How to reduce plastic waste in your kids lunchbox

How to reduce plastic waste in your kids lunchbox

Hello and Happy New Years from us here at Shelley’s Good Eats. With the arrival of the new decade, comes the beginning of the 2020 school year. Growing children brings new uniform sizes, longer stationary lists and endless thoughts about all the basics your kids will need for their first term back at school. Of course, somewhere on that list of basics, sits your kids’ lunchboxes. And when we say lunchboxes, we are not just talking about which Frozen character should star on the front of your child’s lunchbox…but also, what sorts of foods you’ll be stuffing inside them on the first day back at school.

It’s safe to say with the stress of the approaching school term, sustainability is the furthest thing from your mind. Here at Shelley’s Good Eats we understand that it can be hard for parents to juggle this hectic time, while also making more sustainable food-packaging choices a priority. That’s why we have come up with some simple sustainability suggestions to help reduce the plastic waste in your kids lunchboxes, while also saving you a bit of money in the long-run!

1. Ditch the single-served packaged foods

While these miniature food portions may be appealing to your children, one thing they certainly do not save on is packaging waste. Not to mention that these options are far more expensive per weight, because of all the extra packaging, making them less budget-friendly. While these items can save you time, they are unfortunately a simple example of clever marketing at play. These brands are targeting children with their special sizes and packaging, while also targeting time-poor parents. Below is an example of the price comparison of the exact same product in regular sized packaging and single-sized.

sunbeam sultana price comparison2. Invest in a bento-style lunchbox

A good lunch box, with built in compartments, can help reduce the amount of packaging needed to pack your kids’ lunch before they head off to school. They can also help you save the time you would usual spend rummaging around for containers or bags in your kitchen draws. Here at Shelley’s Good Eats, we know that it can be hard to keep your kids’ belongings in good condition…however, an important part of reducing our waste includes buying less. This means, where possible, we should try and reuse more of what we already have, rather than buying something new! Rather than buying a new lunchbox at the beginning of each school year, opt for a durable and practical option, that is more likely to survive the likely neglect your child shows it during the school day.


bento-style kids lunch box

3. Say no to single-use plastic baggies and wraps

Once upon a time, single-use plastic wrapping and bags brought convenience into the homes and lives of many busy families, when the eco-friendly alternatives were either much more complicated or simply, non-existent. However, with our plastic pollution becoming an ever-growing problem, fortunately the eco-friendly plastic-alternatives is a growing market, here to answer our sustainability prayers. Many Australian companies are offering new eco-friendly products, which will soon become family favourites to replace the old faithful cling-wrap and sandwich bags in your kids’ lunchboxes. These products take the form of reusable silicone pouches, wax-wraps and other material bags, wraps and pouches, durable products that will help your family save money and waste in the long run. Biome, Go for Zero, Nourished Life and Flora and Fauna, are some of the best Australian-based companies who have all your plastic-free back-to-school prayers covered!

Here at Shelley’s Good Eats, we think that sustainability should be stress free…especially when it comes to your kids! Waste, to a certain degree, is unavoidable. Making sure you and your family are disposing of your waste in the eco-friendliest ways by separating your trash and recycling where possible, is one of the most effective ways to reduce your impact. If you are confused about how to implement recycling into your home, you can read our recycling how to’s and don’t do’s blog post, here.

To help kick-start the 2020 school year, Shelley’s Good Eats has partnered with some local brands, to bring you a back-to-school give away that we hope will take some of the stress off parents preparing for the new school term. Head over to the @shelleysgoodeats Instagram, next Monday the 20th of January, to keep an eye out for our announcement!

Good luck and have a happy sustainable Tuesday, from our family to yours.

– the Shelley’s Good Eats team

Clean up your kitchen waste this Christmas

Clean up your kitchen waste this Christmas

It’s almost that time of year again…Christmas carols are on repeat at all of your favourite stores and, as if that wasn’t enough to drive you insane…it’s one week until Christmas day, and you’re still looking for the perfect sized chicken to finish off your food shopping. Christmas planning can be a stressful time for our fellow hosts…with so many different food expectations from your loved ones, it can be tempting to over-buy to try and please everyone.

