Schools break up this week and it’s officially starting to feel like the Summer holidays (except for some rather gloomy weather here in Joburg…) We hope that you’ll all soon be headed off on an exciting holiday, or relaxing with the family at home. But don’t let this time of relaxation and indulgence derail your goals towards a healthier lifestyle. It’s definitely time to relax a little, and we absolutely love all the deliciously indulgent Christmas treats (mince pie, anyone?), but it’s also important to balance this with healthy ingredients and physical activity. Easier said than done, right? So we thought we’d ask the lovely Lindsay Archibald-Durham, our resident Paediatric Dietitian, for some healthy eating tips to keep you and your family healthy:
Weekly meal plans keep costs and waste down and ensure a healthy daily balance. Find recipe planners online or just write out a list of meals. We love the meal planner from Wooden Spoon Kitchen, easy to use, and makes shopping easy! Remember to include vegetables or salad with every meal, especially good-for-you leafy greens!
Continuing your Munching Mongoose delivery during this time can help with planning ahead as well as keep you out of the busy shops during the festive season, and you’re guaranteed a box full of healthy produce!
There’s always room for treats during the holidays, but six weeks is a long time, so don’t overdo it. And buying snacks when you’re out can be expensive, and they’re often high in fat, sugar, salt and calories. With a bit of imagination, you can make summer snacks healthier. Blitz yoghurt and frozen berries in a blender for an alternative to ice cream, gets the kids to help make fruit kebabs, or freeze diluted fruit juice or pureed fruit to make ice lollies. Have a steady supply of chopped watermelon, because, well, who doesn’t love watermelon?! A fruit bowl that’s accessible and a box of berries or chopped fruit in the fridge at the children’s eye level will help encourage healthier snacking. Try carrot or bread sticks instead of crisps or try making veggie crisps, with carrots, beetroot and sweet potato, and get the kids to choose the flavours they’d like – keep it simple with salt and pepper, or add some fresh herbs from the garden!
Plan for days out or long car journeys with healthy and convenient Munch Packs from The Munching Mongoose to avoid overloading on high sugar, high salt convenience foods from service stations. Offer snacks that must be kept cool in the morning and save dry options such as dried fruit, nuts, biltong, trail mix or energy bars for the afternoon.
Cooking with children can be fun, and develops vital skills and confidence. Younger children enjoy mixing and shaping, so make salads, oven baked fish cakes from fish such as salmon or tinned tuna (in water), or homemade pizzas using pita breads. Older children can be more involved, chopping vegetables and cooking meals from scratch with supervision. Soups, tomato sauces for pasta, and chicken or fish tray-bakes with potatoes and vegetables are good starter recipes.
Fizzy drinks are the biggest source of sugar in teenagers’ diets. A can of sugar-sweetened cola can contain over eight teaspoons of sugar. Pure, unsweetened juices are slightly healthier as they contain vitamin C, but can be acidic and also very high in sugar and calories. Diluting fruit juice with water reduces the sugar content in each glass, but try to stick to a maximum of 150ml of juice per day. Although ‘boring’, water is definitely the healthiest choice, for hydration and keeping the body healthy. Jazz up a glass of water by adding novelty ice cube moulds, or add chopped cucumber, mint, strawberries and lemon – let the kiddos choose their favourites.
During the festive season you may be eating out more frequently – it’s a great way to keep the little ones entertained, and takes the pressure off you in the kitchen, we get it! Most restaurants have menus online, so try to consider the healthiest choices in advance. But if it’s pizza you’re after, then why not encourage sharing one, paired with a salad or some veggies – a healthier option, and maybe even a little cheaper.
Here at The Munching Mongoose, we’re so excited for the holidays, for time with our families, for delicious food, both healthy and indulgent, and for a little break before 2018 – can you believe it’s almost here?! You’ll see us eating some darn delicious mince pies and enjoying spoonfuls of decadent desserts, but you’ll also find us eating fresh tomatoes out of our gardens, and enjoying organically grown produce from local farmers. Here’s to celebrating friends, family, and good, wholesome, delicious food!
This blog post was written in partnership with Paediatric Dietitian, Lindsay Archibald-Durham.