Fun Fruit Flower Garden

Fruit Flower Garden

I wanted to put together a fruit share platter for a diverse group on a playdate. Flowers are fun, simple and quick to put together so I created my summery “garden” to share (in the middle of winter!!).

healthy party food

Recipe

– Orange – for sun and rays (could substitute any orange/yellow fruit)

– Kiwi for grass (could substitute any green fruit)

– Pear for stalks (apple or melon would work)

– Pear slices for flowers (I used the white flesh) apple or melon would be good too

– Plum – I used the colour to cut the flower centres and the butterfly bodies/antenna

– Mandarin – I used the segments for the butterfly body

Method

1. Cut kiwi segments for grass.

Fruit Flower Garden - 1 Kiwi Grass

2. Slice the pear lengthways to create stems.

Fruit Flower Garden - 2 Pear Stems

3. Then I used a little cookie cutter to make the flower shapes.

Fruit Flower Garden - 3 Flowers

4. I used a dark skinned plum for contrasting colour and cut little squares for the centre of the flowers.

Fruit Flower Garden - 4 flower centres

5. Then to give a summery feel a circle cut from an orange.

Fruit Flower Garden - 5 Sun

6. And no sun would be complete without rays.

Fruit Flower Garden - 6 Sun's rays

7. Then we needed some butterflies to complete the picture. I used mandarin segments.

Healthy party food

And cut strips from the plum to make bodies and antennae.

8. A great share plate which the kids loved. The leftover fruit from creating I served in small bowls and there were no complaints!!

Fruit Flower Garden - Finished

The Art of Nutrition
Fun, healthy, creative food for kids big and small..

Fun Veggie Humpty

Veggie Humpty

Real egg and Humpty Dumpty was just too tempting!! I made a fun food veggie version but the mini chefs panned my wall and said it was too wide and too low. I was forced to go back and re-model and I have to admit that once again they were right … sigh. Humpty did look a lot better perched up high with absolutely no fear of falling …..

Healthy meals for children

Recipe

– Steamed carrots – for the wall (and Humpty’s hat) (Sweet potato/pumpkin are good alternatives)

– Boiled egg

– I used broccoli, peas and corn for the bushes and plants

– I used peas and corn for his face

– Wholemeal pasta spirals for arms and legs

Method

1. Steam the carrot in large pieces so it’s easy to cut “bricks” from the pieces.

Veggie Humpty - 1 Carrot Wall

Exact rectangles are not necessary. And remember I re-built my wall taller and thinner (on the advice of the mini-chefs).

2. Cut the bottom of the boiled egg off and place on the wall.

Veggie Humpty - 2 Egg on Wall

3. Add some pasta legs (tuck them under the egg) which I achieved more successfully on the higher wall.

Veggie Humpty - 3 + legs

4. Then some pasta arms. I cut little slits (very carefully) into the egg to slot them into.

Veggie Humpty - 4 + arms

If you rest the arms on the wall they are relatively stable.

5. I cut holes for eyes nose and mouth.

Veggie Humpty - 5 Face

Then used two peas for eyes and a piece of corn for the nose.

6. I placed broccoli, peas and corn around the base of the wall.

Veggie Humpty - 6 Bushes

7. No Humpty would be complete without attire so I gave him a jaunty hat cut from carrot.

Veggie Humpty - 7 plus hat

8. Then I redid the wall so he was much higher.

Healthy food for children

And looked much better.

The Art of Nutrition
Fun, healthy, creative food for kids big and small..

Fun Breakfast Volcano

Breakfast Volcano

This is a concept I came up with a few years ago and the boys were mesmerised. They also rated the taste as fantastic. Since then life has jogged along and I haven’t got around to reproducing it for a blog. Until yesterday … it was the perfect time to make the volcano and video it. Yes a true story I did video the whole thing – very scary for me and probably you too!!

Healthy breakfasts for children

I got Roy to video the creating of the world’s first breakfast volcano including lava pour. The boys were happy to star as the end result was food and they love eating.

The still photos do not do it justice so please check out the video:

It also proves that when I say fun food, quick and simple I mean QUICK.

I will blog my muesli recipe for those interested when I get chance!!

Recipe

– Muesli – needs to be soaked in milk/yoghurt so it will keep its shape

– I used pepitas, sunflower seeds, grated coconut and chopped hazelnuts for “rocks” and ash around the base

– Raspberry lava – this was just frozen raspberries defrosted and then buzzed with a stick blender. The taste is incredibly intense so I added a little water which also helps it pour. Any soft red fruit that can be pulped would work.

