How we tackled… After school hunger

… After School Hunger

This September saw me dropping off a child at school for the first time ever. There were tears (all mine), there was pride (class certificate in his first week) and there were endless days (and nights) of worry about how well he would settle in (extremely). All par for the course naturally and I was ready for how tired he would be at the end of every day and especially at the end of the week.

What I wasn’t quite prepared for, however, was the absolutely, totally, completely insatiable hunger we’d have on our hands now that school was in the picture.

Max was in a lovely private day nursery before starting school where he would have breakfast number 2 when he arrived at about 8.45am, a 2 course home-cooked meal at 11.30am and a further teatime “snack” at 3.30pm before returning home for another proper dinner with us. In essence, he was eating about 17 meals a day and was pretty happy about it.

School, however, is a whole new ball game. He came back from his first week excitedly telling me, “Mummy, you can eat a carrot whenever you want!” but, unlimited carrots aside, food is in shorter supply and, added to that dynamic, school is hungry work. Basically we were given one hungry boy every day at 3.20pm.

We’re dealing with this hunger in many different ways. Bemusement mainly but also fruit, lots of it (apples, pears, oranges, berries, you name it), toast of course (where would we be without toast), ice creams (on Fridays) and basically whatever else we can find in the cupboard.

But as the hunger continues and we try to find new ways to fill this boy up I thought I would devote a bit of time this half term to trying a few new ideas which had to tick 3 key criteria:

Quick(ish) and easy
On the healthy side
Tastes good
First up I tried skinny chocolate and cranberry muffins – a BBC Good Food recipe which you can find here:

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/252615/skinny-chocolate-and-cranberry-muffins

I actually left out the cranberries as we’re not too keen in this household although I’d think about substituting some nuts next time for some texture. The recipe calls for very little sugar, low fat yoghurt and skimmed milk which all in all make for a relatively healthy muffin. I enjoyed them but fully anticipated Max to not be so keen as they are really not very sweet but he wolfed it down and asked for another. For me these ticked all 3 boxes but I could probably tweak the recipe a little.

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Next up I tried a Jamie Oliver Everyday Superfood recipe – smoothie pancakes. I used berries for my “smoothie” and left out the banana. This may well have been my undoing because, whilst I’ve seen a lot of love for this recipe online (and despite the pic) we all universally hated it, it all ended up in the bin. Certainly quick, definitely healthy but that’s no good if it’s inedible.

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Finally I decided to make my own brioche as this is something both kids have always loved (obviously) but I’ve never actually made. I used a Paul Hollywood recipe from his How to Bake book. I love this book. I’m really not a great baker but everything I make from it seems to turn out well and we often enjoy wraps and pitta from his recipes.

I actually thought brioche would be considerably harder work but, with a mixer with a dough hook attachment at least, it was really easy. The only faff was that after the initial 15 minutes or so of making the dough you have to cool it for at least 7 hours which, in half term week isn’t so bad but normally that level of organisation is not my strong point.

Anyway, the next day after the dough had cooled then proved and baked we had the most wonderful brioche which you can, of course, add some extra butter to for good measure. And jam. And vodka when the kids are finally in bed.

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I’m still coming up with ideas but for this week at least Max seems fairly full! Hallelujah.