As featured on Honestly Healthy…
On the school drop off this morning a group of young kids rushed past me inhaling packets of crisps and swigging from fizzy drink bottles. It made me think about how they would function at school. Had they already eaten at home or was this it, a tummy full of empty calories, sugar and salt?
I thought back to our family breakfast, of boiled eggs and soldiers, and couldn’t believe that I had been fussing over an extra piece of sourdough with a bit of homemade jam.
Feeding our children healthy nutritious food is important, especially at a time when you’re bombarded with unhealthy treats pretty much everywhere you go, whether it be a petrol station, newsagent, or even staring at lollipops as a point of sale in a children’s clothes shop.
We’re all hot-wired to love Mars Bars from the day we’re born, and I’ve actually seen a four-month-old’s mouth watering at the site of a chocolate digestive. But with so many wonderful recipes on offer and all the delicious ingredients filling the aisles of our supermarkets we, as parents can make better choices for our children, and help make nutritious food part of their everyday lifestyle, we need to keep our kids healthy!
I watched a documentary called ‘Feed Me’ a couple of months ago which really got me thinking about sugar and the impact it has on us all. It showed thousands of school children in America falling into the trap of Diabetes. Adult onset diabetes seems to be occurring earlier and earlier. The main culprit has to be refined sugar and I think as parents it’s our obligation to teach our children about the importance of healthy, nutritious food.
Every Friday I make a meal plan for the week ahead, and instead of it being a boring task, I pull out all the recipe books, and have fun with the children choosing not only old favorites, but at least one new healthy recipe a week. I try to make balanced meals and when it comes to carbohydrates, I go for slower releasing ones, like sweet potatoes over white and porridge over sugary cereals. I love cooking with the children and I believe that’s the reason my kids aren’t fussy when it comes to food. They love trying new things, and I’ve yet to meet a child who has helped me cook a meal who doesn’t then devour it once it’s ready to eat.
My husband’s a great cook and he makes fresh bread with the children every weekend, my daughter’s a pro now and can make tomato foccacia with her eyes closed. My son loves making pancakes and loads them with honey and fresh berries.
We’re all so busy that keeping track of our diet can seem like just one more thing to do but you don’t need to suddenly turn to kale eating rabbits, start with a few small changes and the rest will follow.
I like Natasha’s way of thinking when it comes to naughty foods. She navigates around the bad ingredients and replaces them with healthy nutritious ones. I love the story of her nephew, Moses, who is obsessed with Nutella. She set to making him the ultimate chocolate spread and with a mixture of his help, his name being featured in the title and it’s delicious taste, he now prefers it to the real thing, the healthy option! (To find out how to make the recipe, click here)
I also try to live by Natasha’s 20/80 mantra and although we’re really healthy in the week, we throw rules to the wind on the weekends and that’s when we’ll have a pizza or ice cream.
At home we’re thinking about what crops to sew this spring, it’s something my children love doing and it can be easier than you think. If you don’t have a lot of space, a pot of cress, a tomato plant, or a little pot of Alpine strawberries can work. Watching things grow fascinates children and in my experience gets them excited about eating healthy food. It’s about going back to basics, and although it might seem easier to turn up at the school gates with a bar of cheap chocolate, you know in your heart of hearts that opting for the healthy nutritious option is much better in the long run.
By Leonora Bamford