Baked Falafel – Healthy Little Foodies


This baked falafel recipe uses canned chickpeas, fresh herbs and spices to create flavoursome and nutritious patties that the whole family can enjoy.

Baked Falafel in Bowl with Salad and Pita Triangles.

Falafel is a Middle Eastern dish made from chickpeas and/or fava beans, fresh herbs and spices. The mixture is formed into patties or balls and is traditionally deep-fried to yield a crispy exterior.

Although this recipe involves baking, instead of frying, and uses canned chickpeas, for ease, the flavour and texture have not been compromised. They are perfect for babies, toddlers, big kids and adults.

5 Reasons to Love This Baked Falafel Recipe

  • Canned Chickpeas – for when you don’t have time to wait 6+ hours to soak dried chickpeas. Easy and convenient for busy parents.
  • Baked not Fried – a healthier choice but also an easier option – let the oven do the cooking for you!
  • Full of Flavour – with all the herbs and spices there is no denying that these patties are packed with flavour. Adding herbs and spices to baby food is a great way to encourage little foodies.
  • Great for Kids to Help With – a very easy recipe for getting little ones involved in the kitchen and the mixture is safe to try before baking.
  • Freezable – make in advance and freeze for a quick snack, lunch or dinner option.
Falafel with Yoghurt Dip on Toddler Bunny Shape Plate with Pita Bread, Cucumber and Tomato

Ingredient Information

  • Canned Chickpeas – Traditional falafel requires you to soak dried chickpeas. Canned chickpeas are not normally recommended, however, I wanted to develop a recipe that worked for busy parents that don’t always have time to remember to pre-soak chickpeas.
  • Bread – Not normally an ingredient in falafel (sorry traditionalists) However, as canned chickpeas are used in this recipe the bread is needed to soak up excess moisture to stop them from becoming too pasty in texture.
  • Fresh Herbs (Parsley & Coriander (Cilantro) – Don’t skip the fresh herbs but vary the amounts to suit taste.
  • Spices (cumin, coriander, cardamom, smoked paprika) – This spice is warm and aromatic and adds great flavour.
  • Baking Powder – Gives the falafel a fluffier texture. You can skip it but your patties will be denser.
Labelled Ingredients Needed to Make Falafel (Top Down View)

Process Steps & Tips

Baked Falafel is so easy to make and you really can’t go wrong. So get your kids in the kitchen and let them have fun!  Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Drain the chickpeas, and add them to a food processor with all the other ingredients.
  2. Mix/pulse to combine. Be careful not to blend too long. Aim for a crumbly mixture, not a paste (see photo).
  3. Add a little oil to a baking tray and turn/brush until the tray is coated. Roll around 1 tbsp of the mixture into a ball and repeat until the mixture is used up. Slightly flatten each ball to form patties and place it on the oiled tray. Turn to ensure both sides of the falafel have a light coating of oil.
  4. Place in a preheated oven (190C /375F) and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, carefully flipping the falafels halfway through baking. Allow cooling for a few minutes before serving, as they cool they will firm up.
Collage of 4 Images Showing Steps to Make Falafels. 1 Add Ingredients to Food Processor 2) Ingredients blended 3) Falafels formed on Baking Tray Before Baking 4)Falafels after Baking

Serving Suggestions

A few of our favourite ways to enjoy freshly baked falafel….

  • SNACK / SNACKING BOARD – Serve at snack time with a couple of dips (e.g hummus, garlic & lemon yoghurt dip, avocado dip, tahini dip) and some veggie sticks.
  • IN A PITA SANDWICH – Fill toasted pita bread with salad, falafel and a lemon yoghurt dressing.
  • AS PART OF A SALAD BOWL – Great for adding a little protein to a salad. Use fresh and/ or roasted vegetables, throw in some pitta chips and top with a creamy dressing.

Make Ahead & Storage Instructions

  • Make ahead: Prepare the falafel mixture up to 1 day in advance. Cover and refrigerate. Form patties and bake as recipe instructions.
  • Refrigerate: After baking, refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container. Best eaten the day of cooking but stores well for up to 2 days after baking
  • Freeze (Uncooked): Place uncooked falafel disks on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze until hardened (around 1 hour).  Transfer the patties into a freezer bag / airtight container and freeze for up to 1 month. Falafel can be cooked from frozen.
  • Freeze (Cooked): Place on a baking sheet until hardened. Transfer to a freezer bag/ airtight contianer for up to one month. Thaw in the refrigerator.
Two Plates of Falafel on Pita Bread with Salad and Yogurt Dressing

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Please let me know how you / your children like this falafel in the comments. I hope you love them as much as we do.

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Falafel with Yoghurt Dip on Toddler Bunny Shape Plate with Pita Bread, Cucumber and Tomato

Baked Falafel

This baked falafel recipe uses canned chickpeas, fresh herbs and spices to create flavoursome and nutritious patties that the whole family can enjoy.

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 190C / 375F

  • Add all ingredients apart from the salt (and only 1tbsp of the oil) to a food processor and mix/pulse to combine. Be careful not to overmix, the mixture should still be crumbly, not a paste (photo in post for reference).

  • Taste and salt as needed. If making for a baby remove baby portions before seasoning.

  • Add the remaining 1/2 tbsp of oil to a baking tray and tilt / brush to coat.

  • Scoop out tablespoon amounts of the mixture and gently form into 12 small balls. Flatten slightly to produce disks. Place each disk on the baking tray and flip to coat both sides in the oil.

  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, carefully flipping the falafels halfway through baking.

Recipe Notes

Nutritional information is a ROUGH guide only, calculated using an online nutrition calculator. 

Nutrition Facts

Baked Falafel

Amount Per Serving

Calories 50
Calories from Fat 18

% Daily Value*

Fat 2g3%

Saturated Fat 1g5%

Trans Fat 1g

Sodium 179mg7%

Potassium 86mg2%

Carbohydrates 6g2%

Fiber 1g4%

Sugar 1g1%

Protein 2g4%

Vitamin A 187IU4%

Vitamin C 3mg4%

Calcium 30mg3%

Iron 1mg6%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.



