Let's talk food

Our philosophy is to keep it natural and keep it simple

Society is beginning to understand the impact high-sugar, high-refined and highly-processed food is having on our health. It has become so ingrained in the way we eat that it is very hard to avoid it, yet many of these things are recent additions to our lives - high fructose corn syrup came onto the market in 1980s; genetically engineered food around 1996; and the use of chemicals in and on our food has risen exponentially. The impact of these processed foods on public health is beginning to be understood, yet the worst offending foods are often those that are being heavily marketed at our children - sweets, fizzy drinks, biscuits, cakes, chocolate.   

We believe that there is no greater time in life when it is more important to eat nutrient dense, natural food than in childhood - a child's rate of development and growth is phenomenal. *Did you know that around 90% of the brain’s capacity develops before kids are 5 years old? Giving children food that will support this growth - such as foods rich in essential fatty acids (omega 3 in oily fish) and choline (found in eggs) - is a no brainer (pun intended!). Yet it is a time in life when it is often hard to eat optimally - the intense marketing of junk food aimed at children, unhealthy food options in schools (though Jamie Oliver has done great work to raise standards), and fussy eaters to name but a few reasons. 

Food principles  

We believe in applying the following principles to what adults and  children eat in a day. We focus less on the ratios of macronutrients (fat/carb/protein) because everyone is unique and will need different amounts, and more on the quality and nutrient density of food:    

  • Eat the rainbow - lots of fruit and vegetables 
  • Organic and seasonal when possible  
  • Good quality fats used appropriately in cooking 
  • Good quality protein foods 
  • Moderate amounts of unrefined carbohydrates  
  • The right balance of omega 3 and omega 6 
  • No trans fats 
  • No refined ingredients such as sugar and flour

We don't believe in depriving children of treats and comfort food. Instead, we show how these can be made using whole unrefined ingredients and natural sweeteners. We don’t expect this to replace everything your child has previously been eating - kids will eat cake and that’s ok! We hope though that our recipes will show how it is possible to avoid sugar and that they will give you more options at meal times. Our ambition is to help bring about positive change and educate children about the incredible power of food - this doesn't happen overnight and we hope will become a lifelong journey for everyone we connect with.

Want to find out more information on foods? Watch out for our blog coming soon! 

*Florida Department of Education. Welcome to the World: An Overview of Your Growing Child. (Tallahassee, Florida, 2013), available at www.fldoe.org.    

Cooking skills by age

No two children are the same. Below is a guide to the sorts of skills and activities you can expect by age. Whilst we hope this helps, it is the responsibility of the parent or guardian to judge based on their understanding of their own child. Little Cooks Co always recommends supervising cooking at all times

This guide does not repeat each skill in each age group - it only adds to those already listed.

UNDER 3 YEARS • Washing fruit and vegetables - this is a great way of teaching them the names of vegetables and sparking an interest which will hopefully encourage them to try different foods • Stirring ingredients • Mashing with a fork or potato masher (so long as the food isn't too hard) • Sprinkling e.g. flour - but put a tray underneath to avoid too much mess • Pouring ingredients into a mixing bowl

3-5 YEARS • Weighing - pouring or spooning ingredients into measuring cups • Using measuring spoons • Cutting soft ingredients e.g. butter or soft fruit using a strong plastic knife • Mixing - using either a spoon or hands to mix ingredients together • Tearing herbs and salad leaves • Sieving - it's best to balance the sieve over a bowl and tap it rather than shake it around! • Rolling, shaping and cutting dough - choose plastic cutters and a small rolling pin • Spreading - e.g. buttering bread and spreading icing • Greasing and lining a cake tin or tray • Helping to clear up - wipe surfaces, help load/unload the dishwasher etc.  

5-7 YEARS • Cutting with scissors - smaller scissors or children's scissors are preferable and can be used to cut herbs or parchment paper for lining a baking tray • Grating - fingers can easily be grated so keep watch and make sure they don't get too close to the end of whatever they're grating • Measuring with less supervision - as children learn to read and do basic maths, this is a great opportunity for them to do this with less supervision • Beating and folding - show children how to beat cake mixture with a wooden spoon or fold in egg whites without knocking out too much air • Peel fruits and vegetables or hard-boiled eggs - make sure the eggs aren't too hot • Setting the table - encourage this from a young age!  

8-10 YEARS • Following a recipe unassisted • Finding ingredients in the cupboards and fridge • Slicing vegetables - though supervision for this is advised • Whisking, using a balloon whisk or handheld mixer • Using heat on a hob, oven and microwave • Making salads