The problem with this approach is that many of us increase our waste (including all those unwanted leftovers from Christmas lunch) over the festive season by about 30%. Here at Shelley’s Good Eats we understand that it can be difficult to prioritise your family’s food waste during the silly season. So we have come up with four easy tips and tricks to help you and your family reduce your impact, while still enjoying all your favourite holiday foods with your loved ones.

  1. Make friends with your freezer

About 90% of us will ditch over 25% of unwanted food during the festive season. Here at Shelley’s Good Eats we understand the importance of creating a healthy and functional relationship with your freezer in order to reduce your food waste (the glamorous life of a recipe developer). That’s why for tip number one, we want you to utilise your secret food-waste weapon…yep you guessed it, it’s your freezer! So much of the food we waste over the silly season is in edible leftovers (and lots of them!), so we recommend freezing these leftovers in batches. One way to make this easier on yourself is by eating through and cleaning your freezer prior to the big day, so that you’ll have plenty of room for all those delish holiday leftovers when the time comes!

  1. Ain’t no party like a food prep party

Here at Shelley’s Good Eats we believe that preparation is the key to success! We also think that the key to hosting an amazing waste-free Christmas day is through a little bit of planning. Chatting with your guests leading up to the Christmas food shopping helps to know what food (if any!) they are planning to bring along, and therefore, helps you not buy too much. The best tactic here is communicating your goal to your guests and explaining that you don’t want to waste too much food on Christmas day. Most loved ones should be understanding and ready to co-operate! And if you’re stuck for Christmas snacks to make for the big day, check out our favourite Christmas recipes to cook with your kids this silly season.

Ho Ho Ho Christmas cookies

  1. Dust off your Tupperware

Now we understand that there are only so much holiday leftovers you can squeeze into your family’s fridge and freezer. This is why for tip number three, we recommend asking your guests to bring some of their favourite jumbo sized containers as their plus ones to this years Christmas lunch. This way you can be confident that most of the food will be eaten and it takes the pressure off your family in having to eat the same leftover roast chicken, peas and gravy for the next two weeks straight.

  1. Finding creative ways to use up those mountains of leftovers

Sometimes the leftovers we are left with after the big day can be a little random and we don’t want to freeze them in little batches. This gives you the perfect opportunity to put on your creative chefs hat and give these random odds and ends a new lease of life! Think, bubble and squeak, pan curries, quiche/frittatas and creative salads, to treat your taste buds and use up those pesky bits and pieces hanging around after Christmas day lunch.

We hope that using these four methods will help you and your family to have a food-waste free, but more importantly, stress-free holiday season! If you want to read more information about reducing your waste in general during the festive season, click here. Waste, to a certain degree, is largely inevitable…but a little creative planning can go a long way to help reduce your impact and save your family money in discarded Christmas food. And if you’re struggling with the dos and don’ts of recycling this Christmas, check out our recycling how to’s and don’t dos.

We hope that all our readers have a safe, merry and sustainable silly season!

Spicy Christmas tree

Happy holidays from the Shelley’s Good Eats team xx

A bit about the Author

Hi my name is Karly. I am a 3rd year Nutrition student, studying on the beautiful Sunshine Coast. I work as an assistant at Shelley’s Good Eats, in-between my studies. As well as having a passion for all things nutrition, I also have a keen interest in sustainability. In the future, I would love to combine both of my passions and educate people in a dynamic and multifaceted way.  

Cooking with your kids this silly season

Cooking with your kids this silly season

Hello and a very Merry Christmas from the team at Shelley’s Good Eats! In this weeks post we’re going to chat about some simple ways to get your kids involved in some fun Christmas cooking during the weeks leading up to December’s main event…Christmas!


At Shelley’s Good Eats, we understand that the school holidays can be a stressful time of the year for parents! With the seemingly endless weeks of unplanned hours stretching out in front of us at the beginning of this time (no pressure), it can be hard to keep coming up with fun activities to do with your little ones.


Here at SGE’s we believe in Santa Claus…therefore, we want to give you and your kids the pre-Christmas gift you not only want, but also the gift you deserve! In the form of fun Christmas cooking activities, from your very own Shelley’s Good Eats recipe archive!