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Tuna Fish Cakes – Healthy Little Foodies


Mashed potato and tuna are mixed together with spring onion, lime juice and coriander (cilantro) to make these delicious tuna fish cakes. They are then coated in breadcrumbs and lightly fried or baked.

My tuna patties are too soft, how do I prevent this?

Make sure not to overcook the potatoes as this can cause them to absorb too much water. Before mashing, return the potatoes to the pan, shake briefly and allow them to steam dry. If you have time, refrigerate and allow your mash to cool completely before mixing and forming the patties.

If you have already formed your cakes but find them too soft to handle, pop them in the freezer for around 10 mins to harden. This will make it easier to coat and fry. Baking will be easier if still too soft.

My Tuna Fish Cakes Full Apart When I coat /cook them, how do I prevent this?

This could be because your mixture is too wet or too textured.

You need to make sure your potatoes are completely dry and ideally cold before mixing with the other ingredients. Also, make sure to fully drain the tuna so you are not adding extra liquid to the mixture.

If you have large chunks of tuna make sure to break them down when mixing. In addition, make sure to chop the onion small.

It’s important that the oil is hot enough when the patties enter the pan. If it’s too low, they will soak up the oil and become soggy.

If still falling apart them try baking over frying.

Can you make fish cakes ahead of time?

Yes. You can form and refrigerate a day before cooking. See storage instructions, above, for further information.

Are these suitable for babies/ toddlers?

Yes. These are perfect for both babies (6mth+) and toddlers.

What should I serve with these?

I usually serve these with salad, roasted vegetables or raw vegetables and dips.

Can you freeze these fish cakes?

Yes. You can freeze before cooking and after cooking. See above section on storage instructions.

Have you tries this recipe? I love receiving your feedback, please rate and leave a comment below or tag me on Instagram @healthylittlefoodies

*First published Aug 2015. The post has been updated to include process steps and photos and more cooking tips and information.



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Chicken Tikka Kebabs – Healthy Little Foodies


Chunks of chicken coated in a spiced yogurt marinade and threaded onto skewers, these chicken tikka kebabs are perfect served with salad and dips or shredded and added to sandwiches, curries or pizzas.

Chicken Tikka Kebabs on Plate Along with Mint Leaves and Lime Wedges with Bowl of Salad, Bowl and Raita on Side.

Why These Kebabs are Family Friendly

  • EASY – A super quick marinade to prepare. Make in the morning and allow the chicken to marinade during the day. Then it is just a case of threading and cooking in the evening.
  • FLAVOURSOME – There are lots of benefits to adding spices to baby food. This is a great dish for doing this. Mild, yet flavoursome, these kebabs are ideal for babies, toddlers, big kids and adults. (Remove from sticks when serving young children. You can cook on the stick, remove and add to child-friendly skewers)
  • GREAT AS LEFTOVERS – Chicken Tikka Kebabs are also delicious cold. Remove from their sticks and add to salads, sandwiches, wraps, pittas, rice dishes or top tortilla pizzas or regular pizzas.

Video – Watch How to Make Them

Ingredient Information (With Alternative Suggestions)

Top Down View of the Ingredients Needed to Make Chicken Tikka Kebabs
  • CHICKEN THIGH: Can be substituted with breast or tenderloin but thigh is best for the juiciest chicken.
  • GREEK YOGURT: Can be substituted for thick natural yogurt.
  • SPICES: Garam Masala, Coriander, Cumin, Paprika & Turmeric, you should easily find these in most grocery stores.
  • GARLIC & GINGER: Mince or use jars of minced garlic/ginger for speed.
  • LIME JUICE: Can be substituted with lemon juice.

Process Steps and Photos

Collage of 5 images Showing the Process Steps for Making Chicken Tikka Kebabs 1) Marinade Ingredients in Bowl, 2) Chicken Added to Bowl, 3) Kebab Sticks Soaking in Dish 4) Chicken Threaded onto Skewer 5) Chicken Kebabs Taken Out of Oven
  1. Mix all the marinade ingredients together until combined.
  2. Add the chicken and coat. Cover and refrigerate, allow to marinate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Soak sticks in water to prevent burning when cooking, they should soak for at least 30 mins.
  4. Thread chicken pieces onto the skewers.
  5. Cook (adding foil to the end of each skewer can also help with the sticks burning.)

Top Tips

  • Try to cut the chicken in similar sized pieces for even cooking.
  • Balance sticks over a dish to allow the drips to be caught.
  • You can add chunks of red onion, bell pepper or pineapple to add variety to the kebabs.

Storage Instructions

  • REFRIGERATE: Once cooled, remove chicken from skewers and place in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 2 days.
  • FREEZE: Once cooled, remove chicken from skewers and place in an airtight container. Freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw, overnight, in the refrigerator.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I serve this to a baby / toddler?

Yes, this is mild and suitable for a baby (over 6 months). Do not add the salt and reduce the paprika, if concerned about heat. Do not serve on the skewers, remove and shred the chicken into pieces and always supervise.

Can I make in advance?

Yes, in fact, this is best marinated in advance, you want to marinate for at least 1 hour. You can also cook in advance and serve cold. However, if you wish to enjoy them hot you are best to cook just before serving as reheating can dry out the chicken.

Can you cook this on the BBQ?

Yes, these would be a great addition to a summer BBQ! Grill skewers for around 20 minutes or until cooked through and lightly charred on all sides.

Child Holding a Chicken Tikka Skewer with Pate of Skewers, Dip and Salad in Background

Have you tried this recipe? I love receiving your feedback. Please rate and leave a comment below or tag me on Instagram @healthylittlefoodies

Looking for more healthy kid recipes?Sign up for my free recipe newsletter to get new family friendly recipes in your inbox each week! Find me sharing more kind-friendly inspiration on Pinterest and Instagram.

