Fun Watermelon Toadstools

Watermelon Toadstools

Watermelon is in season – YEAH! We love the taste and it’s so good to use for designing – although in NZ it seems very light in colour comparative to that found elsewhere.

Here are my fun food, Watermelon Toadstools.

Fun food art Watermelon Toadstools


– Watermelon

– Green pear


1. Cut toadstool caps from the watermelon.

Watermelon Toadstools - 1 caps (1 of 1)

2. And add some spots from pear.

Watermelon Toadstools - 2 spots (1 of 1)

3. Then some stems.

Watermelon Toadstools - 3 stems (1 of 1)

4. And finish with a little pear foliage.

Healthy Kids snacks Toadstools

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

Fun Salad Spaceship

Salad Spaceship

Simple salad plates served with a bowl of dip are always inhaled in our house. This fun food, salad spaceship took minutes to make and of course even less time to eat!

Creative, healthy food Salad Spaceship

Both my boys have always eaten radish but it’s never been a favourite. I’m a firm believer that tastes change (for all of us not just the mini-chefs) so I keep offering things even if they’re not top pick. This summer both of them suddenly love radishes and actively ask for them in their lunchboxes!?


– Celery (or cucumber)

– Radish (or cucumber/carrot cut thinly)

– Cucumber (or other contrasting coloured veg)

– Tomato (or avocado)

– Carrot (other veg that can be cut effectively)


1. Slice 3 legs from celery and a base from radish.

Salad Spaceship - 1 base (1 of 1)

2. Then balance the radish on the celery. I used a cocktail stick in the back celery baton for better balance.

Salad Spaceship - 2 base complete (1 of 1)

3. Cut circles from the outside of a cucumber for the detail on the “saucer”.

Salad Spaceship - 3 detail (1 of 1)

4. Use half a tomato for the top of the spaceship.

Salad Spaceship - 4 tomato (1 of 1)

5. Then cut carrot (I used a small cookie cutter) for star shaped detail around the edge of the plate.

Fun food art Salad Spaceship

The Art of Nutrition

Fun, healthy, creative food for kids big and small

Vegecational Video Ventures 10 – Home-made Apple Chutney

Home-made Apple Chutney

We are a very “un-sweet” family. Sugar has never been part of the pantry staples although we do eat a lot of natural sugars via fruit. When we were in the UK visiting my parents my Dad had made some apple chutney. We all loved it. It’s the perfect sweet, spicy, savoury accompaniment to cheese, meat or salads. Although it’s full of sugars via the dried fruit there is no other sweetener. It is a lovely, treat addition to a meal and Joe and I make a big batch that we bottle and store.

How to make Apple Chutney video

The recipe is very flexible so you can chop and change ingredients and use more or less of anything without doing the end result any harm!

Check out Joe and I making a batch on video:

Recipe (this is for a large batch)

– 600g apples diced (tart apples are best – and if they are battered no problem!)

– 600g sultanas (or raisins/currants/mixed fruit)

– 600g chopped dates (or apricots)

– Salt. A sprinkle.

– 1 tsp black pepper

– 1 heaped tsp nutmeg

– ½ tsp allspice

– 1 tsp chilli powder (or fresh chilly chopped)

– 4 tsp chopped fresh ginger

– 4 tsp mustard powder

– 3 tsp coriander powder

– Vinegar (malt or Apple Cider Vinegar) – add enough to soak the fruit


1. Chop the apples up very finely.

2. Add everything to a mixing bowl and combine really well.

Apple Chutney - 2 Joe (1 of 1)

3. Add vinegar until the fruit is soaked.

4. Cover the bowl and stir every hour for 24 hours (whilst you’re awake!)

5. The chutney will be very sticky when done.

Home-made Apple Chutney

6. Spoon into sterilised jars and place in the fridge until needed.

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

Fun Propeller Plane

Propeller Plane

More lovely, seasonal fruit. Pears and canteloupe/rock melon. Ahhh, melons are a designers dream!!
This fun food, Propeller Plane is the perfect after school snack or share for a play date.

