Eligible to eat

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A new study has revealed that many children who are not eligible for free school meals are going hungry

Eligible to eat

The University of York and the Bradford Institute for Health Research are calling for the free school meals (FSM) eligibility criteria to be widened, following research that shows that 20% of children who do not meet the requirements for FSM are experiencing food insecurities and poor mental health.

Those that meet FSM criteria are typically considered to be living below the poverty line. The research published in the British Medical Journal has since noted that food insecurities go beyond the school environment and are also present at home, making FSM entitlement even more crucial to children’s wellbeing and development. Those that are eligible for FSM receive a significant proportion of their daily energy and nutrients from school dinners, but 60% of those children still felt insecure about where their next meal would come from, due to not having enough or lacking quality food at home. Of these children, 51% experience daily worry and stress as a result of the stigma attached to FSM, which drastically impacts their mental health and ability to flourish at school.

However, these statistics are not limited to those who are able to receive free school meals. 20% of children surveyed who did not qualify for FSM also experienced insecurities related to food, and 29% of these children were at risk of feeling stressed and worried on a daily basis. This is why researchers from the University of York and Bradford Institute for Health Research want the FSM criteria to be expanded beyond those families below the poverty line to include those from low-income households.

“If this eligibility threshold was raised, then not only would it shake the stigma of Free School Meals being associated with poverty, it would mean fewer children overall would go hungry and fewer children would experience anxiety and stress on a daily basis,” says Dr Tiffany Yang, Principle Research Fellow at the Bradford Insitute for Health Research.

During the pandemic, the number of children who were eligible for FSM rose from 17.3% of state-funded pupils in 2020 to 19.7% in 2021, according to data from the Food Foundation and Childwise. With the current cost of living crisis, this figure is set to rise even further.

Impact on children’s mental health

Despite the FSM scheme having its benefits, its strict income-eligibility checks can actually indicate poverty. Dr Maria Bryant (Reader in Public Health Nutrition at the University of York) states that free school meals should not be a marker of poverty, but instead the scheme should allow more children to access free school meals, to reduce the stress and anxiety of being labelled a “child living in poverty”. This stigma attached to FSM can not only create feelings of worry amongst these pupils but, in serious cases, may also lead to the child being bullied.

This would not only reduce the impact on wellbeing that those from low-income households experience, but it would also reduce the inequalities these children experience in the classroom. A study by the Department for Education found that pupils who were eligible for FSM have lower average ‘attainment 8’ scores (a measure

Maple Ice Cream

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This rich and creamy homemade Maple Ice Cream recipe requires just four ingredients! Pure maple syrup gives this ice cream a smooth natural flavor with hints of caramel and vanilla.

Maple Nut Ice Cream

Maple Ice Cream

This is one of the simplest ice creams you can make, with just four ingredients: cream, milk, maple syrup, and a pinch of salt.

Maple is such a rich natural sweetener for desserts. It has a depth of flavor beyond regular sugar. I like experimenting with it and honey when I can to change things up.

Maple-flavored syrups or pancake syrups are a no-go for this recipe. Not only is the flavor not quite the same they often contain alcohol which impacts the freezing process of homemade ice cream. It can take longer or not set up at all.

Homemade ice cream is easiest with an ice cream maker. There are so many options and price points on the market. You aren’t limited to the hand-crank White Mountain our grandparents had.

Not sure which one to get? No worries, I did the research and testing for you. Click here for my full reviews. After creating nearly 100 recipes for homemade ice cream I know a thing or two.

While I am a big fan of my ice cream maker, here is a little secret. You can make homemade ice cream without a machine. Find the full directions here!

Maple Nut Ice Cream

Maple Nut Ice Cream

While the nuts in this recipe are optional, they add something very special to this ice cream. You’ll want to be sure to add candied walnuts to the recipe, not plain roasted or raw walnuts.

Yes, the candied walnuts are sweeter, but it’s balanced by the natural bitterness of walnuts. And most importantly, the candied walnuts will be softer and chewier in the final frozen ice cream.

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Candied Walnuts

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Crunchy, caramelized walnuts make a sweet snack and a great topping for summer berry salads and ice cream, or a quick topping for muffins. Today I’m showing you how to make candied walnuts!

I recommend doubling the recipe if you have snack-happy kids like mine, as you might catch them snacking on them too.

Learn how to make crunchy, caramelized Candied Walnuts at home

How To Make Candied Walnuts

It’s easier than you might think to make candied walnuts at home. With just a pat of butter, a handful of walnuts, and a spoonful of sugar, you can stir up a batch of walnuts that are tastier than anything you can buy from the store.