Child Holding a Chicken Tikka Skewer with Pate of Skewers, Dip and Salad in Background

Chicken Tikka Kebabs

Chunks of chicken coated in a spiced yogurt marinade and threaded onto skewers

Instructions

  • Add the marinade ingredients to a large mixing bowl and stir to combine

  • Add the chicken and mix until the marinade fully coats the chicken.

  • Cover, refrigerate and allow to marinate for at least 1 hour.

  • If using wooden skewers, soak in water for at least 30 mins to prevent burning when cooking.

  • Pre-heat oven to 200c (400f)

  • Remove the marinated chicken from the fridge and thread onto skewers.

  • Cook for approx 20 mins, until cooked through and lightly charred.

Recipe Notes

CHICKEN: Can be substituted with breast or tenderloin but thigh is best for the juiciest chicken. If using breast meat keep an eye on the cooking time, breast is less forgiving and overcooking will result in dry kebabs. 
SALT: Taste marinade, before adding chicken, and salt to taste. Salt will bring out the flavours of the spices. Do not add if making for baby/young child. Instead, you can marinade, remove baby portion and salt remaining. 
SKEWERS: If using wooden sticks you should soak to help prevent burning. I find that it is best to also wrap a little foil around the ends of the sticks to further prevent burning.
Nutritional information is a ROUGH guide only, calculated using an online nutrition calculator. 

Nutrition Facts

Chicken Tikka Kebabs

Amount Per Serving

Calories 202
Calories from Fat 126

% Daily Value*

Fat 14g22%

Saturated Fat 4g20%

Cholesterol 83mg28%

Sodium 266mg11%

Potassium 213mg6%

Carbohydrates 2g1%

Fiber 1g4%

Sugar 1g1%

Protein 16g32%

Vitamin A 229IU5%

Vitamin C 1mg1%

Calcium 36mg4%

Iron 1mg6%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

*Originally posted Nov 2013, has been updated to include process shots and provide more recipe information.



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Red Cabbage and Apple – Healthy Little Foodies


Add some colour to your plate with this classic combination of red cabbage and apple. Sweet, tangy and delicious!

Cooked Red Cabbage and Apple in Pan

Why Try This Recipe

  • EXPOSURE: The taste and texture of cabbage can greatly change depending on how you prepare and cook it. When you braise cabbage it becomes sweeter, more flavoursome and softer in texture. If your child doesn’t normally like cabbage then it is worth trying this recipe out.
  • NUTRITIOUS: Cabbage contains a good mix of vitamins and minerals. It is a good source of dietary fibre, vitamin C, vitamin K and is also a great source of folate and potassium
  • VERSATILE: This side dish works well with a range of meals.
  • EASY: Although it takes quite a long time to cook, it doesn’t require much attention. It also stores well (refrigerator/freezer) and can be prepped and made in advance.

Ingredient Info and Alternative Suggestions

Top Down View of Ingredients Needed to Make Braised Red Cabbage and Apple
  • RED CABBAGE: You can swap for green cabbage, it has a similar flavour and form but will, obviously, lack the pop of colour.
  • APPLE: Tart apples, such as Granny Smiths, work great in this recipe but you can use a sweeter apple if prefered.
  • ONION: Red, brown or white will work.
  • BALSAMIC VINEGAR: Balsamic vinegar adds a lovely sweetness, you can replace with apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar but you may find you need to add a little sweetener (sugar, maple syrup, raisins etc). If you don’t care for the tangy flavour of vinegar you can replace it with chicken or vegetable stock.
  • GROUND ALLSPICE: For added flavour, can be skipped or replaced with a different spice such as cumin, fennel or nutmeg.
  • SEASONING: Adding a little salt helps to bring out the sweet and sour flavours. If you find it too tangy a pinch of sugar will also help balance out the flavours.

Cooking Tips and Information

PREPARING THE VEGETABLES AND FRUIT – Cut the cabbage, onion and apple into thin slices.

  • Cabbage – Cut into quarters, remove the hard white core and then slice crossways in thin strips.
  • Apple – Core and cut into quarters, thinly slice.
  • Onion – Peel and chop of the end. Cut in half, through the centre, and thinly slice.
Images Showing How to Prepare the Cabbage, Apple and Onion for Red Cabbage and Apple

Braising is a technique that requires sautéing in fat over high heat, then simmering slowly in liquid on low heat.

  1. Saute onion in oil, cover and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until lightly golden and sticky.
  2. Add Remaining Ingredients, stir and saute for a couple of minutes.
  3. Cover
  4. Cook on low for around 45min -1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Collage of Four Images Showing The Different Cooking Steps of Red Cabbage and Apple. 1) Saute Onion, 2)Add Remaining Ingredients to Pan, 3)Stir and cover 4)Cook low for 1hr

What Goes with Red Cabbage and Apple?

Red cabbage is often served as a Christmas side dish, however, it is a perfect accompaniment to just about anything! Why not try serving it with

  • Roast Chicken
  • Pork
  • Venison
  • Sausages and Mash
  • Sausages in a bun / hot dogs / burgers
  • Cheese on toast
Red Cabbage and Apple in Serving Dish

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Red cabbage and apple stores really well (and actually tastes even better the next day). It can be refrigerated or frozen and reheats easily. Perfect for meal planning or preparing in advance.

  • REFRIGERATE: Can be refrigerated, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days.
  • FREEZER: Can be frozen, in an airtight container, for up to two months
  • THAW: Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  • REHEAT: To reheat, place in a saucepan with a couple of tablespoons of water (stock or vinegar) and heat gently with a lid on until the cabbage is hot (about 5 minutes).

Frequently Asked Questions

I prefer crunchy cabbage, should I try this recipe?

This recipe involves a long slow cooking process to produce a softer cabbage. If you prefer crunchier cabbage you can choose to reduce the cooking time or just to saute the vegetables.

