Category Archives: Kids

back to school

A healthy school year ahead

Its that time of year again! And what an amazing Summer it was! School bags by the door again and the school lunches to be made. After a litany of BBQs, picnics & ice-cream, we are all looking forward to a bit of routine I think. We all know how difficult it can be to get kids to eat healthy all of the time, but at this time of year especially we really need to build them up with cooler temperatures on the way and cold & flu season approaching.

Eating a colourful varied diet full of natural wholefoods, like fruit, veg, wholegrains, good protein sources, good fats, and free of refined foods and sugars is going to give kids all they need to get through the day, growing and functioning as they need to be. These foods packed with micro-nutrients, omegas, phyto-nutrients are essential for the proper functioning of their bodies and brains.

Another good rule of thumb is to ensure they are getting enough protein. Including protein in their meals & snacks is going to keep blood sugar balanced & will keep them full for longer as well as giving them the much needed amino acids they need so badly.

Heres some practical ways to make it a healthy school ahead for them!

Breakfast:

Most important! Start the day with a good healthy breakfast. Ditch the refined carbs and make that a great sustaining breakfast that is going to get them through the morning and build those bodies.

Eggs are a fantastic start to the day and a true ‘super’ food, everything in there from protein to good fats, perfect brain food! Eggs are a great protein source for them, sending them off on their day ahead. Boiling some the night before is a very handy way to save time. Or scrambled in the microwave takes just 2 minutes!

eggmuffins

Make fruit a regular feature at the breakfast table, maybe a bowl of fruit salad, even just the fruit bowl itself, and let them take their pick. Lots of colourful fruit and berries included in their breakfast is going to give them a great nutrient boost to start the day. Warming a few berries, with a little honey, can make a very tasty ‘jam’ for toast or porridge.

Oats makes a great base for breakfast that you can add to and make your own. As muesli or as porridge, you could lay out a few little containers of ‘toppings’ and let them work away themselves, with fruit, berries, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, fruit puree. Oat based breakfast bars are a great one that can be made ahead of time, to make things easier on those busy or fussy mornings!

Pancakes made using banana and egg simply, or with oats added too are a fantastic flour-less option.

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Milk is a staple of most breakfasts. You can have fun trying out different milks with them trying all the different tastes and seeing what they like.

Smoothies and juices made from veg and fruit are a great way to get lots of nutrients into kids in the morning. Veg like pak choi, spinach, lettuce, cucumber, carrot, generally go undetected when mised with apple or orange. Our favourites are carrot spinach and orange or also pakchoi, cucumber & apple with a little cinnamon goes down well. A smoothie left very thick without adding any water can be a breakfast smoothie bowl , eaten with a spoon. You can add things here again like porridge oats, nuts, seeds.

Probiotics are a good thing to include in the morning at this time of year, they can really boost their digestion, immune systems & health. Especially with all the bugs going around at school, this will help their defences. Good probiotic yogurt and kefir are good or probiotic powder is pretty much tasteless and so handy for throwing into their breakfast or smoothie.

Lunch

Lunchboxes is a place where most of us get stuck in a bit of a rut, maybe sending them same thing day after day to avoid it coming back uneaten! Top tips would be to have a lot of little Tupperware containers at hand, so handy for all little snacks, like berries, nuts, fruit, etc Include lots of different colours. Change things up, like using different kinds of breads or crackers or rice cakes. Wholegrain pasta in a mini thermos is nice for a novelty.

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It’s a great idea to get the kids involved in making their own lunch and talking to them about lunch time in school, how does it go, what do other people bring, is there something else they have seen that you could get for them (within reason of course!). Making snacks in bulk once a week is a great idea so they are on hand when you need them. Oat cookies, breakfast bars, flapjacks are great options that will keep them going all day.

Dinner

Having something ready for when they come in is a good way to stop them looking for rubbish, if dinner is not till later. A plate of veg sticks and hummus or nice warming soup are good ones.

At dinner make a choice of colourful veg a staple at meal times, a great way to get kids picking away.

Hidden veg sauces are a great way to squeeze veg into their diets unbeknowns to them. Just sautee off garlic, onion and any veg of your choice. Cook it down, then add meat if you wish, maybe turkey mince, some passata and tomato paste, some seasoning and a touch of honey. Then blend and you are left with a bolognese style sauce, that is secretly packed with veg and goodness!!

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Eggs again are great at any meal. They are a fantastic protein source and so handy to add veg to, in say an omelette or fritatta or even egg muffins.

Turkey is a great meat to use for kids. Its a brilliant source of protein. You can buy it minced and it is so handy to make into burgers or hot dogs.

Oily fish is very important for their omega 3 intake, essential for the developing brains and bodies. Salon & mackerel are great sources. If they are not inclined, an omega 3 supplement would be a good idea for the Autumn.

Using veg as a base is great, whether it be a sweet potato or a pepper for stuffing or a courgette slice length ways and topped like a pizza.

Sweet potato or courgette fries are a great substitute for chips. Or sweet potato mash is another great side. Simply changing to brown rice or pasta or quinoa will be another great boost to their nutrients.

 

Snacks/Treats

We are surrounded by treats; shops, in friend’s houses, at parties, doting grandparents! The list goes on. One easy trick is if its not in the house they cant ask for it.  Often parents want to avoid a battle, and looking for the peaceful way, let kids to have what they want. But what they want is not necessarily what they need! A good moto I think is if they are eating very well 80-90% of the time, then they can afford to have a little treat now and again, often referred to as the 80:20 rule. Back in the day a ‘treat’ would have been an occassional nice thing, not something we had every day or even a few times a day like seems to be the case nowadays. Most schools now have a healthy eating policy which means treats are only allowed once a week, which is great.

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Fruit is great for snacks and treats. Simple fruit on its own, or in a fruit salad. Fruit kebabs are great, and kids can have fun putting their own ones together. Melted dark chocolate is great for dipping fruit into. Or even dip fruit in and then chill it, so you have chocolate covered banana slices or mandarins segments, these go down very well. Apples or pears and nut butter is another great one. A spiraliser or a mandolin too are great tools to have in your kitchen, apple noodles or chips are great.

Veg is also great. Raw veg sticks with hummus or dip of their choice is a brilliant one. Courgette noodles are great and its fun making them, they can be cooked in a tomato sauce they can be passed as spaghetti. Doing different things with veg can mix it up a bit too, grated, slicing, noodles, raw, cooked, gets them used to al the different tastes and textures and will help broaden their palettes.

