Kitchen Tips for NEW Age Moms: Healthy recipes for kids

BY JESS JOHNSON - JUNE 17, 2016

The daily challenge of every new age mom - whether it's your first child or your fourth, whether you have chosen a career or to stay at home – is what to cook for little Suzy or Sam.

Not only are we faced with the challenge of time but with each passing season the debate over home made or store brought; fresh or frozen; organic or non-organic becomes more intense and hangs over our motherly instincts.

Many of us, come the end of the day, still haven't bought the fresh, organic ingredients let alone thought of a creative yet healthy recipe, and unless your name is Betty Crocker, you are not going to have an endless list of healthy recipes that spontaneously emerge from your overworked mind.

I myself am a mom to Bella Rose, who, at 11 months old, eats like a horse. As a qualified chef I have three simple rules that make my life a lot easier and I can tell you that Bella has never been healthier or happier and above all I remain a sane mom, well, a semi-sane mom. 

Rule 1: Use Fresh Ingredients

Let your focus be on fresh ingredients rather than on 100% organic produce. Life is tough enough and finding anything truly organic is no easy matter.  Using fresh ingredients and giving them a good wash before cooking will give your child plenty of the right nutrition.

Also bear in mind that certain foods have a higher percentage of pesticide exposure so be aware of these ingredients and wash accordingly.

According to the Environmental Working Group, the following fruits and vegtables have high exposure to pesticides and need to be washed before use; Peaches, Strawberries, Nectarines, Blueberries, Apples, Cherries, Kale, Potatoes, Celery and Spinach

Rule 2: Keep to Simple Cooking Tools and Methods

Aim at using recipes that can be prepared or made in one go on the stove, in the oven or in a blender without having to use multiple pots, pans or bowls and cooking methods.

It's also important to keep in mind that when you boil your ingredients, the nutrients will dissolve into the water, so try and use the now healthy water when preparing your babies meal.

Rule 3: Source Good Baby Food Products

Homemade food, if prepared following the tips above is generally best as it has no additives, preservative and colourants, but some days we mothers do fail at being the family  gourmet chef and will need a little help.

There are products readily available that are not loaded with unhealthy ingredients, and more importantly, not loaded with sugar. They may be hard to find but take a turn about the shops and make note of what’s good and what’s not.  When you find a product that suites your child’s diet and the child doesn’t go aaaagh, then buy in bulk.  Having one cheat night won't ruin little Suzy or Sam’s nutrition plan.

Left Over Sunday Lunch Puree

Yield : Two full meals

Difficulty Level : Easy

Tools Needed: Blender

I have found success with one recipe in particular. It is simple, semi-organic and Bella loves it.  We often have a roast on a Sunday, and now, more than ever, I love it because I know I have a go-to recipe for Bella using the left overs.

So our simple roasts includes organic farm chickens, roasted potatoes and 2 roasted vegetables, usually butternut and baby marrows.

Before the family tucks in, I carve off a leg. I like to use a leg or a thigh because the softer meat blends better and isn't so dry.  I also take a few potatoes with their skin and a few vegetables.

I pack these into a blender, add two slices of avocado and a dollop of plain cream cheese. I also like to add a teaspoon or two of the pan juices for flavor, consistency and it is an excellent source of fat. I blend until smooth.  I can stretch this recipe into two full meals and it freezes beautifully.

Fat – good or bad?

New mom and Port Elizabeth Dietician, Riana Greyvenstein, had this to say about the importance of fat in young children's diets; “Fat is necessary in the diets of infants and young children because of their extraordinary energy needs and limited dietary capacity (fat has double the amount of energy per gram than carbs or proteins) it also plays an important role in the maturation of the central nervous system, including visual development and intelligence”

Jess Johnson is owner of The Kitchen Club, a catering business that specializes in good, healthy, tasty food for the home or the office. Contact Jess on 084 828 0336