No parent deliberately feeds their children food they think is bad for them, but we're all busy and sometimes it's hard to serve up meals that are completely free of junk.
But from April 28, a campaign will be launched to challenge us to do everything we can to cook with fresh, natural ingredients – and to challenge the food industry to remove the hidden nasties that lurk in our kids food.
The 'No Junk Challlenge' organised by Organix, which produces organic toddler and baby food, is calling on the government and food industry to address the artificial additives and to remove the high quantities of added salt, fat and sugar content in foods targeted at children. Sounds good!
If you want to get involved, from 28 April to 4 May, you can pledge to feed your family using real ingredients and to try to avoid foods with artificial colourings and flavourings, or foods high in added salt, fat and sugar.
The campaign is supported by Holly Bell (finalist in series two of the 2011 Great British Bake Off and blogger 'Recipes from a Normal Mum') and the Crumbs Sisters (creators of the popular 'Crumbs' Blog).
River Cottage and Leon will also be contributing recipes during the week of the challenge. Parents will be able to take part in fun activities to explore what is in children's food, help expose some of the junk, and share their own healthy and delicious recipes to cook simple meals with natural ingredients.
If you'd like to get involved and sign the pledge go to Organix.com/nojunk or join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #NoJunk. To inspire you, here's a delicious recipe from River Cottage.
Made in 12 minutes (the time it takes for pasta to boil, plus a minute), this pasta dish is a garlicky mess of pasta and broccoli which kids devour, and (with the addition of some chilli) has grown-ups begging for seconds.
250g broccoli florets
2 garlic cloves, sliced
A pinch of sea salt
Dried chilli flakes to taste - optional
Pepper to taste
A dollop of cream, crème fraîche, or Greek yoghurt, would be nice, but not essential
Ideally Pecorino or parmesan to taste, but you can use Cheddar
1. Put the pasta on to cook in a large pan of water.
2. After about 3 minutes of it bubbling, add the florets of broccoli and let them cook with the pasta for the remaining 7 minutes. I'm sure this is sacrilege if you are Italian or a chef, but it saves time and washing up, which are big priorities for me. When the pasta is cooked the broccoli should also be cooked, probably more than the al dente that you're used to though, but that's good.
3. Strain everything in a colander and leave while you heat the olive oil (in the saucepan which had the pasta in), then cook the garlic (and optional chilli) for a minute, don't allow it to go brown.
4. Turn off the heat and add the pasta and broccoli and pinch of salt. Put the lid on the pan and bang it as much as you can. The idea is that the slightly soft broccoli breaks up and coats the pasta. If the banging doesn't do the trick, give it a good stir to break it up with a wooden spoon.
5. Then, if I have some creme fraiche or cream I stir in a dollop, loads of black pepper and serve. Sprinkle with cheese.
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