Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Nuts and Kids

I've noticed a lot of nut phobia going on. What a shame this is! Nuts and seeds are a great source of healthy fats, protein, energy, fat soluble vitamins and minerals as well as fibre. They provide slow release energy with is great for active kids and are a handy nutrient dense addition to any diet. They make fabulous snacks on their own for adults, but how do you introduce them to little ones? Well you grind them, blend them, mill them or make them into milk. It's time we got passed the idea that babies can't eat nuts because they might choke. You can't choke on sweet almond oil or cashew milk! Here's my latest successes for incorporating nuts and seeds into our family foods and a pecan and mixed seed nut paste to tempt you.
Pecan and Mixed Seed Butter

400g Pecans
100g Pumpkin Seeds
100g Sunflower Seeds
60g Sesame Seeds
Grape seed Oil
Sea Salt/ Raw Sugar to taste

Soak pecans and seeds in filtered water overnight. Drain off water and place nuts and seeds on baking tray to bake in oven on lowest temperature for about 45 minutes until dry but not burning. Place all nuts and seeds in blender and mill adding grape seed oil until a thick paste forms to desired consistency. Add sea salt or raw sugar if desired. 

The process of soaking and then dry roasting helps to break down the indigestible starches in nuts and seeds and help to activate the enzymes for better digestion. This is desirable before using nuts in any of the below recipes - especially for little people's digestions.

: : Nut Milks. Making fresh almond or cashew milk is so satisfying and DELICIOUS! Here's a great how to guide. You can of course buy the commercially made almond milk in the supermarket too.

: : Pesto. Any combination of nuts, olive oil and fresh herbs = a great snack with veggie sticks or stirred through your wholemeal pasta. We love coriander pesto at our house. 

: : Nut meal in baking. Almond and walnut meal are favourites around here.

: : Nut Oils. Macadamia nut oil is great in smoothies or baking, and sweet almond is perfect for salad dressing. 

: : Nut Butters: Any combination of nuts and seeds is possible. So fabulous to experiment with all kinds of blends. Steer clear of the additive and preservative filled peanut butter and go with 100% peanuts if you want to stick with the traditional. 

: : Nut Pate`. Cook any combination of veggies, add some sea salt, herbs and ghee (or coconut oil) and blend with nuts of choice. Great to have on biscuits or as a simple baby food. 

: : Nut Creams. Soaked cashews work best I think blended with some water, vanilla or rosewater to desired thickness. Drizzled over fruit or dessert. 

: : Cashew Sour Cream. Chives, cashews, garlic, lemon juice, water, sea salt. Amazing what a blender can mix up!

There is now a growing body of research that suggests delaying the introduction of nuts and other allergenic foods makes little difference to their long term tolerance. I have adopted a 'lets just try it and see' philosophy here. It is important to do what you feel comfortable with for your family. Really the options are endless. A good place to start for ideas is vegan, raw diet or paleo diet blogs or books. There are so many ideas out there. Do you have any great nut recipes that work with your family?


  1. Hi Emma, I don't normally post on blogs but I just cant help myself today! Your post was so well timed as I was making a batch of our favourite tahini nut balls! my boys love them (aged 3 and 1) - little balls of goodness! There great because really the recipe is just a guide for quantities- I use whatever nuts and seeds I have on hand- today it was walnuts, almonds, pepitas, sesame and chia. Anything works!

    1 cup raw almonds
    1 cup sunflower seeds
    1 cup coconut
    1/2 cup raw cashews
    1/2 cup pepitas
    1/2 cup hazelnuts
    1/2 cup sesame seeds
    3/4 cup honey
    3/4 cup tahini

    -chop up or grind nuts in processor
    -bake them in a moderate oven and roast for 10 minutes
    - remove from oven and add coconut to the mixture
    - combine honey and tahini then add to mixture.
    -roll into balls and roll through more coconut if desired
    -keep in fridge. (they wont last long though if your place is anything like mine!!)

    Loving reading your blog Emma- its nice to know there are some like-minded mums out there!!

  2. Yum Sarah! Thanks so much for your comment. I just went to a herbal medicine workshop on the weekend and we made a similar recipe to these with powdered herbs like cinnamon, ginger, astragalus and withania in them. Nut balls certainly don't last long in our fridge too! Thanks for reading!