Healthy Eating through Cooking with Kids

By Jane Blackmore •


Last October Jane was forced to look at her family’s diet when her daughter was diagnosed as having diabetes. It’s turned into a positive as now her children are more aware about the meals they eat and what goes into it. Discover how through cooking with your children you can not only save money but develop a healthy appetite for vegetables too.

 

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Cooking with my kids is often explosive, food tends to end up on every surface and when we have finished it can look like post war battlefield with dishes and cutlery slowly recuperating in the dishwasher. However we are all aspiring MasterChefs and like to give most recipes a go.

In October last year we were all forced to look at our diets and the food that we consume in much more detail when my six year old daughter was diagnosed as having diabetes. Children (and adults) who have diabetes stand higher than normal chances of developing heart disease, high cholesterol and other diet related complications.

Hence we have all shifted onto a low fat diet with as much wholemeal goodness as possible. In addition because she is insulin dependent we also have to count the carbohydrates in every meal to ensure she gets the right dose for whatever she chooses to have for lunch!

Because of her diabetes and the impact that has had on our family we all look at labels and ensure that we choose healthy options but also getting all the kids involved in cooking helps to develop their awareness about food and what is better to eat.

A family favourite for all us in this house is soup; it is an easy way to get goodness into all three of the children, and my non vegetable eating other half, and a nice simple meal that the children can help prepare.

Leek & Cheesy Potato Soup
(Serves a family of five)
Total Carb content : 212 (give or take on the size of potatoes)
2 Leeks – chopped up into tiny bits – only use the white part!
4 medium Potatoes – again chopped up nice and small so it doesn’t take forever to cook
A splodge of low fat butter
750 mils of vegetable or chicken stock – if using cubes - use the organic bullion ones
250 mils of half fat milk
60 grams of half fat cheddar cheese - grated
Pepper to taste

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My elder two children are seven and are entrusted to chop the leeks and peel the potatoes which they do with delight. After making this soup we are known to find bits of potato peel for days after the event in the strangest of places, including my son’s pockets. I normally cut the potato as it tends to be a bit tougher and I fear one of them will lose a finger.

Once the leeks and potato are peeled and cut, pop them into a frying pan with the butter and ask the children to grate the cheese. My smallest likes to help here by eating the cheese as they grate.
Allow the leek and potatoes long enough to tenderise and then transfer to a large saucepan and add in the stock, pepper and cheese. Allow each child to stir for six turns and then wait for it boil before covering and simmering.

Simmer for forty five minutes to an hour; just long enough to play a game of Frustration with the kids.

Remove from the heat and ask a child to add the milk and then set about mashing the soup – for those who prefer a smooth consistency like my brood an electric whisk can work wonders whilst also causing hours of delight for the offspring.

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The result: A healthy meal which doesn’t taste too much like it was made out of vegetables that all the family can enjoy, serve with croutons, a baguette or a good old fashioned chunk of bread.

 

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Jane Blackmore

Jane is a freelance writer, editor and blogger.  She details parenting in graphic detail over on her own site northernmum,  whilst also writing about living with children who have Diabetes Type1 and Hip Dysplasia.  When not writing, Jane can often be found in the kitchen cooking up frenzy or clutching a glass of gin – dependant on what kind of day she has had!

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