That 5 a day – I’m on it like a car bonnet. I’ve been a bit (a lot) slack with the whole clean and healthy eating thing. It’s totally, 100 % Christmas’ fault but now he’s left the building I’m joining the rest of the wave of well intentioned by getting back into the ‘my body is a temple’ thing and this time I’m dragging the kids along.
I’ve silenced my ears to the protests of “there’s nothing to eat in this house” (there is, there’s ALWAYS something to eat, even if it’s custard powder Old Mother Hubbard has nothing on me.) One thing which has seriously transpired since I stopped buying biscuits and cakes is just how sugar addicted my boys are. So I’m taking us all cold turkey on the basis that if I don’t buy it, we don’t have and if they’re really as hungry as they’re making out they’ll reach for a good old piece of fruit.
But there’s a but, there’s always a but. When it comes to parenting solo, you have to pick your battles. The whole good cop/bad cop thing doesn’t work. You’re just one or the other and they’re stuck with it, so for my sanity and to eek out the balance of a happy harmonious house hold. I’m being a little cunning in my mission by introducing some sneaky ways to make sure my kids are getting their 5 a day. And for anyone currently raising or survived raising a teenager, you’ll appreciate my cowards approach.
As for toddler parenting, this is where lunch boxes are worth their weight in gold and with preschool kicking in this week I thought,
“perfect! I’ll share some of my toddler lunch box tips”
Keep it colourful and in proportion
Chop up a small apple and chucks of cheese into little bite sized pieces. add in some blueberries, just a couple of (their) handfuls will do the job. A portion is equivalent to your child’s hand sized not yours so there’s no need to go ott. The trick here is you’re making it quick, easy and colourful to eat and if it doesn’t look like a huge amount of fruit to get through, they won’t feel overwhelmed by the quantity and refuse to tuck in. You can always add a few more if you’re with them when they’re eating it but the key here is small sizes.
Introduce a Healthy Fruit drink
Yep, you heard it, a fruit drink like Little bottles by Tropicana . They provide the perfect serving of unsweetened 100% juice to count as one of your 5-a-day. The juice is available in pressed apple or smooth orange and contains 100% pure squeezed fruit in each bottle and there are no added sugars, preservatives or artificial flavours.
Lunch Box Dips
working on the above idea that hand sized pieces count. pop a small portion of humous in a pot and cut up some carrot and pepper sticks. Again, keeping it small and manageable 3 of each will do so the focus is less on the fruit and vegetable eating and more on the fun with a messy dip which shouldn’t give too much cause for concern
Slip it in a sandwich (or a wrap)
Or a pitta bread. You’ve got a little bit of everything going on now but don’t forget the carbs, this will keep your child’s energy levels up. So whatever carbs you go for, a meat of cheese filling with a sliver of cucumber, lettuce leaf or a try good old egg and cress. Just chop it so it’s well and truly hidden, requires minimum eating effort and reduces the possibly of them taking it out.
Don’t feel like you have to go for all 5 a day in one meal time though, there’s always opportunities to top up the remaining 5 a day at family meal times.
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