Popcorn is a handy wholegrain snack, Kelkin do a nice one you can make yourself. Kids love watching it popping in the pot!

Nut butter/homemade Nutella can easily be made in a Nutribullet, kids will be amazed to watch it changing from nuts to butter. Almond butter is so easy to make, a good tip is to lightly roast the nuts first. For the Nutella do the same with hazelnuts and then add some cacao powder and a little honey.

It can be very challenging dealing with fussy eaters. Top tips would be to persist, try and try things again, it could take up to 15 times for them to try something and like it. Giving options works well so if they say they don’t like something you could say ok ‘well the options are broccoli or carrots’, rather than ‘you have to eat broccoli’ they usually choose one or the other, a good way to get them trying things, without them feeling forced, can make them feel grown up and like they have a say or a choice. Discussing it with them, making table rules like everyone needs to try things, they can always spit it out if they don’t like it but they must try it, this sort of thing can be good for getting them used to different tastes and not afraid of trying new things. Having fun with food is another great touchy-feely way of getting kids interested in nutrition, things like food art, funny faces, building their own sandwich, making their own pizza, taste tests (blindfolded for the brave!), build fruit kebabs or fruit flowers, this sort of thing.

Nutrition and wellness coaching - fussy eaters

While you would prefer them to be getting their nutrients from food, if you fear they are not a good quality multivitamin may be a good idea for these few months to boost them.

Best of luck with the year ahead. Wishing you good health!

Getting kids to eat healthy

We all know how difficult it can be to get kids to eat healthy all of the time. So many things working against us, living in a world surrounded by junk and sugar, in shops, in friend’s houses, at parties, doting grandparents! The list goes on. Often parents want to avoid a battle, and looking for the peaceful way, let kids to have what they want. But what they want is not necessarily what they need! A good moto I think is if they are eating very well 80-90% of the time, then they can afford to have a little treat now and again, often referred to as the 80:20 rule. Back in the day a ‘treat’ would have been an occassional nice thing, not something we had every day or even a few times a day like seems to be the case nowadays. One good place parents can start is by stopping buying rubbish themselves, you might find that Mum is buying a treat here, Dad is buying a treat there, Granny calls, Grandad visits, a neighbour calls in with treats, by the end of the week you’d be amazed how it all adds up. Our even ask Granny or Grandad would they mind bringing something else like stickers, collecting cards, arts and crafts, whatever they are into. Or in the situation where its not possible to say that, or they just wont listen! you could always allow them a little and ‘put some away till later’ if needs be. Sometimes it can be tough to stick to your guns, but if you need a little motivation, or a way to visualise it for the kids (or the Grandparents!) a great (& scary) visual exercise in toting up their sugar intake for the day, it can be a real eye opener! 4g of sugar is equal to 1 tsp.

rething

We are seeing more and more cases of behavioural issues among kids all the time, you only have to look at a diet of say; cornflakes, white bread ham sandwich and chicken nuggets and chips to see where the problems lie. With fussy eaters and dinner battles, kids are often not getting enough fruit or veg or good fats in their diets, and left extremely nutrient deficient. These foods packed with micronutrients, omegas, phytonutrients are essential for the proper functioning of their bodies and brains.

Eating a colourful varied diet full of natural wholefoods, like fruit, veg, wholegrains, good protein sources, good fats, and free of refined foods and sugars is going to give kids all they need to get through the day, growing and functioning as they need to be.

Another good rule of thumb is to ensure they are getting ennough protein. Including protein in their meals & snacks is going to keep blood sugar balanced & will keep them full for longer as well as giving them the much needed amino acids they need so badly.

IMG_6879 paleo3

Here are some practical ways to get healthy foods into kids:

Breakfast:

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Make fruit a regular feature at the breakfast table, maybe a bowl of fruit salad, even just the fruit bowl itself, and let them take their pick. Lots of colourful fruit and berries included in their breafast is going to give them a great nutrient boost to start the day. Warming a few berries, with a little honey, can make a very tasty ‘jam’ for toast or porridge.

Oats makes a great base for breakfast that you can add to and make your own. As muesli or as porridge, you could lay out a few little containers of ‘toppings’ and let them work away themselves, with fruit, berries, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, fruit puree. Oat based breakfast bars are a great one that can be made ahead of time, to make things easier on those busy or fussy mornings!

image IMG_5582

Pancakes made using banana and egg simply, or with oats added too are a fantastic flourless option.

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Milk is a staple of most breakfasts. You can have fun trying out different milks with them trying all the different tastes and seeing what they like.

Smoothies and juices made from veg and fruit are a great way to get lots of nutrients into kids in the morning. Veg like pak choi, spinach, lettuce, cucumber, carrot, generally go undetected when mised with apple or orange. Our favourites are carrot spinach and orange or also pakchoi, cucumber & apple with a little cinnamon goes down well. A smoothie left very thick without adding any water can be a breakfast smoothie bowl , eaten with a spoon. You can add things here again like porridge oats, nuts, seeds.

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Eggs are a great protein source for them, sending them off on their day ahead. Boiling some the night before is a very handy way to save time. Or scrambled in the microwave takes just 2 minutes!

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Lunch

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Lunchboxes is a place where most of us get stuck in a bit of a rut, maybe sending them same thing day after day to avoid it coming back uneaten! Tope tips would be to have a lot of little tupperware containers at hand, so handy for all little snacks, like berries, nuts, fruit, etc Include lots of different colours. Change things up, like using different kinds of breads or crackers or rice cakes. Pasta in a mini thermos is nice for a novelty. The best thing is to get kids involved in making their own lunch and talking to them about lunch time in school, how does it go, what do other people bring, is there something else they have seen that you could get for them (within reason of course!). Making snacks in bulk once a week is a great idea so they are on hand when you need them. Oat cookies, breakfast bars, flapjacks are great options that will keep them going all day.

Dinner

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Adding a plate of crudites or any kind of veg to the table at meal times is a great way to get kids picking away. maybe as you are serving they could be eating those, maybe with some hummus or dips.

Hidden veg sauces are a great way to squeeze veg into their diets unbeknowns to them. Just sautee off garlic, onion and any veg of your choice. Cook it down, then add meat if you wish, maybe turkey mince, some passata and tomato paste, some seasoning and a touch of honey. Then blend and you are left with a bolognese style sauce, that is secretly packed with veg and goodness!!