Method

1. Form the muesli/milk mixture into a conical mountain shape.

Breakfast Volcano - 1 Mountain

2. Make a crater at the top.

Breakfast Volcano - 2 Crater

3. Then I added seeds and nuts as rocks and coconut which Max dubbed ash around the bottom.

Breakfast Volcano - 3 w-Rocks

4. And now the fun really starts.

Breakfast Volcano - 4 1st Pour

Pour the raspberry lava into the crater.

5. Keep pouring getting lava rivulets running down the outside of the volcano.

Breakfast Volcano - 5 Pouring

6. And keep going until the lava is finished.

Healthy breakfast food

Healthy breakfast food for kids

Add milk and breakfast is served.

 

The Art of Nutrition
Fun, healthy, creative food for kids big and small..

The Art of Nutrition at the boy’s school

The Art of Nutrition at the boy’s school

I was very privileged to be invited to share my healthy food passion with the students at the boy’s school. I hosted two sessions on consecutive Friday’s, the first for the younger half of the school and the second for the older kids.

A fun group of parents agreed to help out and we spent a manic 2 hours setting up, coordinating and clearing up afterwards. It was fabulous fun, rewarding and all of us learnt so much.

I spent the morning before each lunchtime session chopping a selection of fruit and veggies to use. I had everything from grapes to radishes and cut them into various shapes. We had carrots cut into circles, half circles, triangles and batons and celery in batons and curls. I even threw in a bunch of celery leaves.

The Art of Nutrition

We had a big room with a sink and then an annexe with a right angled bench seat. We set up the annexe with a table and chairs to become the shared eating section complete with plastic tablecloth and adult to supervise. As the children came into the large room they washed and dried their hands. Then they made their way to one of the 3 tables that were set up with tablecloth, plastic plate for each student and a platter heaving with brightly coloured fruit and veg. I also got my boys to do some designs for inspiration and printed out the photos to place on the tables.

Healthy food in schools

 

Everyone was charged with the task of creating a design on their plate to showcase the fruit and veg they had chosen to use. We then took a photo of each student proudly displaying their plate (to be printed, picked up and taken home). The children then went to sit at the communal eating table where Kathleen encouraged everyone to chat whilst they ate.

 

It was a beautiful thing to behold. The children were delighted by the whole experience and they created with excitement and then ate with gusto. Many tried foods they would not normally eat (like celery leaves and red cabbage) and there were a lot who demolished one plateful and came back to make and eat another plate.

Healthy food in schools

 

The most sought after food – celery! Who would have believed how versatile celery is? It can be limbs, fence posts, noses, motorbike struts and much more besides. And the leaves … they can become trees, hair, brooms and all manner of other things. The imagination was certainly not lacking and I have to say gave me lots of ideas for future designs!

Healthy food in schools

I learnt a lot from running these sessions. We had over 150 children participate and all embraced the idea, the selection of food and all tried the fruit and veg on their plates. It also reinforced my belief that children are more than happy with healthy food options especially if there is something exciting happening or when they are presented creatively.

Healthy food in schools

 

There has been some great feedback from parents. One mother of a 5 year old told me that her daughter asked whether she was able to have celery in her lunchbox as it is so delicious (that celery again!!). She did however, request that it was cut into curls as it tastes better that way.
Another parent said that since the session his daughter has been so focused on the veggies on her plate and they have become so important as they are easy to arrange!

Healthy food in schools

The Art of Nutrition session at the school was a great way to bring fruit and veg into the school in a fun and communal way and it seemed that most students got so caught up in the exercise they were happy to eat whatever was on their plates and do it with pleasure.

TAON - Max & orange

 

I am happy to bring The Art of Nutrition into schools in the Greater Wellington area and can be contacted via the website.

 

*For privacy reasons only a few of the photos will be posted.

The Art of Nutrition
Fun, healthy, creative food for kids big and small..

Fun Ricey Hot Air Balloon

Ricey Hot Air Balloon

Hot air balloons are such fun to make with lots of patterns and bright colours that give you so much scope for creativity. This is my rice and veggie version.

Healthy food for kids

 

I realised that having a mold would make life so much easier so I made my own. This was actually the most time consuming and frustrating part of the whole exercise. I cut the inside out of the top of an old plastic pot as it was the oval shape (ish) I was looking for. I have washed and kept it for future use!

