Mar 162012

Healthy food does not have to be more expensive. The Harvard School of Public Health’s Health Prevention Research Center came up with simple tips for after school programs to keep the cost of healthier snacks down:

  • Do not serve sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Serve water every day.
  • Serve a fruit and/or low-priced vegetable (such as carrots or celery) every day.
  • Allocate price savings from replacing 100% juice with tap water towards purchasing and serving whole fruit because of its higher fiber content and effects on satiety.
  • Offer fresh fruits or vegetables over more expensive canned or frozen versions.
  • When serving grains (such as bread, crackers, and cereals), serve whole grains.
  • Avoid foods with trans fat.

These tips are useful for parents wanting to save money and provide healthy food for their children.  The ‘eco parenting – growing greener children’ book is an excellent evidence based research book that provide multitudinous reasons why parents should choose healthy food for their children.


Dec 132011

Enjoy Christmas this year by choosing healthy, quality food.

What is healthy, quality food?

  1. Food grown without pesticides and chemical fertilisers or organic food
  2. Food that contains no added growth hormones, antibiotics, or other drugs
  3. Food that does not contain artificial flavouring, preservatives or colouring
  4. Fresh food – farmers markets, community gardens or ‘grow your own’ food is fresher, fresher is better
  5. Whole food without additional added oils, sugars, etc.
  6. Food that is not genetically modified and that does not contain GM ingredients
  7. Sustainable production food – eg free range poultry, organic meat
Enjoy Christmas!
Aug 252011

Have you ever wondered how Udon Noodles are made.  Toshi Komatsu provided a wonderful demonstration at Sandra Frain’s educational program. Toshi preparing the dough It was great fun – in particular that all the parents and children were able to help flatten the dough using their feet!

Toshi had prepared the udon noodle dough from a kilo of wholemeal flour, water and salt.  He kneaded it into a round ball and then the fun began.

Toshi took a large sheet of plastic between which the dough was placed.  In Japan a large bamboo mat is used, which is the traditional way to prepare the dough for the noodles.

Parents and children stood on the plastic with the dough beneath their feet

Toshi turned the dough over and put it beneath the sheets of plastic after each set of parents and children had walked a full circle on the dough.  The parents and children all took turns until the dough was about 40 centimetres in diameter.

The parents and children then walked their feet around in a small circle to flatten the dough

Toshi then took a long piece of doweling, approx 2cm diameter to finish flattening the dough.

Toshi finishing flattening the noodle dough

The dough was then folded on itself as shown in the picture below.  A large flat kitchen chopping knife provided the ideal instrument to slice the dough into thin strips, which were then laid out on the table.

Folding the dough in preparation for making the noodles

Toshi used a flat bladed chopping knife he had brought from Japan to cut the noodle dough.

Cutting the udon noodles.

The udon noddles are carefully laid out on the table.

The udon noodles.

When all the dough had been cut it was put in boiling water.  The noodles take between 5 and 15 minutes to cook, depending on the thickness of the noodles.

The udon noodles are cooked in boiling water.

Toshi and Sandra served the noodles with a mixture of mirin and soy sauce and a few sesame seeds.  Delicious!  A great experience!

Toshi is a kindergarten teacher at the St Kilda Steiner Kindergarten in Melbourne.  Sandra Frain runs Living, Loving, Learning (and Laughing too) Educational Programs for all Ages in Mullumbimby, NSW.

Thank you Toshi and Sandra!