Eggs again are great at any meal. They are a fantastic protein source and so handy to add veg to, in say an omelette or fritatta or even egg muffins.

Turkey is a great meat to use for kids. Its a brilliant source of protein. You can buy it minced and it is so handy to make into burgers or hot dogs.

eggmuffins image

Using veg as a base is great, whether it be a sweet potato or a pepper for stuffing or a courgette slice length ways and topped like a pizza.

Sweet potato or courgette fries are a great substitute for chips. Or sweet potato mash is another great side. Simply changing to brown rice or pasta or quinoa will be another great boost to their nutrients.

pizza IMG_5718

Snacks/Treats

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Fruit is great for snacks and treats. Simple fruit on its own, or in a fruit salad. Fruit kebabs are great, and kids can have fun putting their own ones together. Melted dark chocolate is great for dipping fruit into. Or even dip fruit in and then chill it, so you have chocolate covered banana slices or mandarins segments, these go down very well. Apples or pears and nut butter is another great one. A spiraliser or a mandolin too are great tools to have in your kitchen, apple noodles or chips are great.

Veg is also great. Raw veg sticks with hummus or dip of their choice is a brilliant one. Courgette noodles are great and its fun making them, they can be cooked in a tomato sauce they can be passed as spaghetti. Doing different things with veg can mix it up a bit too, grated, slicing, noodles, raw, cooked, gets them used to al the different tastes and textures and will help broaden their palettes.

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Popcorn is a handy wholegrain snack, Kelkin do a nice one you can make yourself. Kids love watching it popping in the pot!

Nut butter/homemade Nutella can easily be made in a Nutribullet, kids will be amazed to watch it changing from nuts to butter. Almond butter is so easy to make, a good tip is to lightly roast the nuts first. For the Nutella do the same with hazelnuts and then add some cacao powder and a little honey.

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It can be very challenging dealing with fussy eaters. Top tips would be to persist, try and try things again, it could take up to 15 times for them to try something and like it. Giving options works well so if they say they don’t like something you could say ok ‘well the options are broccoli or carrots’, rather than ‘you have to eat broccoli’ they usually choose one or the other, a good way to get them trying things, without them feeling forced, can make them feel grown up and like they have a say or a choice. Discussing it with them, making table rules like everyone needs to try things, they can always spit it out if they don’t like it but they must try it, this sort of thing can be good for getting them used to different tastes and not afraid of trying new things. Having fun with food is another great touchy-feely way of getting kids interested in nutrition, things like food art, funny faces, building their own sandwich, making their own pizza, taste tests (blindfolded for the brave!), build fruit kebabs or fruit flowers, this sort of thing.

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Probiotics are another thing to include in kids diets, they can really boost their digestion, immune systmes & health. Especially with all the bugs going around at school, this will help their defences. Good probiotic yogurt and kefir are good or probiotic powder is pretty much tasteless and so handy for throwing into their breakfast or smoothie.

Hope this is a help! Best of luck!!

brassicas

‘Eat Your Greens!’ – the age old battle lives on…..

Getting greens into kids has always been a challenge. We all remember orders to ‘eat your greens’ from our mothers! It is even more of a challenge nowadays with all the alternatives that are available. Back in the day of the more traditional cooking of our mothers and grandmothers, the only challenge was getting the children to eat the greens on their plate, but nowadays there are multiple problems; in a lot of cases is the greens are not even being served up, if they are they may have been grown in nutrient depleted soil, have possibly travelled across the world or been sprayed within an inch of their lives with pesticides.

Green foods are some of the most beneficial we can eat when it comes to giving our bodies the nutrients it needs to function properly. Packed with the whole range of vitamins as well as, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. The benefits are endless; blood clotting, energy, vision, bone health, cholesterol, skin can all benefit from eating green veg. Easy to see why we need to be eating them every day in every meal. We only have to glance at the average Irish daily diet for many kids of breakfast cereal, ham sandwich, chicken goujons, sausages, chips, treats and it is easy to see how many kids are not eating any greens at all. The results are clear in ever rising list of symptoms we are seeing in kids today, like pale skin, lack of concentration, child obesity, behaviour issues, the list goes on. We are doing the next generation an injustice! Feeding today’s kids well and educating them in health and nutrition is the simplest, quickest, most cost effective way to turn our obesity and healthcare crises around.

Heres our top suggestions on how to get greens into kids? What to do with fussy eaters? And how to avoid those dreaded dinner rows!

Smoothies/Smoothie Bowls

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Smoothies are such a handy way to get veg into kids. A little of most leafy greens e.g. Spinach, lettuce, pak choi, kale can be added to a berry, banana smoothie and a little chunk of other veg like carrot, celery or peeled courgette usually goes unnoticed. Yes some of you will argue that it is better to eat the veg rather than blend it, but if it’s a choice between getting it into them or not this is a good option to get the nutrients into them. Start with a tiny bit and build it up from there!

Soups

soup

Soups are a great versatile way to vary your child’s diet. Whatever your child’s taste from tomato to creamy chicken there is room there to slip in a little veg without too much of a battle. Again start with getting them to like certain types and then add more and more veg each time. And remember a little of a lot of different veg is going to give your child the whole range of nutrients!

‘Hidden’ Sauces

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Sauces are a fantastic place to sneak in some hidden veg. Many kids enjoy saucy meals like Spag Bol or lasagne etc A Nutribullet or blender makes it so easy to blitz a little extra veg through your sauce, slipping it past your little angels lips without a complaint. A great tomato sauce can be made by sautéed onion, garlic, celery then add carrot, peeled courgette and fry further and then adding passata, seasoning, honey/ brown sugar to sweeten slightly, dash balsamic vinegar. Perfect for little ones! 

Veg sticks 

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Making raw veg sticks a staple at snack time can get kids picking away at veggies in no time. Even if they don’t eat them at first keep it up, you can pick away at them yourself or even  better if their friend is visiting they may partake, nothing better then seeing what their peers are doing and thinking ‘hmmm I might give that a go’. Remember if it’s not out on the table they are definitely not going to try it!

Adding to their favourites

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Focussing on what they like and adding to that is the best way to get them on side, so if they like a bolognese, try and add some veg to the sauce. If they like a sandwich maybe add lettuce or cucumber.

Education

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Simply explaining the benefits of certain foods to kids can get them interested. Especially if a child has certain health concerns, rather than getting into a row, simply explaining that trying certain foods could make them feel better, the whole food as medicine concept, can actually have good results, event if not right away after the idea has time to settle! 