Is this safe to give a baby (6mth +)

Yes, if your baby is doing baby-led weaning or has had experience with finger foods then add a little to their plate to try (before seasoning). If you wish to make it into a puree, replace the vinegar with water or homemade stock, cook until soft and then puree.

Side on Shot of Cooked Red Cabbage and Apple in Pan

You May Also Like..

Have you tried this recipe? I love receiving your feedback. Please rate and leave a comment below or tag me on Instagram @healthylittlefoodies

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Red Cabbage and Apple in Serving Dish

Braised Red Cabbage and Apple

Add some colour to your plate with this classic combination of red cabbage and apple. The sweet and savoury taste and bright colour is sure to be a hit with the kids.

Instructions

  • Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat, and add the oil. Add the onion, cover, and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until lightly golden and sticky.

  • Add the cabbage, apple, vinegar and allspice, stir and saute for 2-3 mins.

  • Cover, reduce the heat to low and allow to cook gently for around 45mins to 1hr (until soft, stick and sweet), checking and stirring occasionally

  • Season to taste.

Recipe Notes

TOO TART?: The balsamic vinegar adds enough sweetness for our family, if you find it too tart then try adding a little honey, maple syrup, sugar or raisins to add sweetness. 
SERVING A BABY? If your baby is doing baby-led weaning or has had experience with finger foods then add a little to their plate to try (before seasoning). If you wish to make it into a puree, replace the vinegar with water or homemade stock, cook until soft and then puree.
Nutritional Information is a ROUGH guide only, calculated using an online nutrition calculator. 

Nutrition Facts

Braised Red Cabbage and Apple

Amount Per Serving

Calories 105
Calories from Fat 27

% Daily Value*

Fat 3g5%

Saturated Fat 1g5%

Sodium 37mg2%

Potassium 397mg11%

Carbohydrates 20g7%

Fiber 4g16%

Sugar 13g14%

Protein 2g4%

Vitamin A 1428IU29%

Vitamin C 75mg91%

Calcium 65mg7%

Iron 1mg6%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.





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Eggs and Soldiers – Healthy Little Foodies


Eggs and Soldiers – Soft boiled eggs (dippy eggs) with buttered toast fingers.

Child Dipping Toast Soldier into Yolk of Dippy Egg

Eggs and soldiers is a name given to soft-boiled eggs, served in an egg cup, with strips of buttered toast for dunking in the yolk. It is a much-loved breakfast for kids and adults alike.

What’s to Love about Eggs and Soldiers

  • FUN – The name, the egg cup, getting to cut the top off the egg and of course, dipping.
  • NUTRITIONAL – Eggs are an excellent source of iron and are a nutritious source of protein, fat, Vitamins A, D, E, B12 and choline. (1) Served with a mix of toast and vegetable soldiers it is a very balanced breakfast.
  • VERSATILE – Perfect for breakfast but equally good for lunch or a quick weeknight dinner.
Child Cutting Top off Egg in Egg Cup (From a Plate of Egg and Soldiers)

Are Soft Boiled Eggs Safe for Children?

It is possible for eggs to become contaminated by the food poisoning bacteria Salmonella. Anyone can be affected by Salmonella, but certain people are at greater risk of severe illness including pregnant
women and young children (under 5 years).

Salmonella is killed instantly at 74oC so eggs become safe by cooking them properly but raw and undercooked eggs can be a risk. Guidelines differ from country to country. For this reason, you are best to follow the advice from where you live.

The NHS (UK) state that eggs are safe for young children, even if only lightly cooked, as long as the eggs are hens’ eggs and they have a red lion stamped on them, or you see a red lion with the words “British Lion Quality” on the box.

Australian Eggs mention that eggs should be cooked until the white is set and the yolk begins to thicken. Soft-boiled eggs are fine as long as the yolk isn’t completely runny.

The USDA recommend that eggs be cooked until yolks are firm and that soft-cooked eggs with runny yolks are not safe for children to consume.

How to Make Perfect Soft Boiled Eggs

Collage of 4 Images Showing Process Steps to Cooking Soft Boiled Egg. 1) Add Eggs to Pan Cold Water 2) Bring to Boil 3) Simmer 4 MIn 4) Run Eggs Under Cold Water

A boiled egg is so simple, yet so easy to get wrong. It’s a science, with many variables that can change the end result. (Egg size, no of eggs in the pan, pan size, type of cooktop, altitude…etc).

For eggs and soldiers, you want to cook the egg just long enough to give firm whites but soft yolks. I find this takes four minutes of simmering but this time may differ slightly depending on the variables above. Here is how I make perfect dippy eggs every time…

  1. PLACE EGGS IN COLD WATER: Add your eggs before you start boiling. Avoid overcrowding the pan, you want to make sure the eggs fit in the saucepan in a single layer.
  2. BRING TO A BOIL: Do not start the timer until the water is at a full boil. A timer is crucial to get consistent eggs every time. Don’t just glance at the clock
  3. SIMMER: After the water comes to a boil, reduce to a light simmer and simmer for 4 mins.
  4. RUN UNDER COLD WATER: To stop the cooking process. Add to egg cup and serve straight away.

If you are making eggs all the time or can’t get the timings quite right then I recommend using an egg cooker (it does all the hard work for you.) This is probably the most used appliance in my house.

Alternative “Soldiers”

Buttered toast fingers are traditional “soldiers” but mixing it up can add variety (and some extra veggie goodness). Why not try…

  • Asparagus Spears
  • Bell Pepper (Capsicum) Strips
  • Carrot Batons
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Roasted Sweet Potato Strips
  • Broccolini
  • Mashed avocado on toast fingers
Asparagus Spear Dipped into Egg in Egg Cup

Frequently Asked Questions

What if you don’t have egg cups?

1) A shot glass can work in place of an egg cup.
2) Fill a ramekin with a few tablespoons of rice and nestle the egg inside.

Can you use any bread to make soldiers?

Yes, any bread will work. Just toast and cut into fingers.

Do you need to add anything to the water when you boil eggs?

No.

