July 14, 2016

Cooking is an important life survival skill that we need to teach our kids, according to nutritionist Kate Freeman, and she says we need to start them young!

“Kids love being involved in cooking, and being given the opportunity to do adult things,” says Kate.

Baking is a great place to start, like cupcakes, slices or cakes where they can help you add ingredients to a bowl and have a go at mixing.

“When they’re around two, let them help with serving out the vegetables at dinner time, putting some carrot on everyone’s plate.

“As they get a little older, it can be great to have meals where the food is in the middle of the table and everyone serves themselves. By having that degree of control, they may put more veggies on their plate, even if they don’t eat it all!”

Kate says that older kids can chop veggies and help with the shopping, too.

Fussy eaters

Avoiding the problem of fussy eaters at mealtimes is a combination of things, but it’s important to understand the volume of food that kids eat in a day, says Kate.

“For example, you may not realise that if your children have been snacking too much, or drinking milk, juice or cordial, it can mean they’re simply not hungry enough for a nutritious evening meal,” she says.

Kate suggests being consistent with offering healthy food, and don’t give them an alternative.

“It can be easy to just bring out a custard or yoghurt when the kids are refusing dinner, believing that having them eat something is better than nothing,” Kate says.

“It’s better to assume they’re not hungry. Kids very quickly learn that if they shake their head or chuck a tantrum, then mum will get them fruit or yoghurt instead!”

Kate says to offer vegetables regularly, even if you end up scraping them into the bin.

“Kids might go for weeks without seeing a vegetable on their plate, then mum has a motivated moment and they lose the plot over a piece of broccoli,” she says.

“Make it normal to see vegetables every day, and model healthy eating for them – it takes time to form good habits.”

 Mini quiches

Quiche is a fantastic source of protein and can be a great way to get a little extra veggies into the day. This recipe is fun for the kids to help with, and they’ll love the results, too!

Ingredients (makes 12 quiches):

  • Filo pastry, thawed
  • 6 eggs, whisked
  • 1 cup mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 60g ham, finely chopped
  • 3 cups baby spinach or 2 cubes of frozen spinach
  • 60g cheddar cheese, grated
  • Olive oil spray

Method

  • Lightly grease muffin tray and preheat oven to 180°C.
  • Whisk eggs in a bowl. Add mushrooms, bacon and spinach and mix until combined.
  • Cut filo pastry into 10cm by 10cm squares. Line each hole in the muffin tray with two filo pastry sheets.
  • Lightly spray pastry with olive oil.
  • Evenly pour egg mixture into each filo cup. Top with cheese.
  • Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes until egg is firm and pastry is golden.
  • Serve with a green salad.

Live outside the box at Watagan Park

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