In my last blog I wrote about moderation and how if you want that piece of cake you should just have it (read that post here). Since then I have been thinking about how this actually works in real life and the challenges that I face as a mum.
The first one is kids’ birthday parties. I’m sorry to say but I really can’t stand kids parties: all the kids hyped up on sugar running around screaming, blowing those party whistles or whatever they are. Then comes the food. It always comes at lunch time and of course I forgot to eat before I left the house so I’m drooling over the dry-looking pizza and crusty sausages rolls. Then I pop one in my mouth when no one is looking and finish off the huge pile of food that my child thought she could eat, but blatantly couldn’t, and then afterwards I feel cross that I ate all that scum. Empty calories. So what have I learnt? Have a substantial healthy snack before you leave the house. Take subtle snacks to eat at the party, for example a handful of nuts to help curb your cravings, and a bottle of water (it doesn’t usually go down well if you crack out the mackerel salad, and also depending on how old your kid is you don’t want to be labeled the weird fishy one).
Secondly, kids don’t really like salad. I’m lucky that my eldest is a very good eater and will consume a wide variety of food (she’s the only 5-year-old I know who likes jalapenos), however if I sat her down to a leafy green chicken salad for lunch she wouldn’t be impressed. My 2-year-old would probably (definitely) chuck it on the floor. I have had to adapt a lot of my meals to meet their requirements, so I may give them chicken, cucumber, tomatoes and some wholemeal bread for lunch. Granted, my 2-year-old will just suck the middle out of the tomatoes and pick at the chicken with most of it ending up on the floor, but you get the idea. They also don’t like salmon or smoked mackerel which are some of my favourites, so when I make this they get fish fingers served with the same sides as mine (usually new potatoes and veg). I’m conscious to feed them healthy food also but also trying to find a balance with what they will actually eat, and also not becoming too obsessive as I don’t want them to have issues with eating when they grow up. I don’t keep biscuits or crisps in the house (mainly because they call to me during the evenings) but I don’t stop them eating them when we are out or make an issue of it at all. Our 5 year old understands what food is healthy and we try not to label anything ‘unhealthy’, we just say it would be something we don’t eat everyday. That’s just it, don’t eat it everyday!
Thirdly, the cry of ‘mummy, can we bake some cakes?!’ Now, I don’t bake and I’m actually quite envious of those mums who do, but I don’t bake for two very important reasons: I’m shit at it, and I usually end up eating the entire batch or whole cake when the kids are in bed. I know I have said previously about moderation, but I admit that I still find it difficult and it’s a work in progress. However, I don’t want to miss out on the precious memories and quality time you can get baking in the kitchen, I just don’t want to deprive them of that. Sometimes we make cakes with icing and sweets and share them with family (let’s share the fat and sugar burden with them), other times I google healthy baking. Yes I am ‘that’ kind of mum, but to be honest the kids don’t really seem to notice the difference and they just get stuck in.
Fourthly, willpower: if they are eating cheese on toast for lunch just have something else! Sure, it’s OK occasionally, but truthfully it’s not going to be great if you are trying to lose body fat. Also, don’t secretly eat slices of cheese as you are making it for them. Don’t eat ice cream everyday at the beach in the summer or when on holiday, you can say no. I find as much as it is perfectly fine to say yes to the odd treat, it is also important to exercise your willpower.
Last but not least, always be prepared. Take your own snacks, and prepare your lunches the night before when the kids are in bed…because its hard to chop avocado when you have a gremlin crawling up your leg demanding to be picked up.
I feel that I may have gone off on a bit of a tangent here, but I just wanted to give you an insight into the challenges of eating healthily when you have kids. Hope you find it useful!
What are your top tips for eating healthily when you have kids?