8 a day

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Guidelines now show that we should be eating approx 8 a day of fruit and veg. That amount can feel like a bit of a challenge with kids but with a little bit of thought and planning it can be easily done. Handy tips with smallies are making fruit/ fruit salad a regular at breakfast time, making veg & fruit a part of snack time, having veg at lunch and dinner, having fruit as a treat or dessert, if eating out opting for veg instead of chips.

There are so many benefits to upping your veg intake, energy, skin, mood, digestion, behaviour, There’s no doubt more veg = a happier healthier child. I think we would all agree that is worth a little extra work & perseverance!

Nutrition & wellness coaching - Food intolerance

Navigating intolerances with kids

The world of nutrition can be an absolute minefield with kids, fussy eaters, treats, food myths, the media, all of which can leave us parents feeling totally bamboozled! Add to the mix a suspected food intolerance and we can be left totally stumped not knowing what to do! In a typical Irish child’s diet of cereal, ham sangers, yogurts, a dairy or wheat intolerance can feel like a serious hurdle. Many of us are dealng with kids with excema, bloating, digestion issues, ear nose and throat issues, behaviour problems, the list goes on. All of these conditions are on the rise in Ireland and its no wonder again when you think of the typical Irish lunch box for example. Maybe you suspect a food intolerance? Or simply are curious could reducing allergens improve certain symptoms. Here are some top tips to help you navigate your way through food intolerance in kids.

Identifying the culprit

A food intolerance test or appointment with a Nutritional Therapist would be recommended and can be very helpful. But maybe you have an inkling as to which food it might be? Generally dairy, wheat, gluten are a god place to start. An elimination diet of one food at a time can have dramatic results in some cases. The food in question needs to removed 100% for 3 weeks. So that means no exceptions, if you want to see results. You may notice an improvement in certain symptoms. At the end of the 3 weeks reintroduce the food for a day and see do symptoms reoccur.

Gut Support

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During the course of the elimination (and in general) it would be of great benefit to provide some on-going gut support. A good probiotic will help to repopulate beneficial bacteria in the gut. Stewed cooking apples is an easy one to get into smallies, the pectin found in it is great for healing the gut wall. Chicken stock (made from boiling up a chicken or chicken carcasse for 4 hours) is packed with amino acids with gut healing properties, adding this wherever you can like soups, stews, other dishes. Fermented foods and drinks in small amounts can work wonders at boosting good bacteria but these are more difficult to get into kids, a kefir or kombucha drink may be worth a try in small amounts.

Get Organised

Preparation and thinking ahead are going to be key here. Sending food with the child wherever they go, be it a friend’s house, party, etc. Trying to keep talk about the elimination to a minimum, so as not to make a big deal of it. Talking more about all the foods we can have over the 3 weeks, rather than all the foods that are not allowed. Of course a little explanation will be required but playing it down as much as possible. Even the child will see the benefits if some of symptoms disappear, which will motivate them to keep it up, in many cases.

Alternatives

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Breakfast can be the biggest hurdle with cereal and milk being the nation’s quick and handy go-to. Here are some nutritious dairy and gluten free brekkie alternatives to play around with:

Fruit Salad & coconut yogurt

GF Granola made with coconut oil & maple syrup served with nut milk

Banana, egg & gf oat pancakes with almond butter & chia jam or maple syrup, pecans & coconut yogurt

Oat bread (Loughbeg brand or homemade) with ghee/Pure spread & chia jam

Scrambled eggs with veg/gf oat bread

Smoothie bowl – fruit, veg, avocado & nut milk blitzed

Lunch/Dinner

A good way to make main meals cleaner and allergen free is by adding lots of veggies raw and cooked to the lunch and dinner table. Potatoes, brown rice, quinoa are good additions to add to meat/fish/eggs and veg. Salad is also a great versatile option, and a fun way to get kinds involved in the kitchen. Spiralising, grating, blitzing veg are great ways to fit more veg into a dish!

Snacks

There are so many snack options made up of fruit, veg, nuts, seeds, for example. See a list of ideas below:

Apple & Almond butter

Banana & peanut butter stacks

GF granola & coconut yogurt

Veg sticks and hummus

GF oat crackers & chicken

Fruit Date & Nut Balls

GF flapjacks

Homemade oaty chia cookies

Coconut yogurt & chia jam

Homemade popsicles

treats

Treating Kids

As a Mum it seems to be a constant stream of ‘Can I have a treat?’ from the kids and who could blame them, surrounding by all those inviting chocolate bars and treats on display in every shop they go in to and with sugar being so addictive, it’s as if once they see it, that’s all they can think about and you’re the worst in the world for not allowing them to have it. It can be a struggle to try to keep them eating healthy!

Of course it’s difficult to leave treats out altogether, especially when you factor in external sources like grandparents, parties, play-dates etc, but applying an 80/20 rule can work really well to reduce the amount of treats they are getting, 80% of the time eating healthy and 20% of the time allowing treats. Mum might be buying ‘the odd treat’ during the week and Dad might be doing the same unbeknowns to each other, it can easily add up over the week, simply making a pact as parents that you will let their quota of junk come from uncontrollable external sources and when they are at home it’s healthier options, that alone can make all the difference.  Sometimes it is unavoidable, but in the situation for example where Granny is bringing a weekly packet of sweets, it may be possible to suggest a pack of stickers or match attacks or something instead.

Now all this doesn’t mean no treats at all, everyone needs a treat now and again even us grown ups, it’s just trying to incorporate healthier options. Some delicious treats can be created with the likes of nuts, dates, cacao, nut butter, dark chocolate, coconut products, dried fruit, seeds, berries, fruit, maple syrup/agave. It may take a little while to win them over but you can start slow making things they enjoy a little healthier over time, substituting in alternative better ingredients. As time goes on  their taste-buds change and you might find down the road when they do have some ‘junk’ they are not as interested in it as they used to be or that it makes them feel a bit icky.

Here’s some simple tips to make it easier when it comes to treating kids at home:

1.       Don’t keep junk in the house and then they can’t ask for it

2.       Keep a stock of healthy treats available, see recipes below or buy some in from your local health food store e.g. Nakd bars, Meridian bars, fruit winders. Even a simple fruit salad can be a nice treat!   

3.       Make water their only drink option, this will reduce their sugar/sweetner intake which will lessen their sweet tooth

4.       Add a bowl/plate of fruit to the breakfast table every morning, a great way to get them into the habit of tasting natural sweetness.

