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Jacket Potato with Toppings

A jacket potato is such an easy, cheap and kid-friendly dinner, perfect for a weeknight. Whether you buy yours pre-cooked, microwave or oven bake them, there’s no denying the simplicity and ease of this dinner. We have gathered our expert tips and simple, small steps, for you to turn a favourite meal into an opportunity for eating a little better, with a little more veg.

Why are jacket potatoes so great?

A jacket potato is such an easy, cheap and kid-friendly dinner, perfect for a weeknight. Whether you buy yours pre-cooked, chuck them in a microwave or leave them in the oven, there’s no denying the simplicity and ease of this dinner. But since white potatoes don’t count towards your 5-a-day, are there ways to add a little veg to this family favourite? Yes!

Eating the whole potato, including the skin, means you are getting all the best bits of a potato, including the most vitamins and fibre. So a jacket is perfect for getting the best out of the carbs on your plate.

If your kids have sweet palates and are willing to give it a go, swapping a baked potato for a baked sweet potato means your dinner has already turned into 1 of your 5-a-day while even saving you cooking time as sweet potatoes cook a little quicker. With sweet potatoes voted one of the world’s healthiest vegetables by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, there’s no denying this could be a great simple swap!

Kids not convinced by the sweetness of this swap? Time to try some simple topping swaps! A tin of low sugar and salt baked beans counts towards your 5-a-day, tuna mayo with added sweetcorn can up the veg easily, or you can keep the potato simple and serve some cucumber or tomato on the side!

Use the basic recipe and tips below to take your jacket potatoes from good to better!

How are your jacket potato skills?

Getting
started

I’m just starting out.

Next
Level

I’m ready to take it to the next level.

Engaging
Kids

How can I get my kids involved and interested?

Getting Started

A jacket potato is such an easy, cheap and kid-friendly dinner, perfect for a weeknight.

It is infinitely adaptable through toppings and simple swaps, and can even be frozen and reheated to save on oven time (and costs)!

Here is a simple recipe for jackets and beans which you can use as a base and build on over time…

Jacket Potatoes and Beans

Claire Wright

Effort:
Complexity:
Cost:

Ingredients:

Potatoes (1 medium one per person), scubbed clean but not peeled

Tin of baked beans (1 tin for 2 people)

Grated cheese

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Method:

  1. Cook your potato(es). In the microwave, simply prod the potato a few times with a sharp knife and pop in a microwave proof bowl or plate, then microwave 8-15 mins, until a knife inserted into the centre shows the potato is soft and cooked all the way through. In the oven, preheat the oven to 220C/gas 7 and prod potato(es) a few times with a knife, then cover in foil, and bake for about 1 hour, or until a knife inserted into the centre shows the potato is soft and cooked all the way through.

  2. Slice in half lengthways, and serve topped with beans (heated until piping hot) and a little cheese.

     

There is no need to go any further with this recipe until you are confident with it and feel up for the next step.

Feeling ready? Let’s see how you can get your next small victory without battles…

  1.  
Engaging Kids

Engaging Kids

Kids who engage regularly with veg through veg-themed activities, such as arts and crafts, sensory experiences, growing and cooking are shown to be more likely to eat the veg they engage with. Encouraging kids to engage and play with veg is the handy first step to them developing a good relationship with veg and life-long healthy eating.

Kids in the kitchen

Kids in the kitchen

The eventual aim, if possible, is to get kids in the kitchen. Don’t worry, this doesn’t have to mean they are with you from start-to-end creating mess and rising stress levels! It can be as simple as giving them one small job (stirring, measuring, pouring, grating, chopping…) ideally involving veg. They can come in to do their little bit, and have fun with you for a few minutes. Getting them involved, making it playful and praising them plenty for their involvement, perhaps even serving it as dinner they “made”, makes it much more likely they will eat the food offered, not to mention teaching them important life skills. Find ideas, safety tips, videos and even a free chart in our Kids in the Kitchen section here.

Activities

Activities

While getting kids to interact with veggies for real and using their senses to explore them is best, encouraging hands off activities like arts & crafts, puzzles & games or at-home science experiments can be a great start, particularly for those who are fussier eaters or struggle with anything too sensory. Use these veg-themed activities as a stepping stone to interacting with the veg themselves. We have loads of crafty downloads here, puzzles here, and quirky science with veg here.

Sensory

Sensory

Once you feel your child is ready to engage a little more, you can show them how to explore the veg you have on hand with their senses, coming up with playful silly descriptions of how a veg smells, feels, looks, sounds and perhaps even tastes. Find ideas, videos and some simple sensory education session ideas to get you started here.

Serving

Serving

The moments before food is offered can be a perfect opportunity for engagement that can help make it more likely a child will eat it! Giving children a sense of ownership in the meal can make a big difference to their feelings going into it and the pride they take in it. You know your child best, but if you aren’t sure where to start, we have some fun and simple ideas for easy roles you can give them in the serving process over here.

NEXT LEVEL

I Want To Improve My Jacket Potato

If you are feeling confident with your favourite jacket potato recipe, but you’re wondering if there are some small tweaks you could make for the better, this is for you.

We’ve outlined some simple stages for continually improving on a basic jacket potato to get you from good to great. Find where you feel your current recipe sits and see if the next step is something you could aim for. You don’t have to go any further, but if you choose to, make sure you are feeling confident with this new stage before you try the next one.

And remember, the MOST important thing is that the family enjoys the meal! These changes and swaps can take as long as is needed if your family isn’t ready for big changes all in one go. Small simple improvements over time may not even be noticed.

engaging kids

Play is essential!

Think of children helping in the kitchen as a role play game with plenty of fun for maximum effect. One of the best ways to develop a love of veg in kids is to get them involved in the prep of the veg. Not only is cooking an essential life skill for kids to learn, but it’s a great, fun way to get them engaging with healthy foods!

DO you have a question you’d like one of our experts to help you with?
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