MUFFIN monsters and cocoa cat cakes. They may not sound like the most healthy meals at first.
But the good news is, they’re yummy and good for you.
They are two examples of the food on easy-to-follow recipes from the British Heart Foundation (BHF).
The BHF is producing healthy eating packs nationwide as part of its aim to reduce childhood obesity. Around one in five children in England (22.8 per cent) is overweight or obese the year they start school.
In five year olds, 82 per cent of boys and 86.3 per cent of girls in England don’t get their five a day fruit and vegetables, while a third of children get less than the recommended amount of physical activity each week (32 per cent).
Children at Hart Primary were chosen to try out the packs as a reward for raising the most money (£510.20) for BHF during National Wear Red Day last summer.
BHF officials turned up and helped create party favourites such as mini pizzas, chocolate buns and jellies with lower amounts of sugar, salt, fat and saturated fat than standard party foods.
The animal themed packs are aimed at four to eight year-olds and also come with glossy game cards to inspire a string of fun games and craft activities.
There are also tips for adults on how to prepare food, entertainment and goody bags for children’s parties as well as colour-coded charts showing the nutritional content of standard party food and healthier options.
Suggestions include swapping traditional pizza slices for ‘muffin monster’ pizzas made with bread muffin bases – cutting the amount of calories and salt by two thirds (from 248 to just 84 and salt lowered from 1.4g per portion to 0.5g).
Baking the suggested ‘cocoa cat cake’ has 80 per cent less saturated fat per portion compared with a slice of standard chocolate birthday cake (0.8g compared with 7.1g).
The reward party was held on National Heart Day last week and all 88 pupils at the school joined in.
The healthy recipes were prepared by East College in Durham with help from students on the BTEC course at Easington Community School, Shotton Hall School and Dean School – Durham.
Sharon Flowers, head of catering at East College Durham, said: “The recipes were easy to follow and make, using readily available foods which could be purchased locally.”
BHF representative Fiona Turner said: “A good party can still have healthy food and the delicious recipes encourage schools and parents to order our new Healthy Party Packs.”
Hart Primary School administrator Jo Coulson said: “We’ve been very impressed with the support and co-operation we have received from the BHF, parents and our own student council. Having healthy food at school parties fits in with our present ‘Healthy School’ ethos.”
Hartlepool Borough Council community nutritionist Jennifer McDermott said: “It was great to see the children having such fun and enjoying the healthy food too. Children’s parties are often quite a concern to me as I see a whole host of very high fat and high sugar foods being served to the children.”
To order a party pack, which costs £6.99 plus postage and packaging, visit www.bhf.org.uk/partypacks