So as most followers of this blog will know, I am the mummy of a very boisterous toddler. He is the light of my life, the apple of my eye and all that nice stuff. But he is also a very challenging little monkey.
He has several Sensory issues and as I’ve shared many times before, we are currently going through the ‘Autism Diagnosis Process’. Because of this he has quite a severe aversion to textures and in particular certain foods that aren’t smooth. He eats well in the sense that he will eat as much of something that he loves (like mash potato and fish fingers) but to this day he still really struggles with any sort of meat, particularly red meat.
This is a worry not only in the sense that his diet isn’t very varied, but also because he is missing out on all of the goodness that comes from red meat like potassium and iron.
He already gets daily doses of vitamins for all of his other deficiencies and the idea of adding in, for example, iron or zinc supplements is just an absolute headache.
Like everything else is at one point, red meat has recently been the subject of scrutiny in the media, and experts fear that the nutritional benefits have been overshadowed by misleading negative views. For this reason, and in order to improve the public perception, the Meat Advisory Panel, is partnering with BritMums to promote red meat in the diets of toddlers and young children, as well as shedding some light on the benefits of it in all our diets.
So, when BritMums got in touch to tell me about the challenge I thought “Yeah ok, let’s give it a try”!
They sent through a gift voucher, which we were to use for purchasing our ingredients for a family friendly red meat dinner.
I chose Pork, simply because it’s soft enough that Matthew could swallow without any issues and light enough in colour that he wouldn’t necessarily notice it mixed in amongst the other elements of his meal.
I wracked my brain for ideas using Lean Pork Mince and came up with a twist on an old classic dish… Sweet Potato & Pork Cottage Pie.
I know that both Matthew and my husband love Sweet Potato and felt like it was the best way to get some extra goodness into the dish without Matthew noticing.
So with my Pork, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots & an Onion I set off on the challenge of a lifetime… getting my toddler to eat a meal without gagging, throwing a tantrum or simply launching his plate across the room.
I used a few extra ingredients to make it all taste delicious which I’ll list here, as well as my cooking method:
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Pork Stock Cube
- Dairy Free Spread (Matthew has a Dairy intolerance) – which i used to add to the mashed sweet potato.
- I chopped and fried off some onions in a pan, using Sunflower Zero Calorie spray.
- Once the onions were translucent I added salt & pepper and then the pork mince.
- I browned the mince for about 5-7 minutes and added paprika, thyme and garlic.
- I then added a melted pork stock cube, dissolved in 300ml of boiling water to the mince and onions, added chopped carrots and set the hob to a simmering temperature.
- I let this simmer gently for 20 minutes.
- This is when I added my peeled Sweet Potatoes to boiling water for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes I added my mince mixture to a ramekin and topped it with mashed sweet potato.
- This went in the oven for a further 20 minutes to cook through and crisp the top.
Easy peasy and super yummy, even if I do say so myself. But the best part… Both my hubby and my fussy little boy finished every last bite of it!
In fact, it was so successful that since testing out the recipe, I have made it a further 3 times, with some of my family even requesting the recipe from me.
Saying I am one happy mummy is quite simply the understatement of the century!