Cute food ideas Propeller Plane



– Green pear or apple

– Canteloupe/rockmelon or honeydew

– Plum or apple

– Desiccated coconut


1. Cut a body shape for the plane from the pear.

Propellor Plane - 1 body (1 of 1)

2. Then add the pear fuselage.

Propellor Plane - 2 fuselage (1 of 1)

3. Use melon for the wings.

Propellor Plane - 3 wings (1 of 1)

4. I had a small melon so needed to extend the wings a bit.

Propellor Plane - 4 wing tips (1 of 1)

5. Then the tail.

Propellor Plane - 5 tail (1 of 1)

6. And a pear propeller.

Propellor Plane - 6 propellor (1 of 1)

7. Slice the outside of the plum for the wing detail.

Propellor Plane - 7 wing detail (1 of 1)

8. Then use more for the cockpit.

Propellor Plane - 8 cockpit (1 of 1)

9. A few desiccated coconut clouds and you’re ready to fly …

Fun food art Propeller Plane

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

Fun Pear Panda

Pear Panda

Pears and plums are in season at the moment so it would be a crime not to use them – especially as the boys love both.

Here’s my fun food Pear Panda.

Fun food for picky kids Pear Panda


– Green pear

– Plum (dark skinned)

– Rosemary


1. Cut a face shape from the cheek of the pear.

Pear Panda - 1 head (1 of 1)

2. Slice ears from the plum.

Pear Panda - 2 ears (1 of 1)

3. Then some eyes.

Pear Panda - 3 eyes (1 of 1)

4. Before adding a nose and mouth.

Pear Panda - 4 mouth & nose (1 of 1)

5. Use more pear for the body.

Pear Panda - 5 body (1 of 1)

6. Then some plum arms.

Pear Panda - 6 arms (1 of 1)

7. And the outside of the pear cut into strips for the grass.

Pear Panda - 7 grass (1 of 1)

8. Give him some irises from pear then use rosemary sprigs for the background.

Fun, healthy Pear Panda

9. Some plum pupils and we’re done.

Fun food art Pear Panda

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

Simple Platters

Simple Platters

Last night we had the annual meet the teacher shared dinner at the school. Finger foods aimed at adults and children so I did my traditional “veggie sandwiches” and a simple fruit platter. So easy to put together and visually appealing – although I reckon I did a better job last year ….

Veggie Sandwiches healthy party food


Veggie Sandwiches

Great plate for any occasion as you can use whatever you have to hand. I did a combo of just veggies and those with a cheese filling. I also used some home-made apple chutney to stuff the celery batons. Using cookie cutters gives the veggies shape but circles, triangles and squares cut by hand work just as well.

Veggie Platter healthy party food

The plate was cleared pretty quickly so that was a good sign!

Fruit Platter

I had very limited time so just quickly cut some shapes and arranged the fruit on the plate. Bite sized pieces always appeal!

Simple Fruit Platter party food

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

Vegecational Video Ventures 9 – Home-made Baked Beans

Vegecational Video Ventures 9 – Home-made Baked Beans

We have started making home-made baked beans. They are simple and economical to make, taste fantastic and contain none of the additives of many of the canned versions. I was shocked to pick up a can in the supermarket out of interest and find it contained 24% sugar. That’s a quarter of the can that’s sugar – WOW.

This time I used white beans (haricot/Cannelini/Berlotti) but I have since found that pinto work the best. They are smaller and so absorb more of the sauce. I buy the dry ones and soak overnight but if you’re short of time canned beans would work too.

Baked Beans home-made video

Check out the video of the boys tasting for the first time …


– Large red onion diced

– Approx. 600g beans (Pinto work best)

– 400g tinned tomatoes (or equivalent fresh)

– 1 ½ tbsp. soy sauce

– 250ml veggie stock (or chicken stock)

– 2 tbsp ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar)

– 1 tsp honey (I very rarely use sweetener but it does help balance the acidity)

– 2 tsp ground cumin

– 1tsp Dijon mustard (or similar mild mustard)

– 2 tsp smoked paprika

– 2 tsp garlic powder


1. Sautee the onion until soft and a little brown.

2. Add all the other ingredients and stir well.

3.Bring to simmer and then cook for a few hours. It actually tastes better the following day as the flavours have infused!

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

Fun Emperor Penguin

Emperor Penguin

I love eggplant/aubergine. I didn’t always, in fact it’s only been the last 10 years I’ve been able to embrace it. The boys have slowly come round to eating it with pleasure and my lovely husband finally ate some and enjoyed it for the first time only 2 weeks ago – YES!!

Goes to prove that trying foods over and over again is important, even for us big folks and maybe using different methods of cooking something can be the key.

