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Banana and berry smoothie, plus sultana buns

I’m certainly not whiter than white when it comes to junk food in our family. I try to be healthy but at the end of the day, I’m just a normal mum serving up food to three kids – one of whom is particularly fussy – to a deadline: ie their hungry tummies plus school and bedtime schedules.

So time-savers like fish fingers, potato waffles and ready-made Yorkshire puds are always stocked in my freezer, to be rolled out on those evenings when you need a fast and – importantly – also effortless meal. Meanwhile, my kitchen also contains a few treat foods like crisps, chocolate, sweets and ice cream.

I like to think that their effect can be balanced out if these foods are eaten in moderation and sparingly.fussy eater

But I do feel uneasy about the sometimes unpronounceable ingredients in the listings of junk food –  and the amount of sugar, salt and flavourings in certain foods, and often, wierdly, in those aimed at children.

I’m not imagining it: a report published in Public Health Nutrition in 2013 found that foods targeted at toddlers and children are typically higher in salt, fat and sugar – even foods that you would think of as healthy, like yoghurt and cereal bars.

Then there’s the additives issue. There’s currently no legal requirement for food and drink labelling to tell us exactly which flavourings are in a product, and in which quantity, according to a 2012 report from First Steps Nutrition Trust (see page 23 in the report). I find this incredible.

 

NJC - LogoOrganix No Junk Challenge

And this is why I’m signing up to Organix’s #NoJunk campaign. The purpose is to encourage parents to serve up healthy, natural, simple foods for their family, using ingredients that they recognise.

And the campaign will hopefully challenge the food industry to remove the ‘junk’ from children’s food.

The challenge – to serve your children only food with wholesome ingredients that you can recognise – runs this week, from today to 5 May. Click on the link to find out more about the #NoJunk challenge, and you can sign the pledge here.

 

Here’s how we’ve been doing:

1.  My sugar worries

Readers of last week’s blog (How to make a healthy picnic for kids) will know that I had a long hard look at the sugar content of kids’ squeezy and tube yoghurts.

This week I needed to look for a normal pot of yoghurt to be eaten at the table, and I still couldn’t believe how hard it was to find a child’s yoghurt that was sweetened with fruit puree instead of sugar – particularly in handy tube form.

Two of my children like eating natural yoghurt – and there are plenty of sugar-free versions on the shelves – with a teaspoonful of jam swirled in.

But one of my kids isn’t so keen. After picking up lots of yoghurts, reading the labels and discarding them with a big sigh, I did find something suitable, but I’m really frustrated at why more companies don’t sweeten with fruit puree.

2. Where do you draw the line?

While cooking a roast chicken dinner, we were suddenly stumped about the gravy. Obviously instant gravy counts as junk, but what about a stock cube? I don’t recognise half the ingredients on the list. In an ideal world, I would obviously be whipping up stock after every roast meal and freezing it. But the tantrums/ laundry mountain/ bath-time/ freezer space/ irregular roast lunch-eating gets in the way.  We did sneak in a low-salt stock cube.

3. Putting sweets and chocolate to the back of the cupboard

The kids haven’t had chocolate, sweets or crisps this week, nor ketchup or mayonnaise, so this challenge has been really good for the whole family. The children don’t seem to have minded. They have been tucking into banana cake, smoothies and our new raisin buns instead. (See recipes below.)

 

Here are the #NoJunk recipes we’ve been trying this week:

 

Recipe for banana and berry smoothie 

berry and banana smoothies

This recipe comes courtesy of blogger Holly Bell, from the lovely Recipes From a Normal Mum, who was a contestant on the Great British Bake Off 2011. This recipe comes from her cookbook of the same name: Recipes of a Normal Mum.

The smoothie contains porridge oats, which means you could serve it up as breakfast. It was really popular with two out of three of my children, and without the oats, it would have been a three-star winner – a rare event indeed in our house.

Serves 1

15g rolled oats
130mls milk
2 tbsp natural yoghurt
55g frozen red berries
½ banana

Method

Chop the banana.

Add milk, yoghurt, banana and the rest of the ingredients into a blender, or you can use a stick blender and measuring jug to blitz the smoothie if you don’t own a blender. Blitz until all the berries have disappeared.

Serve immediately. You can also pour it over ice or serve with the rest of the banana for dipping.

 

Recipe for sultana buns

sultana buns

These buns are gently sweetened using apple juice and sultanas or raisins, rather than refined sugar. They contain spice and orange zest too, so if your child likes hot cross buns, chances are these will be popular too.

I made this recipe from the River Cottage Baby & Toddler Cookbook using half wholemeal bread flour and half spelt flour. I also made half a batch without raisins to cater for one of my kids’ palates.

The buns were delicious fresh from the oven, or, if more than a day old, try toasting them. They also freeze well.

Makes 12 to 16 buns

125ml whole milk
50g unsalted butter
250g plain white flour
250g strong white bread flour, wholemeal bread flour or un-refined spelt flour
2 level tsp easy-blend yeast
1 heaped tsp ground mixed spice
200g raisins or sultanas
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
125ml apple juice
1 egg, beaten
A little beaten egg or milk for glazing

Method

Heat the milk until steaming in a small pan, then take off the heat.

Add the butter and leave until it has melted and the milk is warm rather than hot.

sieving flour

 

In a large bowl, sieve the flour.

 

 

 

 

 

sultana bun mix

Then thoroughly combine the flours, yeast, spice and orange zest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

sultana buns doughAdd the sultanas or raisins. Make a well in the centre, pour in the warm milk and butter, apple juice and beaten egg and quickly mix together to form a rough and sticky dough.