5.       Have raw veg at lunch and dinner times, this will fill them up and adjust their taste-buds

6.       Treats are better eaten at the end of a meal, better on their teeth

7.       Sit down to eat together, slow down the whole process, they will stay full for longer

8.       Have set meal and snack times

9.       If they do get treats from Granny, that’s ok, maybe suggest having half now and half later or tomorrow

10.   Boost their nutrients and combat sugar with a healthy juice or smoothie, especially on a day of party etc where you know there will be junk

11.   Informing them and educating them is a great way to help them make their own decisions when they are out without you

12.   Teaching them how to make simple snacks/treats/meals is a great fun activity to do together and as they get older it can really empower them to make better food choices

For some healthy treat recipes check out the treats page: http://fooducation.ie/wp/category/fooducationrecipes/treatrecipes/

  

Nutrition and wellness coaching - fussy eaters

Worried about fussy eaters?

Dealing with fussy eaters can be very frustrating! Trying day in day out to get them to eat the meals you make, constant dinner battles, worrying about their nutrition and even feeling guilty, it’s not pleasant. Well don’t lose hope! The first thing to remember is there is a lot you can do with kids as regards nutrition, without even going near their food! Leading my example, surrounding them with positive influences and educating them in a fun way about nutrition can set a seed with them and get them thinking (even subconciously) about food and health and can lead to better decisions down the line. Heres our top tips for handling fussy eaters and your stress levels!

Lead by example

The absolute best way to convey any message to kids is by letting them see you do it yourself. So focus on your own food first and that change alone is going to be a great education for your kids. They want to be like you and do what you do, so even if its not an instant change it is definitely passing a good message on to them, even subconsciously.

Get them involved

Getting kids to help with the shoping, prepping, cooking, baking is a great way to get an interest up in them around food and cooking and it reduces the mystery and fear around it all. With no pressure on them to even taste if they dont want to, but just to get involved and it can be a fun family activity too. Making a game out of identifying different veg in the supermarket or simple tasks like peeling veg, kids will love taking part.

Country Markets

An outing to a country market can be a nice family activity for everyone and a great learning experience. There are markets running in most areas now one day or other in the week. This can be a great outing for all ages, with loads of great produce on offer, you can even talk to the producers, kids can really get a feel from where the food comes from and what is involved in producing it. Other options like local producers, farm shops and open veg gardens, usually welcome visitors and this can be a great place to get great quality food at good prices.

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Positive influences

Simple things like reading books about nutrition and health can be a fun activity to get kids thinking about food. There are loads of kids books out now. Also on TV or online now there are cartoons and on devices loads of kids apps. As they get a little older then there are any amount of interesting movies and documentaries that you can watch together. Even colouring pictures, games, quizzes, there is so much available online nowadays and these will all be instilling a positive message.

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Grow your own

A fantastic project to start with kids is to grow something yourselves. Anything at all, no matter how small the garden, even a pot of lettuce or parsley, they will be amazed to see it grow and they will be so proud to see something they grew from a seed going into dishes!

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Reading labels & other activities

An activity kids can find fun is comparing labels of products, purely for interest sake, they will be amazed to see one pack has more sugar than another for example. A good way to do it is to get products that they like and then a similar more healthy alternative and compare products, it can get a discussion going and you never know where that might lead! A simple sugar demo is another activity that is very visual and effective with kids. Simple lay out products on a table, check the label for sugar content (4g=1 tsp) and spoon out that amount of sigar in front of the product, different cereals, biscuits, yogurts work well.

Classes

A cooking class or grow your own veg class could be a fun kids or family activity. There are classes like these running all over the country, if you do a search online or ask in your local area or health shop. Grow HQ in Waterford is definitely worth a visit, they offer great classes and information and you could visit the cafe and veg gardens too!

Tips on actually getting them to eat:

Well this could be another blog of its own, but heres some helpful hints!

Quality – focus first on what they are actually willing to eat and try to improve the quality of that. So if its chicken nuggets, make your own. If its a ham sandwich, try better quality bread (even get them involved in making your own!), boil a ham and sqitch spreads back to plain old butter. Yogurts, switch to a good quality natural probiotic yogurt and add your own fruit or blitzed berries and as little sweetness as you can get away with, whittling it down as their taste buds adapt. The better quality produce is going to be higher in nutrients and less damaging to their gut and health.

Try and try again – when introducing new foods, it can take up to 20 times trying something for a child to come around to it, sticker charts, little rewards can work really well to intice them to try, or they find Youtube clips on tasting foods, blindfold tasting etc very entertaining so maybe you could try an activity like that at home

Hidden goodies – a great way to boost nutrition, is in some food that they do actually like, start to ‘hide’ a small amount of something healthy, maybe blended veg or fruit or even bone broth, building it up very slowly, up are seriously boosting the nutritional value of the meal and their tastebuds will actually start to change over time. A tomato pasta sauce with a little hidden onion, garlic, courgette, pepper, carrot can give them a serious nutrient boost

Take your opportunity – we are all talk about mindful eating, not eating in front of screens etc but when it comes to very fussy kids this could actually work in your favour the odd time. Those moments when they are slightly zoned out watching TV slip a little bowl of chopped veg or fruit in front of them and you might be surprised they they might start munching when they are distracted!

Renaming – Homemade juices and smoothies are a great way to hide some goodies also, renaming a veg & strawberry smoothie with a (little avocado & coconut oil!) a ‘nice strawberry milkshake’, even the tiniest amounts of the good stuff you add in are going to have a benefit.

Good luck!

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Get the kids into the kitchen

Kids love nothing more than getting involved, getting their hands dirty and doing an activity together with siblings or parents. Sometimes they may need a little nudge, with all the distractions available these days, but once you get started they love it and the love tasting thre results even more!

This is such a great way to get kids learning about food and even to get fusy eaters to try new foods. Having some input into the recipe and the making of the food really empowers kids and makes them feel very grown up.

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With 1 in 4 kids overweight or obese, we really need to get down to their level and start showing them basic kitchen skills and teaching them about food from an early age, if they are to have a hope of a healthy adult life.

So some very easy options for you to start off with! All of these are no-bake so you dont have to worry!

