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Alex Hollywoods top tips for healthy kids food
New research by Sainsburys shows that more than two thirds of parents struggle to get their children to try new foods. Sound familiar? Help is at hand. Sainsburys Active Kids scheme teamed up with the British Nutrition Foundation and celebrity cook Alex Hollywood – her husband is Bake-Offs Paul – to create new recipes and ideas for parents to use at home. Here, Alex talks food, family and the fun of cooking with the kids.
Im a foodie and Im married to a foodie, so obviously food figures highly on our agenda. I do understand that for many families thats not the case and they need meals to be simple with zero stress. But the thing is that if you can get kids trying new foods now, youre setting them up for life. Theyll always want to eat the good stuff they ate at home because home-cooked food is comforting and reminds you of happy times.
A lot of families these days eat the same things again and again. This new campaign Ive done with Sainsburys is about challenging that, and taking children out of their comfort zone to discover new tastes and ingredients. By trying something different you open your repertoire with food and end up eating more healthily. Its not about telling kids lsquo;youve got to eat this or try that, its about widening their experience and making it fun.
Cooking shouldnt take hours. Were all so busy these days. I live in Kent and when Ive been up in London working I get home late and want to throw something together fast for my son Josh, whos 14 now. All mums are the same – were time-poor – so recipes should be simple, tasty and quick.
Its important to find things the whole family can eat. Sainsburys research found that a lot of mums cook separate meals for different members of the family. Now I love cooking but that amount of work would put even me off! Thats so labour-intensive. Save time in the long-term by experimenting to find ingredients everyone likes and that will make cooking just one meal easier.
Its the old adage of lsquo;A family that eats together, stays together. Cooking is a bonding thing for parents and children and a little bit therapeutic as they often open up and talk to you about things that are on their mind. The kitchen is called the heart of the home for a good reason.
We devised a mackerel fishcakes recipe that kids can have fun making
Get creative. Sometimes its hard to get children to eat fish, so we devised a mackerel fishcakes recipe that kids can have fun making, and they love the rich, smoky flavor. And theyre packed with healthy omega! Food shouldnt be faddy or complicated.
Its no wonder kids struggle with broccoli! When its boiled its pretty uninspiring. One of my new recipes changes all that, and its easy to prepare: broccoli and chicken stir-fry with sesame seeds thats ready in minutes. And full of goodness!
Kids are never too young to start getting involved in preparing meals. When we were shooting the video for Sainsburys we had a little boy there who was so tiny he had to stand on a box to reach the counter. Watching his little hands making fishcakes was so cute. I began cooking at four years old. I had my own bowl and wooden spoon so I could mix things and used to stand on a stool to watch my mum.
Encourage little ones to taste ingredients. Kids are always putting their fingers in their mouths so get them to help out when youre preparing a meal and theyll taste as they go. Its a great, natural way to discover new flavours. It takes away the fear, gets them used to new things and its also about pride: they can say lsquo;I did this.
The first thing my son made was pasta carbonara. I stood over him and talked him through it but the look on his face when he presented it to Paul and said lsquo;Dad, I made this was so lovely.
Whats the Hollywood family eating this winter? We like filling and yummy one-pot wonders. I enjoy scrambled eggs on sourdough bread baked by my husband at the weekend, and in the week it can be everything from blackened salmon to sausage and onion pie with English mustard. And I like porridge with blueberries, seeds and bit of honey for a winter breakfast.
Diets make people miserable and if you tell yourself you cant have something, thats when youll start craving it
I just dont lsquo;do diets. I dont believe in them. Diets make people miserable and if you tell yourself you cant have something, thats when youll start craving it. My rule is to eat healthily three times a day with plenty of vegetables and nutrients. I like food to be colourful and tasty: dishes you can put in the middle of the table and everyone can dig in. Nothing fancy. Thats what these recipes Ive created are all about and I hope theyll keep the whole family happy.
The TasteBuddies Challenge marks the start of the 2016 voucher collection for the Sainsburys Active Kids scheme. Vouchers are available from 27th January, for more information and Alexs recipes, visit: activekids.sainsburys.co.uk
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