Spice up your life!

☝️ How many of these can you recognise? Is spice a part of your family diet or something you save for adult palates?

🙊 A lot of children use the word spice for all strong flavoured foods and often associate spice with chili and heat. As a result we can limit the use of spice in children’s food for fear of challenging their taste buds or taking them outside a comfort zone which means they may not eat the end result..think of the flat non-spiced kids menus options out there – that pasta with tomato sauce rarely includes fennel seeds or a tsp of paprika!

🧠 However, studies have shown that diets from a young age that include spice as part of their flavouring encourage synaptic response to foods and evolves palates, opening children up to trying new foods. Think also of how spices change and bring out natural flavours and can even have a magic effect on our brains. Did you know that cinnamon tricks our brain into thinking we’re eating something sweet, so if you add cinnamon to a dish you can lower the sugar content and still feel like you’re eating a sweet treat? Magic!

💪 Of course there are also the many amazing health benefits of so many herbs and spices. Think of almighty turmeric and how it can help digestion and ease colds, or how ginger can soothe nausea and act as an anti-inflammatory. For centuries spices have been our natural remedies and ways to heal all manner of issues.

📝 Our Foodini recipes have often included some of the more easily accessible spices such as ground coriander, mild paprika (an important flavour in Fungki Burgers alongside fennel seeds), fennel, cumin and turmeric. Without the black onion seeds, our carrot Naans would taste really flat!

👦 And as for whether kids can take it, the answer is yes, given the chance! Though if they’re unused to it you might need to start small and build up. Start subtly with simple spices in flatbreads or tomato sauce and see how it goes – here are some of our favourite simple spice additions:

  • Roasted carrots with cumin
  • 1 TSP black onion seeds in a basic yoghurt flatbread recipe (see our Parsnip & potato flatbreads or Carrot Naans for this)
  • Roasted parsnips with honey and ginger (fresh or dried)
  • Cutting potatoes into chips and roasting in the oven with paprika, salt, oregano and fennel seeds
  • Adding 1 TSP fennel seeds to a basic tomato sauce
  • Ground coriander in a veggie burger

👍 How do you encourage spice in your kids diets?

Here’s a recipe for a simple Chai milk which introduces some wonderful warming spices to your child in a super comforting drink…

0.25 tsp cinnamon
Pinch ground nutmeg
Pinch ground cardamom
2 tsp sugar/honey
1 cup milk / dairy free milk

Firstly heat the spice with the honey in a pan for a minute, then mix in the milk and stir while heating for a few mins until warm. Enjoy!

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