Recipe

– Mold – (makes it easier but not essential)

– Cooked rice – I used wholemeal

– Veggies of your choice. I used peas, grated steamed carrot and corn

– Steamed cauliflower for clouds (ricotta cheese makes great clouds)

– I used a cut piece of eggplant/aubergine for the basket

– Wholemeal spaghetti for the ropes (any herb stalks or cut beans would be a good substitute)

Method

1. Put a layer of rice into the mold.

Ricey Hot Air Balloon - 1 Rice

2. Then a layer of peas.

Ricey Hot Air Balloon - 2 + peas

3. Any veggies will do but contrasting colours work best. Grated carrot layer next.

Ricey Hot Air Balloon - 3 + carrot

4. Then some corn.

Ricey Hot Air Balloon - 4 + corn

5. And a last layer of rice.

Ricey Hot Air Balloon - 5 + Rice

6. Then I took it carefully out of the mold. If it’s packed densely this works surprisingly well.

Ricey Hot Air Balloon - 6 out of mold

7. As usual I am disappointed by molds (even the ones I make myself) so squished it out to give it a more rounded shape. Again this worked remarkably well.

Ricey Hot Air Balloon - 7 fattened

8. Then I added the eggplant/aubergine basket and spaghetti ropes.

Ricey Hot Air Balloon - 8 + basket

9. And some lovely, fluffy cauliflower clouds.

Healthy food for children

Float gently into dinner …..

The Art of Nutrition
Fun, healthy, creative food for kids big and small..

Fun Breakfast Names

Breakfast Names

OK so who doesn’t want their name in … food!! The mini chefs were delighted to have their names carved out for breakfast and devoured them with pride.

This is such a simple, fun way to present some healthy food for breks. I used some letter molds and filled them with wheatbricks I had soaked in milk and that was about it. It’s something that you can do with the kids or they can probably do themselves.

Healthy breakfast ideas for kids

Admittedly Max and Joe are short names (my friend quipped that I had 3 males in my life all with 3 letter names so I could remember them – hmpfff!!) and probably more manageable than Angelina or Benjamin but initials, sports team’s acronyms or nicknames can work.

Creative breakfast ideas

Recipe

– I used 1 ½ wheatbricks per boy and soaked in milk until soft but not mushy

– I used raisins, sliced almonds, sunflower seeds and pepitas for decoration

Method

1. Choose your molds and fill with as much mix as you’d like.

Brekkie Names - 2 Filled

2. Then press out the wheatbrick mix.

Brekkie Names - 3 Joe

I realised whilst doing that that the gap in the “O” (and the “A” too) shouldn’t be filled!

3. And the other/s if you have need.

Brekkie Names - 4 Max

4. Then I decorated.

Fun breakfasts for kids

Using raisins and sliced almonds.

5. And for Joe.

Fun breakfasts for children

I used raisins and pepitas.

6. Then finished off with some sunflower seeds as well.

Healthy breakfasts for children

7. Once we were ready to eat we poured the milk or you could use yoghurt.

Fun breakfasts for kids

8. Beautifully simple, fun and delicious.

Breakfasts healthy for kids

Healthy, creative, fun food for kids big and small.
The Art of Nutrition.

Fun Mandarin Snail

Mandarin Snail

Mandarins just lend themselves to a snail shell so it had to be done.

Here is my super simple, fun food, mandarin snail.

Healthy snack for kids

Recipe

– Mandarin/Clementine or other such citrus fruit

– Pear or apple for the body

– I used Kiwi for the grass but green apple or pear would be excellent too

– I used chopped raisins for the details

Method

1. Cut a kiwi fruit to make the grass.

Mandarin Snail - 1 Kiwi

2. I used the cheek of the pear and cut a curved body.

Mandarin Snail - 2 + Pear

Then another piece for the tail.

3. And placed the peeled Mandarin on top (I sliced a piece from the bottom so it sat nicely in the curve of the pear).

Mandarin Snail - 3 + Mandarin

4. Then gave the snail pear antenna and eyes and mouth.

Healthy snacks for children

5. A buzzing raisin insect and we have a snail.

Healthy snacks for kids

 

Healthy, creative, fun food for kids big and small.
The Art of Nutrition.

Fun Underwater Fish

Underwater Fish

We all love seafood in our house and here in New Zealand it’s easy and economical to find fresh catches – yummy!!

I couldn’t help myself using the seafood as the sea bed in this fun food dinner plate.

Healthy food for children

Recipe

– Mashed pumpkin (for the fish) – or sweet potato/potato/carrot/parsnip

– Rice (I used brown) for sea bed – or cous cous or other grain

– Peas and green beans – for fishes features and bubbles

– Broccoli, green beans, carrots, parsnips corn – for sea bed

– Prawns (shrimp), mussels and calamari (squid) – for sea bed

(Substitute in any veg/sea food you have on hand).

