Turkey Meat Balls with Oat Bran

Makes 15-30 balls depending on the size you roll.

400g Turkey thigh mince
100g Oats or oat bran 3/4 finely chopped spring onions
Large handful of fresh chopped tarragon 1 x tsp freshly ground black pepper
Handful of finely chopped spinach leaves
Large pinch of pink Himalayan salt
Olive oil
Option: Large handful copped cooked shiitake mushrooms

Directions
Prepare an oven tray and heat oven to 165 degrees Celsius.
Place all ingredients in a bowl with a splash of olive oil,
and use hands (food gloves are advised) to mix ingredients into a dough.
Take a small handful of mixture and roll into a ball, create as many balls as you can all of a similar size. Drizzle a little olive oil over each one.
Place them all on a grease proof paper on oven tray and cook for 20 minutes
or until cooked through. You can alternatively shallow fry, but this will add
more fat and calories.

For burgers
Place a cutter on the oven tray on greaseproof paper and fill with mixture around 2 thirds the way up, pat in down into a firm patty and pull away cutter.
Repeat until all mixture is used.
Cook for 20 minutes or until cooked through.

 

Options:
Cook in tomato and garlic sauce for tasty meatballs.
Use in wraps with lettuce and avocado

Health benefits: High in protein, iron, minerals and fibre.

Save

Save

Connie’s Curly Carrots


Children love being adventurous with their food and something as fun as spiralising will encourage them to eat more vegetables.

Try this recipe for a new and surprising taste.

Ingredients

1 large raw carrot
1 courgette
1 cup of natural live yoghurt or coconut yoghurt
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp ground turmeric
Olive oil
Pinch pink Himalayan salt
Options: Sprinkle of pumpkin seeds

Use a spiraliser to process the carrot and courgette into spaghetti ribbons.
Place yoghurt into bowel and add the lemon juice, big splash of olive oil, turmeric and pink salt. Mix it together into a dressing. Add to the vegetable ribbons, and mix in.

A fresh summer salad that goes with anything.

Spiralisers come in all shapes and sizes and are very easy to use.

 

 

Shortlisted – Best 5+ Book

Delighted to announce that my children’s healthy eating books have been shortlisted for the Junior Magazine Best Book 5+ Design Awards.

My NutriKids books have been lovingly crafted to really appeal to children with characters that could be their friends. The situations are designed especially to allow the children to put themselves into the character’s shoes, which helps them to understand and learn about the health benefits of each food and how it could support their own health. If it’s good for Connie Carrot, it must be good for them.

I based the series on my own personal experiences as a parent, combining my nutritional expertise with simple stories that I knew my own two children could relate to. Each book focuses on one food and it’s healthy benefits, including an engaging story, nutrition facts, deliciously simple recipes, and a “Grow Your Own” page that encourages families to grow their own fruit and vegetables together.

Teaching children how to eat healthily is a gift for life. I created NutriKids books to help parents, teachers and guardians to not only get children to eat and enjoy vegetables and fruit, but also to help children understand why these foods are so important.

The NutriKids series currently consists of six books and includes the following characters; Ava Avacado, Benjamin Broccoli, Billy Blueberry, Connie Carrot, Penelope Pea, Sammy Spinach. Please have a look at my website for more info: nutrikids.co

The average 5 year old eats it’s weight in sugar per year!

According to an article in the Times today, health officials are warning that the amount of sugar consumed by children is much more than parents think. It’s shocking when you think of it in terms of eating their own weight in sugar – but is it? Sugar is available everywhere. There are so many foods that entice kids to eat sugar both openly and in a sinister and underhand way, that encourages an almost addiction like desire for that food.
Why does society still accept this for our children? High sugar foods are not real foods that keep a child healthy, and many of them are not cheap.

High sugar foods are deleterious foods, meaning they take from health, rather than give to health. Sugar is used for instant energy by the body – but the body can get that energy from healthier carbohydrates, fats and protein, without the harmful effect of instant blood sugar rush. When a child consumes sugar, it should really only be to give them energy before a race or a very active past time so it can be used up quickly. Even then there are better choices like fruit, nuts and seeds.

