A sweet and tangy nut butter sauce that’s perfect for pouring over grilled meat, fish, vegetables or tempeh, stirring in to fried rice or mixing through these rainbow noodles.

While jarred or packet marinades and sauces might be a quick and convenient way to add flavour to meals, they also come with a load of other nasties that we want to avoid giving our kids, like: preservatives, thickeners, vegetable oils, emulsifiers, sugar, colours and flavours. Having a few simple spice mixes and sauces, like this, in your cooking repetitive – like this nut butter sauce – means you’ll be able to create bases for your meals and add flavour, without reaching for anything ready-made.

COCONUT AMINOS HEALTH BENEFITS

Coconut aminos are a salty, savory seasoning made from the fermented sap of coconut palm and sea salt. Although it’s similar in colour and consistency to light soy sauce, it has a much milder and sweeter flavor and contains 65% less salt than soy.

It’s great for using in dressings and marinades, and as the name suggests, it’s high in amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are essential to kids growth and development. They play a vital role in muscle repair, brain and nervous system function, and help to give their immune system and energy levels a boost. Coconut aminos are also a good source of vitamin C, B vitamins and minerals like potassium, magnesium and zinc. Although it’s sweet tasting, coconut aminos are low-GI so it won’t spike kids blood sugar levels and because of the way it’s processed it remains raw, enzymatically alive and free of antinutrients.

Coconut aminos are milder in flavour and sweeter than soy, so it’s not going to work as an alternate to soy in all your recipes. Tamari is the best soy replacement as it’s wheat-free and traditionally fermented.

MY THOUGHTS ON SOY

Soy is a popular addition to many plant-based diets because it’s a complete protein and a good source of nutrients and phytochemicals. However, there are a few things you should know about it before choosing it as a food for your kids.

Soy is high in anti-nutrients that prevent the absorption of important minerals kids need like: calcium, zinc and iron. It also inhibits thyroid function and the production of important digestive enzymes, is an endocrine disruptor (messes with kids hormones) and is high in phytoestrogens (plant-based estrogen). Eating large amounts of these estrogenic compounds can reduce fertility in women and trigger premature puberty – they should be avoided by teenagers, especially teenage boys while their reproductive systems are still developing. Soy is also one of the most heavily pesticided and genetically modified foods in the world, so always choose organic.

It’s for these reasons, and while children are experiencing so much growth and change in their bodies, that I do not recommend the regular inclusion of soy-based products in their diet. If you do, favour fermented soy products such as tempeh, tamari and miso as the fermentation process they undergo helps to breakdown some of those anti-nutrients.

Nut Butter Sauce

Makes: 1½ cups – Prep time: 5 mins

Ingredients:

1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/2 coconut milk
2 Tbsp coconut aminos
1 Tbsp rice malt syrup
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 tsp ground ginger
Optional: Cayene pepper, if you want to add a little heat

Instructions:

Whiz everything together in the blender until smooth. Add a little water – a teaspoon at a time – if you want to thin it out more.

Rainbow Noodle Salad

Serves: 4 – Prep time: 10 mins

Ingredients:

1 zucchini
1 carrot
50g baby spinach leaves
200g rice noodles
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1/2 red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
Handful of fresh mint and coriander, finely chopped *optional

Instructions:

1. Turn the zucchini and carrot in to “noodles” with a vegetable spiralizer.
2. Cook the rice noodles as per the packet instructions.
3. Heat a frying pan with 1 Tbsp ghee and sauté the red cabbage until it starts to caramelise, this can take up to 10 minutes. Don’t stir it too much – allowing it to sit in the pan will ensure you get some nice crispy brown bits.
4. Combine the veggie noodles, rice noodles, spinach, red cabbage, spring onion and herbs in a bowl and pour over nut butter sauce. Sprinkle over the sesame seeds, then use some tongs to combine everything.

Happy cooking!
Lucy x

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