Chocolate Spread, but not as they know it (shhhhhh)

I’ve been slacking off the healthy eating reins a little lately. My eldest is following in my healthy footsteps, and totally out doing me  if I’m honest.<hides the Crunchie ice-cream out of shame > The tables have turned and it’s been my boy educating me on what I should and shouldn’t eat. I’d love to to take the credit but I suspect it’s more to do with teenagers being generally fitter and healthier these days. Meanwhile,  my younger teen has been taking advantage of my relaxed approach to nutrition by going into sugar overkill.

I’m sure something happens to kids when they first hit the teenage years, along with the lack of vocabulary / selective mutism and grumbles, there’s this overwhelming urge to consume as much sugar as possible. This begins at breakfast time and ends at evening snacks with fizzy drinks and sweets in the middle. As much as I try limit it at home, they can get what they want at school (and grandparents)  So it’s back to my original plan of attack with healthier eating begining at home.

The one area where Ky, my youngest teenager, really goes to town is early evening snacking, so any swaps we can make are starting here. This started out last week when I introduced Jim Jams chocolate spread, which has 83% less sugar, so he can slather as much on his toast without me recoiling in horror at the instant devastation it’ll be doing to his teeth. It also means my toddler can join in and I don’t have to worry about his sugar intake either. He’s not too bad to be fair, as fruit is his thing, but believe me, a lively toddler on a sugar rush is never a good thing always needs careful management.

finding sneaky ways to reduce my kid's sugar intake starting with Jim Jams chocolate spread!

This isn’t the first time I’ve tried to healthy-up a toast topping for us all. I recently made my own hazelnut chocolate spread using raw cacao, maple syrup and ground hazelnuts which went down like a lead balloon. Suffice to say Jim Jams received a much better reception, I don’t even think they noticed the swap. And believe me, my teenager would tell me.

It’s also made it’s way into a family favourite – my own recipe for a Hazelnut, chocolate cake. so even more sneaky sugar reducing tactics going on.

And less sugar highs, mean less sugar lows which is always a good thing.

Disclaimer 

I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. [I have received a voucher in return for writing this post]”

 

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Slowing Down the pace on a cycle holiday

Bike riding has always been one of our favourite family activities, even with a toddler in tow, it’s a case of strap them in the trailer and off we go! From Center Parcs breaks where we spend the whole time biking around the village to day trips exploring  Holden Forest on 2 wheels and more recently, and my local cycle path favourite, a long leisurely ride from Darts Farm in Topsham, along the coast and stopping in Exmouth.

It’s only part of stretch of family friendly cycle routes in Devon, I prefer to keep off the main roads as much as possible as it takes all the stress out of keeping the kids safe and is nearly all on the flat, give or take a couple of hills. I don’t mind getting off and pushing my bike here as it gives you a chance to meander though the pretty village of Lympstone as well as have a gawp at the stunning houses and see how the other half lives. There’s also a couple of pubs along the route as well as a local shop where we stopped for an ice-cream.

Living in a hilly village, I don’t get to use a bike as much as I like, as much as it’s easier going down, it takes just as long to ride coming up and that’s without a toddler on the back so the only chance I get is when I’ve planned a day out and hired bikes or on holidays. Which is exactly why I would consider taking a biking holiday like those offered by the Slow-Holiday company, Inntravel, where they plan all their biking holiday routes carefully.

Just imagine being able to take in the scenery at a much slower pace, they make sure their tried and tested routes as enjoyable with quiet roads and country lanes wherever possible.The Topsham to Exmouth route would fit their bill perfectly. I’d need that reassurance when exploring another country on a bike

With detailed maps and route notes I’d feel suitably prepared they even transport luggage ahead to your hotel. <cough, cough,> (British Airways couldn’t even manage that for us!)  To top it off, as these bike holidays are for individuals, not groups, you can take your pick of the routes suggested each day and cycle at entirely your own pace.

I’m thinking Tuscany……. vineyards…….sunsets……bliss!

slowing down the holiday pace with a cycle holiday

 

Disclosure

This post is in collaboration with Inntravel

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Toddler Lunch box Ideas For A Toddler-Sized Challenge

Having worked in a school in the past, it was astonishing to see the difference in the sizes of what the kids brought in for packed lunch. I remember saying at the time that there needs to be some more information giving clear examples of what is a suitable portion size. The parents were getting the healthy message (the majority were at least) but there were a few children who came in with more food than an average adult could eat in one sitting.