Not only does this gift give you the chance to spend quality, planned time with your children over the long Christmas school holiday break (phew!)…It also gives your kids some valuable cooking skills, which will only benefit them (and you when they are old enough to give you the night off cooking) in their future.


Spending the time to get your children involved in some of the household cooking is an important sensory experience for developing kids of all ages. This experience allows the children to touch, see and taste different foods during the cooking process. This sensory experience builds a safe and fun environment to expose your little ones to a wider range of foods at all their different stages during the cooking process.


Allowing children to be involved during the cooking experience, gives kids more ownership over their food choices. This feeling of ownership has been proven to make children more likely to try the foods they otherwise might have usually stubbornly and consistently refused at the dinner table.


You can get children as young as 2 involved in the kitchen, though of course we don’t want those sensitive little fingers going anywhere near a hot oven or oily pan…So it is always best to check out the recipe beforehand to see what stages of the cooking process will be easiest for your children depending on their age and abilities.


Fortunately, here at SGE’s we have done the hard work for you and have handpicked some of our favorite recipes and linked them below to make your silly season cooking activities as easy and stress free as possible!

Healthier Ginger Bread Biscuits

No one should miss out on delicious ginger bread this silly season so we have created a high fibre, low sugar variation that doesn’t compromise on taste! It is great to get your kids involved in cutting out the biscuits with their favourite cookie cutter’s. But you might need to help them with some of the other steps depending on their age, such as putting it in the oven, and rolling out the dough, as it can be tough! When they are cooked, get your kids to help decorate them as well!

christmas gingerbread biscuits

Buckwheat crackers

This recipe is as simple as it is tasty and is a perfect chance to get your kids involved in the cooking process. You don’t need to get your kids involved in every stage of the cooking process, but for this recipe, we would recommend getting them to help you with the mixing and rolling of the cracker dough. This keeps those little hands away from the hot oven, while still helping to develop those important sensory skills. However, depending on your children’s age, you may need to help them with the rolling, as the dough can be a little tough and might require a bit more omff to flatten it out.

Buckwheat Crackers

Savoury muffins

This savoury sensation is the perfect time to give your children more ownership over their food choices by letting them help choose their mix in ingredients. And if that wasn’t enough they can also get their hands nice and gooey by helping to mix the mixture all together. Though, when it comes to the oven stage of the process, it might be best to take over to avoid any burnt fingers and teary eyes.

Savoury Muffins

Gingerbread strawberry Santa hats

Have you seen anything as creative or adorable as these little edible Santa hats…go ahead, we’ll wait! These little hats are the perfect tasty Christmas treat, not only for your mouth but also your eyes. The best time for your little ones to join in this recipe is during the mixing and making of the gingerbread dough.  Though when it comes to putting those beautiful ginger babies into the oven, it might be a good idea to take over (have we said that enough?). Another great time for the children to join in the fun is during the hat assembling, that is of course after you torched yourself some tasty meringue and it has cooled enough to avoid any burnt fingers or mouths.

Kids Christmas Fruit Punch

These Christmas mocktails couldn’t make getting kids involved in the kitchen any easier! Simply mix all those refreshing ingredients together and sip away the silly season until your hearts content. These mocktails are so tasty, you may even consider switching up your normal Christmas drink for a special adult spiked version of these. Just remember to use a different container to avoid any unwanted Christmas surprises.

Kids Christmas fruit platter

While not quite a recipe, it’s great for your kids all together! Making fruit fun again, this kids Christmas platter is super simple, tasty and of course, Merry. After you’re done chopping up the fruits into smaller, more manageable portions, your children can take charge and create some festive fruit shapes using your Christmas cookie cutters. The perfect part is you can eat them straight away!


Have a lovely Christmas! With love from from the SGE Team!