Treat Balls

Soak 2 handfuls of dates in  2 tbsp boiling water. Blend 100g nuts, pecans and almonds go down well with kids. Seperately blend the dates & water into a paste. In a bowl mix dates, nuts, 4 tbsp cacao powder, a little honey or maple syrup to taste. You can play around with it, maybe they would like to add raisans or other dried fruit. Have fun then shaping them into balls and rolling in cacao, coconut or ground almonds. They’ll love getting their hands dirty!

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Smoothies and Smoothie bowls

Kids love making smoothies. Lay out lots of fruit and veg, nut/goats milk, coconut water and give them the freedom to choose what they want to put in. Try out different combinations. Make one yourself also and show them that things like a little carrots, lettuce, peeled courgette, celery, beetroot don’t actually make that much difference to the taste (try them individually at first and celery and beetroot just a small chunk at first!) If you want to get adventurous, add in avocado, nuts, seeds, milled flax or chia.

For a smoothie bowl simply add less liquid, so its good and thick and eat out of a bowl rather than drinking it. This can be a great alternative to a breakfast cereal. Top with nuts, seeds, raisians, whatever you like.

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No bake granola bars

Blend 100g nuts and 100g seeds, to a rough mix rather than a fine powder (or go with finer if you want to hide them!). Melt 3 tbsp almond butter and 3 tbsp coconut oil and then blend with a banana. Handful of gluten free oats (optional). Blend 2 handfuls of soaked dates to a paste. Mix nuts, seeds, dates, almond butter, coconut oil, dates and banana. They’ll love mixing this gloupy mess and licking the spoon! Press into a shallow tray/dish and refridgerate. You can tp with a little dark choc if you like. Once chilled cut into bars and store in a lunch box, if you can keep them that long!

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Simple chocolate dipping bowl

Cocktail sticks, fruit and dark chocolate, this is the easiest crowd pleaser around! Prepare chunks of fruit, kids can get to work on peeling bananas picking off grapes, washing thr fruit, etc, while you do the chopping. Melt a bar of dark chocolate in the microwave, taking care not to burn, or over a banemarie (pot of boiling water on the hob!). Add a touch of honey or coconut oil to taste if its too bitter. Set up the fruit around the bowl of chocolate, give every one a cocktail stick or fork and dig in! This one doesn’t last too long!!

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Fruit Stacks

These are great little snacks. Simply slice banana, apple of pear and stack with a nut butter spread between each slice. Top with a little chopped nuts, chia seeds or sesame seeds. Berries work great too. Fill raspberries with almond butter or strawberries topped with a little coconut cream are great! Great fun playing around with different combinations!

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Nicecream

Banana based icecream is a great one if you have any dairy intolerance in the house. But regardless this is a tasty easy to make icecream substitute that the kids will love! Chop banana and freeze. Blend from frozen, adding whatever flavour you prefer, vailla extract, fresh strawberry or cacao powder. Sweeten as you need with a little good quality local honey or maple syrup.

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Chocolate Bark

Another quick and easy one, simply melt dark chocolate and add whatever takes your fancy, chopped nuts, seeds, chia, dried fruit, fresh fruit, anything. Lay flat on greaseproof paper and refridgerate. Once chilled, crack into sections and enjoy!!

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Down the line if you want to start getting more adventurouror as they are getting older and are able for more, the possibilites are endless:

  • Oat Cookies are a great one, just a one bowl mix, make a log, chop into cookies and lay on the tray
  • Healthy Buns are the same, bung the mix in the food processoror Nutri Bullet and into the muffin tin
  • Buckwheat Pancakes are a real winner, again make the mix in the Nutribullet or blender, add some extras at the last minute like raisans, blueberries or dark choc chips and into the frying pan, supervising of course!
  • Helping to prepare the dinner, prepping veg etc if they are old enough to use a sharp knife!
  • Making salads, using a grater is a handy way, or a grater in a food processor can be so quick and. Grated beetroot, carrot and apple goes down very well with smallies!
  • Play around with making dressings can be good too, all you need is a jar with a lid, 3 parts extra virgin olive oil to 1 part apple cider vinegar, and then whatever else you want to add e.g. honey/maple, tamari/soya sauce, salt & pepper, herbs, spices, coconut milk, tahini, lemon, lime, orange. Experiment!

Have Fun!

 

Breaking Bad Habits

As parents we are all conscious of the amount of treats our kids are eating. There is no getting away from them, we are bombarded everywhere we go, when you are doing the shopping, getting petrol, at parties, from grandparents, at playdates, at the swimming pool, even teachers, there are treats coming from every angle. Of course sometimes it can’t be helped and we wouldn’t want to deny them completely, but we only have to look at the obesity crisis in this country to see that kids today are eating too many treats. And we can’t blame kids for wanting them, biscuits, sweets, ice-creams all laden with sugar are literally addictive.  If we take a look at a week in the average household, Mum gives a treat for good behaviour one day, ‘that’s ok it’s just the one’ she thinks, another day Dad gives a treat, then Nanny arrives with treats and there’s a friend’s birthday party, teachers gives a little treat for the class, an ice-cream for a sunny day, so without even thinking there’s treats every day of the week. So what can we do about it? Here are some simple tips for breaking bad habits.

Make a treat a treat

The definition of the word treat is an event or item that is out of the ordinary and gives great pleasure. A treat isn’t a treat if it’s happening every day or a few times a day. There will of course be times we want to ‘treat’ our kids, but there are other ways, a nice family outing, a new toy or book, we don’t have to damage their health in order to treat them, the phrase ‘killing them with kindness’ comes to mind.

Start at home

You as a parent are a sure place you can cut down on treats. You could make yours a ‘treat-free’ house, if it’s not in the cupboard they won’t be asking for it. Make home a haven of healthy eating and go out once a week for a treat or bring something in to the home especially as a treat. Cut out giving treats yourself, and don’t feel guilty about it, you can be sure they will get plenty elsewhere. Feel happy in the knowledge you are treating them to good health instead!

80/20 % rule (or even better 90/10%)

Of course we don’t want to deny our kids completely, so adopting an 80/20 rule can be helpful, where the aim is to have them eating really healthy 80% of the time but allowing for some treats the odd time. Making their diet up of lots of fresh fruit and veg, meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds and wholegrains is going to give them all the nutrition they need to thrive, unlike the empty calories of sweets, biscuits and other sugary treats. Making yours a ‘healthy eating’ home will make this rule easy to implement.

