Nadiya Hussain is supporting ‘Be School Ready’, PTA UK’s national campaign to help families with children starting school in September
Exclusive interview with The Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain
Nadiya Hussain is supporting ‘Be School Ready’, PTA UK’s national campaign to help families with children starting school in September. The Be School Ready magazines, produced by PTA UK, which is also celebrating its 60th year, have been distributed providing both practical and emotional support for parents, carers and children so they can start school life with confidence.
Get your kids making their healthy after school snacks as well as eating them! Nadiya’s Bake Me a Story is a book of recipes and stories devised and written by Nadiya herself. Cook up a batch of Carrot and Nutmeg Cookies on a Sunday afternoon and share the story of Rapunzel’s Enchanted Carrots while the cookies bake or read about Ruby-Red and the Three Bears and their Very Berry Muffins while you wait for your own to rise! Nadiya’s Bake Me a Story publishes 8th September 2016 in hardback, priced £14.99
As a mother of three very lively children it is safe to say that I have had my fair share of ‘mum I’m starving’ ‘how long before dinner?’, I’m so hungry’, ‘please can I have a crisp?’, ‘if I can’t have crisp, can I have a small biscuit?’. Whether you have one child, three like me or more, I know it’s the worst feeling trying to decide whether your child should have a snack or should I just let them have whatever they want. If not to just keep them quiet before dinner but ease your own guilt.
I spent years wondering what the right thing was to do during that very intense time between school pick up and dinner time. I will not lie, there have been times where I have just given the kids the easiest option, a packet of crisps, a small bar of chocolate, a biscuit (or two). But I noticed that the kids were like yoyos. After school the kids slumped, tired and exhausted from the day. They walk through the door and as I rush around they have a quick sweet treat and they are then the polar opposite, high as kites, excitable before the inevitable sugar crash to follow.
A few years ago I decided that I needed to overhaul my eating habits along with the kids. I just couldn’t do the constant peak and trough that come with lots of sugar all day long. Better eating habits didn’t mean taking everything away, it just meant eating sugar in moderation and incorporating more fruit and vegetables where possible. I thought it would be a difficult change to make when in fact the transition was the opposite of our sugar crashes and slumps. The transition was smooth.
One of the first things I knew I had to tackle was the time between school pick up and dinner. Upon picking the children up my first question is always ‘how was your day?’ and all three kids always respond with ‘Great, what’s for dinner?’ One of my first tips is that I always take a bottle of water (not chilled). I find children are weary of drinking chilled water because it’s cold and harder to drink quickly. So I take a bottle of water at room temperature and allow them to drink to their fill as soon as I see them. I never believe my children when I’ve asked them if they’ve drunk lots of water through the day. What I like to address is the fact that they may just be very thirsty.
As a fruitier alternative to plain water I like to have water bottles with wide necks and to this I add slices of oranges, kiwi and strawberries and leave it to infuse during the day and take that with me on the school run. Once they have drunk all the water they can finish the fruit inside too.
In between sorting the children, preparing for dinner, finishing emails and doing laundry, I always have a few snacks that I have pre prepared or snacks that can be quickly made. Here is a list of a few of our favourites:
- Frozen Yoghurt – small pots of yoghurt, I just pierce a lolly pop stick through the covering and stick the whole thing in the freezer. When frozen, peel off the top of the yoghurt pot and ease the frozen yoghurt out of its pot.
- Frozen Blueberry Yoghurt Sticks – take a wooden skewer and pierce it with about 10 blueberries. Dip the whole stick into yoghurt and place the sticks on a baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen take them off the sheet and place inside a freezer bag and store in the freezer.
- Apple and Peanut Rings – core and horizontally slice a green apple, spread the tops with smooth peanut butter and eat straight away.
- Houmous Celery Sticks – cut slices of celery sticks about 2 inches long. Fill the inside with houmous and serve.
- Summer Fruit Spring Rolls – take a circle of rice paper and soak for a few seconds till soft. Squeeze off any excess water and place down. Add any fruit, the more colourful the better and wrap like a spring roll.
- Boiled eggs – I like to keep boiled eggs in the fridge during the week. They are quick simple and nutritious and very easy to eat.
- Turkey Ham wrapped Cheese sticks – take a small stick of cheese and wrap around a slice of turkey ham.
- Mini omelettes – whisk up some eggs and add onion, cheese, chives and chopped peppers. Pour the mix into a 12 muffin cupcake tin and bake in the oven. Once cooled these can be stored for a week.
- Steamed edamame beans – these are great placed in a bowl, splashed with a little water and the covered in cling. Cooked in a microwave for 3 minutes and then sprinkled with salt and paprika.
- Plain popcorn – plain popcorn, quickly popped and a large handful is just enough.
In terms of drinks on a warm day I love to make the kids a quick cold smoothie after school and a nice warm drink on the colder school days.
Cold Drink – in a smoothie maker I like to add ice, mint, 1 green apple, the juice of a lime, half water and half apple juice and whizz.
Hot Drink – in a pan add coconut milk and heat up, to this I like to add unsweetened cocoa powder, vanilla extract and honey, boil and serve.
These are all great ways to give the kids a little something to eat to take the edge off the hunger before dinner. But also a great way of getting some of their 5 a day in too.
This is just enough food to keep them sustained long enough to get on to help cook dinner in the kitchen with me, which is their favourite thing to do after school.