Recycling – The how to’s and don’t dos

Recycling – The how to’s and don’t dos

From Instagram to a current affair…from Greta Thunberg to Leonardo DiCaprio, climate change is one of the most spoken about topics on everyone’s radar, with sustainability quickly becoming one of the biggest new trends catching the world by a storm. However, while it is great to see such an important topic gaining some much-needed attention, for the average Australian family, sustainability and recycling is something which can easily become overwhelming and can lead to feelings of guilt and inadequacy when we feel as though our sustainability efforts are falling short of those perfect ideals on our Facebook feeds. And while we might all enjoy adding a bit of extra salt into our daily cooking routine, the added stress likely to come from those overwhelming sustainability expectations is definitely something we can say no to in our kitchens.

While there is always ways in which we, as individuals or as a family, can improve to reduce our waste and lower our impact, it is important to remember that while we might all aspire to be like the Greta Thunberg’s of the world, this goal is not necessarily attainable for everyone, nor should it be. There are so many small things you can incorporate which will, over time, make a significant difference.

Here at Shelley’s Good Eats, we know that it can be challenging for families to incorporate new practices into their busy daily routines. We also understand that there is a lot of information out there about sustainability, which can make it overwhelming to know where to start. So, we have decided to start where our hearts lie (The Kitchen), and to break down the three types of recycling that you and your family can start incorporating into your daily kitchen routines to help reduce your waste; yellow-bin recycling, Red-cycle (soft-plastics) recycling and green/organic waste recycling.

Yellow-bin Recycling

This lovely yellow piece of bin engineering standing outside your home is the perfect place to start your families recycling journey. Depending on the area/city you live in, your yellow-lidded bin should get collected by your local council once a fortnight, and serves as an amazing opportunity for every household to reduce the amount of waste they are generating towards their local landfills.

But, did you know that not everything that seems recyclable, actually is?

Tricky isn’t it, fortunately most companies are making it much easier to identify if an item is recyclable by printing little numbered triangles on all of your packaged food items! However, each city/town’s recycling plants have slightly different capacities for what items they are able to recycle…so, the best way to double check your cities recycling do’s and don’ts prior to starting your families recycling journey, is on your local council’s website.

So, let’s break down the ins and outs of recycling, starting with our very own Brisbane! Fortunately, or our Brisbane dwellers almost any packaged-food products made from paper, cardboard, firm plastic, metal (aluminium and steel), or glass can be recycled, even when it does not contain the recycling symbol (small numbered triangle). However, there are some exceptions to the rule which we have listed below for you:

  • Wax-coated paper/cardboard boxes (e.g. fruit boxes)
  • Baking paper
  • All soft plastics (e.g. plastic bags, cling wrap and straws)
  • Drinking glasses, cookware (e.g. Pyrex) and heat-proof glass

So, why exactly can’t we recycle these items?

  • The wax covering the paper and cardboard makes it too difficult to recover paper fibres
  • The light-weight nature of soft plastics often results in them getting caught around moving machine parts, often leading to jams
  • The listed glass types are often more fragile than the durable nature of recyclable glass (jars etc) and therefore, can weaken the new glass products if they are used

If you live in Brisbane and would love to read more about the recycling dos and don’ts from your local council, click here and download the council’s pdf.

Yellow bin recycling system

Red-cycle (soft plastic) recycling

While we are unable to recycle our household soft-plastics in our yellow-lidded bins in Australia, there is a solution to answer our soft-plastic recycling prayers, and their name is Red-cycle.

The best thing is that the Red-cycle recycling system for soft-plastics couldn’t get any simpler! Simply (could we say simple anymore times?) collect all your household soft, scrunchable plastics, using the scrunching test, in a bag at home and drop them in to your local Coles or Woolworths stores during your weekly (or if you’re like us…daily!) grocery run.

Soft-plastic scrunch test

Red-cycle then collects your soft-plastic waste and sends them to their friends at Replas, who use it to make over 200 different recycled products.

For an all-inclusive list of all of the Red-cycle dos and don’ts, click here.

Green/organic food waste recycling

Last, but certainly not least, we have arrived at the food waste section of today’s blog post. Learning how to recycle your kitchen food waste is a great way to reduce the amount of waste your family is sending to landfill!

There are many different ways in which your family can recycle their green waste, which makes it easier to find an option to suite your circumstances. Here at Shelley’s Good Eats, we are all about making your life easier, so we have listed some options below for you:

  • Worm farms

Worm farm can recycle

  • Home composting (indoor/outdoor)

Compost bin can recycle

All of the above options are great ways for you to give your families green waste a second life, and can be quite fun to get your kids involved!

