Kids food is a mine field. Never before has a generation eaten so much processed, refined food laden with additives, hidden sugars and weird and not so wonderful preservatives and flavourings. And sadly never before have the rates of child obesity, auto immune diseases and some cancers been so high in children.
I am not trying to make you feel bad about what your child might or might not eat and the last thing I want to do is tell you what you should feed them. I know how hard it is. Children’s food is multi million pound industry and large corporations spend a lot of money in cynical marketing and advertising to ensure our children want their products and that we happily buy them, trusting that the ingredients they use are safe and have some nutritional value.
As a parent I’ve often felt lost not knowing what the best choices are to make. It can feel especially exasperating when your child can’t have gluten, or dairy or both and the replacement food is full of sugar and ingredients you can’t pronounce or recognise .
But I’ve found however fussy an eater your child might be, or how ever many food tolerances, allergies they may have you have lots of great choices and there are many wonderful resources to help you make your own mind up about what your child does and doesn’t eat.
So how have we ended up with food full of so many preservatives, flavourings and in short chemical crap? For the last 40 years we have all been cleverly marketed to by the food industry, who have gently or in some instances very forcibly whispered in our ears that we don’t have time to make our own meals and food and that its such a dull and timely chore.
This has made some big global food and drinks corporations very rich and many of us bloated, lacking in energy and more likely to have long term health issues such as diabetes, auto immune diseases, some cancers, obesity, depression, dementia, infertility issues… the list goes on.
But the nutritional recommendations they have constantly used as their mantra, ‘low fat, ready made, whole grain is good for you and will make your life easier’ is all marketing spin and simply untrue. Cooking your own real food doesn’t need to take longer, cost more or be a chore.
The Courgetti and Carrotetti, spiralized carrot and courgette I use in this recipe is a great way to get some additional veggie goodness in. It’s also something any child help make, which my kids love and I always find they eat more especially if its a new food if they’ve been involved in making it.
Full fat, grass fed beef mince, the cheapest way to eat grass fed beef (see below for some great affordable ways to buy). The great news is finally the advise on fat is changing and it is now recognised that good quality animal fat is good for us, in fact some would argue imperative. Grass fed free range organic cattle also means you know your meat is not pumped full of antibiotics which is main culprit in creating anti-biotic resistant bacteria.
And in cooking terms using full fat beef mince means that you don’t need eggs or bread crumbs to bind it together into meat balls and is full of flavour. Grating onions and adding them to the mince is a great way to make the mince go further and adds a lovely sweetness which you children will never know is onion. Bathed in a sweet tasting tomato sauce with bacon this a great and tasty meal for the whole family.
A yummy gluten, grain, dairy and egg free meal full of super nutrients and flavour.
- 500g x grass fed beef mince (I buy mine from Green Pasture Farms who are very good value, Daylesford who often have offers on, Laverstoke Park Farm and Duchy who often have promotions on or is reduced in store at Wairose or online at Ocado.
- 2 x red onions
- 2 x garlic cloves
- Maldon salt and pepper.
- Raw Coconut oil (ideally organic) or extra virgin olive oil
- 4 x courgettes ( zucchni, ideally organic)
- 4 x carrots (ideally organic)
- 6 x rashes of streaky pasture reared bacon (ideally nitrate free)
- 680g of passata, 1 glass jar (ideally organic)
- 1 tablespoon of oregano
- 1 tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar
- Pre-heat your oven to 180c, 350f, gas mark 6
- Sprialize your courgettes and carrots using a spiralizer or juilenne peeler
- In a large bowl generously season your beef mince with the salt and pepper
- With a cheese grater on the large holed side grate your red onions to create a pulpy mush
- Mince or grate your garlic cloves and add to the mince with the grated onions, mix well then with your hands squeeze the mixture together to make the meatball size of your choice.
- Place your bacon directly on to a baking tray or grill pan and cook in the oven for 10 or so mins until cooked through and a little crispy then cut into small slices.
- In a separate pan bring you passata to the boil then leave it gently heating on a very low heat and add the raw apple cider vinegar and tablespoon of oregano
- Heat a generous tablespoon of coconut or extra virgin olive oil up in a large frying pan or wide shallow sized pan
- Gently cook the meat balls, turning every 3-5 minutes, for approx. 10-15 minutes until cooked through
- In a separate pan heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and then gently stir fry your courgetti and carrotetti for 2-3 minutes before adding the meat balls, tomato sauce and bacon. Season with Salt and pepper to your taste and Enjoy!
Notes: This meal will keep well covered in the fridge for up to 3 days. The meat balls and sauce will also freeze yet. I haven’t tried freezing courgetti and carrotetti as yet so let me know in the comments below if it works?