Category Archives: Kids

Creating little chefs

Kids love doing things they think are ‘grown up’. Getting kids involved in the kitchen is a perfect way to teach them about nutrition. Everything from planning the menu, doing the shopping, to preparing and cooking with you, they love it! It’s a win-win, its a great way to have some fun together, and at the same time its going to make them more responsible and independent. It’s a great way to learn about different types of foods and to show them some basic cooking skills which are going to stay with them for life. Hopefully in the future, it might just be the difference between them thinking about and preparing a snack themselves rather than automatically going for a rubbishy quick fix instead! Here’s some ideas of easy ways to get them started:

Smoothies:

The Nutribullet and other smoothie blenders and juicers are very safe to use with a little bit of supervision. This is a great easy way to get kids involved in the kitchen, and it is a fantastic way of getting lots of fruit and veg into them. They can decide what they want to throw in, and may even be persuaded to throw something new in each time. Picking out their ingredients of choice, pressing the button, pouring it out, they are really going to feel like they are making it all on their own. You could try sneaking in a little pak choi or romaine lettuce when they are not looking, it goes undetected every time!

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Eggs:

Many kids love eggs. Scrambled egg is a great first meal to teach them how to make. It can be easily be done in the microwave, making it even easier. Mixing an egg in a bowl with a knob of butter and drop fo milk is something any child can do. They get so excited to see the transformation before their eyes! Tipped out onto a wholegrain wrap and wrapped up, they have successfully made their own meal! They will be delighted. Omelette is another handy one. Needs a little more supervision, and a small frying pan comes in very handy. Again they choose their own fillings, throw it into the bowl with a couple of eggs and toss the whole lot in the pan. Allowing it to cook on one side and then simply moving it under the grill is a handy way to avoid any flipping over.

Pizza:

 

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Homemade pizzas are a great fun activity for all the family. A big batch of dough can be made very easily and split up into individual portions and even frozen for convenience. Then laying out a bowl of tomato paste, grated mozarella and shaker of oregano with a whole load of different colourful toppings, kids can top their own pizza. Stretching the bases out in iteself is great fun, trying to get it into the right shape. And with the toppings then they can load them on, even making faces, or designs, whatever they decide they will be so excited to see their own one coming out of the oven.

Baking:

All kids love helping out with baking, licking the spoon or the bowl, who can resist it!! All in recipes like buns, flapjacks or cookies are great ones to do with kids. Getting organised beforehand is a good tip. Have everything you need out on the counter, possibly even measured if needs be, though kids do enjoy this part, your tray lined, all utensils where you need them. Having everything out will save you having to run here and there while little hands are digging into the mixture! Kids adore helping out and then wathcing what happens when the mixture goes into the oven. Refridgerator desserts, like cheesecake or moussecake work very well with kids as you dont have to worry about the oven then. The base usually involves a lot of crushing and banging and pressing which they will love doing, of course!

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Chocolate treats:

Dark chocolate can very easily be melted in the microwave. A simple idea is to lay out a big assortment of fruit and berries with a bowl of melted dark chocolate and forks. Kids love this kind of ‘fondue’ and it is a great way to introduce them to a darker chocolate than they are used to. Other simple ideas are melting chocolate and then throwing in some of their favourite berries, fruit or dried fruit or nuts and seeds. Then they can flatten it out on a tray and refridgerate. When its ready they will have fun breaking it into pieces and tucking in!

Whisking up some egg whites is another simple activity with a great visual result to excite them. They’ll be amazed at the yellow liquid turning into a huge bowl of stiff egg whites, especially if you turn it upside down over their heads and show them how it stays put (hopefully!!) Mixing it again with melted dark chocolate and a little honey if it needs it, will make a really simple delicious chocolate mousse.

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Breakfasts:

Breakfast time is a very easy place to get kids involved. And after time it may just help speed things up in the morning, if they have learned to do things for themselves! Porridge can easily be done in the microwave. A handy tip is to have it prepared and soaking from the night before, then it will take less time to cook in the morning. Any child is going to capable of putting muesli, granola etc into a bowl and topping with milk, you could have some toppings laid out like honey, seeds, nuts, fruit for them to choose from, even a few different types of milk for them to try out. Chia pudding is another handy one that can be done the night before and they will enjoy seeing the change in the morning when it has turned so thick. And smoothie bowls are a great colourful way to enjoy breakfast in a bowl!

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Dinners:

Pasta is almost every childs favourite! It is a very handy dinner to get them involved in. Make a big bowl of plain pasta and then lay out different sauces, like green pesto and a tomato sauce, then some things that can be added like finely chopped veg, peppers work well or little bits of ham or bacon or some little prawns and some grated parmesan. They can make up their own concoction then and will be trying new ideas while they are at it. Preparing fish or chicken as goujons using flour, egg and breadcrumbs is a fun (messy!) activity with smallies. Definitely have eveything ready beforehand and be near a sink! Eveyone can be given a job. They will love dipping in and passing on to the next person. And the best thing of all they will be excited to eat them up when they are done!

Soups:

Like smoothies, soups are a very easy way to get kids cooking. A bit more supervision will be required of course. Once onion is sweated off, they will have fun choosing all the veg and throwing it into the pot. Blending it up and seeing it change from veg to soup is great fun!

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Planning Menus & Shopping:

Consulting kids when deciding whats for tea (within reason of course!) is a good way to get them involved and make them feel like their opinion matters. Usually works well with older kids. It can be fun to go shopping together for the ingredients. Especially fun is shopping at a country market, where they’ll learn a lot about good food with all the local organic produce and food producers.

Happy cooking!!

