My 4-year old son is becoming a real foodie. His new favourite breakfast is chia seed pudding. His little sister likes it too. They put it on their breakfast request list a couple of times per week and since it is so nutritious and easy to make, it really has become a family favourite.
There are lots of variations on chia seed pudding, many of them with added spices, chocolate and/or vanilla, but Ollie likes the fruity variety best.
Chia is said to be the richest plant source of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which is thought to protect against heart disease and diabetes. Chia is also a good source of calcium and plant-based protein and an excellent source of fibre and antioxidants, which help reduce inflammation and boost immunity. Blueberries are a rich source of anthocyanin antioxidants and flavonoids.
If you don’t have time to make almond milk, oat milk tastes great with this recipe. You can try it with other milks too, we think it would taste good with any kind. Blueberries can be replaced with blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, kiwi, or a mixture of berries.
1 small banana
50 g (1/4 c) chia seeds
250 ml (1 c) almond milk (or other kind of milk)
35 g (1/4 c) blueberries (defrosted and drained, if using frozen)
A few vanilla seeds *optional*
1. Add all ingredients to a blender and mix for 20 seconds.
2. Transfer to fridge and chill for 10-15 minutes to let the chia seeds swell.
3. Stir, spoon into individual serving dishes, garnish with a blueberry and serve.
Preparation: 15 min | Cooking time: 0 min | Servings: 2-4
This week we ended up with a lot of zucchini. That’s courgette for our UK readers. A friend gave me some from her garden, the neighbour left some when he went on holiday and I had already bought a large batch to make soup. My children love zucchini soup but they don’t like zucchini any other way so I was wondering what to make when I came across this great idea on the internet, making zucchini slices into mini pizza bites. Genius!
Most of the recipes I found online suggested eating the zucchini just slightly grilled; almost raw. I knew my children wouldn’t eat it like that so I decided to grill it for longer and make a slightly softer pizza bite. It was delicious and they ate the lot.
This recipe calls for a mature cheddar but mozzarella or other kind of medium to hard cheese would work just as well.
We really enjoy having fun in our kitchen, making our bean salad beetroot-purple and our eggs spinach-green. Thankfully Sam-I-Am was right about green eggs, they really do taste good. This recipe is at its best when eaten after a third reading of Dr Seuss’ ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ when the little ones are begging to try it out for themselves.
Small children are sometimes fussy about green foods so we won’t pretend this is for everyone. My daughter is in a fussy phase and won’t touch it presently, although she has eaten it many times before and her friends and my 4-year old son still tuck in and beg for more. My husband and I love it, especially with a sprinkle of black pepper and some fresh herbs.
Eggs are one of the richest sources of methionine, an essential amino acid which must be obtained in the diet. Methionine helps to balance hormones, has anti-inflammatory properties and increases the absorption of antioxidant nutrients. Spinach is very high in Vitamins K, A, manganese and folate and a good source of Vitamins B, E and C as well as iron and copper. It is also a good source of the anti-inflammatory glycoglycerolipids.
Any green will do for this recipe. Organic kale is another favourite. Some greens can be quite bitter so for children we recommend sticking to sweeter varieties and avoiding chard. We prefer fresh baby spinach over frozen spinach for this reason.
I was very happy when my neighbour gave me a piece of his cauliflower pizza to try. I knew that it was something my children would love and it is ideal for those following a gluten-free or grain-free diet – or just a healthier diet. We make this at least once a fortnight and the children love it. Having followed a gluten-free diet for a number of years, pizza was one of the things I did miss, so although this doesn’t taste exactly like ‘real’ pizza, it feels really good to be able to bring back pizza night. It is also a great dish for Meatless Monday, or whichever days you choose to eat less meat.
Cauliflower is one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. It is extremely high in Vitamin C and an excellent source of Vitamin K and folate, choline, potassium, Vitamin B6 and fibre. Several dozen studies link cauliflower to cancer prevention, probably because of the high levels of antioxidants it contains. It is though high in fibre, which is considered very healthy but which may be problematic for some tummies.