The truth is sweet sells. Many children that have been given sweet foods from birth prefer sweet foods, refined carbohydrates, sugary drinks, fruit juice, fruit purees and smoothies. Parents that consume a lot of sweet foods make it acceptable for their children to do the same thing, so the cycle goes on. Once a child becomes independent, even if they haven’t been given sugary foods and drinks at home, they will be influenced by friends to buy bags of sweets that are ubiquitously available everywhere a child turns. Schools unbelievably, still sell sweet foods.  Governments know we should not allow kids to consume sugar, parents know, manufacturers know, doctors, nutritionists and everybody has a good idea as to why we shouldn’t let kids eat so much sugar – but here we are in 2017 – 11 years after the headline “Children grow fatter as the experts dither” in the Times newspaper in February 2006!

Sugar is in the news today due to the worrying statistics of how many very young children are having their teeth out due to the effects of sugar in their diet. What is not always understood or fully explained is why the sugar affects the teeth. This is important because it’s not just the teeth that are being affected. Sugar feeds bacteria, it is generally the bad bacteria that is not health supportive, that feeds on sugar. This not only makes more grow, but they produce acid as a by product which damages the enamel on teeth, especially young soft teeth. The affect of sugar is not just felt on the teeth, but in the gut. The microbes that are so important to a child’s health can be thrown out of balance because of sugar feeding undesirable bacteria. Now mix that with a dose of antibiotics that was given because of a sore throat or chest infection and you could have a microbial imbalance in the gut, mouth and other areas which will affect your child’s health longer term. It is vital to not give your child any sugar or refined carbs with or post antibiotics.  Antibiotics kill the good bacteria as well as the infection that the medications are there to fight. A poor diet then makes the situation worse, this can all cause the immune system to start becoming sensitive and worsen conditions like asthma, eczema and sensitivities.
Fresh vegetables are the antidote to sugar as they contain the cellulose that feeds the good bacteria.
The only way to avoid the health conditions created by sugar is to avoid consumption.

Choose healthier sugars to bake with like Rapa Dura or molasses. You can also use dates alone to sweeten foods like muffins and cup cakes.

Chocolate crunch cookies – a healthier way

Ingredients

4oz Goat’s butter (half a normal size block of butter) easy to digest, less cholesterol

Half a cup organic cocoa powder – high in antioxidants

2 and a half cups of whole-grain Spelt flour – high in minerals, B Vitamins and fibre. Easier to digest than normal wholegrain flour (or use brown rice flour if you are gluten free)

2 thirds a cup of Rapa Dura sugar (click on link) – raw cane sugar, it’s sweeter than white sugar so less is used, high in iron and contains other trace minerals. It has a richer flavour. Can purchase from health stores or online.

Half cup of raw organic cocoa nibs (optional)
– makes more crunchy and gives nutty flavour without the nuts – high in antioxidants.

2 x teaspoons of cardamom (optional) you can purchase spices from “BuyWholeFoodsOnline” it is a less expensive way to buy as you get so much more for your money.(click on link)

Directions

Heat the oven to 150 degrees and prepare a tray either greased with butter, or covered with grease proof paper.

You can either hand rub the butter and flour together to make them into ‘crumbs’ or use a food processor to gently mix – use the pulse button to keep it light. Add the cocoa powder, sugar and cardamom if using it. Add the cocoa nibs last. Mix until it becomes a dough.
Roll into small balls about 25g each then press the palm of your hand down to flatten them into cookie shape.

The oven at 150 degrees is hot enough to cook, but cool enough not to over heat the fats and proteins which makes them healthier. Leave to cook for 20-25 minutes.

Remove form oven and let them cool, this is when they become crunchy.

Nutritional benefits:
High in fibre and polyphenol antioxidants and a good source of Iron, B Vitamins.
Goat’s butter is a healthy addition to the diet in moderation, low in cholesterol and contains important dietary fats as well as n-Butyrate which is a substance that feeds our cells in the gut lining and supports mental health and well-being.

Note: Rapa Dura is a sugar and should be consumed in moderation even though it is a healthier choice.

 

 

 

 

 

Save

Carrots are not just for eyes!