A happy healthy Easter

So Easter is almost upon us. That time of year again, chocolate eggs everywhere we look, Easter egg hunts, doting grandparents bearing Easter treats! All we can do is try to minimise the amount of junk that the kids eat! It can be so difficult to find the balance between allowing them to have fun with the usual Easter festivities and keeping them healthy. Well Easter is the perfect time to play around with some healthy alternatives, there are endless really fun ideas to get the focus away from eating junk! By including plenty of fun, colour, distraction & tasty healthier alternatives and they won’t even feel they are missing anything at all!

Here’s some ideas we have come up with:

Fruit:

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Kids love fruit! Fruit kebabs are a great way to get a great assortment of different fruit into them. Berries are another great versatile fruit that kids get excited about. Strawberries plain or dipped in a little dark chocolate are always a winner.

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Popcorn:

Popcorn is a good crowd pleaser with kids. Homemade with only a little sea salt is a good healthy alternative. Making it up in little individual bags makes it seem like a special treat :)

Healthy home-baked treats:

Some homemade treats can be a great alternative to a shop bought Easter egg full of refined sugar. Our tip picks are the following;
-Coconut macaroon nests with a little added xylitol as a sweetener.
-Raw chocolate truffle balls or ‘bounty’ balls, pass well as eggs served in a little straw in a basket.
-Easter buns, made with spelt or buckwheat flour, ground nuts or fruit. There are some great decoration kits available to give any of these an Easter theme.

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Eggs:

Eggs are a great cost effective item to use at this time of year and also it is a chance to get kids eating eggs and educating them in the different things that can be done with eggs. Our top egg-tivities are the following:
-Painting or decorating eggs. Empty eggs out or simply hard boil them. Decorate the shells in pretty colours and patterns and have the eggs, scrambled or hard boiled for tea!
-Fill with chocolate and make DIY chocolate eggs. Empty the egg out of the shell making a little hole at one end and a larger hole at the other. When emptied and cleaned thoroughly fill with melted dark chocolate. Refrigerate and simply peel away the shell for a perfect solid chocolate egg! So exciting :)

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Healthy snacks:

There are a huge list of healthy snacks and treats available these days. Any of the following would be a great addition to a little Easter basket; Nudie Snacks (www.nudiesnacks.co.uk), Nakd bars (www.naturalbalancefoods.co.uk), Get Fruity Bars (www.getfruitybar.co.uk), That’s It Snacks (www.thatsitfruit.com), 9bars (www.9bar.com), Beond bars
(http://www.pulsin.co.uk/beond-snack-bars)

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Dark Chocolate:

A Good quality dark chocolate egg is an easy way to make Easter a bit healthier.

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An Easter hunt:

Kids get so excited by a treasure hunt or Easter hunt. Keeping it full of colour & if you can get some little Easter accessories it will have them squealing with excitement! A basket of healthy treats or even little chicks or toys at the end can be a good alternative to a big Easter egg.

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Wishing you all a very happy & healthy Easter!

Teaching kids about nutrition

Educating children in nutrition now is surely the key to a healthier happy population in the future. Schools could be pivotal in this education, but at the moment only a minimal amount of this stuff is part of the curriculum. In time, this will have to change but for now it is in the hands of parents, or anyone who can, to teach their kids about healthy eating, to ensure a healthy future for their kids, and their grandkids, and great-grandkids. The food kids put into their mouth affects more than just their immediate health, it can affect their genes. But that’s a whole other topic! If you’re interested in that side of things just google ‘epigenetics’. Anyway, here is a list of some cool ways to get educating kids around you:

Make some food art

Food art can be a great way to educate kids on food, while having fun, and they don’t even realise they are learning as they do it. Prepare a load of chopped foods all different types and paper plates and get the kids to create any picture they like using the food. You could have some picture sof examples printed out to give them an idea. You can be naming and identifying food as you go. The objective is that would eat their picture when they are done. Check out foodartist on Instagram for some amazing ideas and fooducationirel also features some like these

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Make smoothies or juices

Making smoothies and juices with kids is a great way to get them familiar with different types of fruits and veg, especially some exotic types they may not have come across before. You will have great fun trying out the different tastes and combinations. Check out our smoothies/juices blog, or look up smoothies on Instagram. Other fun additions can be made like oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, wheatgerm, milled seeds, etc, to experiment with different textures too. Also there is often a milling blade on smoothie makers, so you could have fun with this too, milling up some seeds to put over their breakfast the next day.

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Tasting Trays/ Taste Tests

A planned ‘tasting’ can be great fun with a group of kids. Muffin trays are so handy here for displaying a little of each item in each hole. The aim would be for them to try everything, there is always the option to spit it out! You could print out a little checklist where they could mark off how many things they tried, or give them the goal to try 5 things, for example. Older kids may be brave enough to try a blind folded taste test, where you tell them just for example ‘its a fruit’ and they must taste and try and guess what it is. This can be really fun (and a little scary!)

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Do a sugar demo

A sugar demo can be a very informative, visual exercise for kids to understand just how much sugar is hidden in juices, bars, etc. This exercise can be done very simply on a board using empty cartons/wrappers of the products and a sandwich bag stuck next to it. The sandwich bag can then be filled with the corresponding grams of sugar contained in the product. Quite scary! See the below one recently featured on blisstree.com

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Organise a healthy eating day/ week/ month at your kids school

Usually the school staff are only too delighted to have the offer of help in this area. If you feel you have some experience, or some knowledge to share, by all means offer your services! With the help of a few other parents, and some of your home equipment, a few books and print outs, a really fun educational lesson can be done very easily. The teachers will usually help out too. Make a plan based on some of ideas above or others – smoothies & juices, healthy treats and snacks, tasting of a variety of healthy foods, lunch box ideas, swapping white for brown, sugar demos showing how many spoons are in drinks or cereal bars – these are just some of the ideas that can be done. The older classes might even like to get involved in helping out.

Happy fooducating!!!