I’m working on a workshop at the moment to help parents on low incomes pack nutritional lunchboxes. While doing some research I came across a fantastic resource on School Food Trust. They have three-week lunchbox menus and recipes that comply with the strict SFT nutritional standards for primary aged children. There is three sets of menus: low cost, low preperation and vegetarian. I’ve found the menus inspiring and have even tried some of the ideas for myself. These chocolate bran flake slices are the second piece of baking I’ve tried from the resource. I can also recommend the carrot and apricot cakes that appear in the printout. The standards give the advice that packed lunched should include:
- at least one portion of fruit or veg everyday
- meat, fish or other source of non-dairy protein everyday
- oily fish once every three weeks
- a starchy food everyday
- a dairy food everyday
- Snacks such as crisps. Instead nuts, seeds, veg, fruit. Savory crackers or breadsticks served with fruit.
- Confectionary such as chocolate bars, chocolate-coated biscuits and sweets. Cakes and biscuits are allowed, but encouraged only as part of a balanced meal.
- Highly processed meat products such as pies, corned meat and sausage rolls. Chipolatas can be included occasionally.
As the recipes featured in the pack are based on the nutritional standards you will notice that in this recipe butter is replaced with 60% fat spread. This is to keep both cost and fat content now. I know many people have a frankly snobbish attitude towards using ingredients like low-fat spread. It’s all well and good having wholesome, ‘real’, organic food but it’s worth bearing in mind that there are families out there where these foods are not always available or affordable. I know I’ve spotted the huge hike in ingredient prices and the price of butter has got to the point where I now only use butter in products where will be tasted. Just because an ingredient is compromised, if it helps a child to have a better diet should it matter? These bran flake slices or a piece of confectionery that helps you ‘work, rest and play’? Ok, I’ll step off my soap box.
As part of the project I have also been looking at the cost and calories of the different dishes. These chocolatey bites come out at a frugal 8p per serving (as of June ’11) and just 136 kcal. The best way I can describe them taste wise is that they are like slightly dry, crumbly brownies. They taste like they should have a great deal more than 136kcal in them! When I came to take photographs of them this morning there was only 7/16 left in the tin. Hubs has been snaffling them, though it is partially my fault as I told him of the surprising calorie content. It is worth trying this recipe as you may be pleasantly surprised.
Chocolate Bran Flake Slice
From School Food Trust
200g 60% fat spread (most light butter spreads are 60%) of course it will work with butter, but will be higher calories.
125g granulated sugar
160g plain flour
40g cocoa powder
100g bran flakes
1) Preheat oven to 180°c. Cream the spread and sugar together until it is light and fluffy.
2) Stir in the flour and cocoa powder. The mixture can be quite stiff at this point but keep going until it is well mixed.
3) Fold in the bran flakes.
4) Line a 20cm x 20cm baking tin with baking parchment, then press mixture into the tin.
5) Bake for 35 min or until set.
6) Once cool cut into 16 squared. Store in airtight container.
Just note that these can be quite crumbly so eat over a plate or napkin.