You can use whatever topping you would normally put on a pizza, choose your favourite. We like roasted pepper strips, sun-dried tomatoes, chicken and mozzarella, aubergine, grated vegetables and homemade meatballs on our pizzas. We made the pizza pictured without tomato sauce or extra cheese. Leave a comment below with your favourite topping.
We receive a lot of emails asking if small children can eat beetroot. The concern is nitrates, which are naturally present in many vegetables. There is a lot of conflicting advice and research, but the great news is that studies have shown that beetroot and other nitrate-rich vegetables are beneficial for health and that babies over 4 months can eat them safely. You can read our article about nitrates and health for more information but now, on to this delicious recipe.
My children both love beetroot. The sweet taste and beautiful rich purple color make it a favorite with babies and small children, even if cleaning it off their clothes and the walls might not make it so popular with mummy and daddy. But there are good reasons to consider risking their clothes or stripping them down to their birthday suits to let them polish off a plate of beetroot that you can read about here. When making beetroot I like to keep any dressing very simple and let the beetroot speak for itself. This dish is no exception. Enjoy!
Studies have shown that the betalains in beetroot undergo very steady loss from food as cooking time increases. The red betalain pigments in beets are far less heat stable than red anthocyanin pigments in red cabbage and the difference between 15 minutes of steaming versus 25 minutes of steaming, or 60 minutes of roasting versus 90 minutes of roasting can be significant in terms of betalain damage. For this reason, we recommend that you keep beet steaming times to 15 minutes or less.
This delicious seed cracker is very popular at home. We spread on our favourite nut or seed butter and eat these for breakfast or snacks, or alongside lunch or dinner. I only started making these recently – we don’t eat bread so it was quite a treat for my children to have something to spread their almond butter onto. Try our recipe for fruity nut butter for a great topping!
These don’t last long in our house, a couple of days at most, so make a big batch if you want them to last the week. I have found my children – one using a chair as a ladder and the other standing on the counter top – breaking into cupboards in order to get their hands on them on more than one occasion.
You can vary the seeds used or experiment with adding nuts or other dried fruit. Recently the black sesame seeds we have purchased have not tasted good, so we have doubled the quantity of white sesame seeds. Varying the seed quantities works well.
My family loves breakfast. It is our favourite meal of the day. I love creating delicious, healthy dishes that serve as inspiration and are easily adapted for different needs. This breakfast can be made with dairy yogurt (preferably raw) or with oat yogurt for a vegan version. Adults can drizzle honey or maple syrup over it and little babies can enjoy a mashed or pureed version.
It is refreshing served refrigerated on summer mornings. In winter we add freshly steamed apple to warm it up a little. It makes a great snack and even a healthy dessert. You won’t need Sam-I-Am to convince your children to eat it, which is always a plus on busy mornings.
The skins of organic and home-grown fruits are full of antioxidants so we usually prefer to leave them on, but it is best to peel apples before using them in this dish because they taste better and smaller babies will have a hard time chewing cooked apple skins. Add thick greek yogurt and a good honey, and you have a healthy dinner party dessert. We usually make a big batch of apples in advance, sprinkle them with cinnamon and keep them in a sealed glass jar in the fridge.
You can use frozen berries if fresh berries are out of season. Our favourite apples are Cox and Royal Gala, but any sweet apple will do.
The latest guidelines suggest that unless there are food-related allergies in the family, there is no reason to wait until 1 year to serve nuts, but if you are in any doubt, consult your child’s doctor before giving nuts to a child.
Ah pancakes. In the UK pancakes are usually eaten or breakfast or dessert or – as in my family – once a year on shrove Tuesday. In Sweden, sweet pancakes are often served as lunch, especially in schools and on children’s lunch menus in restaurants, cafes and play centres.
We are a gluten-free family, so I was very happy to discover this very simple recipe for healthy pancakes made with just two ingredients a couple of years ago. The consistency is very similar to a regular pancake, they are delicious and everyone in my family loves them. I’ve just made some for breakfast and I’m presently waiting for the chant of ‘more, more, more’ to begin.
