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.

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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Food Neo phobia – fear of trying new or unfamiliar foods

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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

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.