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Food & Drink

Protein Punches for Lunch Boxes

With two hungry males in our household (one husband, one baby boy), it feels like a constant battle to make sure that those tummies are full. While things like hard-boiled eggs can make great protein-packed snacks, I like to make sure that they have a lunch meal that really fills them up – lord knows that they both have a better metabolism than I do!

For the little dude: Chicken, Prunes and Kumara (10-12 servings)

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One chicken breast, boneless and with skin removed

One kumara (I used golden, but any is fine)

Three diced prunes

Seasonings to taste – I used a quarter of an onion and a teaspoon of minced garlic

The Steps:

Dice and peel kumara and place at the bottom of a slow cooker.

Dice your chicken breast and place on top of the kumara.

Make sure your prune pieces are relatively small and sprinkle on top, repeat with any other seasonings. Pour in water until all the food is completely covered.

Cook on low in the slow cooker for 8 hours.

You now want to puree the food so take about ¾ of a cup of the liquid in the cooker and place it in your blender or food processor. Strain off the remaining liquid and place your chicken, kumara and prunes in the processor. Puree to your chosen consistency.

The meal is now ready to serve, and CJ will usually have it fresh for his next meal. I dish up the rest into a silicon muffin tray and freeze – silicon is great for this as once frozen, you can just pop the individual serves out and bag them up. If we’re going to be out all day, I’ll pop one in his little lunch box and it will defrost by the time that he’s ready for lunch. If we’re at home, 45 seconds or so in the microwave usually brings it up to room temperature.


For the big dude: Mexican Mince

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500g mince – we prefer to splurge on the top quality stuff and then make it stretch.

1 can chilli beans – hubby likes it hot, but mild would be just fine

1 can chopped tomatoes – optional

1 tsp cumin just to ground the flavours

The Steps:

Brown the mince – we like to use a nice large wok for this

Add in chilli beans, tomatoes and cumin and allow to simmer until liquid is reduced.

This mince is hugely versatile and can be used in wraps, with corn chips and cheese for nachos (one of hubby’s favourites), under potato as a fun take on a cottage pie or mixed with pasta for a really substantial meal. The options really are limitless! If you plan on freezing, do not reduce the liquid completely as you will lose some of the liquid during the defrost and reheating process and do not want your mince to get too dry.

Author Note: Natasha lives with her husband and baby boy on the rural fringes of Auckland. She writes about parenthood, food and exploring the world around her. Check out her blog Sweet Mama M