Tag Archives: healthy eating

Healthy & Delicious Home-Cooked Alternatives to Your Kids’ Favourite Junk Food.

Guest Blog by Menzies Hotels.

Kids and junk food is not a new combination, but sadly it is an unhealthy one that can lead to obese children. If you don’t want your kids to become an obesity rate statistic, but the thought of wrestling them away from their favourite fast food treats seems like mission impossible, we have a sneaky suggestion for you.

It’s simple, really: adapt your children’s favourite junk food into healthy homemade family-friendly alternatives. Here are a few of our top tips for healthy ‘junk’ food:









Fast food burgers made with fatty, salty beef, a white bun, and lots of toppings are high in calories, cholesterol, fat and carbohydrates. Try subbing out the processed beef for a grilled chicken breast to cut down on cholesterol and fat, and serve it on a wholegrain bun for added fibre.

Bump up your burger’s appeal by topping it with tasty avocado rather than bacon and cheese, both of which are full of saturated fat. And if your kids can’t eat a burger without ketchup, whip up some fresh salsa instead. It’ll give the burger a burst of flavour without the hefty dose of sugar that’s found in store-bought ketchup.

Fish and Chips

Make fish and chips healthier by replacing traditional deep-fried chips with a baked sweet potato version. Cut a sweet potato into wedges and spread them out on a baking tray coated in heart-healthy olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and rosemary, then bake until crispy. Your kids will be surprised how the sweetness of the potato adds extra flavor to this junk food favorite.

And while we’re at it, try grilling or baking a juicy piece of cod and flavouring it with lemon and dill, rather than coating it in batter and sizzling it in a vat of vegetable oil.

Pasta Dishes







Kids love pasta, but the problem with takeaway pasta dishes is that they’re often coated in processed creamy or sugary sauces. Try cooking up a simple homemade tomato sauce to lather it in instead. Using fresh tomatoes will make the sauce more flavoursome than tinned or fast food versions, both of which are packed to the brim with sugar. Serve wholewheat pasta, instead of the regular white stuff, for more fibre.

Shepherd’s Pie







Cut down on the fat and simple carbohydrate content of a traditional shepherd’s pie by replacing the cheesy mashed potato topping with mashed cauliflower. Break down a head of cauliflower and boil the florets, then blend until smooth for a mashed layer your kids will love. If you want to add texture to your cauliflower, blend in some low-fat coconut milk for more flavour and creaminess.

Sugary Drinks and Fruit Juice







Empty liquid calories from sugar-heavy soft drinks, fruit juices and other processed drinks can wreak havoc on your child’s health. Make a delicious replacement by adding fresh fruits or vegetables to a pitcher of water, and keep it in the fridge so it’s handy whenever your little ones want a sweet treat. Within a few hours the water will take on the flavour of the infused produce. Start with kid-friendly options like strawberries, lemons, grapes or cucumbers.

Chicken Nuggets







Chicken nuggets are a staple of many kids’ diets, but the junk food version is fried, fatty and often made with the less healthy dark meat of the chicken (or with unidentifiable bits of chicken altogether!). Make nuggets healthier at home by using white meat, and baking instead of frying. Cut chicken breasts into nugget-shaped pieces, coat them in bread crumbs using egg whites, and toss ’em into the oven.

If you follow these simple recipes, your kids won’t even know the difference, and you can sleep easy knowing your little ones aren’t going to balloon into unhealthy little monsters. (Though we can’t help with the monster part, we’re afraid!)


Photos by: mosespreciado, kae71463, Maggie Hoffman, Sodanie Chea, sushi♥ina, and Adam S.

One Week and Counting…

With just under eight days to go until the Stratford Food Festival, it’s time for a roundup of what festivalgoers can expect at Stratford’s biggest and best foodie event.

The countdown has begun! (Image courtesy of lssacademy.com)

Yesterday saw the last of 1000 goodie bags kindly provided by Stratford Waitrose filled and packed by the Festival team, ready to be given out to the first 500 visitors to arrive at each day of the event. The gates will open at 10am, so make sure you get to the Racecourse venue early!

Over 120 exhibitors are now confirmed to attend, and our policy of limiting the number of similar products guarantees variety across all the outside spaces and indoor exhibition tents. A feature of this year’s Festival is a focus on local produce, so make sure to check out Exhibition Tent B, exclusively for exhibitors from the Stratford and Warwickshire area. Exhibition Tents A and C also contain a wealth of great produce, with many exhibitors from the midlands and more far-flung parts of the UK showcasing their wares for you to taste and buy. We’ll also have over 50 exhibitors setting up their own outside stands, selling everything from hot mains and desserts to strawberries, vodka, oysters, milkshakes and kitchen equipment.

Variety is the spice of life, so we’ve kept it varied! (Image courtesy of d19lgisewk9l6l.cloudfront.net)

On the food entertainment side there are two demonstration areas and an interactive workshop space. The Cookery Theatre promises demos from top local and national chefs, including Michelin-standard dishes, recipes inspired by Shakespeare, sourdough baking, Indian cookery, and our headline acts Paul Hollywood and Sophie Michell. Our Talk & Taste theatre includes butchery, wine tasting, cheesemaking, baking, healthy eating, cupcake-decorating, and British puddings, with many samples for your to try! For those wanting a more hands-on experience, the Interactive Workshop area can be found next to Exhibition Tent A, and includes Indian cookery, artisan baking, and beer tasting: numbers are strictly limited and some workshops have an additional charge.

To ensure a festival atmosphere throughout the weekend, the live music stage will be running all day with a selection of popular local bands as well as fantastic up-and-coming talent. Like our exhibitors, we’ve kept the music varied, so expect everything from covers of classic folk, pop and blues rock tracks to acoustic originals. You can find the music stage next to the Real Ale Bar and The One Elm hexagonal site: it’s the perfect place to sit down and soak up the atmosphere whilst tucking in to some delicious food and drink!

Burning Guitar Wallpaper

If you can’t handle the heat, get out of the music stage… (Image courtesy of hdwpapers.com)

Our prime site exhibitors this year are The One Elm pub and Havilands Vintage Café, both based in Stratford. The One Elm have a hexagonal tent behind Exhibition Tent C near the music stage, and will be offering a full bar (including Aspalls cyder) and a BBQ with succulent burgers supplied by award-winning butchers Aubrey Allen of Leamington Spa. Havilands will be laying on the full afternoon tea experience at the Festival, with a large permanent structure next to the Cookery Theatre: think vintage cream teas, hot and cold drinks, cakes, scones, teacakes and quiches! New for 2013 is a local Real Ale Bar, showcasing three fantastic producers based in Warwickshire: North Cotswold Brewery, Church Farm Brewery, and The Old Pie Factory Brewery. Find the Real Ale Bar in between the Cookery Theatre and the Music Stage.

Bringing the kids? No problem! We’ve got some great entertainment for them too! PG Leisure are providing a climbing wall, bungee trampoline, land train, bouncy castle and inflatable slide to get rid of that excess energy; Halona Horses are offering pony rides: fitting given the Racecourse location; and Midland Adventure are offering target shooting for older children. Don’t forget, under-16s can get into the Festival for FREE with an accompanying adult!

Being a kid is great, and even greater at the Stratford Food Festival! (Image courtesy of students.ou.edu)