Watching your children enjoy a nutritious meal that you’ve cooked from scratch at home is great. You know they’re eating something good for them, plus they’re learning about food.
However, organising meals for children can be a very tricky element of parenting. To help avoid the stand-offs that can occur about anything from greens to baked beans, we’ve compiled two meat and gluten free options for delivering kids the flavours they love, with the nourishment they need. Hopefully by committing a bit of effort to the preparation, they’ll be more invested in eating the results.
Make the best of breakfast
We all know that fuelling our children with a healthy breakfast will give them lots of energy for the day ahead. A nutritious choice that’s packed with fibre will not only help kids stay full until lunchtime, their mood and concentration will be more stable and consistent too. We’ve put together a tasty oats recipe that you can add any fruit to. Eggs are also fabulous, served soft and dippy with gluten free soldiers, or a smoothie with a yogurt base for a tasty protein and vitamin combo.
Raisin and apple oats
- 100g of gluten free porridge oats
- 500ml of whichever milk you prefer – oat or coconut would make this particularly creamy
- 4 apples – cored and chopped
- 100g of sultanas
- 1 teaspoon of honey
Stir the milk and oats in a small pan, cooking until they are almost creamy. Sprinkle the apples and sultanas in, mixing for two minutes or so. When the porridge is creamy and thick, the apples softened, you’re ready to serve the porridge into bowls. Let your children swirl on their honey, and enjoy!
Perfect meat-free pasta dinners
Wholemeal or gluten free pasta delivers a brilliant boost of energy, while making a fab base for including a whole range of nutrient rich ingredients that your little ones won’t even realise are in there. There are so many possibilities for packing in their five-a-day veggies.
How about meatballs and spaghetti with heaps of hidden veg whizzed into the tomato sauce? While we’re discussing tomato sauce meals, here’s how to get tomato sauce out of clothes. Let’s face it tomato sauce spills often happen when kids are around, but if they’ll happily eat their food, it’s worth it!
The meat-free meatballs
- Approx 800g of Quorn mince or soy mince
- 1 carrot grated
- 1 small onion chopped finely
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 50g vegan cheese, plus extra to serve
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp olive oil
The tomato sauce
- 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
- 1 courgette finely grated
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 pinch of brown sugar (optional)
- 1 splash red wine vinegar or tamari (optional)
Add some pasta
Cooked gluten free spaghetti or pasta shapes of your choice
- Children: Use a large bowl to squish all the Quorn or soy mince into. Add the remaining meatball ingredients apart from the olive oil into the bowl. Grind in some black pepper and use your hands to mash everything together until totally mixed.
- Children: Mould and roll the mix into brussels sprout sized balls and pop them onto a plate. You could make this into a counting or maths based game.
- Adults: Grab some time when the children are sculpting the vegan meatballs, to create the sauce. In a big saucepan, heat up the oil. Cook the garlic and courgette for 5 minutes until they’re mushy and soft. Add the vinegar, sugar and tomato puree, stirring before leaving for a minute and popping in the chopped tomatoes. If your children are not courgette fans, you can blitz it with a hand blender. Carry on simmering your sauce gently while cooking the meatballs. If your children are over 7 years old, they could make the sauce with adult supervision.
- Adults: In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil and brown the meat style balls by frying on all sides before adding them to the sauce. Cook them right through by gently simmering the sauce for a further 15 minutes. Serve your creation with cooked spaghetti, and your children could be in charge of sprinkling on extra cheese, and even basil leaves ripped into small pieces.
So there you have it, two delicious healthy recipes that children can get involved in, plus a handy link showing you how to get tomato sauce out of clothes! Why not search online and in library cookbooks for other healthy recipes to get your children eating lots of nourishing ingredients, and feeling excited about food? Good luck!