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Give yourself a break, let your kids be creative in the kitchen

Over the weekend Chloe announced she was going to make dinner and as is her way, she had a “go big or go home” philosophy.

She’d been busy on Pinterest and had found some spiralled potato skewers for an appetiser, spicy noodles for a main and cookies for dessert. It seems we have yet to navigate the concept of carbs in moderation but I was not going to rain on her parade! She made a list, we went shopping and then she (and a friend) set to work.

When I nervously popped my head around the corner an hour later, I was expecting to witness an Armageddon of the kitchen variety. It was exactly as disastrous as I imagined. However they had set up some disco lights so, although it was a bomb site, it was an extremely fun-looking bomb site. I said: “Remember, you have to clear this up…..” which was met with a suitably teenage amount of eye-rolling.

Dinner was …. incredible. Partly because I didn’t have to lift a finger (except cut the raw chicken) and partly because they really did do a very good job. I learnt that sometimes you just have to let go of the reins and see what happens! Even better, yesterday, when I was up to my eyeballs in work, Chloe offered to cook again. We had the same spicy noodles and they were so good – we even squeezed in some extra vegetables this time.

If you are a reluctant or nervous cook, or if you have kids who are just getting into cooking, then give this recipe a whirl. It’s so easy! It’s a Chinese type of noodle recipe, so the flavour is strong.

I’ve pulled back on the soy/tamari sauce a little for that reason and it’s best to choose a low-sodium option. We also ditched the real, spicy chillies from the recipe and, second time around, added more green veg.

Remember, at dinner time, approximately half of your plate should be green or non-starchy – especially if you are a less active adult and not a growing teen. But teens need their veggies too, for a robust immune system (antioxidants) and healthy digestion (fibre). What’s more, good habits learned early on are easier to maintain rather than implement as an adult – so crank up the veggie intake now.

Before you get cooking … remember that Beat the Couch (our beginners’ running programme) starts today with intro night. Training starts next week. Sign up now and let’s get you 5k fit! All details at natural.bm.

Chloe’s Spicy Noodles (serves 2)

She made hers with chicken but this would work well with shrimp, or with extra-firm tofu for a vegan option.


150g / 6oz wholewheat or gluten-free spaghetti

2 chicken breasts (ideally organic), diced

1 tsp Chinese 5 Spice

1 tbsp tomato purée

2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

2 tbsps low sodium tamari (or soy sauce if not gluten-free)

1 tbsp light olive oil

1.5 tbsps sesame oil

2 cups broccoli

1 cup frozen peas

2 spring onions for garnish, sliced into rings (including the tops)

2 tbsps toasted pine nuts to garnish (optional)


1. Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of lightly salted water until tender. Add the peas a few minutes from the end so they are cooked too.

2. Steam the broccoli until tender.

3. In a small bowl, whisk the light olive oil, tamari, garlic, 5 spice and tomato purée into a sauce.

4. Add the chicken and the sauce to a large heavy pan and cook on medium until the chicken is cooked through. It just takes a few minutes. Test by cutting through the middle of the largest piece and checking its cooked properly. Stir occasionally.

5. Drain the spaghetti/peas and add them to the chicken in the large pan. Add the sesame oil too.

6. Toss gently but thoroughly, adding the broccoli towards the end. The sauce should soak into the pasta completely.

7. Garnish with the spring onions and pine nuts. Serve and enjoy!

Catherine Burns is a qualified nutritional therapist. For more details: www.natural.bm, 505-4725, Natural Nutrition Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram

Except for the mess, dinner can be incredible if kids do the cooking

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Published February 26, 2021 at 7:59 am (Updated February 25, 2021 at 10:39 pm)

Give yourself a break, let your kids be creative in the kitchen

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