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

 

The Good Fats – Why are they so important to get into your child’s diet?

Flax oilYour child’s brain and nervous system
developement depends on the nutrients in their diet. Breast milk is full of vital lipids (special fats). The fats your child eats can have a profound effect on their development.Which is why choosing the right fats to eat is so important – it can affect mental health, learning ability, well-being and immune function. Damaged fats in processed foods and too much saturated animal fat can be detrimental to all areas of health. But getting good fats into your child’s diet will help with blood sugar too as it helps to slow down the energy release into the blood so relieves the insulin response, making a child feel more full.

Omega3 fats

The fats in oily fish contain two forms of Omega3 EPA and DHA.Pregnancy – The developing foetus CNS (Central Nervous System) and retina rely heavily on DHA Omega3 – which can be found in oily fish and fish oil supplements as well as plant Omega3 like flax oil, walnuts and organic eggs. So this is vital to include these fats in the diet during pregnancy. DHA is really Salmonimportant in the early development of the brain as it grows. After the age of 5 EPA Omega3 becomes more important for the functioning of the brain, and as teenagers, adults and the aging brain. EPA can also help with asthma, eczema and immune support.

Butter (real) – in moderation (Goats butter has much less cholesterol)
Good for brain function, gut health and energy (avoid vegetable spreads)

Olive oil – Good for all aspects of health.

Avocado and avocado oil – great for brain health, skin and energy.

Nut oils, Seed Oils, nuts and seeds – good for energy, mineral intake, and all round healthy is they are fresh.
Keep in fridge.

Coconut oil/butter – Make sure cold pressed and not heated (the fat in coconut milk should be eaten only in moderation) good for skin, brain health, energy and gut health.

Eggs – contrary to popular belief eggs are good for you- the organic version will have higher content of good fats as the chicken’s feed and life is higher quality. Great for growth and repair as well as energy.

Oliy fish – good for barin health, skinand tissues. The larger fish like tuna are high in heavy metals so should be eaten in moderation, and alsway cooked on a low heat.

Note on oils:

Recently the medical and science profession have announed that eating fat is good for you. This is because we know that a high carb, high sugar diet is so detrimental for health and is increasing obesity, cancer and heart disease in the populations who eat a “Western diet”.  However – not all fats are equal – there are many that should not be eaten regularly and even avoided if possible. Those are the processed fats found in junk foods, shop bought cakes and deserts and even vegetable spreads.   Nuts, seeds and good plant oils tend to contain Vitamin E and fresh fruit and vegetables are the best source of antioxidants whic will stop fats from becoming a danger in the body. Oils should not be kept over a long period of time, once opened all oils should be used within a month, and if possible kept in the fridge. Even butter oxidises – you may have noticed when a darker outside layer forms on an old block of butter, this is oxidation and is toxic to the body.
All oils have a “Smoke Point” – which is where they start to become damaged and no longer good for us. Light olive oil and clarified butter tend to be the best to cook with. Some oils should never be heated, especially flax oil. Always use a low to medium temperature for cooking with fats – and ignore most chefs advice on temperatures, as they always tend to cook on a high heat as they believe browned food looks better. Unfortunately browned food is NOT good, even though we do all love it! – eat in moderation, the odd BBQ never hurt anyone, but everyday will cause health issues.

Apples – why will they keep the doctor away?

Apples are well established as one of the best fruits for supportingApples pile
overall health. They are depicted as a divine food and the source of immortality in Norse Mythology.

Although apples may not be a source of immortality, there are important nutrients in apples that can support your child’s immune system and keep them healthy. In addition, these nutrients can lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure and stabilize blood sugar.

Apples are a great source of Vitamin C – an essential vitamin with many uses in the body, including supporting the immune system to fight infections and colds, keeping all tissues and cells healthy, regulating hormones, helping the absorption of iron and protection from the effects of stress and much more. Apples are high in polyphenols, which works with the antioxidant process and are an important part of any diet.

Apples also contain lots of minerals such as potassium. Minerals can help to maintain normal cell function and keep the bones strong.

Apples are an excellent source of pectin, a dietary fibre that helps to prevent dietary diseases, encourage healthy bowel movement and feeds the micro biota (gut flora), helping to keep your child’s tummy happy. The fibre in apples helps control cholesterol levels, so can protect the future cardiovascular health of you children. This fibre is deeply cleansing to the digestive system, and can also help settle a tummy bug!

Average fibre intakes for children and adults in the West are less than half of the recommended levels. In fact, studies show that we eat only 10% of what we used to eat as hunter-gatherers, so it is very important to have a source of fibre.

Studies show that apples contain over 4000 different flavonoids, which can improve cognitive function and prevent diseases in the long run.

