I’d like to big up one of my favourite recipe book writers – Christine Bailey MSc PGCE MBANT. Chiristine has produced some amazing specialist cookbooks in her time tackling some of the more difficult subjects of allergies and intolerances. In her latest book, Top 100 recipes for brainy kids Christine again put her nutritional know-how to use for the benefit of the rest of us. The book is crammed with practical ideas, tips and recipes that are realistic and will definitely get the kids on board. It is the ultimate recipe collection for giving our kids the best possible start.
Here is an excerpt from the book:
From the moment a child is born, nerve cells or neurons in the brain are making connections by the thousands. They form myriad pathways that build up within the brain to control every function – from breathing, sleeping, speech and walking to every aspect of learning and behaviour. This enormous task of brain development occurs at an incredible rate and, in the first year alone, billions of networks take shape in the brain, guiding these functions to connect with the child’s world.
Research being undertaken today shows that giving your child the right kinds of foods with the right balance of nutrients can have a profound and beneficial effect on intellectual development and behaviour. With the optimum diet, your child will be able to concentrate well, regulate their behaviour and have a constant supply of energy for clear thinking.
In THE TOP 100 RECIPES FOR BRAINY KIDS Christine provides the tools parents need to take advantage of this new nutritional research. The 100 recipes are filled with brainy fats, clever carbohydrates, protein power, and vital vitamins and minerals as well as other essentials like antioxidants, probiotics and a balanced GL load. Christine also includes advice on the brain drainers to avoid.
The recipes are quick and easy-to-follow, they are also suitable for the whole family so there is no need to make separate meals for everyone. Though the breakfasts, snacks, lunches and suppers are all designed with school age children in mind many of them are suitable for toddlers too.
Flaxseed Gingerbread Men / Biscuits
Who says you can’t have sweet treats that are good for you!! This is a wonderful healthy gingerbread recipe and simple enough to get the kids involved with the cooking. Make into gingerbread men or use whatever biscuit cutters you have to hand. Great for packed lunches or a tea time treat.
Makes 12-14 cookies
Preparation and Cooking Time
15 minutes + 12 minutes plus 15 minutes chilling time
Freeze for up to three months. These will store well in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days
Flaxseed is high in fibre to aid digestion, helps stabilize blood sugar levels and packed with omega 3 fatty acids important for brain development and function. Rich too in B vitamins and magnesium needed for the production of energy and neurotransmitters.
100g (3½oz), scant ½ cup tahini, sesame seed paste
60g (2oz) heaped ½ cup ground flaxseeds
4tbsp honey or agave nectar
1 egg, free range, beaten
125g (4½oz) 1 cup plain or wholemeal flour
1½ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Beaten egg to glaze
1.Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas 4.
2.Lightly grease a baking tray.
3.In a bowl, combine the tahini, flaxseeds, honey or agave nectar and beaten egg until creamy and smooth. Sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl. Stir in the tahini mixture and beat well to form a stiff dough. Knead lightly then wrap in cling film and chill for 15 minutes.
4.Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the dough to about 1cm ½ inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter, stamp out shapes and place on the baking tray.
5.Brush the biscuits with a little beaten egg. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the biscuits are lightly golden brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the sheet. Place on a cooling rack until completely cold.
Mexican Bean Tacos
A tasty alternative to sandwiches. Easy to prepare and assemble and full of energising ingredients, brain boosting fats and nutrients to support brain health. This is a great recipe for getting the children involved in the kitchen.
Preparation and Cooking
10 minutes + 6 minutes
Best eaten immediately. Prepare the bean mix in advance without the avocado and warm through when needed
Combining protein rich foods such as beans, avocados with grains like corn helps ensure a full range of essential amino acids needed for neurotransmitter production as well as helping to balance blood sugar levels important for maintaining concentration, alertness and improving behaviour. Beans are also a great source of zinc crucial for boosting mental performance.
1 red onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 small courgette, diced
1tsp Cajun seasoning
1 x 400g (14oz) can kidney beans or mixed beans, drained and rinsed
3 tomatoes, deseeded and diced
8 corn taco shells 1 avocado, diced
2tbsp chopped coriander
100g (3½oz) Grated cheese
1.Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the onion, garlic, courgette and Cajun seasoning. Stir for 3-4 minutes until tender.
2.Add the beans and tomatoes and heat gently for about 2 minutes.
3.Warm the taco shells according to the pack instructions. Stir the avocado and coriander into the bean mix. Spoon into the taco shells and top with the grated cheese.
Christine Bailey is an experienced Nutritionist, Chef, Food and Health Consultant well known in the food and health industry for her passion and love of healthy, delicious foods. Christine has a particular interest in children’s health and regularly advises parents, child carers, schools, nurseries and local authorities on healthy eating and menu planning.For further details contact Christine on firstname.lastname@example.org