With a knack for creating swap-worthy school lunches that inspire even the fussiest kiddos to eat the colours of the rainbow, Bernadette Hanly is the back-to-school bestie we all need in our lives. Prepare to be inspired! 🙌🏻
We are so excited to finally chat with you, we are all fans of your inspirational lunch box creations at Love Mae HQ. Can you tell us how you came to start @goodiegoodielunchbox and what keeps you inspired?
Thank you so much for having me! It really came from an idea my friend had. Her son was about to start school the following year and she felt confused about what to pack him for school lunches. I offered to take pictures of my son’s kindy lunches to give her some ideas. She loved my ideas and said I should start an Instagram account to share with other parents and I took her advice! I have always loved baking and experimenting in the kitchen so it was a natural progression so start my own blog, documenting my school lunch ideas and recipes my family love.
In terms of ongoing inspiration, I love helping people feel more confident with packing school lunches and it makes my day when I hear that readers have loved my recipes or have found lunchbox ideas that have worked with their kids. I have met so many wonderful people through the blog and am learning so much all the time.
Mum to three little ones, tell us, were you blessed with easy eaters or do you have some tricky palates to please?
I think all my kids have been picky at one time or another, generally though my kids are reasonably good eaters. Mr 7 is probably my pickiest and he has a small appetite so I try and plan my meals to ensure that he is getting the nutrition he needs but also have new foods available for him to try if he chooses. My twins have quite varied tastes and tend to eat a lot. Mr 3 loves olives at the moment and Miss 3 adores mushrooms so quite different from Mr 7!
Where does your lunch box creativity stem from and where do you source your foodie inspiration?
This has most definitely come from trying to tempt Mr 7 to eat his lunch! I love Instagram for lots of fantastic ideas. My recipe ideas often come from what I have seen at supermarkets or what I eat at cafes and I like to try and make my own versions.
What would be your best advice for Mums feeling overwhelmed or uninspired about the return of creating back to school lunch boxes?
My best advice would be to plan your lunchboxes and prepare food in advance. I tend to bake a lot and freeze for the term which helps having a variety of different options available and you always have options on hand!
For you, what makes a healthy well-balanced lunch-box?
For me, low sugar and low salt is important with lots of fruit and vegetable options. I try and ensure that there are protein options available to keep tummies fuller for longer. I also like to balance lunchboxes with food my kids love, foods they like and I know they will eat and one food option they are learning to like. This helps expose my kids to new foods while ensuring there are sufficient options available that they do not go hungry.
We are curious…. do you put as much effort into your own lunches as you your children’s?
Yes I sure do! I love packing myself lunches for work. It saves so much money and I always eat better when I have a packed lunch. I also make sure my lunches are visually appealing, lots of colour and options. Adults eat with their eyes first too!
What are your tips for creating easy waste-free lunches? And keeping them fresh & soggy-free?
Definitely using a bento style lunchbox that has separate compartments and reusable containers. I find that good quality lunch boxes mean you do not need plastic wrap to keep lunches fresh as they seal well.
Most popular go-to last-minute quick & easy lunch box recipes?
Mr 7 will always eat a Pizza Topped English Muffin so that one is a go to! I am a huge muffin fan and you can whip them up super quickly.
Do the kids lend a hand in the kitchen or creating lunch boxes?
They definitely love helping me in the kitchen. The twins especially – they get so excited when I am baking and they are great little helpers. They haven’t really helped me create the lunchboxes but it’s generally because I pack at night but I do talk to them about what they would like in them.
What has creating your own blog taught you about yourself?
That sometimes the expectations of myself are unrealistic and I need to learn to be kinder to myself.
A little more about you, how would you best describe your parenting style?
Best after coffee ;) I enjoy routines and I am an organised person so that is also how I approach parenting. I have a goal this year to be more present, so when I am spending time with my kids, I actually stay engaged because I am guilty of trying to juggle too much at once.
What does 2019 look like for you and the Hanly clan?
It is going to be a busy year! Probably what I am most excited about a kitchen renovation we are planning. I really want to make sure that I get a bit more balance this year, more quality family time.
For our own curiosity, and as an on-going source of inspiration, we always like to find out as much as we can about our featured guests, can you humour us with the first thing that comes to mind for each the below?
Currently I am
Drinking... all the coffee ☕️
Cooking... I am addicted to this Italian salad I discovered via Pinterest. I cannot stop making it.
Planning...A kitchen renovation!
Listening: Groceries by Mallrat
Dreaming...Of sleeping in until 7am…. 💤
Wearing...PJs….but I will get dressed soon!
Watching...Friends From College Hilarious!
To hear…ocean waves on a family holiday
To see….my kitchen being renovated!
To hold…a glass of Amelia Park Reserve 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon…actually make that a bottle 🍷
You can follow Bernadettes visual feed of inspiration here @goodiegoodielunchbox