Ditch the sugar

Walking to the car tonight after his first rugby training, Master Five asked if he could have Powerade on the way home, “because I’ve been training so hard”. I had to remind him of our agreement – that when he becomes an All Black/Black Cap/Tall Black/All White, he can have his Powerade.

Getting through the supermarket with the Little Guy in tow is always tricky as the Powerade is positioned near the check out. Anyone who says advertising doesn’t work, hasn’t been shopping with a child. I’m the uber mean mum who drags said child away without the begged-for junk food. But I’ll never judge a parent who doesn’t manage to – the advertising is insidious and most of the time, you do what you need to do to get through the day.

My beef is with national sporting bodies. Particularly those who earn the big bucks. Of course our kids want to be like their heroes. Sure, sell your merchandise and advertise banks, insurance companies and electronics, but how about some responsibility and stop shoving sugar and fat laden food down our children’s throats. Because that’s what you are doing when you accept their sponsorship. It’s normalising “treat” food, making it instantly recognisable and creating a new wave of customers. Forty years ago it was tobacco, now it’s Big Sugar and Fast Food. Just look at the next sports certificate your child gets. Newsflash, nobody sponsors anything unless they want something in return.

To be fair, it’s not just treat food that is full of junk. I was reminded of this during the week when we went back to basics at our local primary school in Garden to Table programme. We made our own baked beans, using just a tad of the sugar and salt than what is in the canned variety.

What you’ll need

1 medium onion

1 large clove garlic


600g fresh tomatoes (or equivalent in tinned tomatoes)

1 tsp brown sugar (you can leave out the sugar, but it does add some depth of flavour)

1 Tbsp tomato paste

1 Tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp smoked paprika

1-2 cans of butter or cannellini beans

Salt and pepper

Parsley to serve

What to do

Finely chop the onion and garlic.

20160315_180158Remove the “eyes” from the tomatoes, then chop each tomato in to quarters (if large, chop into 6). (We used frozen fresh tomatoes, defrosted, so didn’t worry about removing eyes or chopping them as they were too squishy.)

Heat a good splash of oil in a saucepan and add the onion. Cook for a three or four minutes, stirring from time to time to sweat the onion. Add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes and brown sugar to the onion/garlic. Stir with a wooden spoon, then cook over medium heat for around five minutes. Stir from time to time.

20160315_181208Add the tomato paste, soy sauce and smoked paprika. Give it a good stir and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.

20160315_181446Drain the beans in a sieve and rinse with water. Add to the tomato mixture, season with salt and pepper, and cook for another 10 minutes. Stir every few minutes and taste then adjust seasoning if required.

20160322_102620.jpgServe on toast, sprinkled with chopped parsley.

There you have it. One of the simplest and tastiest recipes we’ve made in the school kitchen this year. The children loved it and I know you will too.

For me, this is an anytime meal – I enjoy it best it in a bowl, with a piece of vogels to mop up the juices.

Last minute addition: At time of posting, an online petition to tax sugary drinks in New Zealand popped up. Timely I’d say. If you are on the same page, sign away….

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