Annie AppleThe easiest way to enjoy apples is to eat the fruit whole. Choosing organic means you can avoid removing the skin as this contains a significant amount of the healthy fibre and minerals. If the apple is not organic, be sure to wash it thoroughly with a detergent specially formulated for washing fruits and vegetables (or I sometimes use Ecover washing up liquid). The sharper tasting varieties are often more healthy as they contain higher levels of pectin fibre and polyphenols and lower levels of sugar. It is good to buy the variety that is local and in season as this supports local trade and the environment.

Add chopped apple and cinnamon to porridge or cereal, salads, natural yoghurt.
Lemon juice stops the apple from going brown, which looks nicer but the browning part of the apple is actually good for you.

Juice – another delicious way to harvest the benefits. If possible, juice the apples yourself or have it in a smoothie. Avoid clear, processed apple juice as this has most of the goodness removed and is very high in sugar. Excessive juicing is not advised though, as processed fruits contain a lot of sugar and without the fibre this can cause peaks in blood sugar which can lead to health issues later in life.

Avocado and Butter Bean Humus

Recipe from “Ava Avocado”Ava Avocado Front Cover CMYK

Try this deliciously different and healthy humus that’s full of good fats, Vitamins, minerals, fibre and plant protein.

1 soft avocado, 75g butter beans (lima),
2 dessert spoons of tahini, a little olive oil,
1 peeled garlic clove,
the juice of half a lemon, pink salt to season.

Place all ingredients in a blender until smooth, add a little water or more olive oil if too thick.
Can add a pinch of chili to give it a little kick.

Serve with wholegrain organic pitta bread, or chopped carrots and celery into sticks and
have fun dipping and crunching.

Butter eban+avocado pate

How to get MORE Vitamins, Minerals and Fibre into your child’s diet.

Flap jacks Get nutrient dense foods and fresh vegetables into you children’s diet, even if you have to hide it!

There comes a point in every parent’s life when your child realises they can make their own decisions about what they eat. Unfortunately, that is age is a very young age and it can be a very trying time to get children to eat the healthy foods! Believe me it gets harder as they get older, so start training them young!

Including healthy foods in the diet of a child is universally agreed upon by doctors, scientists, nutritionists and most importantly mums and dads to be the key to a good foundation for health in life. Even if children eat unhealthy foods, the good should always be included somehow, even if you have to hide it!

About 8 years ago, I worked with the school chefs at my children’s infant and junior school to create healthier recipes for school lunches. When I was asked I thought how enlightened the head teacher was. However, when I suggested that the chef should blend some vegetables into the bolognaise sauce, the head was horrified and insisted that the children should eat the lumps of vegetables added whether they like them or not.  So the inevitable happened, the vegetables were thrown under the table by many of the children. Whilst I agree in a perfect world the children would eat all healthy foods put in front of them, the reality is many of them don’t.

There are so many ways to include extra nutrients in your child’s / teen’s diet (even your partners diet) without them even knowing. Once they decide they like the dish, you can tell them what foods you have added.

The truth is, when children are growing, even when they are teens, nutrients are vitally important so that the body has the best foundation for health throughout their lives. Mineral deficiency in early years, will reflect in bone and muscle health later in life, and lack of protein can have huge implications as they get older and become adults.

Lack of fibre and cellulose in their diets coupled with a high sugar diet can have a hugely detrimental effect on their gut flora and therefore gut health and digestion. High sugar diets with deficient fibre, good fats and protein will inevitable affect their blood sugar and hormone balance later in life and can lead to health issues like obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes.  The body needs a balance of nutrients at all times to be able to metabolise all foods properly.

Here are some quick tips on getting more nutrients into both your children’s diet and the whole family.

Minerals, Fibre, Good Fats and Vitamins

Molasses not my

  1. If baking use raw cane sugar like Rapa Dura – full of minerals and more sweet so less needed
  2. Black Strap Molasses – packed with minerals like iron, magnesium, calcium, manganese, zinc and many more trace minerals, B Vitamins and goodness – use in sauces, gravy, baking and drinks
  3. Stir fries – finely chop spinach or kale and add towards the end of cooking
  4. Add crushed pumpkin seeds to baking, or whole ones to stir fries.
  5. Use dates, figs or prunes in baking (can be blended and used to reduce sugar in baking)
  6. Add finely chopped celery to sauces (like bolognaise or tomato sauce)
  7. Keep potato skins on
  8. Use brown rice (or do half and half with white – not cooked together though)
  9. Add flax seed to baking (ground and whole)
  10. Use the stalks of vegetables in stir fries, salads, soups (as there is extra cellulose in this)
  11. Give them sliced apple every day with breakfast
  12. Smoothies – always use apples, and what ever else they like. Avoid using too much cow’s milk, but can try Hemp, Rice or oat milk, or even just water. Add zinc, vitamin C and Vitamin D
  13. If making gravy – instead of just using the stock cube or powder, chop a whole load of veg and boil/simmer for an hour – strain and then use liquid with the normal stock cube.
  14. Meat or Vegetable bolognaise: as well as all the normal ingredients, add veg like courgettes, carrots, peppers, leeks, even cauliflower and pulse blend to keep texture. It’s still the easiest way to get vegetables into kids, no matter what the headmistress thinks!
  15. When making tomato sauce is add extra olive oil at the end.
  16. Use unheated flax oil (Omega3 fats) – add to sauces, stir fries after they have finished cooking, or to a smoothie or porridge.
  17. Add cinnamon and Rapa Dura sugar to pancakes, along with vitamin C.
  18. If they have salad dressings – add some avocado and blend to make creamy and packed with good fats and minerals. Can also add avocado to their smoothie.

