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.
- Unsalted butter 75g
- leek 1, shredded
- tomato 1, finely chopped
- smoked paprika 1/2
- mixed seeds 30g, e.g. sesame seeds, sunflower, pumpkin seeds
- gluten free oats or regular oats 175g
- chopped parsley 1 tbsp
- grated cheddar cheese 200g
- Eggs 3, beaten
- pinch of sea salt and black pepper
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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- Hosseini et al Effects of Fruit and Vegetable Consumption on Risk of Asthma, Wheezing and Immune Responses: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrients. 2017 Apr; 9(4): 341.
- Monemi M. B., Kazemitabar K., Khaniki G. B., Yasari E., Sohrevardi F., Pourbagher R. (2014), Tissue Culture Study of The Medicinal Plant Leek (Allium Ampeloprasum L), International Journal of Molecular Cell Medicine Spring,Vol 3 No 2, pp. 1-4
- Nicastro et al Garlic and onions: Their cancer prevention properties. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2015 Mar; 8(3): 181–189.
- Nielsen G. S. and Poll L. (2004), Determination of Odor Active Aroma Compounds in Freshly Cut Leek (Allium ampeloprasum Var. Bulga) and in Long-Term Stored Frozen Unblanched and Blanched Leek Slices by Gas Chromatography Olfactometry Analysis, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 52 (6).
- Xiao H. B, Jun-Fang, Lu XY et al. (2009), Protective effects of kaempferol against endothelial damage by an improvement in nitric oxide production and a decrease in asymmetric dimethylarginine level, European Journal of PharmacologyVolume 616, Issues 1-3, pp. 213-219.
- Kcals 211
- Fat 14.5g
- Saturates 7.6g
- Carbs 10.8g
- Sugars 0.6g
- Fibre 1.8g
- Protein 8.3g
- Salt 0.4g