You May Also Like…

Have you tried this recipe? I love receiving your feedback. Please rate and leave a comment below or tag me on Instagram @healthylittlefoodies

Looking for more healthy kid recipes?Sign up for my free recipe newsletter to get new family friendly recipes in your inbox each week! Find me sharing more kind-friendly inspiration on Pinterest and Instagram.

Asparagus Spear Dipped into Egg in Egg Cup

Eggs and Soldiers

Soft boiled eggs with buttered toast fingers (or vegetable alternatives).

Instructions

  • Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water.

  • Place the pan over medium/high heat and when the water reaches a boil, start the timer so you can precisely time the cooking process.

  • Reduce to a gentle simmer and cook the eggs in the saucepan for 4 mins, this will produce an egg where the white is fully set and the yolk is thick and runny. (Cook for longer if you prefer a firmer yolk 5-8 mins (8 mins being hard boiled)

  • As the eggs are cooking, toast the bread, butter and cut into strips.

  • Use a large slotted spoon to remove the eggs from the water and run under cool water to stop them from cooking.

  • Set the egg into an egg cup. To remove the top, use the edge of a knife to gently tap all the way around the top of the egg. Pull the top off

Recipe Notes

  • Do not start the timer until the water has come to a proper boil.
  • If cooking more than two eggs, make sure your eggs fit in the saucepan in a single layer
  • Want to up your child’s veggie content? Why not try serving carrot sticks, asparagus spears, sugar snap peas, cucumber fingers or roasted sweet potato fingers as “soldiers”.
  • Egg size, pan size, no of eggs, cooker type and altitude may affect the cooking times, you may find you need to cook for slightly longer / shorter time than suggested.
  • Don’t have an egg cup? Why not try a shot glass or nestling your egg in a ramekin filled with rice.

NOTE: Salmonella is killed instantly at 74oC so eggs become safe by cooking them properly but soft eggs can be a risk. Guidelines differ from country to country. For this reason, you are best to follow the advice from where you live (see above post for more information on UK, AUS & USA)

  • Make It Dairy Free: Skip the butter or use a dairy-free spread
  • Make It Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free bread or one of the soldier alternatives. 

Nutritional information is a ROUGH guide only, calculated using an online nutrition calculator. 

Nutrition Facts

Eggs and Soldiers

Amount Per Serving

Calories 259
Calories from Fat 144

% Daily Value*

Fat 16g25%

Saturated Fat 7g35%

Cholesterol 345mg115%

Sodium 327mg14%

Potassium 172mg5%

Carbohydrates 14g5%

Fiber 1g4%

Sugar 2g2%

Protein 14g28%

Vitamin A 675IU14%

Calcium 88mg9%

Iron 3mg17%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Sources

  1. Victoria State Government, Better Health Channel, Eggs, Accessed 17 Nov 2020 <<https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/HealthyLiving/Eggs>>
  2. NHS, Foods to avoid giving babies and young children, Accessed 16 Nov 2020 <<https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/foods-to-avoid-giving-babies-and-young-children/>>
  3. Australian Eggs, Eggs for Babies and Children, Accessed 16 Nov 2020, <<https://www.australianeggs.org.au/nutrition/babies-and-children/>>





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Storing Baby Food (Store Bought and Homemade)- Healthy Little Foodies


Safely Storing Baby Food is so important, regardless if you are making your own or using store-bought. Learn how to safely store, refrigerate, freeze and reheat your baby’s food in this handy guide.

Image of Fruit Purees and Pieces of Fruit in Top Right Corner with Text in Bottom Left Saying "How to Safely Store Baby Food"

Why Care is Needed When Storing Baby Food.

Babies digestive and immune systems are immature and they do not have the same immunity as older children and adults. For this reason, it is imperative that you pay close attention to food safety and hygiene when preparing and storing baby food.

Foodborne illnesses are quite common, estimated to affect 4.1 million Australians each year (1). The symptoms are unpleasant and for some groups with low immunity, such as children under 5, they can be quite serious. (1)

However, good food safety and hygiene practices will help prevent this from happening.

Storing Store-Bought Baby Food

Women Looking at Jars of Baby Food on Supermarket Shelves

The majority of store-bought baby food is shelf-stable until opening. If you buy from the ambient section you can store the baby food, at room temperature, until the expiration date. Do not use after this date.

When opening, it is important to check that the product is properly sealed and the packaging is not damaged. In pouches make sure the plastic cap seal is not broken and if opening jars listen for a popping sound, which means it has been sealed properly and is safe to eat. If this is not the case then do not use.

Once open, the baby food is no longer shelf-stable and will need to be refrigerated for storing. Replace the lid and store in the refrigerator for 1 – 2 days. (products with meats and poultry up to one day and fruit/vegetables two days). Any food leftover after this time should be thrown away.

If you wish to store leftovers then do not feed your baby straight out of the jar or allow them to suck from the pouch. Instead, transfer a small amount of the baby food to a separate bowl/container (or squeeze from the pouch onto spoon).

“Double Dipping” from the spoon-to mouth- to container can introduce bacteria from your baby’s saliva which can grow and may cause food poisoning. Throw away any leftover food from a bowl/container you have been using to feed your baby.

Storing Homemade Baby Food

Women Spooning Baby Food into Ice Cube Tray

As a baby only eats tiny amounts, especially in the early stages of their feeding journey, it saves time to make up larger quantities of baby food and store for future meals.

Cooling Food

After cooking it is important to cool the food as quickly as possible. Simply putting your hot food in the fridge may not be enough to cool it down quickly enough. Instead try one of the following

  1. Place it in an airtight container and hold it under a cold running tap. Stir it from time to time so it cools consistently all the way through
  2. Dividing into smaller portions
  3. Transfer to a larger or pre-chilled container and spreading the food out.

Never allow the food to sit out too long, it should be chilled and refrigerated within 1-2 hours, depending on the room temperature.

