Interview with Julie Goodwin

Fiona Fennessy

With the approaching Back to School season, I was thrilled to interview Julie Goodwin, inaugural Masterchef winner, and find out about her new cookbook. It features tasty lunch box snacks, perfect for those hectic back-to-school mornings!

There are 11 mouth-watering treats which kids – even the fussiest ones – will love.

Julie has devised a range of treats including apple crumble muffins, mini banana and strawberry loaf, spinach parcels, zucchini and corn slice, sultana pikelets, samosa patties and more.

Julie is currently morning co-host on popular Central Coast radio station Star 104.5, and still very much in demand for all things food-related.


If you have no clue what to put in your kids’ lunchboxes, one of Australia’s most celebrated and best-loved family cooks, Julie Goodwin, knows how you feel. 

“My sons are now 21, 20 and 18 and believe me there have been plenty of times I’ve run out ideas,” she laughs. “I know what it’s like to pack lunch boxes day in and day out, and how tricky it can be to come up with food to keep them interested that’s still healthy and no-fuss.

The former MasterChef winner and Star 104.5 radio host recently teamed up with Weet-Bix to devise a unique eCookbook of lunch box snacks - Julie Goodwin’s Weet-Bix Lunchbox Snacks Cookbook – which is free to download.

It features quick and easy tasty treats made with crushed Weet-Bix, including apple crumble muffins, hommus dip, mini banana and strawberry loaf, spinach parcels, zucchini and corn slice, sultana pikelets, samosa patties and more.

“It was a lot of fun developing recipes with Weet-Bix,” Julie says. “It just adds a good bit of fibre and a really nice texture to dishes. Any chance you get to look outside the square and try to create more interesting food for kids is worthwhile.”

Julie gives us her best healthy eating tips for kids.


What is the best approach to give kids enough of the right carbohydrates to have energy for running, playing and jumping all day? 

In general, we all know we need to get the correct proportion of protein and carbs into kids’ diets. They need to consume a balanced range of foods across the food pyramid. Look up a respected health website online for guidance if you’re not sure. But don’t forget that keeping food interesting for kids is the key to getting them to eat it in the first place!


Can you share your own kids’ favourite food from each food group that has been a hit in the lunchboxes you’ve prepared over the years?

Carbohydrates:

My boys love bread so they’ve always liked sandwiches for lunch. In order to make life easy, I prepare all my sandwiches ahead of time and freeze them. Good quality ham, rocket and aioli sandwiches freeze well. As does corned beef, mango chutney and Jarlsberg cheese. Just pop them frozen into a lunchbox in the morning and they will thaw out by lunchtime.

Protein

It’s not hard for me to get protein into my sons! They love their meat cheese and dairy so I’ve never had a struggle with that. Cold chicken wings which you’ve already baked with some herbs, spices and barbecue sauce is a winner.

Fruit & Veg

They really like salads and vegies, particularly now they’re older. They’re also big fruit bats – their favourites are bananas and mandarins.

Drinks

There’s nothing wrong with good old water. However as two of my sons are really into the gym, they often take fruit smoothies with them with some extra protein in them which are a great energy booster.


Some parents like to give their kids a treat. This does not have to mean sugar. What are some excellent healthy treats that also fit into a lunch box?

Low-salt pretzels are good for a bit of a crunch. Or else you could do interesting fruit skewers, featuring frozen grapes. In the eCookbook there’s also a recipe for Bliss Balls which have dates, coconut and chia seeds in them which are just divine.


When people think of Weet-Bix, they usually associate it with breakfast. What has been the most surprising recipe using Weet-Bix as an ingredient?

I love the Weet-Bix Hommus and Olive Oil Flatbread. I really liked how the Weet-Bix added a real earthiness to the hommus. Plus I love the texture it gave the flatbread which was a great surprise! It’s just a really healthy and delicious snack. See the recipe for hommus below which could also be served with raw vegies or in a wrap.

Hommus

Ingredients:

 2 Sanitarium Weet-Bix, crushed
 400g can chickpeas, drained
 2 cloves garlic
 ¼ cup tahini
 1 lemon, juiced
 Iced water
 ½ teaspoon salt
 White pepper

Method:

1. Place the chickpeas, Weet-Bix, garlic, tahini, lemon juice and ¼ cup water in the bowl of a food processor. Blitz until smooth.

2. Season with sale and pepper and then blitz again.

3. Add iced water until the hommus is the desired consistency.