Karen McLean is an Australian girl who moved to Dubai just last year and is the creative mind, photographer and sneaky chef behind her blog, Secret Squirrel Food. Secret Squirrel Food is a collection of Karen’s recipes that celebrates the pleasure of eating simple, natural and wholesome food that everyone in the family will enjoy.
She loves to experiment in the kitchen and to explore healthy alternatives to not-so-healthy choices, so why not join her on her healthy journey and rope the kids in too by making them inspired healthy treats for their school lunchbox!
‘‘As most schools have to be nut-free these days, these healthy snacks are the perfect lunchbox treats for the kids. What I love about these recipes is that they are super quick, easy to make and kids will love them! These yummy snacks are packed full of goodies, which will keep your kids energised throughout the day! Store bought food is typically full of sugar and unnatural ingredients. Providing kids with tasty, nutritious and wholesome food will make a huge difference to kids’ health. Package the snacks into little parcels so that your kids feel like they are unwrapping a present. Your kids won’t be tempted to trade snacks and it is guaranteed that they will be the envy of all their friends!’’
Cacao Coconut Rough Balls
Makes 20 balls
1 cup medjool dates
1 cup desiccated coconut
¼ cup raw cacao powder
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
½ tbsp water
⅔ cup buckinis
1. Lightly toast desiccated coconut in a pan on low heat until lightly toasted and aromatic.
2. Add all ingredients except for buckinis to a food processor and pulse until sticky when pressed between the fingers.
3. Add buckinis and pulse a few times until mixed through. Be careful not to over pulse.
4. Grab a tablespoon of mixture and roll into balls.
5. Finally, roll the balls into desiccated coconut and place in an airtight container in the fridge.
6. These will keep for around 2 weeks in the fridge.
Banana Cranberry Mini Loaf
Makes 1 small loaf
½ cup spelt flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ cup desiccated coconut
½ tsp bicarbonate soda
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ cup dried cranberries (roughly chopped)
⅓ cup mashed banana
1 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
1 egg (beaten)
2 tbsp maple syrup
1. Preheat oven at 175 degrees celsius.
2. Add dry ingredients: spelt flour, baking powder, desiccated coconut, bicarbonate soda, cinnamon and cranberries to a mixing bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, add mashed banana, coconut oil, egg and maple syrup. Mix well to combine.
4. Add wet ingredients to the flour mixture. Carefully fold with a wooden spoon until just combined.
5. Line tin with baking paper and bake for 25 minutes.
6. Let cool on a cooling rack and cut into small slices.
Honey Popcorn Slice
Makes 16 slices.
Karen used a 21cm x 21cm square tray
¼ cup tahini
2 tbsp honey
4 cups popcorn
2 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
½ tbsp raw agave syrup (or maple syrup)
2 tbsp raw cacao powder
1. Add tahini and honey to a bowl and mix together.
2. Add popcorn and mix well to combine.
3. Line tin with baking paper, add mixture to the tin and press firmly.
4. To make raw chocolate, combine coconut oil with maple syrup.
5. Add raw cacao powder. Whisk with a fork until combined and chocolate mixture is smooth.
6. Drizzle the popcorn slice with raw chocolate.
7. Place in the fridge for 1 hour to set.
8. Once set, take the popcorn slice out of the fridge and carefully cut into 16 pieces.
9. Put each slice into muffin paper pans.
10. Keep in the fridge in an airtight container.