Here’s my much enjoyed fun food Emperor Penguin …

Fun food for picky eaters penguin


– Eggplant/aubergine

– Mash (or pureed white veg)

– Pumpkin or sweet potato

– Cottage cheese/ricotta/feta

– Oat bran/cauliflower


1. Form a body shape from the cooked eggplant (I roasted in large chunks).

Emperor Pengiun - 1 Body (1 of 1)

2. Make a beak.

Emperor Pengiun - 2 beak (1 of 1)

3. And a tail.

Emperor Pengiun - 3 tail (1 of 1)

4. Use the mash to make a belly.

Emperor Pengiun - 4 potato (1 of 1)

5. Then more eggplant for the wing and foot.

Emperor Pengiun - 5 foot (1 of 1)

6. The pumpkin makes great colour highlights.

Emperor Pengiun - 6 orange (1 of 1)

7. And mash and a tiny bit of eggplant form the eye.

Emperor Pengiun - 7 eye (1 of 1)

8. Cottage cheese made perfect snow.

Emperor Pengiun - 8 snow (1 of 1)

9. And the egg. Daddy penguins rock at babysitting!!

Emperor Pengiun - 9 egg (1 of 1)

10. Bit of oat bran or grated cauliflower makes magic, falling snow.

Fun food art Emperor Penguin

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

Fun Valentines Veggie Bouquet

Valentines Veggie Bouquet

Happy Valentines Day. We are saying it with heart shaped flowers, well veggies … Boys have dip at the ready ….

Fun food art Valentines bouquet


– Glass

– Base (I used kumara/sweet potato but cabbage/potato/cucumber)

– Veggie skewer – capsicum, cucumber, radish, daikon, carrot

– Kale for the base

– Beans for leaves


1. Put a block of kumara/sweet potato in the glass and add a skewer.

Valentines Veggie Bouquet - 1 base (1 of 1)

2. Cut the veggies into heart shapes and add to the skewer.

Valentines Veggie Bouquet - 2 skewer (1 of 1)

3. Add more.

Valentines Veggie Bouquet - 3 more skewers (1 of 1)

4. Put in green beans for foliage.

Valentines Veggie Bouquet - 4 beans (1 of 1)

5. Use green leafy veg to cover the base.

Valentines Veggie Bouquet

6. A lovely Valentine gift …

Fun food for picky kids edible flowers

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

Fun Sushi Hearts

Sushi Hearts

Am I a proficient sushi maker – no! It’s not something I do regularly and so I apologise in advance to all those who can make perfect little rice packages. I also used brown rice as that’s what I had available. However, I was able to make simple, fun food, Sushi Hearts using a tea towel to roll them and they tasted great!

Fun food art Sushi Hearts


– Sushi (home or pre-made)

– Daikon also called Chinese/Japanese radish (or radish or capsicum)

– Cucumber (or carrot or capsicum)


1. Make the sushi heart by gently squeezing the bottom to form more of a point and pushing into the centre at the top to create the classic, heart shape.

Sushi Hearts - 1 sushi (1 of 1)

2. Add two more sushi.

Sushi Hearts - 2 3 sushi (1 of 1)

3. Then cut daikon and cucumber into heart shapes to complement the sushi.

Sushi Hearts - 3 hearts  (1 of 1)

4. A few grains of rice around the edge and it’s a pretty Valentines plate.

Healthy Valentines Sushi Hearts

The Art of Nutrition

Fun, healthy, creative food for kids big and small

Fun Strawberry Pops

Strawberry Pops

I was lucky to find a huge pot of delicious looking strawberries. Although the boys would normally slam dunk them as is with delight I thought I would jazz them up for a change. I went for an ice cream type topping deal. I reckon this would rock at a party!

Strawberry Pops fun, healthy party food

Check out the boys testing for the first time:

There’s always a bit of reservation on video. There was no such restraint at dinner ..


– Strawberries

– Popsicle (lolly) sticks

– Yoghurt (or coconut cream)

– Toppings: chopped peanuts, flaked almonds, currants, desiccated coconut


1. Wash and hull the strawberries then insert a popsicle stick into the base.

2. Dip in yoghurt.

Strawberry Pops - 1 dipping (1 of 1)

3. Roll in the toppings (or sprinkle them over the top).

Make strawberry ice creams

4. Pull out the stick and use it for another strawberry!

Strawberry Pops - dipper strawberries

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

Fun Heart Balloon

Heart Balloon

My lovely neighbour gifted me a sack of tiny, freshly picked plums. I kept staring at them shining like multi-coloured marbles as they were at different stages of ripening. Once I picked out the ripest and cut them in half I realised they would make the perfect heart.

This fun food Heart Balloon could just as easily be made with grapes!

