With St. Davids Day coming up we're talking leeks... and 6 reasons why your children should eat more of them
Leek and Cheese Seeded Flapjacks
It's not always easy to get your children to eat more vegetables. The most recent government's National Diet and Nutrition Survey found only eight per cent of children aged 11 to 18 years actually met the 5-a-day recommendations.
But, some vegetables may be more nourishing for your children than others. This winter try adding some leeks to your children's favourite dishes. Packed with an array of vitamins, minerals and other health promoting nutrients.
Start by trying these family-friendly and delicious flapjacks - they are the perfect way to sneak more vegetables into their day - plus, we've 6 reasons why leeks, especially, are so beneficial to a child's diet.
Healthy Leek & Cheese Seeded Flapjacks
A delicious savoury flapjack, ideal for children's packed lunches, afternoon snacks and even a grab and go breakfast option. A great combination of slow releasing oats, protein packed seeds and cheese with shredded leeks for plenty of flavour.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
75g unsalted butter
1 leek shredded
1 tomato finely chopped
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
30g mixed seeds e.g sesame seeds, sunflower, pumpkin seeds
175g gluten free oats or regular oats
1tbsp chopped parsley
200g grated cheddar cheese
3 eggs, beaten
Pinch of sea salt and black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F).
2. Grease and line a baking dish either 20cm square or use individual mini square or loaf tins to make individual flapjacks.
3. Add the butter, leek, tomato and smoked paprika to a saute pan or frying pan. Place on a low heat and cook gently for 5 minutes until the leek has softened. Turn off the heat and allow the leek mixture to cool slightly.
4.Add the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.
5.Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin or individual tins and press firmly down with the back of a spoon.
6. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes until golden brown.
7.Allow to cool slightly. If using one larger tin lift the flapjack out onto a board and cut into pieces while warm. If using individual moulds allow the flapjacks to cool for 10 minutes before removing and cooling on a wire rack.
Delicious warm or cold, they can also be frozen up to 1 month too.
Nutritional Analysis Per Flapjack: Calories 211kcal, fat 14.5g, saturates 7.6g, carbohydrates 10.8g, sugars 0.6g, fibre 1.8g, protein 8.3g, salt 0.4g
6 Top Reasons why your Children should eat more Leeks
Say goodbye to coughs and colds. Leeks belong to the Allium genus which includes garlic, shallots and onions. Rich in sulphur containing compounds such as allicin which are known for their anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. They also contain plenty of vitamin C and zinc - two essential nutrients for a healthy immune system.
Various studies have shown that a low intake of fruits and vegetables has been linked to an increase risk of asthma. Asthma is an inflammatory condition affecting 1.1 million children (1 in 11) in the UK. Leeks contain an array of anti-oxidants including kaempferol, a flavonol shown to help lower inflammation in the body and reduce the risk of many health conditions linked to oxidative stress and chronic low-level inflammation.
If your children are constantly tired and struggling to get through the day, then they may be low in iron or anaemic. Leeks are a useful source of iron, copper and B vitamins including folate which are vital for the production of red blood cells and haemoglobin.
As haemoglobin in the red blood cells carries oxygen around the body, insufficient levels can affect both mental and physical performance and contribute to fatigue. Leeks also contain a number of vitamins and minerals essential for energy production including magnesium, niacin, riboflavin and thiamine. Consume leeks regularly to keep your energy levels high.
A great source of fibre, leeks help support healthy digestion, reducing the risk of constipation. Fibre also keeps you feeling fuller for longer preventing those episodes of 'hanger' - where your blood sugar dips making you feel moody and irritable. Leeks are rich in a special prebiotic fibre known as inulin which provides food for our beneficial gut bacteria which in turn helps lower inflammation, boost immune function and even improve mood.
Leeks are excellent sources of antioxidants that fight damaging -free radicals. One leek (about 89g) contains a third of your daily requirements of Vitamin A an antioxidant that helps support healthy vision together with carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.
Exams, pressures at school can all cause our children to feel stressed or anxious from time to time. Leeks are rich in B vitamins needed for healthy adrenal function which is involved in our stress response. They also contain potassium and magnesium which can help calm the nervous system and muscles making it easier for your children to relax and unwind.
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