School is starting again tomorrow for my son. It’s been lovely summer holidays that we spent in the Dubai heat, in Germany and in Portugal. It’s been long too, about 10 weeks. But by no way boring.

My kids come to an age where they play more and more sophisticated games. It lies in the genes of my family  that we love to play card and board games. I can confirm that for at least 5 generations – my great-grandmother used to love playing and my children seem to be have the same bug. So even the month that we spent in the Dubai summer heat, didn’t feel long at all as we were always busy.

Tomorrow morning at 6.30am the alarm clock will ring, and I will have to prepare breakfast for a sleepy family and lunch boxes to be taken to school.

I have to come up with a few new lunch box ideas, as I was informed by the teacher that at mid-morning break, kids are only allowed a piece of fruit or a cereal bar. I must admit, I find that a tad too little. 6 and 7 year old kids having just that between breakfast at 6.30am and lunch after 12pm?

As school lunchboxes have to be nut free, I have been de-nutting all my granola bars. This works pretty well if you replace the nuts with sunflower or pumpkin seeds. Here is a list of granola bar recipes that can be easily adapted for school lunch boxes. Most of them are sweetened with dried fruit only, ideal for a healthy snack:

Breakfast Oatmeal Bars
Banana Molasses Granola Bars
Quinoa Granola Bars
Banana Pecan Granola Bars
No Bake Granola Bars
Cocoa Orange Granola Bars

When it comes to gluten/grain free flours, I am left with coconut flour and chickpea flour as almond meal is out of the picture.

This Lemon Coconut Loaf has become a staple over the summer. It’s light and fresh, sweetened with banana and honey. The batter is good enough to make either muffins or a loaf out of it. A good solution for the lunch box that the kids will enjoy. I am sure the rest will fall into place as soon as school starts.

1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 eggs
2 tablespoons coconut oil
4 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup mashed banana (1 ripe small banana)
1/2 lemon, zest of
1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 tablespoons pistachios, finely chopped
2 tablespoons desiccated coconut
Yields 1 small loaf or 6 muffins

Preheat oven to 180C/375F. Grease or line small loaf pan. Alternatively grease or line six muffin molds.

In a bowl, sift together coconut and flour and baking soda. Set aside.
In another bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Stir in coconut oil, honey and mashed banana until well combined. Add lemon zest and lemon juice.

Combine wet and dry ingredients. Make sure the batter is lump free. Spoon batter into loaf pan or muffins molds. Sprinkle with some chopped pistachios and coconut. Bake for about 25 minutes (muffins) to 35 minutes (loaf), or until tester comes out clean.


  1. Nut free lunchboxes? Now I want to move to Dubai 🙂 (My daughter is highly allergic to nuts and all the other kids seem to practically live on nutella …)

    And pistachios are allowed? I guess they are not as dangerous as peanuts and hazelnuts, but they are still nuts, aren’t they?

    I will definitely try your lemon coconut bread, because I find the ordinary one a little boring 😉

  2. Pistachios are not allowed either. For home use, I put some on. It also looks prettier 🙂

  3. That sounds like a great gluten-free loaf. Is the school nut-free because other children might have an allergy to nuts and could share? I have never heard of this before. That is so restrictive if you need to be gluten-free. What about rolled oats or ground oats as a starch? Does that work?

  4. Suzanne,
    I guess it’s because a nut allergy can actually kill someone or get into a very scary condition, whereas gluten or other food allergies are not as severe. I don’t mind this restriction so much (although it would make my life a little easier if nuts were allowed), as the school really emphasizes on healthy lunchboxes and doesn’t allow candy, chocolate, sodas etc. either. From what i hear, the teachers also don’t allow sharing lunch box foods. They don’t even have a school canteen, which I don’t mind, as my ideas of a healthy lunch probably differ from the mainstream canteen food in most cases.

  5. Your cake is beautiful, I love it !And thanks for all those granola bar recipes, so useful when you’re busy and still want to eat healthy foods.
    Have a nice week end !

  6. Beautiful cake, I’ve made it twice and both times it’s only lasted for a day and a half. I will try and turn it into muffins next time. Firm fav at the moment.

  7. This sounds ‘so lecker’, lemon and coconut is one of my fave combo’s and I would love to try this recipe, but I have to ask… is it really only 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup banana? Even for a small loaf (or 6 muffins)that doesn’t seem right..
    Luv all your recipes, so glad I found this site!

  8. What is the size of your “small loaf pan”?

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