Probably one of the best foods to use across most cooking is black strap molasses – you can hide it in baking and in sauces and it’s so full of nutrients. It was actually used during the War to keep children healthy. Give it to them from a young age so they develop a taste for it. I love mine in hot water with some cinnamon or on buttered toast.

 

NutriKids Books

The 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.

Book fan

 

Click on the books to take you to the bookshop.

 

Make your own baked beens – SUGAR FREE and more DELICIOUS!

Baked Beans

 

Making your own baked beans is so simple and it takes almost the same amount of time as opening a tin of beans!

You can use different types of beans, haricot, butter beans, mung beans or even pinto or black beans.

This recipe uses haricot beans.

Ingredients

I tin/carton of drained organic haricot beans

4 teaspoons of tomatoes puree

1 – 2 capfuls of balsamic vinegar2 toms

A little water

Splash of olive oil

Pinch of Pink Himalayan salt

Directions

Add all ingredients together into a pan and stir as you heat through. Add more water if the sauces over thickens.

Options:

To spice the beans up add a sprinkle of cayenne pepper.

Add chopped parsley to deepen flavour

Add Palm sugar to sweeten (Children may be so used to the commercial style of high sugar in beans that they might need to get used to the healthier homemade beans by adding a small amount of sugar)

 

 

 

Nutrition Knowledge is as Important as Reading and Writing

Will+Kale smallIf we taught our children about food and healthy eating with the same importance as we teach them to read and write; can you imagine what a different world it would be? This teaching should not just be about the basic food pyramid, but an in-depth understanding of nutrition and the processes in the body. They should learn about the nutrients in natural foods, and why they are so important. This will help them to realise what processed foods are missing, why junk food and sugar is so bad for health and they will learn what they need in terms of nutrition and staying healthy through all life stages.

The giant fast food companies would be just normal businesses, not megaliths that destroy so much of the environment and our children’s health. There would be less obesity, less cancer, less heart disease and diabetes would be a condition that affects much fewer people. Perhaps mental health problems and addictions would be less prolific and maybe there would be better well-being and happiness. It’s not just a dream, but it would be a huge challenge to get it past the politics of food in the West, where so much money is made from bad foods and sickness. There are many cynics out there that do not believe that diet has such a big effect on health, but I think the public have the intelligence to work out what is true and this is why there is so much more demand for healthier alternatives and healthy recipe books. At the same time people don’t want to be told what to eat, but if children knew about good nutrition from an early age, they would choose what to eat as they mature based on their knowledge. (My children are shining examples!) Should I even mention the benefits for the NHS? If you think about it in those terms it seems incredible that the government doesn’t make it a priority!

Consider what physical ‘health’ is: Having a healthy body that is energetic and vital ALL through your life. No matter what you are doing, diet has an affect on all aspects of your life including mental health and ability to work and enjoy life. Once we are in our teens, our 20s, our 30s and so on, it becomes much, much harder to make changes and for some almost impossible. We are so emotionally attached to our foods, that it makes giving them up or eating them in a much-reduced way almost like a grieving process. It is when many people get into their 40s and 50s that they realise they must do something about their diet. This new attitude could be triggered due to a health issue, minor or major, that perhaps may never have occurred if they had been eating healthily since they were young and had had more of an understanding of the importance of nutrition.

Teaching children about nutrition and health, not just as a project – but a subject would be as much of a gift as teaching them to read and write.

That being said, it is never too late to learn about good nutrition and make dietary changes.

 

 

 

Essential fats to get into your child’s diet

Butter (real) – in moderation (Goats butter has much less cholesterol)
Good for brain function, gut health and energy (avoid vegetable spreads)

Olive oil – Good for all aspects of health.

Avocado and avocado oil – great for brain health, skin and energy.

Nut oils, Seed Oils, nuts and seeds – good for energy, mineral intake, and all round healthy is they are fresh.
Keep in fridge.

Coconut oil/butter – Make sure cold pressed and not heated (the fat in coconut milk should be eaten only in moderation) good for skin, brain health, energy and gut health.

Eggs – contrary to popular belief eggs are good for you- the organic version will have higher content of good fats as the chicken’s feed and life is higher quality. Great for growth and repair as well as energy.

Oliy fish – good for barin health, skinand tissues. The larger fish like tuna are high in heavy metals so should be eaten in moderation.