The whole recycling process can be a great opportunity to get your children involved, to help them develop an understanding and appreciation of their food system. Weekends and bin days can be a less hectic time to involve your kids and educate them about sustainability. Your local council’s website is an abundance of information; including recycling/composting apps and workshops to help engage your kids in these processes, while also making it more interesting and fun for them. Visiting your local community gardens and recycling plants can also be a fun way to get the family together on the weekends, while also refreshing your knowledge of sustainability in your city.

Here at Shelley’s Good Eats, because we understand it can be hard to incorporate sustainability into your family’s everyday routine, we’d love to know what your biggest ‘sustainability struggles’ are?

Your feedback will help guide our future posts for our ‘Shelley’s Sustainability Series’, where we can provide you with considerate, practical and (dare we say it) sustainable advice, that you and your family can use to build more eco-conscious kitchens.

A bit about the Author

Hi my name is Karly. I am a 3rd year Nutrition student, studying on the beautiful Sunshine Coast. I work as an assistant at Shelley’s Good Eats, in-between my studies. As well as having a passion for all things nutrition, I also have a keen interest in sustainability. In the future, I would love to combine both of my passions and educate people in a dynamic and multifaceted way.  

Trio of dips – for all your holiday entertaining!

Trio of dips – for all your holiday entertaining!

We are coming into the holiday seasons – aka a month of a whole lot of entertaining so I like to make some delicious healthy treats for my usual cheese platters.

But dips are just for entertaining OR cheese platters. They are a great sensory experience for your kids. No only do they provide great colour and a different texture to their plates it also provides a different ‘action’ for finger food! So here are my favourite three dips this summer – which all provide another serve of veg or legumes as well!

Pumpkin White Bean Hummus

Make your own buckwheat crackers to accompany these amazing creamy dip!

Pumpkin White Bean Hummus

Roast pumpkin packs this dip with flavour for the perfect mix of sweet, savoury and creamy!
Course Snack
Cuisine Australian
Keyword dip, hummus, pumpkin soup
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 6


  • 400 g white beans
  • 400 g butternut pumpkin roasted
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


  • Preheat the oven to 200C. Spread the cubed pumpkin over a tray. Roast in the oven for 30mins and then allow to cool slightly.
  • Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or blender and blend on high for 2-3mins until smooth. Top with a little olive oil and hemp seeds.

Fresh Beetroot Dip

Serve it up with fresh veggies of your choosing, or slathered on toast and topped with an egg.

Fresh Beetroot Dip

Fresh Vibrant beetroots make for a 'fun coloured dip for yum kids, or a delicious addition to your cheese platter.
Course Snack
Cuisine Australian
Keyword beetroot, dip, Snack
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 6


  • 3 large beetroots
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp corriander
  • 3/4 cup Greek yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  • Place the beetroots in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil for 30mins. Remove from the water and allow to cool for 5mins, then use paper towel to rub the skin off the beetroot. Place the beetroot and remaining ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and blend on high for 2-3min until smooth.

Classic Hummus

Serve them up with the incredible zaartar pita chips for something extra delicious!

Hummus With crispy Pita chips

The ultimate creamy hummus perfect for dipping with veggies sticks or cripsy pita chips!
Course Snack
Keyword chickpeas, hummus, legumes, pita chips, Snack
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Resting Time 5 minutes
Servings 4 People


  • 1 x 400g can Chickpeas
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Salt and pepper

Pita chips:

  • 2 large pitas
  • 1 tbsp zaatar seasoning*
  • Spray cooking oil


  • Drain the chickpeas and pour them into a saucepan. Top with water until chickpeas are covered. Bring the chickpeas to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 10mins. This step is optional, but makes for the creamiest hummus!
  • Drain the chickpeas through a colander with a jug beneath it to capture ½ cup of the cooking water.
  • Add your chickpeas, tahini, and cooking water to the food processor. Processes for 1min until smooth and then add in remaining ingredients and process on high for 2mins until creamy!
  • Serve with crunch pita chips.

