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Seven ways to supercharge your child’s snacks

Written by lee on . Posted in Before and After School Snacks, Blog, Kids, Kids Recipe Book, Kids' Recipes, lunch box ideas, Nutrient Rich, Organic, Supercharged Food Menu

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There are many challenges that parents face in the daily rhythms of raising children, and one thing that can take the edge off the chaos is ensuring that your child is nourished with the right foods. I cover this in my new kids cookbook Supercharged Food for Kids.

Whilst I'm a firm believer that the three main meals should be the greatest priority for filling your little one with the bulk of their nutrients and fuel, I also think snacks need to be well thought out as they are what regulate their blood sugar and moods.

Here are seven ways you can supercharge your child's snacks.

1. Load them up on protein

Protein is the building block of your child’s growth. Really, there is little that goes on within the body that doesn't require protein. When paired with carbohydrates, including protein in a snack will help to keep a turbulent tantrum at bay by regulating the uptake of sugar. Eggs, meat, fish, cheese and combining grains with nuts or seeds, or pulses with grains will provide a hit of protein.

2. Be generous with fat

Do not fear fat! Saturated fat from animal (butter, ghee, chicken skin, full fat dairy, and fats from pastured meat) or plant (coconut oil) sources are responsible for many critical functions in the body, and will keep your child full and nourished between meals when added to snacks. Unsaturated fats from avocado, nuts and seeds are also wonderfully nourishing to growing bodies. Nut butters, cheese, avocado, labna or yoghurt are lovely snack additions for kids. Try making these Cucumber Sailing Boats.

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3. Focus on complex carbs

There is absolutely no place for many of the commercial snack foods available today that are high in simple carbohydrates that spike sugar levels and are highly processed. When using carbohydrates in snacks, always opt for wholefood sources of carbohydrate like wholegrains like quinoa, millet, brown rice, amaranth, buckwheat, spelt, lentils as well as potatoes and sweet potatoes.

4. Explore colour

Once you’ve covered the macronutrients through fats, proteins and complex carbs, you can be liberal with colourful fruits and vegetables that will fill your child’s body with vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients that will cover an enormous range of compounds to contribute to good health. Try to cover all colours of the rainbow to supply a diverse range of protective antioxidants.

5. Be savvy about sweetness.

Kids love a good treat, and there’s no reason to deprive them if they are homemade and full of nourishing ingredients. My favourite real food sweeteners include raw honey, coconut sugar, rice malt syrup, stevia, and dried unsulfured fruits like apricots and dates. Use these to make sweet treats. They'll love these fabulous Chocolate Popsicles.

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6. Persist with diversity. Snacks are a great opportunity to introduce a range of foods to your children. Supercharging your child’s diet means exposing them to a diverse range of foods that will provide a range of nutrients for their growth and development. Persist through rejection. Sometimes it takes four or five introductions to a food before a young child will accept the new taste.

7. Cram the goodness into a smoothie. Smoothies are a great pick-me-up snack for kids, especially in the afternoons after a big day out. They are hydrating and potentially highly nutritious—you’ll be able to add sneaky ingredients that they’d normally reject.

You'll find more delicious recipes for kids in my book Supercharged Food for Kids.

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Free-Spirited Nachos

Written by lee on . Posted in Before and After School Snacks, Blog Dinner, Blog Lunch, Blog Snacks, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Healthy Meals, Lunch Box Ideas, Nutrient Rich, Organic, Sauces, Seasonal, Spring, Sugar Free, Summer, Vegetarian, Wheat Free, Winter, Yeast Free