Carrots are amazing! They are packed full of Beta-Carotene that converts to Vitamin A which is vital for your eyes, but also for your skin and your immune system. They contain antioxidants that are hugely protective of your heart and blood vessels – studies have shown that eating cooked carrots or a raw carrot once a day can reduce your risks of heart attacks when you are older by 60%! Other foods containing carotenes have a similar effect. Carrots protect your lungs, bladder, and your digestive tract and provide fibre to keep your friendly bacteria in the gut happy. Carrots are so versitile, they come in different colours and can be fun and easy to prepare. They really are a special food.

Sample recipes from
“Connie Carrot” NutriKids Book:

Bright Carrot Rice

Finely dice carrots and lightly cook in
a pan with some olive oil, spring onions and ground cumin.
Add cooked brown basmati rice and a pinch of turmeric
to give a rich colour. Serve with chicken, fish or even
sausages. For vegetarian add garlic-sautéed
chickpeas and raw pumpkin seeds.

Carrot and Potato Mash

Chop carrots and potatoes and steam until soft, mash with a  little goat’s butter. To make smoother , add olive oil, milk or water.  Add cooked
peas to make tasty, colourful mash.

To purchase “Connie Carrot” click here

Why do your Kids need Vitamin K and where do you find it?

Meet NutriKid Kelly Kale, she knows how important strong bones are.

Vitamin K is not a very talked about nutrient, either in the press or by doctors.
It is vital for your child’s growth, so vital in fact that they are given it as an injection when they are born just in case they have not got enough from the mother for those first few vital days. You get Vitamin K1 from leafy greens and other vegetables, and if you have the right balance of good gut flora (healthy bacteria in the gut) these will produce the K2 form. Vitamin K3 is the synthetic form in supplements. All 3 types of Vitamin K play an important role in the healthy clotting of the blood, however Vitamin K1 from fresh vegetables appears to be the superior form as this also plays a vital role in bone health. K1 converts bone protein (osteocalcin) to its active form that is vital for healthy bone growth and strength – it allows the osteocalcin molecule to join with the calcium molecule and laying down strong healthy bone tissue.
This is needed from birth to old age and a diet rich in Vitamin K is the best
way to ensure you child gets enough.

Vitamin K is found in:

Kale, Spinach, Broccoli, Lettuce,
Cabbage, Watercress, Asparagus,
Oats, Green Peas, Green Beans, Green Tea and Wholewheat.

Save

Save

Happy Halloween – Pumpkin Soup

pumpkin-soup300dpi

 

You will need a blender

Ingredients

I whole medium/large pumpkin – designed, cut and scooped out.

1 pint filtered water

I large red onion – chopped

2 organic low sodium vegetable or chicken stock cubes

Seasoning – pink Himalayan salt

Optional: Small pinch of cayenne pepper

Pumpkin Seeds to garnish

Directions:

pumpkin-fleshSeparate out the pumpkin flesh from the seeds – you can spread the wet seeds out over a tray and dry them out in a very low heat in the oven. The eat the seeds – crack open the shells when they are very dry and remove the seed inside. Delicious!

Place all the pumpkin flesh and chopped red onion in a pan of filtered water. Bring to boil for 5 minutes, add the stock cubes, then simmer for 15 minutes. Stirring occasionally.

When everything is completely soft, use a hand blender to make the soup smooth and creamy. Add a pinch of salt or cayenne pepper to add some warmth and a little spicy kick.

As an option to increase protein content crumble a little goat’s cheese or feta cheese.

Introducing Parker Pumpkin

peter-with-pumpkin72dpi-with-green

Parker loves pumpkin, not just because they are fun at Halloween, but he learned about the special things in pumpkins that protect his health and help him to grow healthy and strong.

Health Benefits of Pumpkin

The strong orange colour of pumpkin show’s the exceptional amounts of carotenes and antioxidants. Beta-carotene, Poly-phenic anti-oxidants and xanthin are all health protective – especially for eyes and skin. Beta-carotene converts to Vitamin A in the body which is vital for immunity and immune function.

Pumpkin is good source of B Vitamins needed for energy, growth, nervous system, well-being, digestion and so many functions.

