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Healthy Eating: Our favourite recipes to get your kids living on the veg

As Britain’s childhood obesity epidemic soars, it’s perhaps little surprise that many youngsters aren’t getting enough veg in their diet.

That’s why ITV and think tank The Food Foundation have just launched a new TV ad campaign – called Eat Them To Defeat Them.

It sees vegetables popping out the ground like alien monsters, and kids zapping them by eating them.

It’s funded by a string of major supermarket chains and brands, and backed by celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

ITV’s new vegetable campaign

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But what else can we do to veer our little ones away from the sugary treats and towards the broccolli?

Here, kids cooking with Amanda Grant, share some easy, veggie-packed recipes with Sunday Mirror readers….

DIY veggie pizzas

Children’s obesity epidemic is still soaring

Homemade pizzas, made with muffins, flour tortillas, naan bread or French bread are a quick and easy way to get kids to eat veg like sweetcorn, spinach, peppers, mushrooms and tomatoes. Put a variety of toppings out on the table and let everyone make their own.

To make 4 pizzas

Equipment

■ greaseproof paper or oil

■ baking trays

■ spoon

■ oven gloves

Ingredients

■ flour tortillas, French bread, naan bread or muffin halves

■ 6 teaspoons tomato passata or tinned, chopped tomatoes

■ Some of our favourite toppings: sweetcorn, spinach, sliced pepper, sliced mushrooms, sliced cherry tomatoes, grated cheese, tinned tuna, pitted olives

1 Turn the oven on to 200C/180Cfan. Pour a spoonful oil over a baking tray and brush it all over with your hands or cover the tray with a piece of greaseproof paper.

2 Count 6 teaspoons of tomato passata onto each tortilla.

3 Use the back of the spoon to spread the passata over the tortillas but leave a border around the edge so that it doesn’t drip over the edges when the pizza’s in the oven.

4 Choose some toppings and sprinkle them over the passata. Ask an adult to help you put the trays into the oven using oven gloves. Cook for 5 minutes.

5 Ask an adult to help you take the cooked pizzas out of the oven. Using a table knife, cut your pizza into quarters.

Tacos with beans, peas and avocado

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A great recipe for encouraging children to relax around food, especially veg, it’s as fun to make as it is to eat. Let everyone fill their own tacos!

Serves 4 people

Equipment

■ tin opener

■ sharp knife

■ chopping board

■ colander

■ garlic crusher

Ingredients

■ 400g tin chopped tomatoes

■ 2 x 400g tins cannellini or soya beans

■ 2 spring onions

■ 1 garlic clove

■ 1 tablespoon olive oil

■ 1 teaspoon ground coriander

■ 1 teaspoon mild chilli powder

■ 100g frozen peas

■ handful fresh coriander leaves (optional)

■ 8-12 tacos

■ 2 ripe avocadoes – halved

■ to serve – soured cream (optional), grated cheddar cheese, pieces of lime

1 Turn the oven to 180C. Using a tin opener, open the tins of tomatoes and beans. The first time you do this, ask an adult to show you how to use your tin opener, as they’re all slightly different. Drain the beans in a colander.

2 Using the claw-cutting technique, cut the ends off the spring onions with a small paring knife and cut the onions into thin slices OR if easier, use scissors to cut the spring onions.

3 Peel the garlic clove and crush with a garlic crusher OR if you don’t have a crusher, push down hard with a wooden spoon to crush the clove slightly, it is fine to add it like this.

4Put the oil, onions, garlic, ground coriander and chilli powder into a small saucepan over a low heat on the hob. Heat gently, stirring every now and then with a wooden spoon until they are soft. This will take about 5 minutes.

5Add the tinned tomatoes, drained beans, peas and coriander leaves. Turn the heat up, when the tomatoes are bubbling, lower the heat and leave to simmer gently for 10 minutes.

6Put the tacos on a baking tray and using oven gloves, put them in the oven for 3 minutes to heat up. Scoop the stones out of the avocados with a spoon and peel away the skin. Using the claw-cutting technique, cut the avocados into slices. Put the beans, soured cream, cheese, extra coriander and lime in bowls.

Swirly pasta with leek, broccoli and cheese sauce

The new campaign aims to see kids eating more veg

Make sure every meal includes some veg, adding it to a creamy cheese sauce is normally a winner. It’s useful to know how to make a white sauce like this one because it’s used in many dishes like lasagne, macaroni cheese and cauliflower cheese. We love broccoli and leek, but chopped kale is also really good in this, just add the raw, sliced kale to the ovenproof dish with the pasta.

Ingredients

■ 300g broccoli tender stems

■ 1 leek – halved lengthways

■ 50g butter

■ 50g plain flour

■ 500ml milk

■ 1 teaspoon English mustard

■ 2 large handfuls grated cheese

■ 250g pasta spirals (or any other pasta you fancy), cooked

Equipment

■ small paring knife

■ chopping board

■ saucepan

■ wooden spoon

■ whisk

■ colander

■ ovenproof dish

■ oven gloves

1 Turn the oven on to 190C/170Cfan. Use the claw-cutting technique to cut the broccoli into chunks with a small, paring knife. Using the same technique, slice the halved leek into thin slices. OR if easier use scissors to cut the broccoli and halved leek into pieces.

2Turn the hob onto low heat. Put the leek and butter into a saucepan on the hob and heat gently. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the leek has softened. Stir with a wooden spoon.

3Add the flour, stir and cook for a few minutes until you have a thick paste. Now take a whisk and, whisking all the time, slowly pour in the milk. Keep whisking until you have a smooth sauce and cook gently for a few minutes. Add the mustard and almost all the cheese (keep some for the top).

4 Tip the cooked pasta and broccoli into an ovenproof dish. Pour the sauce over the top and sprinkle the last bit of cheese over. Using oven gloves, put the dish in the oven. Cook for 25-30 minutes until the topping is golden and the sauce is bubbling.

Beef and carrot corn tortilla tubes

Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall have backed the campaign

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The corn tortillas turn crisp when you bake them – use corn tortillas, not flour ones. Eat with a crunchy salad.

Makes 8 tubes

Ingredients

■ 1 red onion

■ 1 garlic clove

■ 3 carrots

■ 1 tablespoon olive oil

■ 500g beef mince – beef or lamb

■ 500g tomato passata

■ pinch brown sugar

■ 8 corn tortillas

■ salad – tomatoes, lettuce and cucumber to eat with the corn tubes

Equipment

■ small paring knife

■ chopping board

■ garlic crusher

■ grater

■ frying pan

■ wooden spoon

■ ovenproof dish

■ oven gloves

1 Turn the oven on to 190C/170Cfan. Peel the onion. use the bridge-cutting technique to halve it with a small, paring knife. Use the claw-cutting technique to thinly slice it. Peel the garlic clove and crush it with a garlic crusher. Grate the carrot with a grater.

2 Put the oil, onion, garlic and carrots into a frying pan over a low heat on the hob. Heat gently for 5 minutes until the onion is slightly soft.

3 Add the beef and fry for 10 minutes, or until the meat is turning golden brown. Add the passata and sugar, cover the pan with a lid and cook gently for 10 minutes. The mixture will be quite dry, which is what you want.

4 Lay the tortillas on the chopping board, then spoon some mince along the middle. Roll the tortillas around the mince and put into an ovenproof dish. Drizzle a tablespoon of oil over the tubes and rub with your hands. Using oven gloves, put the dish into the oven to cook for 15 minutes.

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