Refrigerating

Leftover baby food can be refrigerated and used within 1- 2 days. (products with meats /poultry/ rice up to one day and fruit/vegetables two days)

If there is any food left in your baby’s bowl after a meal, throw it away. Food that has been in contact with saliva contains bacteria that will multiply if left.

Freezing

You should never re-freeze baby food that has already been frozen and for that reason, it is best to divide the cooled food into smaller containers for freezing. A flexible ice-cube tray works great for this

  1. Fill each ice-cube section almost to the top with the baby food.
  2. Cover (with a lid or some wrap) and freeze until frozen.
  3. Clearly label and date a freezer bag/container.
  4. Once the ice cubes are fully frozen, quickly pop them all out and place into the labelled bag/container
  5. Return to the freezer.

Properly frozen, the food can be stored in the freezer for two months.

Frozen Cubes of Green Baby Puree Next to IceCube Tray

Thawing and Re-heating Baby Food

  • The best way to defrost purees it to refrigerate overnight and use within 24 hours. Never defrost on the countertop.
  • You can also reheat from frozen.
  • Reheat baby food until piping hot to kill off bacteria. Allow to cool and always test the temperature of the food before giving your baby.
  • You can reheat on the stovetop or microwave. Make sure to continually stir the food to ensure it is properly heated and to get rid of hot spots.
  • Only re-heat once. Leftover baby food, that has been reheated should be discarded.

Summary of Important Safety Tips

  • Always check expiry dates on packaged baby food and make sure packaging is not damaged/tampered.
  • Never feed a baby straight from a jar/pouch. Instead, transfer a small amount to a separate container.
  • If there is any food left in your baby’s bowl after a meal, throw it away.
  • Cool freshly cooked baby food as quickly as possible.
  • Freeze purees, as soon as there are cool, in small portions.
  • Never re-freeze meals that have already been frozen.
  • Thaw frozen food in the refrigerator and use within 24 hours.
  • When reheating food, make sure it is piping hot throughout and let it cool before giving your baby.
  • Do not re-heat food more than once.

Sources

  1. NSW Government Food Authority, Food Poisoning, Viewed 10th October 2020, <https://www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/consumer/food-poisoning>

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Salt for Babies – Healthy Little Foodies


Babies only need a very small amount of salt in their diet. This guide on salt for babies explains how much they need, why salt should be limited and how to avoid excess intake.

Salt Crystals on Spoon

Salt – How Much Do Babies Need?

Babies only need a tiny amount of salt in their diet.

The maximum recommended intake of salt for babies (up to 12 months) is less than 1g of salt a day, that is around a pinch, so really not a large amount.

This upper limit increases with age, in Australia and New Zealand the limits are,

  • 1 to 3 years – 2.5g of salt a day
  • 4 to 8 years – 3.5g of salt a day
  • 9 to 13 years – 5g of salt a day
  • 14 years and over – 5.75g of salt a day (1)

Values differ slightly depending on country. For example in the UK the limits are

  • 1 to 3 years – 2g of salt a day
  • 4 to 6 years – 3g of salt a day
  • 7 to 10 years – 5g of salt a day
  • 11 years and over – 6g of salt a day (2)

Nutritional Labelling – Salt or Sodium.

Sodium is a component of salt (sodium chloride) and therefore salt and sodium figures re different.

Often food labels only state the sodium content.

To convert sodium to salt, multiply the sodium figure in milligrams (mg) by 2.5 and then divide by 1000 to find out how many grams of salt there is.

For example the salt content of 400mg of sodium is:

  • 400mg x 2.5 = 1000mg of salt
  • 1000mg/1000 = 1g of salt
Nutrition Label with the Sodium Content Circled

Why is Too Much Salt Bad for Babies?

Adding too much salt to a baby’s diet can be harmful to their immature kidneys, which are not developed enough and likely can’t cope with large amounts of sodium.

In addition to being harmful, adding salt to baby food is unnecessary. It really is a case of you can’t miss what you have never tried. Taste for salt is acquired and salting baby food may lead to a preference for salty foods throughout life.

Salt in Food

You don’t have to add salt to food to be eating too much. Sodium is found naturally in foods and is also added to food during processing and preparation (for preservation and flavour).

There are foods that are known to be high in sodium, such as, processed/smoked meats, cheese, olives, pickles, stocks, sauces, crackers, chips etc and these are foods that you definetly want to avoid / limit.

However, a lot of salt is consumed through foods that we don’t consider salty. These include everyday foods such as bread and breakfast cereals (not made for babies).

Tips on Avoiding Salt

As salt is found in so many food products it can be very hard to limit. Here are some top tips to keep salt intake down when offering foods to babies…

  • AVOID ADDING SALT – Completely avoid adding salt to baby/ young children’s food during cooking and at the table.
  • ADD FLAVOUR IN DIFFERENT WAYSAdding spices and herbs to baby food is a great way to add flavour to your little one’s food as well as introducing them to a range of flavours. How you prepare the food can also change the flavour. For example, dry-heat cooking, either by roasting or frying, helps release the natural sugars in vegetables which brings a greater depth of flavour.
  • UNDERSTAND FOOD LABELS – Use the nutritional information to choose lower sodium options among similar foods. Check ingredient lists to help identify if sodium or salt is added.
  • WATCH OUT FOR HIDDEN SALT – Remember, a lot of food may be relatively high in salt even if it doesn’t taste salty. (e.g bread, cereals)
  • SERVE LOTS OF FRUIT AND VEGGIES – If buying canned or frozen varieties, be sure to choose the no-salt-added versions.
  • COOK YOUR OWN – Watch out for ingredients in recipes that may be high in salt. Making homemade stocks and sauces allows you to have better control in the amount of salt added to the food you cook.
  • EATING OUT – Take your own baby food or ask if salt could be avoided /if there are any lower salt dishes on the menu.
Baby in Highchair Chewing Spoon

In a Nutshell…

Babies need a very little salt and it can be harmful to babies if they consume too much.

When starting babies on solids try making your own baby food and avoid seasoning with salt. Be label savvy and aware that most foods contain sodium.