Snack time

We can easily fall into a habit of confusing treats and snacks. Sweets, biscuits and other sugary treats should be eaten occasionally while snacks defined as ‘a portion of food, smaller than a regular meal, generally eaten between meals’, are a thing to be eaten every day to tide us over between meals and to stabilise blood sugar. A treat in this situation is going to do exactly what you don’t want, it will send your blood sugar soaring, only to come crashing back down, sending you off looking for another sugary treat next time, so it’s a vicious circle. A nutritious snack is going to taste good, boost their nutrients and avoid cravings of sugar later on.

Snacks

There are lots of great ideas for making both snacks and treats from good healthy whole food ingredients. The likes of fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, nut butters, coconut oil, dates are fantastic for making healthy sweet bites that are going to be far more nutritious and lower sugar having a beneficial effect on your health. For savoury snacks, any combination of whole foods is perfect. Its all about making your food not only tasty, but tasty and nutrient dense. So it not only feels good while you are eating it, but also after it also leaves you feeling great, unlike sugary treats which can taste nice at the time, but leave us feeling a bit rubbish after.

Water

Changing from juice to water is a great way to reduce kids sugar intake. Even sugar free juice is not a great alternative as the artificial sweeteners used in them can be harmful to health and also are going to give kids a sweeter tooth. It might not be as hard as you think to make the change to a ‘water only’ drinks policy. If you can persevere through the first few tough days you will surprised how kids come around and just go with it after a while. Kids are naturally adaptable, but they are persistent too and strong willed! so you’ll need to be tough for a few days and stick to your guns. Simply saying ‘we’re out of juice’ and showing the empty bottle can be enough to appease them. Adding fruit to water can be a fun way to get them interested, or sometimes they are taken with the little kids water bottles, or a fancy drinks bottle might work too. When they are thirsty they will drink!!

Good luck!!

Getting kids to eat healthy

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We all know how difficult it can be to get kids to eat healthy all of the time. So many things working against us, living in a world surrounded by junk and sugar, in shops, in friend’s houses, at parties, doting grandparents! The list goes on. Often parents want to avoid a battle, and looking for the peaceful way, let kids to have what they want. But what they want is not necessarily what they need! A good moto I think is if they are eating very well 90% of the time, then they can afford to have a little treat now and again. The definition of a ‘treat’ being something nice we have not very often, and not every day or even a few times a day like seems to be the case nowadays. One good place parents can start is by stopping buying rubbish themselves, you might find that Mum is buying a treat here, Dad is buying a treat there, Granny calls, Grandad visits, a neighbour calls in with treats, by the end of the week they have had a pile of sugar and rubbish without you even realising it. Our even ask Granny or Grandad would they mind bringing something else like stickers, collecting cards, arts and crafts, whatever they are into. Or in the situation where its not possible to say that, or they just wont listen! you could always allow them a little and ‘put some away till later’ if needs be.

We are seeing more and more cases of behavioural issues among kids all the time, you only have to look at a diet of say; cornflakes, white bread ham sandwich and chicken nuggets and chips to see where the problems lie. With fussy eaters and dinner battles, kids are often not getting enough fruit or veg or good fats in their diets, and left extremely nutrient deficient. These foods packed with micronutrients, omegas, phytonutrients are essential for the proper functioning of their bodies and brains.

Eating a colourful varied diet full of natural wholefoods, like fruit, veg, wholegrains, good protein sources, good fats, and free of refined foods and sugars is going to give kids all they need to get through the day, growing and functioning as they need to be.

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Here are some practical ways to get healthy foods into kids:

Breakfast:

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Make fruit a regular feature at the breakfast table, maybe a bowl of fruit salad, even just the fruit bowl itself, and let them take their pick. Lots of colourful fruit and berries included in their breafast is going to give them a great nutrient boost to start the day. Warming a few berries, with a little honey, can make a very tasty ‘jam’ for toast or porridge.

Oats makes a great base for breakfast that you can add to and make your own. As muesli or as porridge, you could lay out a few little containers of ‘toppings’ and let them work away themselves, with fruit, berries, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, fruit puree. Oat based breakfast bars are a great one that can be made ahead of time, to make things easier on those busy or fussy mornings!

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Pancakes made using banana and egg simply, or with oats added too are a fantastic flourless option.

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Milk is a staple of most breakfasts. You can have fun trying out different milks with them trying all the different tastes and seeing what they like.

Smoothies and juices made from veg and fruit are a great way to get lots of nutrients into kids in the morning. Veg like pak choi, spinach, lettuce, cucumber, carrot, generally go undetected when mised with apple or orange. Our favourites are carrot spinach and orange or also pakchoi, cucumber & apple with a little cinnamon goes down well. A smoothie left very thick without adding any water can be a breakfast smoothie bowl , eaten with a spoon. You can add things here again like porridge oats, nuts, seeds.

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Eggs are a great protein source for them, sending them off on their day ahead. Boiling some the night before is a very handy way to save time. Or scrambled in the microwave takes just 2 minutes!

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Lunch

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Lunchboxes is a place where most of us get stuck in a bit of a rut, maybe sending them same thing day after day to avoid it coming back uneaten! Tope tips would be to have a lot of little tupperware containers at hand, so handy for all little snacks, like berries, nuts, fruit, etc Include lots of different colours. Change things up, like using different kinds of breads or crackers or rice cakes. Pasta in a mini thermos is nice for a novelty. The best thing is to get kids involved in making their own lunch and talking to them about lunch time in school, how does it go, what do other people bring, is there something else they have seen that you could get for them (within reason of course!). Making snacks in bulk once a week is a great idea so they are on hand when you need them. Oat cookies, breakfast bars, flapjacks are great options that will keep them going all day.

Dinner

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Adding a plate of crudites or any kind of veg to the table at meal times is a great way to get kids picking away. maybe as you are serving they could be eating those, maybe with some hummus or dips.

Hidden veg sauces are a great way to squeeze veg into their diets unbeknowns to them. Just sautee off garlic, onion and any veg of your choice. Cook it down, then add meat if you wish, maybe turkey mince, some passata and tomato paste, some seasoning and a touch of honey. Then blend and you are left with a bolognese style sauce, that is secretly packed with veg and goodness!!

Eggs again are great at any meal. They are a fantastic protein source and so handy to add veg to, in say an omelette or fritatta or even egg muffins.

Turkey is a great meat to use for kids. Its a brilliant source of protein. You can buy it minced and it is so handy to make into burgers or hot dogs.

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Using veg as a base is great, whether it be a sweet potato or a pepper for stuffing or a courgette slice length ways and topped like a pizza.

