Occupying The Kids in Half Term

Half-term is approaching, are you looking for inspiration? The weather in February doesn’t always lend itself to glorious days out so why not do something delicious, creative and healthy with the kids inside instead?

Feeding, educating and entertaining the Kids all at the Same Time

At the 2014 Thame Food Festival myself and two other Registered Nutritional[more] Therapists, Elizabeth Scott-Moncrieff and Rosie Pearce (Nutritionbyrosie.co.uk) held children’s workshops where children were able to make healthy snack bars and delicious green smoothies. The ingredients for both recipes are flexible allowing you and the children the chance to experiment with different flavours all day long.

Combine this creativity with a trip out to local shops or markets to get the ingredients. As you do so discuss with the children what they find appealing about each particular ingredient and try to explain to them why it not only tastes good but is also good for them. Allow them to explore all the different colours, shapes, textures and smells of the fruit and vegetables on display.

Raw Energy Bar

This recipe is more easily made if you still have a baby blender around the house, otherwise scale up the ingredients and simply make more portions. The ingredients do need to be in ratio though so encourage the children to use the scales and practise simple maths skills as they go along.

Throw a biology lesson in the mix too and drop the following nuggets of information in along the way:

Serves: 4 Preparation time: 10 Cooking time: 0 Difficulty: Easy - for beginners

Dietary guidance: vegan vegetarian gluten-free dairy-free

Ingredients

20g almonds and walnuts

40g cashews

30g seed & berry mix

8 medium dates

10g dried cranberries

1 square dark chocolate

¼ tsp cinnamon

Method

  1. Place all ingredients into a small food mixer and blend until fine and the mixture holds together when pinched.
  2. Empty the contents onto a large sheet of greaseproof paper.
  3. Fold the paper around the mixture and shape with hands from outside the paper pressing along the top and the edges to give a rectangular tablet shape
  4. Leave to stand for 5 minutes, preferably in the fridge, and cut into 4 equal bars

Green Smoothie

This drink is an easy way to get greens into your children's diet. The fibre and protein in the drink means that it will keep them satisfied much longer than a milk shake or glass of squash. As their taste buds acclimatise increase the greens from the vegetables and decrease the sweetness from the fruit. A stronger blender will do a better job of making it more of a smoothie and less of a lumpy, however using ground nuts or soaking the nuts and seeds beforehand can improve the texture.

To continue the biology lesson:

Serves: 2 Preparation time: 5 Cooking time: 0 Difficulty: Easy - for beginners

Dietary guidance: vegan vegetarian gluten-free dairy-free

Ingredients

1 Cup of milk, milk substitute (e.g. almond milk) or water

1-2 handfuls of greens e.g. spinach, kale or watercress

1 Cup roughly chopped fruit such as mangoes, strawberries, orange, apples, pineapple, blueberries, pears. Frozen fruit is also a good option

Half a banana or half an avocado

1 tblsp of either seeds, nuts, coconut oil or nut butters

Method

  1. Add the liquid to the blender first
  2. Add the greens. Start with mild leaves first such as baby spinach and progress to stronger flavours.
  3. Add the fruit. If berries are used then it may end up more of a murky brown rather than lurid green, consider having a blindfold to hand if it proves too offensive…
  4. Add the creamy fruit for texture. Avocado will make it more creamy and also add healthy fats.
  5. Add the seeds or nuts for healthy fats and also thicken it up. If your blender isn't very powerful you can use ground nuts or soak overnight in water.
  6. Add any of the optional add-ins you fancy to make it sweeter or just add flavour.
  7. Blitz until smooth and pour.

By Saffron Rogerson

16 February 2015