b>By Food for Kids
Having had a few too many occasions where I was in need of a bit of inspiration for the endless snacks and meals we all have to prepare as parents, I decided to create a website that would hopefully inspire parents to cook and create simple, healthy food for their kids.
Whether you have fussy eaters, intolerances, allergies, or simply endless eaters in your family, Food For Kids offers ideas to enjoy food that is simple, real, nourishing and delicious for everyone – food that ticks the boxes for busy, health conscious parents.
I am a great believer in families sitting down together, sharing a meal and eating the same food. It can be hard getting everyone together and keeping then away from their smart phones but research has shown it is a really important time. For more on this take a look at this article by Becky Hand
Here are a few recipes that I would like to share with you, that have proven to be the most popular by my readers and that can be enjoyed by babies and toddlers.
Melon Heart Lollies
Melon is wonderful fruit as it is very hydrating so perfect for kids who need extra encouragement drinking liquid. For teething toddlers these can be frozen and make wonderful pain relief for those sore gums. My 3 year old is always asking “Please can you make these pretty lollies again for me Mummy?” Whatever the age of your children these are fun, healthy and simple! Don’t worry if you don’t have heart cookie cutters – stars or flowers for example work well too.
Water melon – firm and fresh
Any other melon such as Cantaloupe or Honeydew that has a different colour
- Slice across your melon in large (approx. 2cm thick chunks), removing any seeds
- Cut your shape out using a cookie cutter, carefully pushing all the way through for a clean cut
- Using a smaller cutter of the same shape, cut the middle out of your shaped slice
- Using the smaller cutter again, cut a piece out of your second contrasting coloured melon
- Insert the contrasting melon’s small shape into the gap in the larger melon slice
- Insert a lolly stick – these hold the nested shapes together
- Tip: Best eaten immediately or, if necessary, can be stored in the fridge upright in a glass, with a damp paper towel over the top. Avoid using plastic lolly sticks as the fruit just slides down.
How kids can help
Help cut out the melon shapes
Insert the lolly sticks
These lollies always are a great hit with the kids. They’ll probably want to eat the cut offs too!
Getting young children to eat meat can be tricky. This is often because chewing the meat is such hard work. A beautifully tender stew can can be these answer to this! Make a big batch and freeze in small portions. A great warming meal, full of nourishment and will be loved by all.
650g Good quality beef – diced e.g. brisket, chuck (These are cheaper cuts of beef with a bit of fat for flavour, that will tenderise well)
2 Tins peeled tomatoes – chopped
750ml Stock or stock/water combination
1.5 Medium onions – diced
2-3 tbs Olive oil for browning meat
1 Garlic clove finely chopped
1 Bay leaf
Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 130˚C
- Remove any excess fat and sinew off the beef – dice into approx. 2-3cm cubes
- Heat 1 tbs olive oil in a large frying pan – when hot add beef and brown all sides. Be careful to not over-crowd the pan or burn the meat. Repeat in batches.
- Using a clean pan add 1 tbs olive oil and gently sweat down your onions. Mix frequently.
- After about 15 minutes when onions are golden and translucent, add finely chopped garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Add all ingredients (except salt and pepper) to a pan suitable for the oven. Add stock until meat is covered – add water if necessary.
- Place lid on pan and place in the middle of the oven.
- Cook for at least 3 hours or until the meat is extremely tender and falls apart. You will need to check the meat is cooking gently, not bubbling (this will make it tough).
- After this time if the stew has a lot of liquid, strain and add liquid to a pan on the hob and boil vigorously until thick and syrupy. Combine ingredients and add any salt and pepper.
- Spoon into portions for freezing or a bowl for eating
- Makes approx. 12 kids portions
- Tips: Brown beef in batches. In between batches dislodge any flavours off the bottom of the pan using approx. 50ml water. Reserve this liquid and add it to your stock. Ensure the pan is dry before adding more oil to repeat the browning process. A great meal made a day or 2 in advance for a richer flavour.
Options: Use a handful of roughly chopped, dried porcini mushrooms soaked in 750ml boiling water for a deeper richer flavour in place of stock – use mushrooms too. Add finely chopped chopped carrot or other vegetable such as zucchini (courgettes for the Brits!) a minute or two before serving for an extra injection of vegetables.
How kids can help
Set the timer
Ask your helper to very carefully add meat to the pan to brown – if they are old enough (careful of hot oil)
Your helper could add chopped onion to the frying pan
5 Minute Paleo Balls
These nutritional, yummy protein packed balls really do only take 5 minutes. Save yourself a few dollars on expensive store bought snacks and make a big batch of these. They will store really well in an airtight container in the fridge for a week or 2 – if you haven’t eaten them all! Unlike many other snacks these are not too sweet which makes them a great choice. You can even try substituting some of the seeds to include your favourites.
90g Dates – pitted
50g Hazelnut meal/almond meal
25g Pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
25g Chia seeds
25g Sesame seeds
1.5 tbs Tahini
1.5 tbs Nut Butter (I love almond, brazil and cashew rather than peanut)
1 tbs Coconut oil
- Add all the ingredients to your whizzer. Blend until a paste.
- Squeeze into balls.
- These are soft, so great for younger children. They will harden up if you store them in the fridge.
- Options: If you prefer other seeds just try substituting to create your perfect bliss ball.
How kids can help
Ask your helper if they have any favourite seeds they would like to use
Ask your helper to help weigh out the ingredients
Your helper will love squeezing the mixture into balls