Let’s face it, no parent has a lot of time on their hands. And the last thing you want to be doing during the school holidays is trawling round the shops with the kids in tow if you can help it.
Stock up on these healthy fridge and pantry staples and not only will you be ready to whip up a filling and nutritious meal at a moment’s notice but you’ll also be prepared to ward off the cries for snacks with an alternative to processed, sugary treats that your kids will actually eat.
Below, paediatric nutritionist, mother-of two and Wholesome Child author Mandy Sacher gives us tips on what to fill the fridge and pantry with these school holidays:
Fruit and vegetables.
- Aim for a good mix of colours to maximise the phytonutrient benefits and go for organic wherever possible. If your kids love carrots, cauliflower, tomatoes and snow peas that’s great, but adding in some asparagus, celeriac, kohlrabi and okra from time to time will ensure they are getting a range of nutrients. Step 3 in my book has some creative ideas for increasing veggies in your child’s diets as well as some delicious recipes.
- Because of the synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, it’s best to go organic for any fruit you plan to eat with the skin on. Go with whatever’s in season and again try to mix up the selection as much as possible with pomegranate, rhubarb and guava as well as apples, mandarins and kiwis.
- Don’t forget the fresh herbs and spices like mint, basil and ginger because they are packed with essential oils and nutrients too.
Dips, sauces and spreads.
- Homemade tomato sauce.
- A selection of dips such as Tzatziki and vegan Beetroot Hummus to enjoy in sandwiches or with flatbread chips or veggie sticks.
- Betta than Nutella Chocolate Spread to help curb those sugar cravings.
- Homemade almond and cashew nut butter.
Dairy and non-dairy.
- Almond milk, coconut milk and cream.
- Organic A2 milk, unsalted butter.
- Unsweetened natural yoghurt (cow, goat, sheep).
- Homemade coconut yoghurt.
- Good quality cheeses (organic where possible) – cheddar, parmesan, mozzarella, gouda and ricotta.
- Protein tends to be the main nutrient missing from children’s diets so try to pack your fridge with as many sources as possible. With meat, go for grass-fed and organic wherever possible. Your kids will love the recipes for beef, chicken, duck, lamb, pork and turkey featured in my book and on my website.
- Seafood should be wild-caught and low mercury. Fish is the best natural source of omega-3s, so try Atlantic mackerel, cod, flathead, trout or snapper. Wild or organic salmon fillets are perfect for San Choy Bow, rissoles, mini quiches.
- Organic eggs.
- Nuts are best stored in the fridge or freezer. I make my own almond and cashew nut butter and always have a selection of almonds, Brazil nuts, pecans, hazelnuts, cashews, macadamia, pine nuts and chia, flax, sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds. They are perfect for adding to salads or trail mix for an instant boost of protein and healthy fats.
- Water and sparkling water – don’t put fruit juice or soda in front of your kids and they will have no choice but to reach for a sugar-free alternative!
- Coconut water.
- Ready chopped veggie sticks stored in containers (carrot/celery/cucumber) make the perfect school holiday snack.
- Homemade Tahini & Carrot Honey Bliss Balls are a great protein hit after sports.
- Black bean brownies, trail mix, mini muffins savoury or sweet like my Raspberry & Pear Muffins.
For a delicious, kid-approved, healthy snack, make Mandy Sacher's Bliss Ball Cake Pops. They're full of healthy fats and fibre and don't contain processed sugars... and they're nut-free.
- Pack the pantry with delicious and nutritious alternatives to sugar-laden biscuits such as my Apricot & Coconut Muesli Bars, Gluten Free Honey and Coconut Biscuits and High Protein Peanut Butter Biscuits.
- When it comes to bread, I believe making the switch to whole grains is the single most important change you can make in your child’s diet since processed or refined grains have been stripped of all their vitamins and minerals. When choosing store-bought sourdough, just read the ingredients – true sourdough should only contain wholemeal spelt flour, salt and water.
What sort of snacks do you give your children on the school holidays? Tell us in the comments section below.
To learn more about Mandy Sacher please visit the Wholesome Child website. Her book “Wholesome Child: A Complete Nutrition Guide and Cookbook” is available to purchase online and through iTunes, and you can connect with Mandy on Instagram and Facebook.