The flesh contains fibre that helps keep blood sugar steady and removes toxins from the body. This is protective for the future health as it helps control cholesterol and diabetes.

pumpkin-seeds-smallestPumpkin seeds are packed with goodness: fibre, mono-unsaturated fats both supporting heart and digestive health.

They are high in protein and minerals like iron, selenium and zinc. Zinc is particularly important for immune function, digestion and many other functions in the body.

Pumpkin is disease protective in many ways and should be included in the diet regularly when in season.

NOT JUST FOR HALLOWEEN

 

Food Neo phobia – fear of trying new or unfamiliar foods

dont-like-cabbage

 

Trying to encourage healthy eating in a child who doesn’t want to eat healthy foods, can be one of the most frustrating aspects of parenthood. After spending time buying and lovingly preparing a meal that your child looks at with distaste and then gives you a look that says  “what are you doing to me?” can be disheartening and may make you feel like giving up.
What you are up against is not just your child’s preference and attitude but nature itself. A child refusing to eat something is not always fussy eating it can be about self-preservation.

Food Neo phobia is not an eating disorder, it’s not even ‘fussy eating’ it is a natural inclination to avoid a food that you are unfamiliar with and some children are more neo phobic than others. It is thought to be an inherited trait, or it can be a trait influenced by parents and those around them.

Millions of years ago humans used food neo phobia as self-preservation, to avoid eating poisonous foods especially the children. As a food became familiar then they would feel more comfortable to eat it. Some healthy foods like greens can have a bitter taste and and might need to be prepared and presented in a way that makes it more agreeable to a child’s taste buds. Like using butter, spices and adding the vegetables to other foods rather than giving it to them plain.  Teaching them why they should eat the foods is so important because otherwise it is hard to convince them to make the effort to eat something that they don’t think tastes as nice as carbohydrates.

Young children are heavily influenced by parental choices, if they can see their parents and those around them eating the food it is much more likely they will eat it. Children are also affected by feeling unwell and can associate a food if they had eaten it with making them unwell.

In the same way that they can be influenced to eat junk foods or foods that are not good form them. In some studies, where children with a more food neo phobic approach have been given a variety of food choices, there was a strong result for then choosing to eat carbohydrate foods. It is these children that tend to miss out on the highly nutritious choice of vegetables and protein, and why it is important to find ways to encourage them to eat healthy foods. By rewarding the children for trying the foods with praise or a sticker, and repeating this until that food becomes familiar this should overcome the fear of trying that food and even go on to encourage them to try more foods.

Rather than forcing a child to eat certain foods, or nagging them it is far better to do the following:

  1. Eat healthy foods yourself
  2. Introduce new foods regularly and at an early age
  3. Reward with stickers/certificates – not with treats

As well as the above if you can educate your child by taking them shopping to super markets and farmers markets, even farms where the foods are grown and reading books on the subject. Teach them to cook, or at least show them what you are doing – getting them to participate in the cooking process makes it more likely they will eat the foods you want them to. Get them planting and watching a food grow– even if it’s just in pots, anything from herbs to carrots.

Refs:
 1). Predictors and consequences of food neophobia and pickiness in young girls. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 68, 131-136 (January 2014) | doi:10.1038/ejcn.2013.239
 2). Food neophobia and mealtime food consumption in 4–5 year old children. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2006, 3:14  doi:10.1186/1479-5868-3-14

Vegetable Medley – like sunshine on a plate!

vegetabke-medley-in-white-pan

So easy yet so tasty and different.

Ingredients – this is a rough guide but you can increase or decrease according to how many servings are required.

1 chopped carrot
2 cups of frozen sweetcorn
1 cup frozen or fresh shelled peas
A large handful of chopped akle
I finely chopped white onion
Olive oil
2 tsp sweet paprika
1 heaped tsp turmeric powder
Big pinch of chilli flakes (or fresh chilli)

Directions:

Place olive oil in the pan on a medium heat, add all the ingredients except kale, keep stirring so it doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan. After a few minutes of cooking add the kale. Altogether cook for no more than 10 minutes to keep ingredients fresh.

Serve as a side dish, or you can add chopped chicken, flaked salmon, tofu or halumi with a small amount of cooked brown rice or quinoa to create a complete meal.

carrots-pile-smaller