It’s more fun to make this recipe as several mini-pancakes, but if you’re in a hurry you can of course simply make one big pancake and cut it up in the portions needed. We’ve tried a few variations with other ingredients but it does come out best sticking to the two main ingredients in the named quantities.
Serve your pancakes with oat (or other) yoghurt and berries or apple compote, or how about some chopped banana, whipped cream and maple syrup for bigger kids?
We are often asked how to get a child to eat more vegetables, so if you have a child who doesn’t like them, you are not alone. There are many different opinions about this, such as whether you should hide them in other foods or not and how important vegetables are anyway.
I think it is very important for children to get used to eating a variety of vegetables, not least because they contain vitamins and minerals and help the body to absorb vitamins and minerals from other foods. In my opinion, eating them is more important than how they eat them at this age. Whilst no one solution will work for all, in our home the easiest way to get a child to eat vegetables is to add them to a pureed vegetable soup. So long as it tastes good, you can throw in more or less anything.
In this cold weather we have been making soup daily. It is quick and easy to make, a great way to use up vegetables and both children and adults are always happy to arrive home to a delicious soup. Kale and zucchini are rich in many nutrients including vitamins B, C and K, potassium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, calcium, rutin, quercetin, folic acid and vitamin C. Rutin and quercetin are important anti-inflammatories. If your children don’t like soup or can’t eat it with a spoon, try puting it in a glass and letting them drink it. The novelty factor is sometimes enough.
So, now I have extolled the virtues of soup generally, on to this recipe. Green vegetable soup can be a little bitter, so including creamy coconut brings the perfect balance. Don’t skimp on it. So long as you don’t add too much water this is a thick, hearty soup that makes a filling lunch for everyone. My husband likes to eat his with crusty bread from the local baker and my toddlers like it chilled. I like it both ways, depending on the weather. If you chill it as soon as it has cooled down and keep the leftovers in a glass jar in the fridge, it will last for 2-3 days.
We have started posting some of our experiments on Instagram, so if you want to stay updated on our food escapades you can check out our Instagram page.
If you feel like it you can add some cheese to this recipe. A delicious, mature cheddar would work really well. If you don’t have the kale or any other greens you can still make this soup. The greens just add even more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
I didn’t grow up eating a lot of fish so for a long time I used to shy away from making it for my family. That was until my mother-in-law showed me how easy it actually is to prepare fish, especially if baked in the oven. I’ve since came to love lots of different fish dishes and like experimenting to make up my own.
This is a favorite in our house and a great dish for the colder season as it’s warm and tasty comfort food. Even our two little ones happily munch up a big portion whenever it is served. Our kids like to help mixing together the sauce and preparing the fish and other ingredients in the oven-proof dish.
Always choose organic fish to ensures that the fish you’re consuming comes from strong stocks and are fished or farmed sustainably. In Sweden, look out for KRAV and MSC labels. Avoid wild fished salmon from the Baltic sea as well as Vänern and Vättern lakes as those have shown to contain high levels of Dioxin and PCB, which especially children, expecting mothers and other women in their fertile age are very sensitive to.
You can use any kind of root vegetables as your side – how about adding beetroot, parsnip, or turnip? You can mush up the dish with a fork for smaller eaters or even blend it in a food processor or with a hand blender for babies who are not yet used to eating textured food.
The days are getting shorter and darker as winter approaches and we are spending much more time indoors than we did during the summer. It’s the season of cosy ‘fika’ as they say in Sweden, which roughly means ‘to drink coffee with squash’, usually accompanied by something sweet. For us it just means an excuse to make something delicious and healthy and cosy up together around the kitchen table, either alone or with friends. This weekend we had some left over pumpkin pie spice, so we made a spicy drink to share. Usually we make spicy tea, but this week has been surprisingly warm in Stockholm, so we decided to make a chilled lassi.
There are many different kinds of lassi, both savoury and sweet. Some are made with banana, others with mango, although traditionally lassi, an Indian drink, is savoury and is often made with cumin.
Turmeric is one of the world’s healthiest foods, a powerful anti-inflammatory traditionally used to treat all kinds of disease. It has been shown to reduce the risk and spread of several types of cancer and childhood leukaemia. Best of all is its the bright orange, warming colour and spicy, slightly sweet taste.
