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Lunchbox sort out and snack recipes with Munch Cooking

Commercial lawyer-turned-entrepreneur Anna Bordignon started the child-focused Munch Cooking website while raising three of her own. The website offers recipes, an online store stocking eco-friendly, child-focused products and a blog.

Given its popularity, the blog has morphed into an online magazine, which led to the creation of a self-published cookbook.  The book, Munch – Season Cookbook for Baby and Family, won the prestigious Best Kids Cookbook at the 2014 International Gourmand Cookbook Awards.

The book focuses on seasonal cooking that appeals to the whole family: cooking one meal and a portion for the baby.

Anna is also involved in advocacy. The company’s ethos is strongly anti-plastic. “Soft plastic has lots of health issues associated with it and obviously it doesn’t biodegrade. There’s certainly a lot of other products out there that biodegrade and are more natural that we can give our children,” she says.

Munch’s online store, Munch Cupboard, offers a spot to stock-up on metal drink bottles, washable lunch wraps, resusable baby food pouches, food wraps made from organic beeswax and she is even experimenting with some new products, using materials like rice by-products. Many of her own products are made in New Zealand by local mothers.

Munch Cooking also offers what Anna refers to as “ethical fundraising”. Schools can sign up for Munch’s New Zealand made lunch-wraps, choosing their own fabric, and a portion of the sales goes back to the school. Schools also receive resources for a teaching unit around waste and the environment.

If that’s not enough, Anna is also the mastermind behind the parent-driven Munch Awards which have being going for two years. These awards raise awareness around ‘good’ and ‘bad’ food for children (no criteria are set, rather the awards are based on parents’ feedback, including factors such as high or low rates of sugar and salt, and the price of the product). “There are several consistent contenders,” she says. “McDonalds is one of the worst, and Weetbix TRYathlon is a good example of an organisation marketing healthy food and a healthy lifestyle.” Nominations for these awards open in August.

When she’s not involved in one of her Munch-related outlets, this miracle mother is finding time to work on a new cookbook with a New Zealand publisher around healthy lunchbox ideas.

Munch is a unique business because it works directly on access to healthy food in communities and reducing marketing to children, whilst getting the business case for it right. The Sustainable Business Network is working on a unique collaboration across New Zealand connecting individuals working in organisations on the topic of access to food in communities, called the National Good Food Network, to address issues around access to healthy food.  If you’re interested in finding out more then please contact us.

Here are some recipes for lunchbox snacks provided by Munch Cooking.

Energy balls

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of puffed rice or crumbled rice cakes
  • ½ cup of oats or any muesli
  • 2 Tbsp tahini, nut butter or you could even try chocolate peanut spread
  • 5 Tbsp honey
  • ½ tsp of cocoa
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • ½ cup desiccated coconut

Method

  1. Put all the ingredients, except for the coconut, into a food processor and blitz until the ingredients are in large crumbs.
  2. Roll by hand into small balls.
  3. Roll the balls in coconut.
  4. If the mixture is too dry to roll into balls put in some more tahini, nut butter and/or honey. If this does not bring them to a rollable consistency, then add a small splash of hot water.
  5. Store in the fridge; these should keep for several days.

Banana date oat muffins


Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 30 mins

Serves: 24

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole grain oats
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup LSA (linseed, sunflower and almond) powder
  • ¼ cup soft brown sugar
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 mashed medium bananas
  • ½ cup dates
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Method

  1. Place your dates in a bowl, sprinkle on the baking soda and pour on just enough water to cover the dates.
  2. Leave to soften for about 5 minutes.
  3. Blend the dates to create a smooth paste.
  4. Add all the wet ingredients to the date purée and combine.
  5. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients.
  6. Make a well in the middle of the oats and pour in the wet ingredients and fold in until just combined.
  7. Divide the mixture into mini muffin trays.
  8. Cook for about 15mins at 180˚C. Once cooked cool in the tins before turning out.
  9. Enjoy these banana date oat muffins with a cup of tea or a glass of milk.