Summer holidays recipes with children

Your youngsters will have plenty of time to indulge their love for console games, football and other activities throughout the remainder of the summer holidays. But the extended break also gives you time to encourage a love for good, wholesome food in your children by making fun meals and snacks for the whole family.

Let’s start with an old favourite; the cake. Not all variations have to be dripping with cream and sugar, and in fact too much of those two ingredients can easily ruin an otherwise fine effort. Better to add fruit or low fat yogurt, if possible.

For example, a simple sponge cake can be created by combining 50g of plain flour with a few tablespoons of cornflour and a sprinkle of baking powder. Measuring these ingredients should be simple for most children, with a little help.

Whisk four egg whites into peaks and pour in 180g of caster sugar and whisk again. The egg yolks should then be beaten and added, before the flour/powder is folded in. The mixture will fill two greased sandwich tins and should take about 20 minutes to rise at 180C – use the ‘skewer test’ to make sure they’re done. Low-fat fromage frais and fruit are the fillings – most tinned fruit will work – and a dash of icing sugar on top completes the ensemble.

Getting children to eat their fruit can be a challenge, but there are ways! Simple kebabs combining low-fat cheese with strawberries, blueberries, apple and other sweet treats will work. Low-fat pancakes using a cup of self-raising flour, a tablespoon of sugar and one egg (or one cup of wholemeal flour and 2tbsp of sugar) are just crying out for fruit and a spot of lemon zest.

Stir-fries are a simple way of creating low-fat, low-carb meals, although youngsters need to be supervised with cutting ingredients and around a hot wok. They encourage creativity, thinking about colour, and following instructions. A simple marinade of oil, honey, and soy sauce can be added to virtually any set of vegetables, meat and even fruit.

Alternatively, salmon and vegetables such as broccoli, mini corns and bean sprouts, drizzled with the marinade, can be baked in the oven for 15-20 minutes in little packets of foil. Other than chopping veg and placing the packets in the oven, any creative part of this meal can be tackled by a child.

Children love getting messy in the kitchen and homemade burgers are another way of maximising creativity but also keeping an eye on calories. Turkey mince, breadcrumbs, a very finely sliced onion, egg whites and seasoning are low in fat, and your little one will enjoy rolling 2-3lbs of burger mix into 12-15 shapes – make sure they wash their hands. Children of a certain age can be supervised in turning the burgers over a low to medium heat, and can also pick additional ingredients – spring onions, chilli, garlic, finely sliced peppers, curry powder and many other variations will tickle little taste buds.

Finally, the humble salad is an easy, healthy meal and allows you to hoover up ingredients from the fridge. You could fry tiny chunks of meat or Quorn to pep it up if you desire, but after that let your child take the lead in choosing the lettuce, vegetables, fruit, nuts, spices or other treats.

So there are no excuses for not creating a menu of treats, and also bonding with your child at the same time. But don’t forget to make them clear up!