Method

1. Make the sand with the rice.

Underwater Fish - 1 Rice

2. I used a fish mold to get the fish shape.

Underwater Fish - 2 Fish Mold

3. Then I used a pea for her eye and a green bean for the mouth.

Underwater Fish - 3 Fish

And of course you need bubbles ….

4. I placed veggies and seafood to create a busy sea bed.

Healthy food for children

So simple, appealing and a lovely balanced meal.

Healthy, creative, fun food for kids big and small.
The Art of Nutrition.

Fun Summer Brekkie Tree

Summer Brekkie Tree

Continuing on with my seasonal breakfast trees this is my summer version.

Fun food, very simple and something the children can do by themselves or with a little help.

    Healthy breakfasts for kids

Recipe

– 1 Banana

– Oats (I used wholegrain)

– Pepitas (Pumpkin seeds) – for leaves

– 1 Kiwi fruit – for leaves

– Raspberries – alas mine are frozen as we’re in mid-winter!

Substitute other green fruit such as apple for leaves and strawberries/red apples for fruit if you prefer.

Method

1. Cut the banana into trunk and branch shapes.

Summer Brekkie Tree - 1 Banana

2. Add pieces of kiwi fruit as leaves.

Summer Brekkie Tree - 2 Kiwi leaves

3. And then pepitas which add crunch and extra nutrients too!

Summer Brekkie Tree - 3 + Pepitas

4. I added oats so the boys could eat as a cereal substitute (very happily).

Summer Brekkie Tree - 4 + oats

5. I sprinkled more of the oats and pepitas around the base of the tree.

Healthy breakfast for children

6. And then raspberries to give the tree a full bloom of flowers.

Healthy food for kids

Very, very simple, fun and healthy – what could be better!!

Healthy, creative, fun food for kids big and small.
The Art of Nutrition.

Fun Watermelon Sunrise

Watermelon Sunrise

I had a whole watermelon and couldn’t decide what to do with it. I asked Max for suggestions and he said “sunrise”. Of course, why didn’t I think of that?

So here is Max’s fun food idea for a bright red piece of watermelon and some fresh pineapple. It’s a great share plate or party centrepiece.

Fun party food for kids

Recipe

– Piece of watermelon. I made a large sun from half a small watermelon but you could do a mini version from a cut piece.

– Some fresh pineapple (or apple/pear/melon)

– Mandarins – for the eyes (or orange/pineapple etc.)

– Oranges – for clouds (substitute as necessary)

– Raisins – for eyeballs

Method

1. Cut the watermelon. I cheated and used a bowl as a mold as I am not quite mad enough to be able to cut perfect circles!

Watermelon Sun - 1 Watermelon

2. Place on a plate.

Watermelon Sun - 1 Disc cut

3. Add the rays of light. I used watermelon.

Watermelon Sun - 2 first rays

4. And pineapple.

 Watermelon Sun - 3 More rays

5. Then made some eyes and mouth.

Watermelon Sun - 4 Eyes & mouth

Using mandarin segments and a cut piece of pineapple.

6. Then I gave the sun eyeballs with raisins.

Watermelon Sun - 5 Eyeballs

7. And used cut orange pieces for the clouds.

Healthy party food for children

8. I thought maybe the sun needed a nose. Or maybe not?

Creative party food for kids

Healthy, creative, fun food for kids big and small.
The Art of Nutrition.

Fun, Flower Pot Veggies

Flower Pot Veggies

I was looking at a pot of brown lentils one time and I thought soil. And then I thought flower pots. I went to the local garden centre and bought a couple of the cheap ceramic pots and started experimenting. From this my flower pot series emerged. The boys think it’s the best fun to eat out of a ceramic pot with a teaspoon. Even better when I make a selection of “flowers” and they can choose their favourites.

     Healthy fun food for kids

These are my lentil soil and cooked veggie versions. Simple, fun food and delicious. Use any veggies you have to hand and get creative!

Recipe

– I used a brown lentil dish (with tomatoes, onion, garlic etc.). Any mince/ chilli dish/ bolognaise style dish would be fantastic.

– A selection of cooked veg. I used peas, cauliflower, carrot, corn, green beans and mashed pumpkin.

– I also used baby spinach leaves and half a cherry tomato.

Substitute anything you have to hand.

Method

1. Fill the flower pots with lentil/mince mixture. The ones I bought have a drainage hole at the bottom so I plug it with baking paper.

