Guys and dolls! Please welcome a bit of a hero of mine – Meg from My Wholefood Romance. As I learn about creating healthy and nutritious meals for my family, I find Meg to be inspirational. A thrill to have her sharing here at Veggie Mama today!
When I was pregnant, I was adamant that my child was going to eat a wonderfully healthy diet at all times, without any crap. In reality, it’s not always that easy to get a 3-year-old to eat every meal I pour my heart and soul into. Apart from sucking it up, what I find works a treat not only for her but for my sanity, is to make sure her snacks are super nutritious.
Other hot tips: It’s all about the fat and protein!
Vegetables and fruit are of course vital for vitamins, minerals and other delicious phytonutrients, but fat and protein are the key to keeping blood sugar levels stable and crankiness at bay. Don’t be frightened of giving your child fat. It is absolutely essential for growth and development, immune function, digestion, nervous system development, and later on for hormonal development. It also comes loaded with vitamins A, D, E and K. Of course when I say fat, I mean good fats such as eggs, full fat dairy (if you can tolerate it), nuts, seeds, coconuts and coconut butter/oil/milk, sea vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and fish and other organic meat if you subscribe.
Protein is the other crucial piece to the puzzle, if you like that whole making muscles, nerves, organs and hormones thing. The above foods would be your go-to foods for protein also, with the addition of lovely complete protein grains like quinoa and amaranth.
This is not to say that carbohydrates aren’t important, just aim to make them complex carbs – from a wholegrain and not refined.
So, I’ve applied these principles in the following snack suggestions – hopefully you will find them useful!
– A classic. Pimp it up with with dulse flakes and sesame seeds. Winner! Now you have a high protein dip that has had a vitamin and mineral injection thanks to the dulse flakes and seeds.
Note: Dulse is a sea vegetable, and it is high in calcium, iron, zinc, iodine and vitamins A, C, E and B viatmins. You can buy the flakes at health food shops. Sourcing sea veg from clean waters is important. They will be more expensive, but you only use tiny amounts.
You can also do fantastic versions of hommus with either beetroot, pumpkin, spinach, or just add a bunch of fresh herbs.
Popcorn and friends
We all love popcorn. Next time you make a batch, cook it in plenty of coconut oil as it is extremely heat stable and is a wonderfully nourishing fat for kiddies. Supercharge it with the addition of chia seeds, dulse flakes, sesame seeds, nuts (if applicable), goji berries, some organic dried fruit, and cacao nibs if you’re feeling generous. Toast some coconut flakes in the oven for a few minutes and throw them in too – DELICIOUS!!
Goji berry trail mix
Instead of a packet of sultanas, mix it up with some goji berries which are chock full of antioxidants, along with vitamin C, vitamin E, B vitamins, and essential fatty acids. Throw in some pepitas and sunflower seeds for good measure.
Take some pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and sunflower seeds and spread out on a baking tray, Splash with a little tamari and pop into a moderate oven for 8-10 minutes, or until just slightly browned. Allow to cool and enjoy! You can add some coconut oil prior to cooking also if you like, or smoked paprika is lovely too.
Smoothies and ‘ice cream’
A sensational way of cramming in some goodness. Use coconut milk for extra fatty goodness, and add in chia seeds for extra nutrition. Berries, banana, stone fruit, pineapple and mango, are all good bases. Don’t be afraid to add greens like spinach or mint too. I have a few more ideas here. Pop any leftovers into an icy pole mould or a paper cup, put a stick in it, and you have a whole new ball game! Check out here for some more ideas for homemade icy poles and dairy free ice creams.
Sliced apple with nut butter, try it, it’s delish.
Other ideas like beetroot chips, kale chips and roasted sweet potato wedges are fun too!
P.S. A note on natural food colourings
We recently had a birthday in our house, for which I make these cutie-patootie cupcakes.
I am very proud of the bees. My daughter decorated the frogs. Good times. Anyway, It is an example of how easy it is to do fun colours with no fake. The green – spirulina, the yellow – turmeric, the red – a squeeze of raw beetroot juice, just grated and squeezed. Go crazy – blueberries are great, as is red onion skin apparently though I haven’t tried that yet as I was concerned about stinky cupcakes! No one likes stinky cupcakes. I’d love to hear what others have used too!
If you want a particular colour that you are having trouble with, ‘Hopper’ do amazing all natural food colourings that are preservative and artificial everything free.
So there you have it. The moral of the story? Get some dulse flakes and add them to everything. Ha! x
You can find Meg on Facebook here, Pinterest here