The journey continues. But now we're in Lockdown!!


A couple of years ago I wrote a piece about "Food for fit kids!  Feeding our performance athlete children."  This is a follow up on this sharing on my and my sons experiences as he has grown as a child into an adolecent and as an athlete training 24+ hours a week for his gymnastics, skiing and his hockey.

The added problem that we now face is that we are in "Lockdown" and have been for the last 3 weeks and looks like being for at least another 3 before restrictions will even be considered to be lifted.

I'll start with the perenial problem of how we feed our growing childred, they just eat and eat and eat.  When you add in the fact that they are doing 20+ hours of sport a week, you may as well be feeding 2 children and not 1 for the amount that is consumed.  Now that we are in lockdown I'm finding that he seems to be eating more and more, or it's probably just because I am with him pretty well 24/7 and am able to see everything tht he is eating, but it seems like it's Breakfast after run, post breakfast snack, mid morning snack, pre lunch snack, lunch, post lunch snack, pre or during training snack, post training snack, snack, dinner, dessert, post dessert snack, bed!!

I don't think I'm alone in this, but he sure as hell eats like a horse.  When I looked at this 2 years ago it worked out about 2 days worth of extra food for him.  But now because he is in adolecence it has jumped to a staggering 4+ extra days worth of food to stay healthy, this doesn't account for extra musscle mass being produced by the extra training.  A sedentary 12 year old male will require around 1800kcal, an active boy of the same age will require between 2000-2600kcal a day.  These numbers will increase every year or two by around 200 and then taper off again once they are fully grown.  Getting the correct intake for a growing child into an adult is very important and even more so if they are very active.  With all of George's gymnastics, skiing, hockey and running I calculated that they roughly burn 7000kcal a week.  It doesn't take a genious to see that is 1000kcal a day extra just to stay healthy and not to lose weight.  So he is and like many other active and very active children are at the top end and even above on their intake.  

This is where the education of the kids and their parents is so important, don't get hung up on the numbers.  Make sure they are eating a healthy balance of food and as outlined above, plenty of it.  I can't state enough about the importance of hydration and consumption of water.

As a family we mix things up quite a bit with our food, we don't stick to every meal is meat and 2 veg with a big pile of carbs.  Far from it, some meals are really low or zero carb, some are carb heavy, some are really balanced, but what thay nearly always have in common is that they are homemade.  I know what I'm putting into the food, so it gives us an element of control.  Don't get me wrong, we do still eat out, get takeaway every now and then and love a pizza, but that is all fine if you are eating well balanced meals the rest of the time.

Within the picture above there are 5 food pictures that we have eaten in the last couple of weeks whilst on lockdown.  There is a breakfast, a lunch and three dinners.  What I'd like to do is break them down below to go into more detail about them and how they were prepared.

The dishes are -

  • Banana, seed and maple syrup pancake.
  • Tandoori chicken, quinoa and wholewheat cous-cous chop chop salad.
  • Homemade beef burgers.
  • Easter Sunday roast lamb dinner.
  • Grilled fish with kale-lla.  Something a little different that used what was in the fridge.  All will become clear. 

Banana, Seed and Maple Syrup pancakes.


Who does't love pancakes and maple syrup for breakfast  This is a giant homemade one with 2 sliced bananas, toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds and plenty maple syrup.

The pancakes are the easiest thing to make and are a great introduction to cooking with your children.


  • 1 Egg
  • 1floz sunflower oil
  • 7floz milk
  • 3oz Caster sugar
  • 8oz Plain flour
  • 1tsp Baking powder


  • Mix the egg, oil, milk and the sugar together until emulsified.  This is easiest if you measure the milk first, then oil, crack the egg into it and place on scales, zero and add the sugar.
  • Add to the flour and baking powder, whisk until a smooth batter is formed. 
  • Leave to stand for about 30 mins. 
  • Spoon to required size onto a flat griddle at moderate heat, or non-stick frying pan.  Leave until air bubbles start to for on top and then flip over.  Remove after about another 30 seconds.

Serve with berries, fruit, syrup, maple syrup, honey, Nutella.

Tandoori Chicken, quinoa and wholewheat cous-cous chop chop salad.

This was a lunch dish that we had the other day and was one of those that was made up from lots of different leftovers in the fridge.

I had some wholewheat cous-cose and mixed quinoa, some tandoori spiced chicken left over from the bbq, corn on the cob, and some halloumi granola.

By chopping all these up, adding some romaine lettuce, rocket, sliced radishes, avocado, spring onion, cherry plum tomatoes and cucumber.  It just needed a little balsamic syrup to bring it all together to make a really tasty protein packed lunch.  The chicken, halloumi, seeds in the granola and the quinoa all contributing to the protien content.

A salad live this can be made up of anything that you hve in your fridge and in the cupboard and is ideal for times like these when more than ever it is important to be less wastefull and to be frugal and self sufficient.

The slideshow below shows the process of cooking the tandoori chicken.  I used whole breasts that I slashed on both sides to aid in taking on the marinade and the cooking process. 

The marinade is -

  • Tandoori spice mix
  • Malt vinegar
  • Lemon juice
  • Greek yoghurt
  • Cumin seeds
  • Dried fenugreek
  • Fresh coriander 
  • Oil
  • A little salt and pepper

Chop the coriander and add all the ingredients to make a paste.  Coat the chicken well with thi mixture and leave for at least an hour before cooking, but no longer than 24 hours.

I had no charcoal, but did have some kindling and wood, so i used this for cooking the chicken, it meant that it gave it a really authentic smoky flavour.  By using the lid on the BBQ, this locks in the smoke and creates an oven as well for even cooking of the chicken.