I like to start with walnut halves and then roughly chop them on a cutting board. For bigger pieces, I will just break halves apart by hand if I only need a cup or so.

You can actually use this technique for other nuts as well to get the sweet, buttery toasted flavor that makes for a sweet topping.

Your candied nuts should not be sticky once they are cooled. If they are they probably did not cook long enough on the stovetop. The key is to hit that sweet spot, literally, between being cooked long enough and burnt.

Candied walnuts can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a month. These containers work perfectly!

How To Make Candied Walnuts

Candied Walnuts Recipe

  1. Melt the butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Place a sheet of parchment paper or a silicone mat next to the stove.
  2. Add the walnuts and sugar. Stir with a rubber spatula to combine.
  3. Continue stirring until the sugar melts and the walnuts are well-coated.
  4. Quickly transfer the walnuts to the parchment and work quickly with a spatula to spread them out to avoid clumping.
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The Best (and Easiest) Chocolate Ice Cream

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Two kinds of chocolate and real cream make this the best and easiest homemade chocolate ice cream you can make.

The deliciously rich chocolate flavor of this recipe comes from the combination of both cocoa powder and melted chocolate chips.

Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream

Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream

Homemade ice cream is one of my family’s guilty pleasures. My boys are forever coming up with combinations and ideas to try.

But nothing beats a classic like chocolate. We use this as a base to add cookies, berries, and all sorts of goodies to when we’re craving something a little different. The options are endless.

When making chocolate ice cream it is important to get a creamy chocolate base with the sugar and cocoa powder fully incorporated into the heavy cream. You will want to stay by the stovetop and continuously whisk your chocolate base so nothing burns.

How To Make Chocolate Ice Cream

To get a rich creamy ice cream not only do I use heavy cream, but whole milk is a must. Making ice cream just isn’t the place to cut calories.

While you’re welcome to make this using 2% or even skim milk, whole milk delivers the creaminess we love.

If you are chocolate ice cream lovers like we are, you’ll want to try this Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Chocolate Peanut Butter Chunks too. And for anyone with a dairy allergy, this Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream is a great alternative.

What about Dark Chocolate Almond Ice Cream with almonds and just the tiniest hint of cinnamon? Or a Chocolate Orange Ice Cream combination? Don’t knock that one until you try it!

We’re celebrating three weeks of new ice cream recipes this summer with a very cool ice cream maker giveaway! Enter to win the Cuisinart ICE-100 1.5-Quart Compressor Ice Cream Maker by CLICKING HERE an

The best dairy-free broccoli salad

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Sharing a recipe for the best dairy-free broccoli salad. This is the perfect side dish for dinners, delicious leftovers for lunch, and an awesome healthy summer BBQ or potluck side dish.

Hey friends! How’s the day going so far? We’re back in town after a trip to Phoenix for Nationals, and have a mountain of laundry + have some virtual 1:1 appointments.

For today’s post, I thought I’d share a summer side dish recipe! Whenever we have friends over during the summer, finding recipes for the *fun* stuff like appetizers and desserts is always super easy. I always like to make sure we have some kind of salad or vegetable, and am always looking for new favorites. Mia recently shared her favorite broccoli salad recipe with me and I knew I had to post it here on the blog! It lasted about 15 minutes in our house.

I accidentally found out that the girls love raw broccoli when we were low on groceries and I was running out of options while packing their lunch + snacks for school. I’ll typically roast broccoli with dinner and they tend to be pretty meh about it. I needed one more spot to fill in their lunch bento boxes, so I added some raw chopped broccoli. When I picked them up, they both said how much they loved the broccoli in their lunch, and I’ve been adding it ever since. This broccoli salad was a HUGE hit in our house – we each had a bowl and it was gone.

Broccoli salad is a great source of fiber and vitamins. It’s also dairy-free, and includes blanched broccoli, which still has a crunch, but can be easier to digest than raw. You simply mix all of the ingredients into a bowl and enjoy! It’s also a versatile recipe; feel free to customize it as you like. You can swap out the almonds for another type of nut, or use a different type of dried fruit (like dried cranberries or raisins) instead of the dates. Just make sure that you don’t skip the celery seed, as it gives it a unique flavor and crunch.

The best dairy-free broccoli salad

Ingredients

1 head of broccoli (or a 12 oz bag of pre cut florets)

Avocado oil mayo (Chosen foods, Sir Kensington or homemade. I like to make my own, or order Sir Kensington from Thrive Market)

Maple syrup (or honey) for a little bit of sweetness

Celery seed – don’t omit this ingredient!

Salt & pepper, to taste

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