To prepare the pita chips:

  • Preheat the oven to 170Lightly spray the pita breads with spray oil and then sprinkle with zaartar. Bake in the pita chips straight on the wire oven wracks for 7-10min until golden and crunchy. Allow cooling for 5min and then using your hands break them up into rough chips.


*(or 1tsp sesame seeds, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp oregano, salt and pepper if you can’t find zaatar in your local supermarket!)

Sugar: Is it really all the same?

Sugar: Is it really all the same?

If you have read anything online in the past 4 years you will probably believe that sugar is evil and honey, maple syrup, rice malt syrup and dates are the god send. They are the healthy alternative. Look I don’t blame you for believing this. I believed it before I actually studied nutrition and found out exactly how our body digests it all.


I spent a good year ignoring the caster sugar and brown sugar in my cupboard and replaced it with coconut sugar, medjool dates and honey (you name the replacement, I tried it!) to make the perfect ‘healthy baked treats’.


But guess what. All of these ‘replacements’ are all still forms of sugar.  We are told they are healthier because they are natural or unrefined.


This statement is completely flawed.


Caster sugar and brown sugar comes from a plant!!! – aka natural


Coconut sugar and rice malt syrup are also all refined and processed!!!


You don’t find them like that in nature. They have to have something done to them to allow them to sit on our shelf.


You could claim that honey, maple syrup and medjool dates are quite natural, they are all found as is in nature. But just like sugar they contain glucose and fructose. While honey contains slightly less fructose and glucose than white sugar it is actually worse for weight loss. Why? Because honey actually contains more calories than white sugar.


It is true that white sugar has a higher glycaemic index than honey meaning it will increase your blood sugar levels faster. However, when have you ever eaten white sugar alone?

Generally, it is added to baking or a beverage which can reduced the glycaemic index and slow down the absorption.


All of these products contain either glucose or fructose or both.

sucrose, glucose, fructose... it is all the same

So how is sugar (Sucrose, glucose and fructose) broken down by the body?

I am going to try and keep this as simple as possible.


Glucose and fructose bind together to form sucrose. So, the first thing the body does is break that bond to individually break down glucose and fructose. Once they are broken down into these single molecules, they are free to be absorbed across the intestinal lining into the blood stream to be taken to the liver for further processing (another reason you don’t need to detox).


Glucose is then moved to cells around the body where it is broken down through a process called glycolysis where glucose is broken down into two carbon molecules called pyruvate before then converting to ATP which can be used by our cells to power our muscles and organs.


The breakdown of fructose is similar to this, however can generally only occurs in the liver.


Any glucose that isn’t required immediately for energy use is converted to glycogen and stored for later use. Fructose on the other hand can’t be stored, so is instead converted to glucose like molecules and stored as glycogen.


When the body reaches it glycogen storing capacity that is when glucose is converted to fat. But don’t get confused by the use of glucose in the previous sentence, remembering that both fructose is also converted to glucose like molecules and treated by the body in the exact same way.


So when professionals say that all sugars are treated the same way by the body, that’s because they are.



Whether a product contains glucose or fructose they are both types of sugars and broken down by the body in near exact processes. Remembering again that all the ‘sugar’ replacements do still in fact contain at least one of either glucose or fructose.


The slight different that these alternatives or replacements contain are micronutrients, but that makes next to no difference to how the sugar is actually broken down.


Overall the best advice I can give when talking about sugar (and by sugar, I mean any form of it!) is to try and reduce your overall amount. If you currently like 2 tsp of sugar or honey in your coffee reduce it by ¼ tsp each week and within a month you will have halved your sugar intake. The small incremental changes are the best way to reduce sugar intake and slowly adapt your taste buds.


The facts in the article are the reason I still use brown and white sugar in so many of the recipes you will find on my website. Where I can I reduce the amount of sugar in a recipe, but if it’s still quite high, enjoy it for what it is. A TREAT. Because whether a recipe has 1 cup of sugar or 10 medjool dates it isn’t something that we should be eating in high quantities.


I do still use maple syrup and honey in baking, but I do this for the flavour profiles they lend to a recipe, not the ‘health benefits.