Flower Pots - 1 Pots

2. I made a cauliflower, pea and green bean “flower”.

Healthy fun food for kids

3. Then half a cherry tomato with cauliflower centre, corn detail and spinach leaves.

Healthy food for children

4. Pot 3 was filled with mashed pumpkin and decorated with green bean shoots.

Fun recipes for kids

5. And then the last pot was peas, green beans and carrots cut into shapes (badly!).

Healthy, creative food for children

6. Then put them all together.

Healthy food for kids

7. This is so versatile and there are so many other options ….

Healthy fun food for children

Healthy, creative, fun food for kids big and small.
The Art of Nutrition.

Fun Dolphin Pancakes

Dolphin Pancakes

My boys LOVE pancakes (actually ours are crepes but that’s just personal taste). We don’t make them very often but when we do the boys are the happiest little men on the planet. Roy is actually the pancake master seeming able to produce a perfectly formed, perfectly cooked disc every time. Mine are a tad more eccentric ….

As we’re using free range eggs, milk and wholemeal flour with no sugary toppings they tick all my health boxes.

This is a simple, fun food way to present pancakes that no one could resist.

Healthy dolphin pancakes

Recipe

– Pancakes

– Flaked almonds for the sand (substitute any nuts/seeds/fruit)

– Raisin – for the eyes

– Stewed apple (I just cut up apple and steamed for 10 mins. With some cinnamon or nutmeg – YUM) – for sea bed detail

Method

1. Put down sea bed.

Dolphin Pancakes - 1 Almond sand

2. Cut out the dolphins from the pancake. I used a mold.

Dolphin Pancakes - 2 Dolphin Mould

3. Place on the plate.

Dolphin Pancakes - 3 Dolphin

4. And another so she’s not lonely!

Dolphin Pancakes - 4 + 2 Dolphins

5. Then some eyes so they can see.

Dolphin Pancakes - 5 + eyes

6. I used steamed apple which gives a lovely sweetness to the dish as sea bed detail.

Dolphin Pancakes - 6 + Apple Shells

7. I ripped some of the pancake edges (as mine are not perfect discs …) to use as coral.

Healthy pancakes dolphins

8. A lovely, simple breakfast or dessert.

Dolphin Pancakes - Finished

Healthy, creative, fun food for kids big and small.
The Art of Nutrition.

Fun Papaya Giraffe

Papaya Giraffe

 When I lived in Asia papaya/paw paw was very popular. I generally love any fruit but just didn’t fall for papaya straight away. Once I’d tried it with a squeeze of lime juice though I was hooked and ate it every day after lunch. I was devastated to return to Aus and find out how expensive it was and it became a rare treat.

I picked some up at the markets here in Wellington and was delighted as were the boys and so I needed to find a fun food, simple and creative outlet for the fruit. Giraffes are the right colour and who doesn’t love these amazing animals?

Healthy snacks for kids giraffe

Papaya is a great dessert/snack food, packed with soluble fibre, more Vit C than lemons and loads of Vit A and B-Vits too. OK enough of that, but they are excellent from a nutritional standpoint!

Recipe

– Small papaya/paw paw (melon would be a great substitute)

– Grapes – I used dark ones for the tree trunks and red ones for the detail on the giraffe (or plum/pear)

– Kiwi fruit – for the tree leaves (or green apple slices)

Method

1. I cut the papaya into lots of little chunks and then built those into a “head” shape.

Papaya Giraffe - 1 Head

2. Then added cut papaya for ears and ossicones (yep, I am assured they are neither horns nor antlers but ossicones).

Papaya Giraffe - 2 Ears & horns

3. And then I cut larger slices and built a neck.

Papaya Giraffe - 3 + Neck

4. I cut red grapes into small pieces to make up the detail for the neck.

Papaya Giraffe - 4 + Neck Detail

5. And used the grapes for the eyes and nostrils. Roy reckons the nostrils are too high on the face and I think he’s probably right so maybe move down a bit. I would love to reach into the photo and do myself but ….

Papaya Giraffe - 4 1-2 - + Eyes & Nostrils

6. I used dark grapes to form the trunks of the trees.

Papaya Giraffe - 5 + Trunks

7. And then slices of kiwi fruit for the leaves.

Healthy snack giraffe

8. I thought it needed something buzzing around so added some slices of black grape.

Healthy food for children giraffe

Delicious and gobbled in seconds by the mini chefs ….

Healthy, creative, fun food for kids big and small.
The Art of Nutrition.