  nachos Now that the New Year is in full swing, you’ve probably already firmly set your customary resolutions.  Perhaps you’d like to try and eat healthier, exercise more, or maybe you’ve bookmarked a few blogs and cook books and you’re busting to get back into the kitchen and reacquaint yourself with your food processor?
Healthy cooking can be a breeze when you have time on your hands, the luxury of being able to source fresh ingredients and the desire to cook.  The challenge is striking the balance between affordability and quality, ensuring you’re not spending all your free time preparing food and finding recipes that are not only convenient and easy on the wallet, but simple to make with ordinary nutritious ingredients.
Spoiler alert…
So often we’re strongly encouraged to buy an ingredient or health product because it’s good for you, or because someone has told you that it’s healthy, but healthy eating shouldn’t be about strategically placed health claims.  It is really just about simplicity and keeping it real. Buying fresh ingredients in their truest form and preparing them to your liking is the key to being healthy as is leaving packeted processed foods with a string of unfavourable ingredients on the shelf.
When it comes to ‘healthy eating’ why not make 2015 the year to discover what YOU believe in?  Make a stand to eat by your own rules, your way, without self-doubt or others trying to persuade you otherwise?
In the new year, instead of being overly health obsessed and bounding in with gusto to try the next “super berry from the Amazon” or being hoodwinked by a more restrictive, bigger, better fad diet, you know the ones that hustle, race and elbow each other out of the way to weasel their way into your apprehensions and anxieties faster.  Maybe it’s time to begin to believe in you and your inner sense of self knowing and wisdom when it comes to being healthy?
I believe that finding real food that makes you feel happier, more energised, alive and other adverbs can be produced easily without all of the punchlines and sensationalism.  It certainly feels like the right time to throw 2014’s faddish ‘optimal’ diets out the door, broaden your horizons and do what feels right for you.
Healthy eating is not about deprivation and it doesn’t mean that yummy dishes like nachos need to be abolished.  These angelic nachos from my new book Eat Clean, Green and Vegetarian are an easy to make healthy alternative to traditional nachos that are often laden with dodgy ingredients and leave you feeling bloated afterwards.   I’ve reinvented traditional nachos to give them a renewed sense of freedom that the new year can bring.  Nachos can be enjoyed regardless of how old you are, in fact they’re the kind of dish which improves with age; much like kombucha, good cheese or Dominic West.  Yes really. 🙂

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Nut Butter Biscuits

Written by lee on . Posted in Autumn, Before and After School Snacks, Blog Snacks, Christmas, Dairy Free, Dessert, Gluten Free, Kids, Nutrient Rich, Spring, Sugar Free, Summer, Wheat Free, Winter, Yeast Free

Photography by Nina Thornton

Photography by Nina Thornton

Old school biscuits are the perfect accompaniment to share your morning or afternoon cup of tea. I designed these especially for kids, and the recipe comes from my book Supercharged Food for Kids as they’re a great lunchbox treat or after school bite. Sometimes snacks can be a bit of a tricky one, as you crave a morsel that is crunchy, sweet and satisfying but preferably good for you too. I’m happy to say that these nut butter biscuits tick all those boxes, as well as being packed with nutrient-dense ingredients they’re delicious and fantastically fulfilling.

The nut butter base adds a mild nutty taste that enhances the other flavours, and is abundant in protein and healthy fats, to keep you content. Almond butter is a variety you may want to use, but feel free to experiment with cashew or macadamia because they both work very well in this recipe. Extra points if you make your own too!

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Gluten Free Pita Pockets

Written by lee on . Posted in Before and After School Snacks, Blog, Bread and Wrap basics, Breakfast, Healthy Meals, Kids, Kids Recipe Book, Kids' Recipes, Lunch, Snacks

Photo by The Whimsical Wife

Photo by The Whimsical Wife

Say goodbye to soggy bread.  Sometimes it's good to have a break from sandwiches and introduce new healthy bread options to kids' repertoires.  

Here's a breakfast,  lunch, or bulging snack  idea that kids can easily assemble themselves and have fun in the process. It comes from my book Supercharged Food for Kids which you can find here.

The pockets can be filled with bacon and eggs at breakfast time or veggies, avocado and tuna or leftover dinner meat and spring salad ingredients and topped with homemade mayo or ranch dressing.  

You can pretty much stuff in whatever you like or whatever you have available in the fridge.

