As far as we possibly can we want to set up our kids for a life free from illness and disease and to be healthy and happy. We also do not want our kids to feel that they are missing out. This is a balance I have always found quite difficult, if you have children I am sure you know what I mean when I say ‘doting’ grandparents, furthermore there is the peer pressure, kids parties and primary school sweeties. I have tried to be calm in these situations (not always successfully to be honest) and focus more on what happens at home and what I myself demonstrate.
In teaching adolescents, I focus on the message that food is medicine, if your children can understand that their food is fuel, then later on this will help them make their own healthy choices and understand illness and its correlation to their own diet.
Fill your engine with the best fuel
The car analogy seems to help children when first explaining about food as fuel – fill the car with anti nutrients (junk food), then you may have an initial high of energy, followed by a quick slowing down; alternatively fill with healthy foods and there may be a slightly slower start however there will be a continuous flow of energy.
‘We do not want our kids to feel they are missing out’
Here are some treat recipes that will support an overall healthy diet for your children. These can all be wrapped and kept in an airtight container to be used throughout the week. We tend to bake the almond cake for a weekend treat with yoghurt cream or coconut ice-cream. As always play with the recipes and add different options to meet yours and your child’s preferences.
Watch Ava and I making natural energy bars:
Almond cake recipe
200g ground almonds
85g butter plus extra for greasing the baking tin
1 tsp baking powder
70g coconut sugar/honey or 40g xylitol
1 tsp of vanilla extract/vanilla pod seeds
optional: lemon/orange zest, tsp of cinnamon
Cacoa and date yoghurt
2 tbsp of greek yoghurt/ creamed coconut
1/2 tsp cacoa/cocoa powder
1 medjool date chopped finely
whisk eggs, baking powder, vanilla extract, butter and sugar (melted honey/Yacon syrup and butter
fold in the ground almonds with a metal spoon
Then pour the mixture into a greased tin. Bake in a preheated oven (180/200 degrees celsius) for 25-30 minutes.
Serve and enjoy! Lovely with berries and or yoghurt.
Kids clean cookies
80g buckwheat flour/nut flour
20g ground almonds
2 tbsp butter/hardened coconut oil
2 tbsp coconut sugar/xylitol/yacon
1 tsp vanilla extract
Rub the butter in the flour with your fingers until all the lumps of butter have gone. Add your preferred sweetener, mix in and then gradually add the milk until you have a cookie dough (blu tac consistency). Roll out/flattten with your hands and cut into desired shapes – place onto a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes (preheated oven at 180 degrees celsius).
*for nut free option – use 100g buckwheat or replace almonds with coconut flour
* to make chocolate cookies replace 10g of the buckwheat flour with cacoa/cocoa powder
Passionately light fairy cakes
4 eggs separated (whites in separate bowl)
20g stevia, xylitol or yakon
tsp vanilla extract
dash of coconut milk
pinch/1g of gf xanthan gum
2 tbsp rice flour
optional 1 tsp of poppy seeds and 1 tsp of grated lemon zest
• Use an electric whisk to whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks are forming.
• Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, vanilla extract and coconut/almond/dairy milk in a separate bowl. Then fold in the flour and xanthan.
• Next fold half of the egg whites gently into the mixture, then add the rest folding gently (it does not have to be completely combined).
• Then add the poppy seeds and lemon zest if required (lemon zest adds a lovely lemony flavour).
• Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees celsius for 8-10 minutes until golden brown on top. Let them cool for at least 30 minutes before consuming, they will come out of the cake cases easier when cooled.
‘British school children lacking in micronutrients essential for maintaining optimal health and preventing illness and disease’ (E. Weichselbaum and J. L. Buttriss pages 9–73, March 2014).