When it’s cold outside it can be hard to keep things healthy. Let’s face it, a cold salad on a wet and cold day isn’t that appealing to frozen little fingers just in from school. But there are ways to make sure the kids still get their veggie and fruit fix in snack and meal form, while still keeping things tasty.
Soup is a great way to warm up and an even better way of hiding veggies. The other great thing about soup is the range of colours it can come in. Pea and Ham can become green snot soup, leak and potato can take on a pink tone by adding beets and become candyfloss soup.
To make things fun why not add unicorn or monster horns? Use ready-made puff pastry wrapped around cones and baked in the oven for a fun alternative to toast or bread.
If you really want to up the fun factor, use natural food colouring or edible glitter to make the soup sparkly or a rainbow of colours. They’ll be so excited to choose their own colour or sparkles that they won’t realise the blended soup is actually packed with veggies they usually claim will kill them!
Salads don’t have to be lettuce, tomato and cucumber. Warm veggie salads with spinach or rocket pack a flavour punch, especially when served with warm roasted peppers and butternut squash. Add prawns or chicken roasted with the veggies for a quick and warm salad.
If veggies aren’t their thing, but they love fruit, why not add berries, grilled peaches or grilled pineapple.
A great way to get children interested in what they’re eating, is to let them help cook it. There are hundreds of recipes online and in cook books that little hands can help with – from homemade chicken dippers or pasta, bread or stews.
The key is to start with the things that you know they like and build on them. By making them from scratch you know exactly what’s in it, you can limit the fat and salt content and also make a big enough batch to freeze for the days ahead. This is good for you too, as you will have emergency dinners when you’ve had a busy day.
If the kids love the recipe, get them to write out their own recipe card or give them their own recipe notebook where they have to write out the steps and ingredients. Encourage them to add pictures they’ve drawn or you’ve taken, so it’s personalised. The sense of achievement in making a meal themselves AND creating their own recipe book is a great incentive.