Sweet potato or courgette fries are a great substitute for chips. Or sweet potato mash is another great side. Simply changing to brown rice or pasta or quinoa will be another great boost to their nutrients.

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Snacks/Treats

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Fruit is great for snacks and treats. Simple fruit on its own, or in a fruit salad. Fruit kebabs are great, and kids can have fun putting their own ones together. Melted dark chocolate is great for dipping fruit into. Or even dip fruit in and then chill it, so you have chocolate covered banana slices or mandarins segments, these go down very well. Apples or pears and nut butter is another great one. A spiraliser or a mandolin too are great tools to have in your kitchen, apple noodles or chips are great.

Veg is also great. Raw veg sticks with hummus or dip of their choice is a brilliant one. Courgette noodles are great and its fun making them, they can be cooked in a tomato sauce they can be passed as spaghetti. Doing different things with veg can mix it up a bit too, grated, slicing, noodles, raw, cooked, gets them used to al the different tastes and textures and will help broaden their palettes.

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Popcorn is a handy wholegrain snack, Kelkin do a nice one you can make yourself. Kids love watching it popping in the pot!

Nut butter/homemade Nutella can easily be made in a Nutribullet, kids will be amazed to watch it changing from nuts to butter. Almond butter is so easy to make, a good tip is to lightly roast the nuts first. For the Nutella do the same with hazelnuts and then add some cacao powder and a little honey.

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It can be very challenging dealing with fussy eaters. Top tips would be to persist, try and try things again, it could take up to 15 times for them to try something and like it. Giving options works well so if they say they don’t like something you could say ok ‘well the options are broccoli or carrots’, rather than ‘you have to eat broccoli’ they usually choose one or the other, a good way to get them trying things, without them feeling forced, can make them feel grown up and like they have a say or a choice. Discussing it with them, making table rules like everyone needs to try things, they can always spit it out if they don’t like it but they must try it, this sort of thing can be good for getting them used to different tastes and not afraid of trying new things. Having fun with food is another great touchy-feely way of getting kids interested in nutrition, things like food art, funny faces, building their own sandwich, making their own pizza, taste tests (blindfolded for the brave!), build fruit kebabs or fruit flowers, this sort of thing.

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Probiotics are another thing to include in kids diets, they can really boost their digestion, immune systmes & health. Especially with all the bugs going around at school, this will help their defences. Good probiotic yogurt and kefir are good or probiotic powder is pretty much tasteless and so handy for throwing into their breakfast or smoothie.

Hope this is a help! Best of luck!!

Healthy Picnic Ideas

Healthy Picnic Ideas

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A typical Irish Summer for most of us means a car boot full of everything from togs, to wellies, to buckets & spades, to raincoats. We are well used to taking the weather as it comes here! Whether it’s a trip to the beach or a walk in the woods, you won’t get too far with kids, without the trusty picnic bag full to the seams. You need an endless supply of food to keep them ticking over! ‘I’m hungry’ is all you hear! So what to put in, to make it the fun, easy lunch the kids are hoping for, while keeping it nutritious and healthy? With a little bit of preparation it can be so much more than sandy ham sandwiches! Here’s our top tips for filling the picnic bag:

Fruit

Kids generally love fruit, pack plenty of their favourites in the bag to keep them snacking throughout the day. So many lovely varieties out during the Summer months like nectarines, peaches, plums and mandarins, apples, bananas are always winners. A punnet of ripe strawberries or cherries always gets a brilliant reaction from kids, they wallop them down in 2 minutes! Over the Summer months, it’s usually easy to find local strawberries for sale in shops or Wexford ones for sale along the roadside.

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Veg

Veg sticks are a handy, portable snack, that can easily be prepared the night before. A perfect addition to a picnic with a dip like hummus or pesto! Veg is something that is going to be available in most shops, or more and more now you might pass a local producer on your journey. Keep a sharp knife & mini chopping board in the picnic bag for chopping, if you pick some fruit or veg up along the way.

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Sandwich alternatives

A simple step would be to change their usual sandwiches to a better quality bread like spelt, wholegrain or sourdough. Or simply have their filling inside rice cakes or corn cakes instead. For a bit of novelty you could try wrapping their usual filling in a lettuce wrap instead of bread. Similarly, rice paper rolls can be used in place of a wrap, but these would need to be prepared the night before. Other ideas would be omelette muffins, made very easily in a muffin tray that morning or the night before, these are so portable and so tasty. A big fritatta or omelette filled with all their favourites is another good one, it can easily be divided out and packed in a lunchbox. Or a quiche made with a nice wholegrain/ spelt base and their choice of filling. Even pasta in a lunchbox can go down very well. You’d be surprised what a bit of hunger will do! After running around on the beach all day they will be much more likely to eat what you put in front of them.

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Snacks

Oat crackers, rye crackers, corn cakes and rice cakes are handy to have in the bag, nice with any dips, cheese, meats, even some banana or avocado squeezed in between two! Nuts are such a handy snack for eating out and about, a great source of protein and good fats. Bags of nuts, dried fruit or trail mix are available in most shops now. Popcorn, another winner with smallies, and a better option than a bag of crisps, easily picked up in any shop or make your own the night before and pack in little individual bags. Even throw in a jar of almond or peanut butter for having on apples or crackers.

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Treats

Homemade treats made the night before are a great addition to a picnic bag. Even get the kids to help with the baking, they are usually more excited to eat them then. Things like flapjacks, oat cookies, date & nut bars or chocolate date balls can be great things to include in the bag. There are loads of recipes out there now for these kinds of things, packed with seeds, nuts, nut butters, oats, etc a great way to get good carbs and fats into them. Small bite size treats in lunch boxes are so handy for picking at throughout the day. For pre-packed healthy treats, health foods shops would obviously have a great selection, but also now Super Valu and Centra stores are really expanding their healthy range, you’ll usually find things like 9bars, Nakd bars, Beond, Meridian bars and many more. You might have to search a little, they are usually in a different aisle with the ‘free-from’ products.

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Drinks

It is so important to keep hydrated, especially on warm days be sure to pack plenty of water. Kids often like sparkling water for the bit of fizz. You could pop a few bits of fruit into the bottle that morning and the flavour will come through during the day. If you have a flask you could make up a juice or smoothie in the morning and take it with you, add a few ice-cubes to keep it cool. A perfect way to get a blast of fruit and veg into them. Usually things like pak choi and lettuce go undetected with the smallies, in a juice or smoothie!

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Happy picnicking!!