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sweetcorn-fritters

How to sneak vegetables into packed lunches: sweetcorn fritters

The start of the school term is the signal to step into a world of pencil cases, permission slips, assemblies and reading books.

But for parents, it’s also a the beginning of a dark descent into last-minute sandwich-making, a frenzied hunt for lunchboxes, and a squirreling away of cereal bars, yoghurt tubes and pieces of fruit that your kids may or may not eat.

So while you’re fresh to the game, I’d just like you to pause and think about an alarming statistic published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health – researchers at Leeds University found that only 20% of children’s lunchboxes contain any kind of vegetables. And just one in 10 contains a proper portion of veg.

I think this is so worrying. Vegetables contain vital vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants to help kids fight off disease. And in terms of your five-a-day, vegetables also contain less sugar than fruit, making for a much better bet for dental health and blood sugar.

raw vegetables for a picnic2

I always include a portion of veg in my kids’ lunchboxes – usually batons of carrot, cucumber and either cherry tomatoes, red pepper or celery.

But kids do get bored, and sometimes the carrot comes home uneaten…

So this term I’m going to vary the veg, for example packing a little pot of butter beans (it makes up one portion of your child’s five-a-day); a wedge of Spanish tortilla, stacked with vegetables like red pepper, peas and mushrooms; or grated carrot mixed with humus and used as a filling for wraps and sandwiches.

Sweetcorn fritters

I’ve also been testing out sweetcorn fritters on my kids. They make an ideal sandwich swap, can be prepared in advance and frozen and you can sneak in different veg – the ones below contain red pepper and spring onion as well as sweetcorn. 

I tested them on my three kids, making two versions – one in which the veg had been blended to a smooth batter, and one in which whole sweetcorn kernels had been stirred through. We all ate them cold, as though for a lunchbox.

My eldest child preferred the lumpy fritters, and my middle one liked the smooth. My fussy three-year-old wouldn’t touch them at all – but then he’s still going through his no-new-food phase. You can read more about this here: My child doesn’t eat enough: 8 tips for fussy eating.

Overall, the kids thought they would make a tasty change from sandwiches, and that when served with a few crackers and cheese, they would be filling enough to get them through an afternoon at school.

Sweetcorn fritters with red pepper and basil recipe

sweetcorn fritters

Makes about 9 small fritters

325g tin of sweetcorn (drained weight 260g)
Half a red pepper, diced
2 spring onions, finely sliced
Handful of basil, chopped
30g plain flour
½tsp baking powder
1 egg
Groundnut oil/ vegetable oil for frying

Method

Add half of the sweetcorn, the pepper, onions, basil, flour, baking powder and egg to a food processor, and blend to make a smooth batter.

To make a lumpy batter, stir in the rest of the sweetcorn kernels.

Heat the oil in a pan, and add a couple of teaspoons of the batter to a frying pan at a time to make small fritters.

Fry for about a minute each side per fritter.

 

Orange LogoThis blog post was written in support of the Organix #NoJunk challenge.

It can be difficult to eat food with no junk, so join the Organix challenge to say no to junk and yes to healthy, real food for your family. Sign up to get involved by clicking on http://www.organix.com/nojunk

 

 

You might also like to read:

Healthy crisps for a picnic lunch
The Organix #NoJunk Challenge
10 mistakes parents make when brushing their child’s teeth
10 ways to get your child to eat vegetables

 


Comments (18)

  • Avatar

    Pinkoddy

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    I always put a good mix into the lunch boxes – but guess these statistics are why they feel parents are unable to provide a good lunch. Just hoping mine enjoy their free cook lunches now as seems an awful waste if they don’t.

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    Jessica Purbrick-Herbst

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    Love it! Thanks for the corn fritter tips. And yes 12 years into the lunchbox routine is a killer for me and my boys. We are so keen for new ideas and combinations.
    Great work Carole.

  • Avatar

    Sonya Cisco

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    My kids love sweetcorn fritters, but it had never occurred to me to put them cold in a lunchbox – a great idea which I will be using this term!

  • Avatar

    you baby me mummy

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    I am going to try these for Baby as she is such a picky eater x

  • Avatar

    Rachel

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    I need to do this for my mister as he hates veggies x

  • Avatar

    Nell@PigeonPairandMe

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    Ooh yum! We’re on free school dinners at the moment, but I’ll make sure I do some of these for tea some time!

  • Avatar

    stacey kirkbride

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    i really struggle to get any veggies into my kids diets so i’m gunna give this a go. thanks for sharing

  • Avatar

    Louisa

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    My kids have hot dinners but it can be a struggle to get variety into their lunch during the holidays. I have to admit that sweetcorn gives me the heebie jeebies but my girls love it.

  • Avatar

    Kate Williams

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    They sound great! Will have to try them with my three year old, we have some* issues getting him to eat proper food.

    *understatement of the century.

  • Avatar

    Polly

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    love these – haven’t made them for ages!

  • Avatar

    Agata Pokutycka

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    This is a wonderful idea and I totally love this recipe!
    We are going to try it tomorrow!
    Thank you.

  • Avatar

    Sarah Bailey

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    What a great idea, I’m awful at eating a lot of veg even now so might have to try them for myself. x

  • Avatar

    Ness (@jibberjabberuk)

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    For rare treats at secondary school they used to have sweetcorn fritters on the menu. In fact everyday seemed to have something with sweetcorn much to our amusement. They certainly weren’t as healthy as these and I just happen to have all these ingredients at the moment.

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    Amy squires

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    Great idea! Strangely my boys love vegetable and I’ve never had trouble getting them to eat them however they really aren’t a fan of meat!

  • Avatar

    Emma

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    This sounds great and I certainly need some more inspiration for my son.

  • Avatar

    Kizzy

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    These sound great, mine love sweetcorn

  • Avatar

    ninja cat

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    what a superb idea

  • Avatar

    Joanna Sormunen

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    This is really sneaky, lol! I must try this with my son!

Comments are closed