Using healthy ingredients


So I have 2 children. There's just us. But boy do they eat a lot! So over the past 15 years of them being around i've had to increase my output from the kitchen, but I have also had to come up with increasily cunning plans to keep costs down and give them all the nutrition they need to grow into healthy adults.

This article is not going to give you recipes but ideas for you to play around with.

So first let's take a moment to think about nutrition for kids. They are constantly growing, changing, running around and learning so their bodies are going to require a whole lot more than perhaps me. But that 'more' does not mean more things to just fill 'em up. It means more protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals for their bodies to use.

There are certain meals that i've done in the past (and do still use now) that I know in about an hour they're going to say they're starving again! Those meals are usually heavily starchy based. Such as white pasta with a sauce of some description, or mashed potato with something like fish fingers. I know, the latter not particularly cheap nor healthy but just sometimes you think it's a quick meal and that's all you have time for. But oh boy is that a false economy! They'll be back in the kitchen roaming through the cupboards moaning about hunger in no time.

So i'd like to share a few tips to fill them up a little longer.

One of my favourite economic things to buy in a weekly shop is the largest chicken I can find to roast. I hate supermarket meat, it's usually cooks dried out as most of the weight was water, so I make an effort and go to a really great butchers. It's worth it. Not only Roast chicken(103856)Credit: companyscomingwill your roast taste great, there'll be loads left over to make something delicious the next day and the day after that, sandwiches etc. Having a roast dinner is a great way to fill them up too. By the time you've added roast potatoes, a good selection of steamed veg (and yorkshire puddings if you're being naughty) you've created a meal with a good variety of nutrition that they need and included a good portion of protein from the chicken.

This is an important tip. Protein fills up kids for longer. It provides them with good building blocks for growth and repair of muscles etc. and it takes longer for the body to break it down so satisfies their ever hungry tummies for longer.

Some left over roast ideas include:

Chicken korma (coconut milk is full of great nutrients) with brown rice.

An Italian tomato sauce with onions, peppers and some of the chiken with brown pasta.

Chicken fajita with sweet potato wedges.

(Many more of course but these are a few favourites)

You notice I suggest brown pasta and rice? Very often kids dont notice the difference and if you start this off early in life they will not bat an eyelid! Adding more fibre to the meal slows down the return of the hungry feeling.

Another cheap and cheerfully nutritious way to get kids fuller for longer is to use some kind of bean or pulse. In my family the kids happily eat black eyed beans, kidney beans, chick peas and butter beans. I dont mean on their own but adding a can to a small amount of good quality mince can not only pad out your bolognaise (pad out is a favourite term I use often!) but adds that extra protein to the meal as well as being a great source of fibre and B vitamins. The same goes for adding lentils to a casserole. It greatly increases the volume of food, meaning you can use less meat, therefore allowing you to buy better quality just less of it and it will still provide great nutrition.

Let's talk snacks.

In the fridge, from experience, I now keep something from the following:

Hard boiled eggs.hard boiled eggs(103858)Credit: plantationsustainableliving

Humous (great with a carrot or 2).

Cooked chicken.

A packet of smoked mackerel.

Cheese and tomato on coctail sticks

And in the cupboard: Mixed nuts, like almonds, walnuts, brazil and cashew.Mixed nuts(103857)Credit: anthony-thomas

Having these high protein things readily available means when they return from school starving you can steer them from the biscuit tin (for a while).

Talking of keeping them off the sweet stuff, since i've been using my juicer, they have significantly dropped that need for sugary foods. The fruit sugars are satisfying this craving in a great natural way and they get loads of vitamins from it rather than absolutely nothing from sweets.

I am not a nutritionist, but I have been trying to experiment with what keeps my kids full up for longer. It would be great if you could add any of your own ideas and tips!