = Sneaky Teaching Tool

I update our classroom's screen saver background every few days with a new painting, 
with a short summary of the artist underneath. 
I have found the children quietly "Googling" the artist to find more of their work 
and it makes this art teacher very happy! 

(The above was chosen by Tomas)

Thursday, 8 August 2013

How the sticky rice came to be, by Tomas (aged 11yrs)

One day in ancient Japan a small man by the name of Mr Takeshi was in the rice fields of Tokyo getting food for his family. His family was quite poor and he had six children to feed and they lived in a small, cheap, wooden house. As he was collecting the rice grains in his basket, a swarm of bumble bees flew over into the rice fields that he was working in.

They flew in and out of the rice field covering all of the rice grains in honey. Then the bees flew off never to be seen again. Now Mr Takeshi couldn't get food for his family because the rice was too sticky and too sweet like honey.

Weeks passed and the rice was still covered in honey. Then one night a mystical, blue, sparkly rain washed over the rice fields removing the sweetness and goldenness of the honey leaving the rice a sticky, gluey bland grain. The next day as Mr Takeshi returned to the rice field , he found that the rice wasn't sweet anymore, but it was still sticky.

 Mr Takeshi decided to harvest the rice anyway to feed his family. It was later added to sushi because normal rice didn't stick to the nori or the fish so well. It was also eaten alone or with another dish. So in the end all of the farmers wanted to harvest in Mr Takeshi's rice field, and that is how sticky rice came to be.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Advice for Mrs Greyvenstein's baby boy

Our school's Art teacher is going on leave to have a baby. We gave her a very soft white fleece blanket with grey ellies and beige bunnies on it and so that her tow spaniels don't get jealous, we also gave her two chew toys! Here is some of the advice we wrote for her in the card Miss Tyler-Smith made:

Adin - When you give him a toy, make sure he doesn’t lick it. 
Fikile - Don’t let him talk to or take things from strangers. 
Imogen – Don’t let him eat sand.  
 Jessica – Never let him play with a stick. I have learnt that the hard way with my brother.
Kane - Don’t let him drive in the car seat without the buckle.
Khaya – Do not let him get dirty.
Neo - Don’t give him too much or too little attention, let him become independent
Nina – Never go out without taking fresh diapers and a towel. 
Rizwaan – Buy a leash and harness for your baby. 
Seth - Don’t spoil the baby too much.
Skye – Don’t let him eat stones
Summer - Put a peg on your nose before you change the nappy. 
Tomas – Always pack extra nappies.

Monday, 5 August 2013

How the Koi fish got it's black and white colouring by Khaya (aged 9yrs)

Long, long ago there were black fish that lived in the river, the fish were called Khoi.

 A boy would sit beside the river eating his porridge with milk.  His name is Takeshi. He liked staring at the fish, he found it fun.  He had three friends, their names were Ren, Haro and Kenji.  They played in the gardens and the playground.  They liked playing playstation, xbox and computer games.  They also played soccer, cricket and tennis.  They always played with each other, and liked to relax with their favourite drinks which were Coke and Pepsi.  When it was hot they would spend their time splashing and splashing in the river.  When it was cold they would play soccer.

One day they were playing by the river but Takeshi could not because he had to carry milk to his home.  ‘Stop, you are going to knock the milk over!’  They did not listen and knocked the bucket of milk and it splashed into the river.  That’s how the Khoi got its black and white colour.

How the panda became black and white by Adam (aged 11yrs)

Long ago there was a little girl named Chiyo and she had a little brother named Yoshirou. Chiyo and Yoshirou’s mom used to tell them stories about a white panda that lived in the forest. The panda lived in a small cave at the end of the forest. Chiyo and Yoshirou loved the story about the whitepanda. Their mom told them that the white panda catches fish by the River near the small cave. The panda always goes there because of the big fish.
When people came to look for the panda.The panda would often run away by climbing trees. The panda likes to eat bamboo off the trees. Chiyo and Yoshirou used to find the pandas paw prints. They would often follow them in the forest. But they would often lead to the middle of nowhere in the forest.
5年後 (5 years later)
Chiyo is 13 years old and Yoshirou is 10 years old. They don’t believe in the white panda anymore. One day Chiyo and Yoshirou were walking in the forest. They found bait on the ground. Yoshirou had an idea. The laid the bait on the floor. They didn’t know that the panda was behind them. Yoshirou heard a noise and he looked back. They saw the panda. The panda, Chiyo and Yoshirou were best friends. While they were playing the panda got caught in black tree sap. Chiyo and Yoshirou helped the get unstuck and now the panda was black and white
そしてパンダは白と黒になりましたどのように厥 (and that’s how the panda became black and white)
終わり (The End)