Piccolo Cherry Tomatoes® both taste good and do you good. Here are my top 7 reasons to love this fabulous versatile fruit
(yes, it’s a fruit – let’s not even get into that!):
Piccolo cherry tomatoes® are small but mighty – just like your very own little ones! Low in calories and high in hydration (94% water to be precise), they are an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, folate and Vitamin K. Tomatoes also contain a valuable source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. Lycopene is fat-soluble so if you fry off or roast your Piccolo cherry tomatoes® with a drizzle of olive oil, it will aid the absorption of this mighty antioxidant.
Remember – store your tomatoes at room temperature. They continue to ripen once picked so by keeping them out of the fridge, not only will the vital nutrients be kept at their peak but they’ll also be at their tastiest!
Packed lunch powerhouses
Packed lunches provide a prime opportunity to get your little one exercising their independence and trying new things for themselves. The way you prepare foods can be the difference between a tantrum and a clean plate. Children love to pick up food and eat it with their fingers so packed lunches and picnics are a fantastic opportunity to get them trying new nutritious veggies.
Whilst their favourite sarnie or wrap will keep them full and energised for the afternoon ahead, why not add a handful of cherry tomatoes as a healthy side snack (just be sure to cut these into quarters to prevent the risk of choking). Chopped up and put in their own lunchbox compartment or Tupperware pot, it’s a sure-fire way to tempt tots. While you’re at it, why not pack some carrot, red pepper and cucumber batons alongside them too?
(Naturally) sweet snack
Bags of crisps, biscuits and sweets contain no nutritional value, simply sugar and salt, so instead try to keep a supply of healthy snacks on hand such as mini energy balls, vegetables and hummus or some chopped fruit. Tomatoes are technically a fruit, so why not eat them in the same way? Let your kids enjoy Piccolo cherry tomatoes® as an afterschool snack – they have a lovely natural sweetness which is appealing to younger children. Just remember to cut into quarters before serving to your little ones.
Not quite your traditional dessert, but did you know that cherry tomatoes are a great stimulant for digestion – so why not hand these out after dinner?
Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, cherry tomatoes are the perfect ingredient to get creative with some fun food prep. We all eat with our eyes, and this is particularly true of toddlers. It’s all about making mealtimes exciting and positioning trying new foods as fun. Make foodie faces on home-made pizzas, sandwiches or even on their morning bowl of scrambled eggs – and get them to help you too. If they are involved in the process, they will be more inclined to give something a try. Try my Tomato Snail Wraps, Funny Face Beef Burgers or The Very Hungry Caterpillar Sandwich for inspiration!
Versatile kitchen essential
From my colourful basil and olive oil-infused Rainbow Panzanella, to Salad Lollipops, Cherry Tomato Spaghettini and even baby purees, cherry tomatoes are a kitchen essential, whether you are serving as part of breakfast or dinner, raw or cooked, for your baby or for the whole family. You can also get your little helper in the kitchen to teach them about this nutrient-packed ingredient. By making something together from scratch, you’ll stand a good chance of instilling a love of good, healthy food. My Cheese & Cherry Tomato Muffins are delicious and packed full of goodness. It’s a great recipe to make with the kids and the perfect mid-afternoon snack or lunchbox filler.
Some children can spot a veggie a mile off and we all know that some will always demand pasta for their dinner! If this sounds all too familiar, the good news is that you can whip up a quick fresh tomato sauce which will not only keep them happy but it also provides them with heaps of fresh, natural goodness. You could also blend in additional vegetables to up their 5-a-day (without them even noticing).
A tomato based pesto is also a quick, easy and nutritious recipe to have up your sleeve – simply blend your pesto ingredients together – think basil, tomatoes, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese – and serve on puff pastry pizzas, in wraps, with stirred into pasta or scrambled egg or even as a dip for crudités.