The basic recipe can also be made as a flat crusty pizza and delivered to hungry mouths pretty quickly once your favorite toppings have been fixed.

Test these on your brood and let me know what you think?

Makes 4 pitas

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 TBS almond or rice milk
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 TBS coconut flour
  • 1 TBS flaxseed meal
  • 1/4 cup blanched almond meal
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch Celtic Sea Salt
  • 1 TBS mixed herbs chopped fine (optional)

 Method

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
  • Place baking paper on a baking tray
  • In a bowl whisk egg and add water, milk and olive oil
  • Add dry ingredients and stir well
  • Pour mixture onto baking paper in 2 medium sized circles about 12 cms across and spread evenly with a palette knife
  • Bake for 20 minutes until golden and crispy around the edge
  • Let cool and with a sharp knife slice along the centre so that a pocket is created
  • Stuff with favourite fillings

Happy Cooking

Lee xo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4pm Pick Up Biscuits

Written by lee on . Posted in Before and After School Snacks, Kids, Kids Recipe Book, Kids' Recipes

4pm pick up bicks

 

Creating and filing a healthy biscuit barrel isn’t a chore with these yummy 4pm Pick Up Biscuits which not only stave off hunger pangs but also nourish children from the inside out. They are one of my new recipes from my just released book Supercharged Food for Kids.

Every parent has encountered the hullaballoo surrounding a chaotic after school pick up, stuck in an endless car line, disgruntlement rising as every traffic light turns to red and mum or dad trying to navigate across town in the fastest way possible to make it in time to drop the kids off at after school activities.  By the time they hit the car kids are usually quite hungry and can be tired and irritable after a long school day, so it’s important to create good eating patterns at this critical time and feed them a snack which is nutritious as well as being delicious.

The Australian National Children’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey which was conducted in 2007 found that almost 50% of all children surveyed eat biscuits, cakes and pastries after school. These would more often than not be processed and contain high amounts of sugar, bad fats and be devoid of nutrition. A good snack to give kids is something which will keep them full until dinner and give them energy for after school activities. 

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Orange and Cranberry Muffins

Written by lee on . Posted in Before and After School Snacks, Desserts, Lunch Box Ideas

Orange and Cranberry MuffinsMakes 6

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda 1 TBS orange zest
  • • 1 tsp. powdered stevia or sweetener of your choice
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 TBS orange juice
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 1/8 tsp. vanilla or orange extract
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 6 TBS coconut milk

Method:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius, in a bowl combine dry ingredients - flour, baking powder, baking soda, orange zest and powdered sweetener.

In a separate bowl mix eggs, orange juice, cranberries, vanilla/orange extract, butter and coconut milk.

Mix dry ingredients into wet and combine well.

Pour batter into greased 6 cup large muffin pan about 3/4 full.

Bake in oven for 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.

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Mini Salmon Frittatas

Written by lee on . Posted in Before and After School Snacks, Breakfast, Lunch Box Ideas

 Mini SalmonIngredients:
  • 60g goats or cheddar cheese
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 4 eggs whisked
  • 1/2 cup lightly steamed broccoli florets
  • 100g salmon (drained)
  • Butter for greasing
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Celtic Sea salt to taste
  • Sprinkling of dulse flakes (optional)

Method

Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Grease a 6 cup muffin pan. Place all ingredients into a bowl and mix with a wooden spoon. Spoon 2 TBS of salmon mixture into each. Bake for 15 mins until firm and golden.

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Cucumber and Yoghurt Dip

Written by lee on . Posted in Before and After School Snacks, The Big Dippers

Cucumber and Yoghurt DipIngredients:

  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, cut lengthways, seeds removed
  • 1 cup full fat plain yoghurt
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced (optional)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • Celtic Sea Salt to taste

Method:

Grate the cucumber using the large side of a grater into a small bowl.

Using a sieve and your hands, squeeze the water out of the grated cucumber.

Stir cucumber in the yoghurt, garlic if using, cumin, mint, and salt.

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