In this recipe we have used frozen banana and oat yogurt/milk to make it dairy-free. You could substitute frozen mango if you wish, or even use dairy yogurt and milk. Many lassi recipes call for 3 or even 4 teaspoons of spice, but as this is intended for the whole family and everyone’s tastebuds are different, we recommend that you start with 1 tsp of each spice and then add more to taste, as required.
For breakfast porridges, this is one of our favorites as it’s quick and easy to make. There’s also a sentimental thing to it as this was the kind of porridge I was sometimes served for dinner at my grandparents when I was little. Still to date I think it makes a nice breakfast porridge for all the family. Semolina has a slightly sweet taste so it’s particularly popular with small ones.
Semolina is made from durum wheat and has a low glycemic index, meaning that it is digested slowly and therefore keeping your blood sugar levels at bay. It is a high-protein food and high on potassium (important for kidney function) as well as zinc and magnesium (both among others promoting healthy bones and nervous system).
In this recipe, we’re topping the porridge with homemade forest berry compote, but it tastes just with apple sauce, sprinkled with chopped nuts and raisins, or cinnamon.
Unsure what to do with your Halloween pumpkins after the big night is over? If they’re still fresh and clean, bring them inside and turn them into pumpkin puree with little effort!
Last year, I completely forgot about our lovely carved pumpkin and accidentally left it out on the balcony until mid November – as it was unusually warm at that time, the formerly sturdy veg didn’t look so sturdy anymore by the time I remembered to check it. This year I decided to do better and have just recycled our beautiful jack-o-lantern into a big pot of creamy puree.
Pumpkin puree makes a great base for vegetable soup. You can also use it in cakes and cookies (pumpkin cookie bar recipe coming soon!), or simply add some herbs and serve it to your baby for his or her next meal. The puree stays fresh in the fridge for up to 3 days, alternatively you can freeze it in portions and defrost it whenever you want to use it.
This yummie cocoa drink is the perfect winter warmer. It couldn’t be simpler, the whole family can enjoy it and it’s a super health drink to boot.
Researchers at Cornell University in the US have recently found that a cup of hot cocoa contains a whole lot of antioxidants and flavanols. Cocoa is also high in Magnesium, which can prevent cardiovascular problems, promote healthy blood vessels, relieve PMS symptoms in girls and women, relax muscles and regulate blood sugar levels. Throughout the Middle Ages cocoa was prescribed to help with everything from improving digestion to producing more breast milk.
Read more about cocoa as a super food here.
NB: For all its health benefits, cocoa can interfere with the absorption of iron and other nutrients, so drink this separately from iron-rich meals.
You may think that small children will find raw, unsweetened cocoa too bitter, but in our experience they love it so long as you add a little milk – oat or almond milk both work well. Cow’s milk can be used from 1 year, but we like the natural sweetness of oat milk best. Remember that small children who have never tasted sweet cocoa are not accustomed to sweet drinks the way we adults tend to be, so it’s a great way to set them on the road to loving the darker, healthier versions of chocolate products.
A personal favorite of ours is Valrhona cocoa powder – or for those in Sweden Kung Markatta cocoa powder – but any unflavoured, unsweetened dark cocoa powder you can find will do the job!
Note: Always make sure to test the temperature of your hot chocolate before serving it to children! Add more cold milk if required to cool the drink.
My husband made this goat cheese dip sauce the other night for dinner and it was so good I had to post it right away. We had it as a side together with beetroot burgers and bulgur, and the combination was truly a winner. The dip will work just as well served with carrot, cucumber, paprika or other raw vegetable sticks, or strips of toasted pita bread. It is a recipe that can you can easily adapt – check out our suggestions in the recipe tips!
For variations of this dip, leave out the maple sirup and add 100 g of cooked salmon, or 100 g of steamed spinach. Both would need to be pulsed briefly in a food processor and can then be stirred into the mixture. If you make this dip for adults, you can add a pinch of salt to enhance the flavor.