One thing that takes the first time athlete parent by surprise is the volume of food that the children are capable of wolfing between meals. My boys scan the table towards the end of a roast dinner as if they’ve been raised in a family of eight with only enough food for four. Piles of roasted meats, potatoes and vegetables disappear down the shoot only to rise from the table and start foraging for food through the cupboards and fridge minutes later. I find that preparation is the key here, making sure you have “grab it and go” options ready as they rush in the door and out of it again. Great for the sweet option in a lunch box or after swim snack.
Don’t be alarmed at the sugar or syrup content – these are essential for flavour and are outgunned but the slow burning seed and oat combination. Anyway, I cut these small so that they get the taste and energy boost without the sugar consumption of a jumbo Mars bar.
These flapjacks are favourites for stop gap munching – with a large glass of milk, of course.
Flat Out Flapjacks – Makes 12-16 mini squares
75g soft brown sugar or Half Spoon sugar if you’re feeling virtuous
120g/6 tablespoons golden syrup
300g jumbo rolled oats
150g quick oats or a mixture of desiccated coconut/ground almonds
100g seeds/berry mix (I use a packet of Lidl’s Alesto Seed and Berry Snack)
100g/ 6 dried soft figs or medjool dates, roughly chopped.
Pre-heat the oven to Gas 5/190c/375F and then butter a 30cm x 20cm baking tin, lining it with greaseproof paper. The dimensions aren’t really important – you could go for a 25cm x 25cm tin but don’t spread the mixture over too large a tin as they need to be a good thickness (approx 3/4 inch) so they have some substance and don’t fall apart.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan with the sugar and syrup. I know this looks like the opposite of healthy right now but to my mind the syrup is non negotiable. Stir around over a gentle heat until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved.
Take off the heat and load in the other ingredients, stirring until well mixed and coated with the golden sugar solution. Pile it all in the baking tray and press down evenly across the base, pressing down with the back of a metal tablespoon. Pop this into the oven for approximately 25 minutes, after sneakily picking off fallen sugar coated seeds and oats from the wooden spoon. These will come out soft and chewy – give them another 5-10 minutes if you like yours with a crunch.
This is an order – Allow to cool completely in the tin, cutting them into even portions after 20 minutes or so. If you move them out earlier, they’ll crumble to bits and you’ll have to use them to sprinkle over ice cream instead. Maybe not so bad.
Pile into a cake tin or cloche in the corner of the kitchen to head them off from the crisps or your good chocolate, hidden for a rainy day.