Raspberry and vanilla chia seed jam

  • Mixing it up: budding chefs are shown in the kitchen at Natural Kids summer camp 

    Mixing it up: budding chefs are shown in the kitchen at Natural Kids summer camp 

Week two of Natural Kids and this time we’ve got CrossFit Kids going on in the background. Derek Hurdle is putting 25 children through their paces with Moby playing along. There are cues in the song for different exercises.

It’s a little bit like a drinking game, just nowhere near as fun (haha sorry Derek!) Actually, the children are doing a brilliant job.

Every single one of them is more co-ordinated than me. Fortunately I can legitimately hide behind my laptop and do this … it’s the only “quiet” moment we get all day. Each week of camp brings a new set of children and a different dynamic. We’ve always been lucky and had great groups.

This group is a little sparky with some cheeky ones stirring up the pack, but they are sharp too. I’ve been teaching them how to convert grams of sugar on food labels into teaspoons (which is way easier to quantify) and their math is holding up.

They’ve learnt that at their age, they should have no more than 24g of added sugars a day (that’s any sugar aside from natural sugars found in whole fruit and plain dairy) which is the equivalent of 6 teaspoons (4g sugar equals 1 teaspoon).

It’s amazing how quickly children can reach that limit — a regular fruit yoghurt and a granola bar will send them straight over the top — and that’s before any cookies, sweet cereal, ketchup or juice goes on to the list.

Avoiding sugar completely is pretty impossible, but we’re spending time making the children aware of exactly how much is hidden in their food. We’re also cooking recipes that use less than usual and sharing “better-option” brands for ready-to-go snacks (for example the Made Good granola bars versus Nature Valley).

Another step has been to explain that eating protein with something sugary helps to slow the release of sugars into the bloodstream — so, for example, if you are going to have a Rice Krispie treat (of which the Made Good version would be better than Kellogg’s) then having some almonds or pistachios with it is a good idea.

It’s also going to keep them feeling more full for longer — stopping the endless demand for one sugary snack after another.

Banana bread aside, the Chia Jam recipe below is one of the most popular things we do all week. Using raspberries as a base is great as they are have so many seeds anyway that no one really blinks when it comes to the chia.

The maple syrup is totally scalable and you can adjust it to your taste. You may need to start fairly high and then gradually bring it down if the children are involved.

If you’re just making it for yourself, just go with a very little. The vanilla is optional, but a really nice addition. You don’t have to keep it for toast either, this goes really well with plain yoghurt and some granola/pumpkin seeds for breakfast.

Adding the chia gives you an extra hit of protein and some omega 3 too — neither of which you get in regular jam!

Raspberry & Vanilla Chia Seed Jam


2 cups frozen raspberries

2 tbsps chia seeds

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 tbsps maple syrup


Heat the fruit in a small pan (medium heat) with a little water at the bottom, stirring occasionally. The raspberries will start to break down and you can nudge them to go all the way, or leave some bigger pieces.

Stir in the chia seeds and lemon juice. Add the maple syrup and then adjust as necessary — more lemon to sharpen, more maple to sweeten! Give it all a final stir and then transfer to a glass, sealable dish. Keeps for one week in the fridge.

Catherine Burns is a fully qualified nutritional therapist trained by the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in the UK. For details: www.natural.bm, 236-7511 or, Facebook, Natural Nutrition Bermuda

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Published Aug 17, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Aug 16, 2018 at 9:30 pm)

Raspberry and vanilla chia seed jam

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