Healthy Lunch: Spinach & Goats Cheese Pesto Pasta

As the only veggie in the house, I am rubbish at feeding myself, the boys eat healthy, nutritious meaty meals and I might have some cereal, or toast. I’ve tried to avoid pasta because I thought that it wasn’t that great for you, that was until I read this article which contains actual science and shows that if you re-heat your pasta, it digests as a fibre rather than a carbohydrate. Which is brilliant because that means it releases energy differently and it is healthy, or pretty healthy. Whichever, it means it’s back on my menu at last.

Because pasta is now healthy when it’s cold, or better still, re-heated, it makes a pretty perfect lunch box staple. So for my lunches this week I made a big batch of spinach and goats cheese pesto pasta. I can take it out and about with me, it can be eaten cold, or if I’m near a microwave I can quickly reheat it. It’s incredibly simple to make, healthy-ish to eat and just delicious.

Healthy Lunch: Spinach & Goats Cheese Pesto Pasta

Spinach & Goats Cheese Pesto Pasta

One bag of fresh baby spinach, ready washed
One garlic clove, crushed
100g of toasted pine nuts
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Zest of one lemon
Juice of half a lemon
1 and a half teaspoons of honey
200g goats cheese (grated if you can be bothered, cut into pieces if you can’t
Roasted tomatoes
Pasta – I used twirls

Set up your blender and tip in your fresh spinach, blend for a minute or so until it’s all starting to turn into a paste. Add the garlic, toasted pine nuts, lemon zest, lemon juice, honey and generous amounts of salt & pepper. Blend until it’s all combined and it’s looking like a paste.
Add your goats cheese and then add olive oil until it is the pesto type consistency you need, you’re probably looking at maybe around 100ml of olive oil. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning if need be.
Bring a large pot of water to the boil and tip in your pasta, when it’s cooked (instructions should be on the packet), drain and stir the pesto through. You probably won’t need to use all the pesto which can be stored in the fridge for another day.

I topped mine with some thyme roasted tomatoes which are one of my favourite things in the world. It’s a delicious lunch (or evening meal) for all the family, contains at least one of your five a day, it’s easy to make and a great healthy lunch box for when you’re on the go.

What do you pack in your lunch box?

Review: Immune boosting Nurture drinks for children

We were asked to try Nurture drinks, which have been designed to boost children’s immune systems. The drinks come in two flavours, Strawberry & Cherry and Orange & Pineapple. Both flavours are 100% natural with no added sugar or sweeteners and are made up of 50% juice and 50% water.

Nurture drinks

The juices are endorsed by Dr Sarah Brewer, the UK’s leading medical nutritionist who says “Many children miss days from school due to coughs and colds. While it’s important to avoid spreading infection when kids are unwell, it’s also important to boost their immunity so they recover quickly and are less likely to succumb to the next wave of infection going round”.

Each 200ml pouch is packed with optimum daily amounts of vitamins for children aged two to five years. Including Wellmune WGP 100% natural beta glucan is a clever ingredient designed to strengthen key immune cells. Vitamins B6, B9, B12, C, D, and zinc contribute to the normal function of the immune system, Calcium and Vitamin D provide power for the normal growth and development of strong bones, and Vitamin B5 supports brain development.

Come September the small boy will toddle off to the nursery at our local primary school. We’ve been busy getting his uniform and things ready, but having worked in education in a previous life, one of my biggest worries is just how many colds and bugs he’ll pick up once he starts in September. Whilst he’s a pretty good eater and loves his fruit and veg, it can’t hurt to give him and his immune system a boost. Nurture seemed just the thing to try to help this.

So, how did we get on? The small boy is 3 and we have so far limited his juice intake, generally preferring to give him water or milk. Juice is a rare treat because it’s quite sweet and it’s not something we have in the house for ourselves. We decided to limit him to the recommended one pouch per day, and of course I had a little sip or two just to check it out for myself.

Nurture drinks

Firstly we tried the strawberry and cherry flavour. I think this was his favourite as all he asks for now is the “red juice”. To me it tasted quite sweet and I can see why it appeals. It was a nice balance of the two fruits. He was very happy to drink the pouch in one go. If you were drinking this at home I’d be tempted to decant it into a glass and dilute it with a bit more water.

We then tried the orange and pineapple flavour. I personally preferred this flavour as I’m a bit of a pineapple junkie, the small boy liked it too. It was sweet enough, but not overly so, but could be diluted down further if you wanted to.

Each pouch comes with a special spill-proof spout. We’d never encountered a spout in that design and it took a few minutes to get the hang of. If you depress the cap with your mouth and suck the juice it comes out quite easily.

I think the Nurture drinks are a great addition to lunch-boxes and as part of children’s’ daily diets. The pouches are a definite improvement on other pouched juice drinks which offer negligible nutritional benefits. I’d happily pick Nurture drinks over other drinks for their immune boosting benefits, even if they are slightly more expensive. I think in this instance you get what you pay for. This is clearly innovative and useful, not to mention delicious and popular with the small boy. This is a winner.

You may also like to read my interview about family health and nutrition with leading nutritionist Dr Sarah Brewer.

Nurture is available now in Tesco stores across the UK, at RRP £2.99 for a pack of four 200ml pouches. 

Note: we were sent two boxes of Nurture drinks for review purposes. All opinions and images are my own.