Fun Valentines food Balloon


– Mini plums (or grapes)

– Mandarin (or pear/apple cut into shape)

– Sunflower seeds (or chopped pieces of raisin or almond)

– Blueberries (or raisins)

– Desiccated coconut (or yoghurt)


1. Slice the plums in half and form a heart shape.

Heart Balloon - 1 plums (1 of 1)

2. Use mandarin segments to make the basket.

Heart Balloon - 2 basket (1 of 1)

3. Form the ropes from sunflower seeds.

Heart Balloon - 3 ropes (1 of 1)

4. Chop blueberries to form two cuddling people. I added a piece of sunflower for an eye for each.

Heart Balloon - 4 people (1 of 1)

5. Add desiccated coconut clouds.

Heart Balloon - 5 clouds (1 of 1)

6. Then some love hearts from plum skin.

Fun food art Heart Balloon

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

Fun Veggie Heart

Veggie Heart

In the lead up to Valentines I can’t stop thinking about hearts – although I have to admit this fun food, Veggie Heart reminds me of a map of Africa!

This was a great plate to make and share as part of lunch.

Fun food art Veggie Heart


Use any colourful veggies you have. I used:

– Radish

– Yellow capsicum (bell pepper)

– Cucumber

– Cherry tomatoes

– Carrot

– Celery

– Beetroot


1. I drew a faint outline of a heart to follow then placed the veggies overlapping around the edge – starting with slices of radish.

Veggie Heart - 1 radish (1 of 1)

2. Then yellow capsicum.

Veggie Heart - 2 yellow capsicum (1 of 1)

3. Slices of cucumber.

Veggie Heart - 3 cucumber (1 of 1)

4. Cherry tomatoes cut in half. I made a point for the bottom that I later removed.

Veggie Heart - 4 tomatoes (1 of 1)

5. Then moved up the other side with carrot.

Veggie Heart - 5 carrot (1 of 1)

6. And slices from a baton of celery.

Veggie Heart - 6 celery (1 of 1)

7. And some steamed beetroot.

Veggie Heart - 7 beetroot (1 of 1)

8. Time to remove the point of tomato from the bottom.

Veggie Heart - 8 remove tomato (1 of 1)


9. A few fresh herbs to decorate and it’s all finished.

Fun healthy Valentines food heart

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

Fun Cherry Hearts

Cherry Hearts

With Valentines only a week or so away it’s time to share some love!

OK so I haven’t actually cut these cherries but they are naturally heart shaped and I thought nothing says romance like the sweet decadence of cherries. Combine that with frozen yogurt and it’s a really special fun food plate ….

Fun food art Cherry Hearts

The boys bounced up and down in the kitchen until I said OK you can eat ….

Cherry Hearts - Boys eating (1 of 1)


– Cherries

– Yoghurt (or coconut cream)


1. Find cherries with stalks (just makes them easier to dip and to eat).

Cherry Hearts - 1 cherries (1 of 1)

2. Dip in yoghurt.

Cherry Hearts - 2 yoghurt (1 of 1)

3. Put in the freezer until the yoghurt goes hard and sticks to the cherry.

Cherry Hearts - 3 frozen cherries (1 of 1)

4. Serve to your loved ones … (or the ones who nag the most ….)

Healthy Valentines food Cherry Hearts

The Art of Nutrition

Fun, healthy, creative food for kids big and small


Fun Superbowl Platter

Superbowl Platter

To celebrate the Superbowl final I have put together a fun food, share platter. Would be perfect for a rugby final too!

Fun food art rugby ball


– Carrot

– White bean dip (or any light coloured dip or cheese)

– Celery

– Cucumber


1. Slice the carrot into thick discs and build the shape of a football.

Superbowl Platter - 1 carrots (1 of 1)

2. Add more carrot sliced thinly to cover the gaps.

Superbowl Platter - 2 filler (1 of 1)

3. Use half carrot slices around the edge.

Superbowl Platter - 3 outline (1 of 1)

4. Shape the dip into the stitches that run down the centre.

Superbowl Platter - 4 stitches (1 of 1)

5. And use more dip for the end stripes.

Superbowl Platter - 5 markings (1 of 1)

6. Add small bowls of dip.

Superbowl Platter - 6 dips (1 of 1)

7. Cut celery and cucumber batons for grass (and as extra crudites).

Superbowl Platter - 7 grass (1 of 1)

8. Then my OCD kicked in and I had to centre the ball better!

Fun food art Superbowl Platter

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