I guess I wasn’t alone in thinking that there was a gap in information as the Infant & Toddler Forum launched the #rethinktoddlerportionsizes campaign to help raise awareness of it’s not just what we put on toddlers’ plates it’s also how much last year.

I not alone in thinking that there should be a clearer message that it's not just what we put in a toddlers’ lunch box it’s also how much

And they’re back with a challenge for parents, grandparents and guardians to see how can you take all the ITF’s guidance and make it PRACTICAL and easy for all parents to follow every day at every meal?

Curious? Why not visit Toddler Sized Challenge to find out more, join in and share, comment, vote and have the chance to win £1000 and two £500 runners-up prizes as well as spot cash prizes of £100 for commenting and engaging.

a toddler lunch box meal planner for the Toddler sized challenge

I’m weighing in with my tuppence and submitted a suggestion to the challenge already. too with some lunch box ideas on how to help parents ensure they’re getting their toddler lunch boxes spot on.

There are some great menu ideas on the website a but I’ve purposed an idea for downloadable sheets of menu planners with suggestions for toddler lunch boxes  Taking inspiration from the Think Toddler Sized website and creating a go to sheet for lunch boxes which can be printed off and placed on your fridge, or saved as a photo of your photo along with a quick read shopping list section of items to buy.

The idea is about simplifying life for parents, grandparents and carers and taking the stress out of thinking what to buy.

Now I’ve shared mine, what’s would your idea to help parents to Think Toddler Sized be? Why not visit the website (links here if you missed it earlier http://bit.ly/ToddlerSizedChallenge ) to see what’s already been suggested and see if you can come up with something new then upload your idea to the website. You’ve got to be in it to win it!

Think about:

  • The 4 different food groups: carbs, protein, dairy and fruit/vegetables
  • How often different types food should be offered every day
  • How much should be on the plate – think toddler portions

a toddler lunch box meal planner for the Toddler sized challenge



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Kid Friendly Overnight Oats

I’m a huge fan of time-saving techniques. Being a super busy mum constantly chasing her tale (and turning up late more often than not) anything which helps me hit the ground running in the morning is soon going to find a place in my busy mum tool kit. I’ve tackled the end of the day, too knackered to cook thing by preempting it with a slow cooker one pot meal, so now its happy days by preparing breakfast the night before with some kid friendly overnight oats.

For anyone new to overnight oats, you really, seriously NEED to give it a go. It’s a little bullet of health and nutrition in one sitting a perfect for anyone wanting to start the day in the best possible way. And more to the point; it’s grab and go breakfast. Plus, given the fact that lots of breakfast cereals are loaded with sugar, this is one way of having a little control over your daily in take. You can add optional extra health boosters but it’s totally up to you how healthy you want it. The main ingredients of oats, yoghurt and honey will be enough to keep them going until break time / snack time though.

If you’re making this for yourself, this is a great grab and go breakfast you can eat at work too.

why not make these kid friendly over night oats to help with the morning rush? They super easy and a really healthy breakfast
Ingredients

2 cups of rolled oats

1 1/2 cups of milk (cows, almond or coconut will do it)

1 tbsp of raw cacao (can be substituted with cocoa powder but you won’t get the superfood benefits)

1/2 cup of yoghurt preferably natural but can use a small pot of fromage frais

1tbsp honey or mapel syrup

tps vanilla extract

topping 

handful of blueberries or sliced banana

optional

tsp chai seeds

tsp flax seeds

Method 

combine all ingredients into a bowl and mix

divide between 3 bowls, add the topping if using blueberries but leave the banana to the morning and place in the fridge overnight or for a minimum of 2 hours.

You can always put a few topping choices on the table in the morning to let the kids choose for them selves

why not make these kid friendly over night oats to help with the morning rush? They super easy and a really healthy breakfast

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Sneaky ways to get 5 a day in a lunch box

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.

simple and sneaky ways to get some of your child's 5 a day with these lunch box ideas

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.

Disclaimer

This is a collaborative post

simple and sneaky ways to get some of your child's 5 a day with these lunch box ideas

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