Life recently has been a crazy, mad, but good ride navigating between birthdays, family visiting, parties, settling back in to school, and the old/new routine. Its at times like this that trying to fit in delicious and healthy meals that any, OK that’s probably a totally unrealistic, so let’s stick with most children will eat and enjoy can be a struggle.
One dish which is always a big hit with my kids and their friends are these sweet juicy Greek Lamb Koftas, which are a big hit with the kids (aka Mummy and Daddy) too. This super easy to make grain and gluten free dish is full of flavour and great fun for the kids to eat their own lolipops of meat, naturally sweetened with organic raw honey and mint.
My children enjoy their Lamb Koftas with plain goats yoghurt for dipping, gluten-free pita bread and some sweetcorn kebabs.
The added bonus with my Greek Lamb Koftas is they freeze well, so you can make up a big batch and always know you have a last minute dinner handy for those days when you don’t have enough time to sneeze let alone prepare and cook something yummy and nutritious for your little ones.
What we feed our kids is a thorny issue and I would never purport to be an expert or even get it right the all of the time as a parent. But there is no getting away from the facts that children’s food is one of the most highly marketed (read profitable) and sugar containing (read addiction) areas of a global food industry.
The startling facts are that direct links have been made between the increase in consumption of processed foods, sugar , hormones and antibiotics in food with many diseases , health issues and mental illness but children’s food products continue to remain some of the worst culprits and its a global epidemic.
80 percent of all antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used on livestock, creating antibiotic-resistant “super bacteria.” The Environmental Working Group (EWG), found 87 percent of tested meat samples (turkey, pork, beef, and chicken) were contaminated by at least one species of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This totally blows my mind.
What can we do?
Here are some great tips I’ve found very useful.
- Check labels on all food and meat to look for sugars, chemical and ‘enhancements’
- Buy free-range and organic meat and fish
- High levels of sugar and artificial sweeteners are often hidden in a lot of children’s food and might be labelled as one of the following; dextrose, sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, dextrose fruit syrup, molasses glucose fructose syrup
- Food might be labelled sugar-free but contain any of the following all of which have dubious reputations and are best avoided; Aspartame (E951), Saccharin (E954), Acesulfame-k (E950)
- Vary your diet as much as possible
- Buy organic milk (here’s why)
- Buy locally, which not only supports your local economy and community but also gives you the opportunity to get to know about how and where your food is grown
- Make friends with your freezer and cook up big batches at once and freeze the extra portions so you always have meals on stand by
- Try growing your own vegetables, you can grow potatoes in a sack on a balcony or ask if you can borrow some space in friends garden?
- Wherever possible buy organic, or prioritize the most dirty (pesticide absorbent fruit and veg) as found and reported annually by the EWG. Interestingly potatoes topped the dirtiest list in 2014 and avocado the cleanest.
MINTED SWEET LAMB KOFTAS
We enjoy our Kofta’s with a Greek salad of tomatoes, cucumber, pepper and feta cheese, some gluten-free pita bread and sweetcorn skewers. We also have our own little bowl of Greek yoghurt for dipping and slathering into their pitta bread.
- 6-8 bamboo skewers
- Organic free-range, hormone-free Lamb mince 400g, 14.1 ounces
- Mint leaves 100g, 3.5 ounces
- Garlic 2 cloves
- Honey 1 tablespoon
- Maldon (or other sea salt) generous pinch
1. Soak the bamboo skewers in water, ideally over night or for an hour or two.
2. Put the lamb, mint leaves garlic, honey and salt in to your food processor and whiz it all up until it is a smooth pate. If you don’t have a food processor you could finely chop the mince, garlic and mint and mix with the honey and salt.
3. Mold the mixture around the skewers in to slim sausages, pressing the meat together tightly with your hands.
4. Heat a griddle or skillet pan and cook the koftas for five minutes on each side until the meat is cooked through.
Notes: These yummy Koftas can be made in advance and will keep well covered in the fridge for up to 2 days. They also freeze well.