6 kitchen tools for healthy summer eating for kids
Take a look at some of my favourite kitchen gadgets and tools for serving up healthy summer food and drink to your children. (But of course these kitchen helpers will work the rest of the year round too.)
My kids love a cool ice lolly on a hot day. Healthy home-made lollies are easy to make – just pour in a smoothie or juice, and freeze. Hey presto, a refreshing lolly with none of the extra added sugar of normal ice lollies. Plus you’ll save money too.
But this set is particularly brilliant because as the lolly melts, the kids can slurp the juice through the built-in straw mechanism.
My daughter received this as a birthday present, and I was pretty impressed. It’s a small ice cream maker (serving one or two) that uses something called ‘rapid freeze technology’ within the outer case of the cone. It’s not difficult to operate – simply freeze the empty container. Then add your ingredients and squeeze at the cone, giving it a good crushing for a minute or so. No, I didn’t believe it either, but honestly, you’ll have ice cream without putting it all back in the freezer. It’s amazing.
The pack contains a recipe booklet, including a how-to for strawberry ice cream that contains just one teaspoon of sugar (and of course a load of cream). But despite the cream, I still think this is a pretty healthy option compared to many of the ice creams you find in the shops, as it only has a tiny amount of sugar and zero additives. You can also make sorbet (using lemonade) or tinker with the recipes to make them even healthier if you choose.
Previously, my kids were never that fussed about eating hard cheese unless it was melted on toast or pasta. But then I bought a cheese slicer. It’s been life-changing in terms of cheese consumption. To my delight, my children are now far more likely to munch on Cheddar at a picnic or from a lunch box, and they request crackers and cheese as a snack.
I think part of the appeal is that eating cheese is now much more fun. Also the kids say they like the fact that the slicer makes thin ‘cheese bars’.
And from my point of view, I like the way you can prepare the cheese for cheese on toast in a trice. And I know the kids are getting extra tooth-friendly calcium and some healthy protein.
If you’re blaming a lack of food containers and space for the reason your kids aren’t eating lots of berries this summer, you need one of these. Don’t waste time hunting around at the back of your cupboards for a colander or plastic storage box. This comes in a handy size complete with a colander for rinsing and a lid too, and you can fit a surprising amount of berries in it. It makes it extra-easy to bring a bowl of berries on picnics too, and the bowl is pretty enough to serve from on the table.
I often make smoothies at the weekends for the kids for breakfast. Of course, you can make them using a hand blender but this gadget is worth a look, especially if you’re usually in a hurry to get out in the mornings – it comes with a handy attachment which turns the jug into a travel mug, complete with non-spill, drink-through lid so you can take the smoothie with you. Two travel mugs are included in the pack.
It makes it super-easy to give your kids a smoothie to sip at on the way to swimming lessons or the playground.
On hot summer evenings, my kids like to suck on ice cubes to help cool them down. Ice cubes are also a brilliant way to hydrate with extra liquid. Normal-shaped ice cubes will always be perfectly satisfactory of course but there’s something about novelty ice cubes, like these cats, that kids find just too exciting to miss out on. They could even give a grumpy toddler an extra incentive to drink in hot weather. More of a canine-lover? No problem, dog-shaped ice cubes are available too from the same company.
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