It’s all about balance. It is ok to consume a little more on some days and less on others. Just try to do what you can to keep overall intakes low. 

Other Articles You May Also Like…

Sources

  1. Australian Government National Health and Medical Research Council (2017), Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand, Viewed 31 August 2020 <https://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/sodium>
  2. Public Health England, (2016), Government recommendations for energy and nutrients for males and females aged 1 –18 years and 19+ years, Viewed 31 August 2020, <https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/618167/government_dietary_recommendations.pdf>

Disclaimer: This information is intended for general use only. It is not medical advice and is not intended to replace the personalised care and advice given to you by your health professional. I am not a health professional and I do not know your child. You should always discuss any concerns or questions about the health and well being of your child with a healthcare professional. Please refer to my full disclaimer for more info.



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Carrot and Apple Muffins – Healthy Little Foodies


These Carrot and Apple Muffins are sweetened only with fruit. They are perfect for breakfast or as a healthy snack. 

Child Grabbing a Carrot Muffin from Tray

Are Carrot Muffins Healthy?

If you are looking for an indulgent, sweet muffin then this isn’t the recipe for you. They certainly don’t fall into that category. However, if you are looking for a healthy breakfast or snack idea then these ABC Muffins (A (Apple), B (Banana), C (carrots)) are perfect. They are made up of

  • grated apple
  • mashed banana
  • grated carrot
  • apple puree (apple sauce)
  • egg
  • spelt flour
  • almond flour
  • milk
  • spices (cinnamon & ginger)
  • baking soda
  • coconut oil

There are so many recipes out there for “healthy sugar-free muffins” only for the ingredient list to contain lots of honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar (eh, not sugar-free then!). I’m sure these recipes taste amazing but they shouldn’t be advertised as sugar-free and often have a very high sugar content (sometimes more than regular muffins.)

Technically these Carrot Apple Muffins aren’t sugar-free either but they are sweetened only with fruit and are great for little ones.

Top Down Shot of Ingredients to Make Carrot Apple Muffins

How to Make Carrot and Apple Muffins

Once you have prepared all your ingredients (grated carrots & apples, mashed bananas, chopped nuts), preheated the oven and greased a muffin tray, then making the muffins can be done in four easy steps: 

  1. Mix the wet ingredients together (milk, egg, apple puree, grated carrot, grated apple, mashed banana, coconut oil) in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients (spelt flour, almond flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda) together in a separate bowl.
  3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and gently stir until just combined. 
  4. Divide the batter evenly between 12 muffin cups, top with chopped walnuts (optional) and bake for 35 minutes, or until the muffins are golden and a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

 

 

Collage of 4 Images Showing Process Steps for Making Carrot and Apple Muffins

Top Tips

  • Use very ripe bananas – The apple, banana and carrots provide the sweetness. The riper the banana the sweeter the muffin will taste and this recipe works best with really ripe ones
  • Be organised – Preheat the oven, prepare your muffin tin, measure your dry and wet ingredients in separate bowls all before combining the wet and dry ingredients. Once the raising agents in the batter are activated, (when the baking powder gets added to the liquid mixture), you need to capitalise on this chemical reaction quickly so that the heat of the oven can set the air bubbles in place.
  • Keep an eye on the baking time – Take the muffins out of the oven too soon and they will be sticky and uncooked. Bake them too long, and you run the risk of dry muffins. Every oven is different, so while you should still follow the bake time in this recipe, use a skewer to test your muffins a couple of minutes before the end of the bake time. Your skewer will come out clean if they are ready.
  • Pump up the sweetness – if you are looking for something a little bit sweeter then why not try adding 1/2 cup of sultanas (soak in boiling water and drain before stirring through the muffin mixture). Alternatively, you could replace 1/4 cup of milk with maple syrup. 

Carrot and Apple Muffins in Muffin Tray

Are these ABC Muffins Suitable for Babies / Toddlers?

Yes! They are great for babies and toddlers for the following reasons…

  • Fruit Sweetened – It is recommended that children under two should not consume any added sugar. Most muffin recipes are packed with sugar, maple syrup or honey. These are sweetened with apple, banana, carrots and cinnamon – perfect for little ones. 
  • Texture – These muffins are very soft and spongy and are a great texture for little ones. 
  • Veggie Exposure – It is always good for toddlers to see how versatile and delicious vegetables are. 

You may wish to…

  • Skip the walnuts on top. (If not, make sure to finely chop.) 
  • Bake in mini muffin trays. Mini muffins are a much more manageable size for little ones and saves you cutting the muffin into pieces.

Storage Instructions

Cool the muffins completely before storing. (Packing them away when they are even a little warm, will result in condensation and soggy or mouldy muffins.)

  • Cool on a wire rack. Transfer your muffins to cool.
  • Storing at room temperature – Store in an airtight container for 1-2 days.
  • Refrigerating – Refrigerating the muffins alters the texture and is not recommended.
  • Freezing – If properly frozen, in an airtight container, then the muffins will be good for 2-3 months. To reheat – just pop them out of the freezer and place them back in the muffin tin. Cover with foil and reheat at 170c /350f until heated through. Alternatively, reheat them in the microwave.

Close Up Shot of Carrot Muffin with Bite Taken Out

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Have you tried this recipe? I love receiving your feedback, please rate and leave a comment below or tag me on Instagram @healthylittlefoodies

Looking for more healthy kid recipes?Sign up for my free recipe newsletter to get new family friendly recipes in your inbox each week! Find me sharing more kind-friendly inspiration on Pinterest and Instagram.

Carrot and Apple Muffins

These Carrot and Apple Muffins are sweetened only with fruit. They are perfect for breakfast or as a healthy snack. 

Instructions

  • Pre heat oven to 190c/375f and grease a 12 cup muffin tray.

  • In a large mixing bowl, add the coconut oil, mashed banana, apple, carrot, apple puree, milk and eggs. Mix together until combined. 

