Ask Annabel: your food questions answered

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Having successfully solved food and cooking conundrums for thousands of parents and early years providers, leading food expert and cookery author Annabel Karmel MBE has joined Nursery World to answer all your food and feeding questions.


Q: My nursery provides a snack tea, rather than a light meal before they go home. Should we be offering something more substantial?

There is no right or wrong here; some provide a main meal for tea, while others offer a basic snack. The most important thing is to make sure that you communicate your offering to families so that they can plan their own meals when they get home.

If you are providing a snack to keep them going, the most important thing is that these need to be healthy whilst remaining appealing. It can be all too easy to opt for a sweet, carb dense treat that will give a quick energy boost but leave them feeling tired and not hungry soon after. That then spells problems for dinner time at home.

Here are my top 5 snacking tips:

  • Fruit kebabs – these are great fun for children to make and eat. Prepare a few bowls of fruit such as strawberries, chunks of mango, kiwi, and banana. Give each child a straw and let them build their own fruit kebabs.
  • Raw goodness - many young children prefer raw vegetables to cooked so it's a good idea to have some carrot and cucumber sticks or strips of sweet pepper with a tasty dip like hummus.

  • Healthy bakes – pack in an extra portion of fruit or veg in a freshly baked oat bar or muffin.  I have lots of nurseries asking me for my popular Carrot & Apple Muffin recipe as it’s so tasty.
  • Lay on eggs - one egg provides a four-year-old with almost one-third of their protein requirements for the day. A simple portion of scrambled egg mixed with a little diced tomato and grated Cheddar rolled up in a wrap is the perfect tide-over until dinner.
  • It’s a wrap - wraps are very popular and children can have fun helping to assemble them with lots of different fillings. Try something a little different like my Chicken Wraps with Plum Sauce and Cucumber.


Quick & healthy snack idea



50g chicken, sliced

1 tbsp mayonnaise

1 tsp plum sauce

1 spring onion, shredded

1/8 cucumber, sliced into strips

1 wrap


  1. Warm the wrap in a microwave or frying pan for 10 seconds.
  2. Spread the mayonnaise and plum sauce over the wrap.
  3. Top with the chicken, spring onion and cucumber.
  4. Roll up and then slice into three.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Makes 2 portions




2 large firm kiwi fruits
8 raspberries
5cm flower-shaped cookie cutter

1.      Peel the kiwi fruits and cut 4 round slices about 1.5cm thick from the centre section of each kiwi fruit.
2.      Cut each slice into a flower shape using your cookie cutter.
3.      Arrange the kiwi flowers on a plate and top each one with a raspberry.

Makes 8 flowers


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