I Quit Sugar: Kids' Cookbook by Sarah Wilson (MacMillan)
When my son was six years old we noticed he never stopped jiggling. His teacher said it was like he wanted to go to the toilet all the time. He didn't, in desperation she drew a small circle around his body and told him he could not move out of it. We took him to a Naturopath and he told us we had to take sugar out of his diet. So began the scrutinising of every label on packets of food while at the supermarket. I found the amount of sugar in food quite shocking. Foods that I thought were healthy were loaded with sugar. It meant I had to do more baking and use stevia instead of sugar. And yes it made a huge difference taking sugar out of his diet.
I wish this recipe book had been around 15 years ago (my jiggly son is now 21 years old). It begins with reasons why parents should consider taking their kids off sugar. Sarah says it is not about 'bad' foods and banning certain items. Instead, parents should try to encourage them to fill-up on other sugarless snacks, treats and meals. She says it's about eating like our grandparents did; less packaged food and with the least number of ingredients.
The World Health Organisation recommends children aged 4-8 years old shouldn't be eating more than 3 teaspoons of sugar a day. Yet some foods such as a glass of apple juice, bowl of cereal or toast with jam can blow that count in one serving. You can read about what too much sugar does to young children and advice about what we should be feeding our children. There's a very helpful allergy substitution guide and advice on how to navigate the book.
The recipes are then organised into the following categories:
Simple staples that get kids to the table - 10 pages
Breakfast for brain power - 12 pages
Vegetable dishes (and the art of disguising they're vegetables) - 14 pages
Classic dishes but with the IQS makeover - 14 pages
Creative fun sweet dishes - 10 pages
Lunchbox ideas - 20 pages
Grab'n'Run dishes - 10 pages
Party dishes - 22 pages
One hundred people responded to Sarah's plea for sugarless recipes, as well as specialised contributors such as Kate Burbidge; registered psychologist who is also a health nut in the kitchen, Bree Hateley creator of stokeswap.com.au, a website dedicated to providing healthy and wholesome tips for feeding kids; and Lee Holmes author of multiple cookbooks; and others.
The recipes are fun, healthy and original. Take this recipe for example:
1 red or green apple cut into thin wedges. 1-2 tbsp nut butter
2 tsp silvered almonds or pumpkin seeds
1. Spread the nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew) over half of the apple slices and stick on another slice at a 'jaw-like' angle.
2. Spike the almond slivers or pumpkin seeds into the nut butter to form teeth.
3. Serves two or three as a snack.
Author Sarah Wilson is a New York Times bestselling author and journalist. Her site IQuitSugar.com an online wellness site featuring the latest news, science and nutritional support for anyone wanting to ease their sugar load in their diet.
RRP $29.99 paperback
Weekday Meals in Minutes by Simon & Alison Holst (Hyndman Publishing)
Okay this book is for all the busy parents who rush home from work, scratch their heads wondering what nutritious meal they can whip up quickly. I think there are plenty of parents who need help at those bewitching hours.
The book gives you hints on what to stock in your pantry, weekly meal planning, and then divides the recipes into the following: salads; sandwiches, wraps & burgers; pasta, noodles & rice; curries & chillies; vegetarian meals; main meals with fish & seafood; main meals with meat. You can also find more recipes on their website and find it with a q-code.
The meals have been chosen for their quickness to prepare. Each recipe has from 3-5 steps and it should only take 30 minutes to make. You'll find delicious meal ideas like Chinese-style chicken salad, Greek-style lamb burgers, Mediterranean meatballs in pita pockets, seafood laksa, Chicken & Chorizo Jambalaya, Pad Thai ... they've mined the globe for culinary delights. They haven't taken up unnecessary room with cakes, biscuits and desserts recipes you're never going to make when you're in a rush; they're all lunch and dinner menu ideas. Just what busy parents need.
Dame Alison Holst and her son Simon Holst have written over 40 recipe books together. They've all been bestsellers and have sold over 2.1 million copies to date.