  • In a separate bowl add the spelt flour, almond flour, cinnamon, ginger, and baking soda. Gently stir to mix through

  • Add the dry flour mix to the wet ingredients and fold in gently until just combined. 

  • Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups and sprinkle with the chopped walnuts (optional).

  • Bake muffins for approx. 35 mins or until the muffins are golden and a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

  • Leave to cool in the muffin tray for 5 mins before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe Notes

Use very ripe bananas – The apple, banana and carrots provide the sweetness. The riper the banana the sweeter the muffin will taste and this recipe works best with really ripe ones Keep an eye on the baking time – Take the muffins out of the oven too soon and they will be sticky and uncooked. Bake them too long, and you run the risk of dry muffins. Every oven is different, so while you should still follow the bake time in this recipe, use a skewer to test your muffins a couple of minutes before the end of the bake time. Your skewer will come out clean if they are ready. Babies / Toddlers – Skip the walnuts on top. (If not, make sure to finely chop.)  You may also wish to bake mini muffins trays. (Bake for  approx 15 mins or until a skewer come out clean) Storage – Cool the muffins completely before storing. Store in an airtight container for 1-2 days at room temperature or freeze for to 2-3 months. Nutritional information is a ROUGH guide only, calculated using an online nutrition calculator. 

Nutrition Facts

Carrot and Apple Muffins

Amount Per Serving

Calories 168 Calories from Fat 72

% Daily Value*

Fat 8g12%

Saturated Fat 3g15%

Cholesterol 28mg9%

Sodium 187mg8%

Potassium 129mg4%

Carbohydrates 20g7%

Fiber 4g16%

Sugar 5g6%

Protein 5g10%

Vitamin A 1951IU39%

Vitamin C 2mg2%

Calcium 36mg4%

Iron 1mg6%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

* This recipe was originally posted on Sep 10, 2015.  It has been updated with new photos, recipe tips, information and storage instructions. 





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Broccoli Puree – Healthy Little Foodies


Broccoli Puree is a great first food for babies. However, with a little bit of butter, salt and lemon it can also be a delicious and nutritious family side dish.  

Broccoli Puree in Bowl

Green vegetables are usually bitter and harder to like, for this reason, broccoli was one of the first foods I offered both my children. The aim was to expose them to new flavours that contrasted greatly with the sweet milk they were used too.

Choosing and Storing Broccoli 

When buying a broccoli look for one 

  • with tight, green florets
  • that has a firm stalk
  • that feels heavy for its size
  • where the cut end of the stalk is fresh and moist looking.

Avoid broccoli with dried out or browning stems or yellowing florets.

Store the broccoli, unwashed, in the refrigerator

Image of a Fresh Broccoli

How to Make Broccoli Puree

The nutrients in broccoli are water-soluble and can leach into the water during cooking. For this reason, it is best to simmer the broccoli in as little water as possible. 

  1. Prepare: Wash broccoli and cut into small florets.
  2. Cook: Either steam the broccoli florets (using a steamer basket) or place the florets in a pan with a small amount of boiling water (approx 1/2 cup). Simmer for around 6-8 minutes until tender but still bright green in colour.
  3. Blend: Puree until smooth adding a little of the reserved liquid (or baby milk) until desired consistency is reached. 

If making as a family side dish, rather than a baby puree, when blending add butter, salt and lemon juice to taste.

Collage Image Showing the Process Steps to Make Broccoli Puree

Broccoli Baby Puree Combinations

Broccoli puree is excellent mixed with other vegetables, grains and proteins. Try mixing it with

Other Uses for Broccoli Puree (toddlers and beyond)

  1. Add frozen cubes to smoothies for a nutrition boost. 
  2. Add to pasta sauces etc for added nutrition.
  3. Mix it through mashed potatoes to add flavour, colour and nutrients. 
  4. Blend with some butter, salt and lemon juice and serve as a family side dish

Storage Instructions

  • Refrigerate: Allow to cool, place in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to three days.
  • Freeze: Allow to cool, spoon the puree into ice-cube trays and freeze until solid. Once they’re fully frozen, quickly pop them all out and place the frozen cubes into a freezer bag or container and return to the freezer. Thaw overnight in your refrigerator. 

Broccoli Puree In Ice Cube Tray Ready to Freeze

Looking for more healthy kid recipes?Sign up for my free recipe newsletter to get new family friendly recipes in your inbox each week! Find me sharing more kind-friendly inspiration on Pinterest and Instagram.

Broccoli Puree in Bowl

Broccoli Puree

Broccoli Puree is a great first food for babies. However, with a little bit of butter, salt and lemon it can also be a delicious and nutritious family side dish.  

Instructions

  • Wash broccoli and cut into small florets.

  • Add florets to approx 125ml (1/2 cup) of boiling water. Simmer, covered, for around 5 mins, until tender but still bright green in colour.

  • Remove broccoli from the pan, reserving the cooking liquid. Place in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth, adding the reserved water (or baby milk) until desired consistency is reached. 

Recipe Notes

STEAM: You can alternatively steam the florets. SIDE DISH: If you are making this as a family side dish, rather than a baby puree, try adding a tbsp of butter, a little salt and lemon juice (to taste) when blending.  REFRIGERATE: Allow to cool, place in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to three days. FREEZE: Allow to cool, spoon the puree into ice-cube trays and freeze until solid. Once they’re fully frozen, quickly pop them all out and place the frozen cubes into a freezer bag or container and return to the freezer. Thaw overnight in your refrigerator.  Nutritional information is a ROUGH guide only, calculated using an online nutrition calculator. 

Nutrition Facts

Broccoli Puree

Amount Per Serving

Calories 13 Calories from Fat 9

% Daily Value*

Fat 1g2%

Saturated Fat 1g5%

Sodium 12mg1%

Potassium 119mg3%

Carbohydrates 2g1%

Fiber 1g4%

Sugar 1g1%

Protein 1g2%

Vitamin A 234IU5%

Vitamin C 33mg40%

Calcium 18mg2%

Iron 1mg6%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.





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