Monthly Archives: December 2013

Festive cooking with children!

The festive season is all about spending time with family and friends. Try to get the children involved in cooking / preparing food as they will feel included and you can start some Christmas food traditions of your own!

Christmas Tree Cheesy biscuits


My 2 daughters and I recently made these biscuits together as they are super easy to make. I got the recipe from a Christmas Cooking recipe book for children I bought a few years ago (Usborne Activities Christmas Cooking).

It is a great recipe to make on one of the cold days during the Christmas holidays. The girls loved getting their hands messy and rolling out the dough. We used Christmas tree shapes but you can use stars, hearts or any other shape you like!


150g self-raising flour (I used 120g SR flour + 30g wholemeal SR flour)

½ tsp salt

75g soft margarine

75g cheese, finely grated

1 egg

1 tbsp milk

Greased baking sheet

Tree-shaped, star-shaped or heart-shaped cutters

Heat the oven to 2000C, 4000F or gas mark 6 before you start.


  1. Sift the flour and salt, then add the butter/margarine and rub it with your fingers to make fine crumbs.
  2. Leave a tablespoon of the grated cheese on a saucer. Add the rest of the cheese to the bowl and stir in.
  3. Put a tablespoon of the beaten egg and milk into a cup. Mix the rest into the flour to make dough.
  4. Sprinkle flour onto a clean work surface. Roll out the dough, until it is about ½ cm thick.
  5. Use your chosen shape cutter (we used Christmas trees). Make the scraps into a ball and roll out again.
  6. Cut out more Christmas trees. Brush the trees with the rest of the egg mixture and sprinkle them with the rest of the cheese.
  7. Put the trees onto the greased baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.

Delicious served on their own or with some home-made soup…enjoy!


Paula x 



10 ways to increase your child’s veggie intake!


We would all like our children to eat more vegetables but how do you increase their intake? Here are some ideas to help…

  1. Awesome Avos – Use avocado instead of butter/margarine as a spread in a sandwich
  2. Powerful Peas – Always keep a bag of frozen peas in the freezer to add to any meal!
  3. Nourishing Soups – Make vegetable soup with all your leftover veggies – add lentils to increase the protein content and make it more filling
  4. Beautiful Broccoli – I always have broccoli in my fridge, as it is a great side to any meal eg. Lasagne, fish pie, pasta, etc
  5. Grated Veggies – Add grated carrot to spag bol
  6. Cauli Curries – Try adding cauliflower to a mild curry as they soak up the flavours beautifully!
  7. Picnics – Add a few olives and cherry tomatoes to a picnic lunch
  8. Dip, dip – Dip veggies in hummus or cream cheese (eg. Carrots, cucumbers, celery)
  9. Veggie Pizzas – Add veggies to home made pizzas as a topping (eg. Mushrooms, peppers, onions, tomatoes, artichoke, etc)
  10. Rainbow Roast – Roasting makes the veggies delicious and sweet…try roasted peppers, butternut, courgettes, red onion or sweet potatoes (make it as colourful as possible, like a rainbow!)

And finally, try to get your child involved in the preparation of meals as your little helper. I know it is quicker to do it yourself, but your child will be more likely to eat something that they have helped prepare!

Try using small scissors to let them “chop” veggies such as strips of peppers, carrots or courgettes. They could also make home-made pizzas and use the veggies to make a ‘face’ on their pizza. Have fun with it!

Paula x 

Helping underweight toddlers gain weight


There is a lot of talk in the media these days about children being overweight, but there are also a number of toddlers who are underweight or have a small appetite. If your child is underweight or has a small appetite, it can be difficult to provide enough calories and protein for adequate growth.

Please take care…

If you are worried about your child – talk to your Health Visitor or GP/doctor and ask them to measure your child’s weight and height. They may also refer your child to a Paediatrician to make sure there is no underlying medical condition causing your child to gain weight slowly.

Factors affecting a child’s appetite:

There are many factors that can affect a child’s appetite, such as tiredness, general illness / fever, constipation and iron deficiency anaemia. Again, speak to your HV or GP if you think your child may have one of the last 2 conditions.

Exercise and active play can help to increase your child’s appetite, so encourage this whenever you can.

So what can you do to help your toddler?

Toddlers have small tummies and so we need to think of ways of increasing the energy and protein density of foods without increasing the volume / bulk of their foods. This means that you will make every mouthful as nutritious as possible…make every bite count!

Some suggestions:

  • Use healthy fats such as avocado and peanut butter as spreads on crackers, toast or sandwiches. You can also use them as a dip for vegetables or breadsticks
  • Use oils/margarine/butter to add to vegetables, rice/pasta, spread thickly on bread and savoury biscuits and to add to soups
  • Use full fat dairy products such as whole milk, full fat cheese and yoghurts. Use whole milk to make custards, white sauces and to add to soups
  • Add cheese to mashed potato, soups, pasta/rice, cut into small blocks as a snack or make a cheese sauce to add to meals/vegetables
  • Eggs – try a hardboiled egg as a snack or an omlette with cheese and vegetables as a high energy and protein meal

What about snacks?

Toddlers have small tummies and need 3 meals as well as 3 snacks per day, especially if they are underweight. See the ‘suggestions’ for some ideas for high energy and protein snacks.

What about fluids and milk?

Don’t let your child fill up on fluids before meals and don’t give too much milk each day – 300ml of milk per day is enough to cover calcium requirements of 1-3 year olds. See my earlier post on ‘Milk – how much is enough?’

And finally, try to look at your child’s intake for one or two weeks not just for one day as everyone has good and bad days!

Please get in touch if you have any questions or feedback by making a comment on the blog or by emailing me at

Paula x