The halloumi granola is simply the best thing I've ever created and I will share this in a later post.

Homemade Beefburgers.

All kids/teenagers love burgers.  To be fair, everyone loves a good burger.  Problem is it can just get a bit too much with all the fries, maybe some onion rings or perish the thought a milkshake!  There are around 500kcal in a shake from McDonalds, other truly terrible burger chains are available, but to be honest, once you make your own and serve it like this, you won't want to go for the poor alternative of the fast food chain.

I'm not saying that these are low in calories by any means, but at least you know everything that is in them.  The burger uses 15% fat beef steak mince, whole egg, breadcrumbs, dried oregano, finely chopped onion, a little tomato ketchup and English mustard and finally some salt and pepper to taste.  The reason for using 15% fat mince is so that when they are on the BBQ and the fat renders from them, they stay moist.  A 5% mince will make dry burgers.  So in the burger alone there is just over 500Kcal in the ones I made, but they were the meal.  Just the burger in the bun with cheese of choice, salad,mustard, ketchup etc.  No fries, chips, wedges.  There was more than enough in this to be a meal in itself at around 850kcal all in for everything listed.  So in reality a pretty hefty meal.

So what does this highlight to us?  It shows that we can vastly over eat when it comes to fast food and consume way more calories than we need, not only that, but they will be very high in saturated fat, high in salt and probably be high in sugar.  Yes the burger I made had around 85% of your saturated fat intake, but with homemade food made all week you are far more able to control the amount of fat within all your meals and the Burger is classed as a treat meal and not to be eaten every day.

You can completely change the character of the burger by changing the cheese that is used on it.  Cheddar, smoked cheddar, red Liecester, chilli cheddar, crumbled feta, mozzarella.  You choose.

Easter Sunday Roast Lamb.

Happy Easter Everyone, but not as we know it.  I'm pretty sure at the begining of the year or even just over a month ago no one thought that everyone would be celebrting Easter in their homes without their friends or family around them.  I know we were meant to be in the Alps with George training and then racing in The British Championships, but things change and you have to adapt. 

We've spent lots of time as a family doing exercise, going for walks, time in the garden, doing training with George, cooking, eating, learning to play poker.  So really it's not that bad.  We have been able to do far more than we would normally do.

Roast lamb is always a favourite for Easter and my timelines on social media were full of everyones delicious efforts.  It's always been a favourite meal of mine ever since I was a little lad.  I'm lucky to say that My wife Joss and George love it as well.

Whole leg of lamb, slow roasted with salt, pepper, rosemary and red wine and water in the tray to create the base for the gravy.  Served with roast potatoes, steamed sweetheart cabbage, roasted carrots, Yorkshire pudding and of course the best minted lamb gravy in the world.

Grilled fish and Kale-lla!!

A healthy twist on a Paella!  Ahhh, that's what Kale-lla is I hear you say?!  It's roasted kale with some of the flavours and ingredients of Paella.  Well, that is what I'm telling myself.

As I fumbled and stumbled through my fridge, freezer and cupboards the other day I pulled out some frozen Basa.  It's not everyones cup of tea when it comes to fish, but its economical, versatile and we all like it.  It also stays really moist and takes on flavour really well when cooked.

So, that was the main part of the dinner decided, pretty well how I normally plan when I'm shopping.  Main ingredients, then build the dish options round that.  At the moment things are a little different and I am limiting the time and trips to the shops, so there are occasions when I look in the fridge and I think, what the hell am I going to make with that?  My wife has come up with the most amazing combination for a salad in chicken mayonnaise with crabsticks!!  I know, I looked at it and thought "No Way", but actually "Way".  It was amazing, so tasty together.

I digress, back to the Kalella!!  As you can see in the first picture of the slideshow, the ingedients were pertty straigt forward and it was a throw it all into one dish and bang in the oven affair.

The ingredients were -

  • Chopped kale, stalks removed and washed.
  • Frozen peas.
  • Sliced yellow pepper.
  • Finely sliced red onion.
  • Chopped flatleaf parsley.
  • Chopped Chorizo (not traditional in a paella, but gives the garlic and smoky paprika flavours).
  • Cooked prawns.
  • A good teaspoon of tomato and roasted pepper stir in sauce.
  • Olive oil.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Everything bar the stir in sauce was added at the begining and roasted through the oven, add the stir in sauce a couple of minutes before the end, return to the oven and heat through.

This was such a tasty side to a meal and could be adapted to include other things like butter beans, anchovies, shredded chicken etc.

The fish was cut into similar sized pieces, seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper, malt vinegar and topped with Panko breadcrumbs.  Any preadcrumbs will do for this and my new favourite breadcrumb style topping for fish at the moment is crushed sesame Ryvita, again this was born out of necessity as I had no breadcrumbs one evening, but did have Ryvita. Either cook on the top shelf of the oven or under the grill.  The secret with fish is to not overcook it.

This together with the Kale-lla was such a tasty light evening meal, just what was called for after all the excess of the Easter weekend.

What next?

What next?  More food and general chit chat in the weeks to come with updates on how things are going during lockdown.  How George is managing with his training and development with limited exposure to what he would normally have.  Like I said above with the food, it's about being flexible.

Finally, I'd really appreciate some feedback on the dishes above and maybe some suggestions on what you'd like to see posted.  Is there anything you need help with?

So to give you an idea of the energy that is burned up by George, here is a video that we did yesterday of his Lockdown Garden Session, combining his skiing, gymnastics and a full body HIIT workout

Hope you enjoy it and trying out some of the food ideas.

Lockdown Garden Session 16.04.20

Using skiing, gymnastics and full body HIIT to train whilst in Lockdown

Thanks for reading