 

 

 

 

Iris kneading doughTurn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes, until smooth.  If sultanas pop out, just knead them back in.

 

 

 

 

Put the dough in a bowl and cover with a tea towel.  Leave in a fairly warm, draught-free place until doubled in size – at least an hour. Meanwhile, grease and lightly flour a baking tray, or line with a non-stick liner.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and deflate with your fingers.

sultana buns ready to rise

 

Cut into 12-16 pieces, gently shape into buns and place on the baking tray.

Leave for another 30-60 minutes until doubled in size.

 

 

 

Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan-assisted), gas mark 6.  Brush the buns with beaten egg or milk and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Eat while still warm, or let them cool completely.

 


Comments (36)

  • Avatar

    Michelle

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    That smoothie looks delish!

    I think that you have to balance the wholesome no-junk foods – fresh fruit, veggies, meat etc with the ‘junk’ and by junk I mean things like gravy granules, or the odd fish finger. I love to cook from scratch when I can, but sometimes I do have to resort to a packet mix with things in it that I have no clue how to say!

    Good luck with the challenge x

  • Avatar

    Emily

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    It is so difficult with some of the products on sale today. I try to cook as much as I can from scratch but, like you say, some nights just have to be a ‘quick’ meal. Didn’t even think about gravy granules counting as junk!

  • Avatar

    Lindy Hamilton

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    Those smoothies look delicious, something I’ll have to try in the summer.

  • Avatar

    Mummy of Two

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    It is worrying how much junk is in these foods aimed at children. I feel lucky that I am at home so I can cook proper meals from scratch, however, I know if I was working I would turn to some of them for convenience!

  • Avatar

    Foz

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    Oh I am liking the look of that smoothie!!

  • Avatar

    Sonya Cisco

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    My kds love things like homemade banana loaf more than most shop bought items, if only there were more hours in the week sometimes!

    • Avatar

      healthiermummy

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      I know what you mean. If we could make banana loaf every day, the kids would be very happy.

  • Avatar

    mellissa williams

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    I am rather partial to a smoothie or two, yours look yummy, never thought of adding oats.

  • Avatar

    Jen aka The Mad House

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    Love the recipes and I think we all need reminding about junk every now and then. My rule is everything in moderation

  • Avatar

    Andrea

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    Good job! Some lovely sounding and looking recipes and great that the Children are getting involved in the prep too.

    • Avatar

      healthiermummy

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      My kids love to help out – until they get bored of course.

  • Avatar

    Vikki Holness

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    I would completely and utterly fail at this challenge, i had no idea how much ‘junk’ was in the every day stuff i eat! Those berry and banana smoothies look delicious though, will have to give that recipe a whirl! xxx

  • Avatar

    Jenny

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    The sultana buns look yummy. I often end up cooking from scratch so I know what exactly I’m feeding my children.

    • Avatar

      healthiermummy

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      Well done, that’s what I try to do too.

  • Avatar

    Polly

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    it’s hard with a fussy eater isn’t it? My youngest is really fussy, and it’s difficult to cut out the junk when they eat so little

  • Avatar

    kara

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    I really need to start doing the no junk program. We have got into some bad eating habits that need to be broken

  • Avatar

    Globalmouse

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    Those sultana buns look lovely. I really do believe in everything in moderation. We’re pretty good and not eating to many sweets or cakes but we do have the odd gingerbread biscuit. Small changes can make a difference though so it’s great to try and cut back.

    • Avatar

      healthiermummy

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      I think the odd gingerbread biscuit does no harm at all. And yes, the buns were tasty.

  • Avatar

    Louisa

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    Pinning your smoothie. Being able to use frozen fruit is a huge bonus.

    • Avatar

      healthiermummy

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      I know, it’s cheap and tasty too.

  • Avatar

    Lotte

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    Oh wow, this look amazing!
    Gotta try that smoothy – Lush! Im sure Hayden would love it too

    Thanks for sharing hun

    Lotte xo

  • Avatar

    You Baby Me Mummy

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    I am going to try these for Baby, thanks so much for sharing x

  • Avatar

    Kerry

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    I love smoothies! Great alternative to fizzy drinks and include natural sugar. x

  • Avatar

    lisa prince

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    those smoothies look amazingly tasty would love to try those

  • Avatar

    Helen Dickinson

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    The smoothies look wonderful. They look like the perfect drink to sip on in the garden this summer. Thanks for sharing.

    • Avatar

      healthiermummy

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      Yes, you’re right – the perfect summer drink. And it only took a nanosecond to make too.

  • Avatar

    Kizzy

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    I too have pledge and am trying to cut it out. Love your recipes

    • Avatar

      healthiermummy

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      Thanks, Kizzy. I hope you’re enjoying the challenge. Would love to see your recipes.

  • Avatar

    Keri-Anne

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    Great ideas and love the recipes x

    • Avatar

      healthiermummy

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      Thank you.

  • Avatar

    Bex Smith

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    That smoothie looks delicious! Good luck with the challenge x

    • Avatar

      healthiermummy

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      Thank you, we’re sticking at it. It’s great to do something that helps the whole family.

  • Avatar

    Julia Faulks

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    You make a good point about stock cubes, I hadn’t even thought of not using them! I think that it’s very tricky for busy mummies to do everything homemade but there should be more healthy alternatives stocked in our supermarkets that encourage the whole family to ditch the junk. Really like the idea of doing homemade smoothies too :-)

  • Avatar

    Lori

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    Those sultana buns look great. Sometimes it’s such a struggle to get food into F at all, but everything I make I try to make as healthy as possible. x

  • Avatar

    Lisa Hodson

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    Good on you for doing this, I have no control at the moment! I do think that smoothie looks delicious though!

Comments are closed