Easter – Food, family and fighting the choccy overload
In the first of our partnership guest blogs with Happy Tums founders, registered Nutritionists and child nutrition specialists Nicola & Theresa, they give you some tips and tricks to keep Easter as fun yet healthy as possible.
Spring seems to be here (if you ignore the chilly weekend just past!) and it’s also Easter this week. I love Easter, family time with the added benefit of a bit of chocolate along the way!
One of the best parts about Easter in my eyes is the Easter Sunday lunch. Traditionally, lamb is served but in 2019, there are so many variations of what constitutes a roast and personally, my family tradition is roast duck as lamb isn’t my favourite meat.
One of the best meals to start weaning with (especially baby-led weaning) is a lovely roast, something everyone can enjoy from 6 months to 106!
Baby roast - For little hands who are starting to explore the exciting and sensory world of food, the elements which make up a roast are perfect! Some yummy roasted veg, steamed broccoli, carrots (to name a few) and some soft roasted meats are great finger foods! And, don’t peel your root veg – give it a good scrub and then roast in the oven. There is lots of fibre, vitamins and minerals under the skin of vegetables so keep it on where possible. And, by keeping the skin on, our babies have more of a “grip” on the finger foods they are trying to get into their mouths.
Good Gravy - One thing to avoid though, is adding gravy to your little one’s plate. Gravy granules are very salty (and contain lots of additives) and babies shouldn’t have more than 1g of salt a day. (For more info on salt, please see our blog here.) There is a simple solution however, - gravy can be made using the juices from the meats you have roasted and are just as tasty! All you need to do is mix some corn flour with some cold water to form a paste and then add it to the meat juices – this will simply thicken the juices to form a lovely gravy. You can also add some of the cooking water from any steamed or boiled vegetables to the gravy as it will contain important water-soluble vitamins such as B and C which would have seeped into the cooking liquid – so nothing goes to waste!
Now chocolate – I’m sure the Easter bunny will have been very busy - Jack and Francesca (6 and 4 years) already have 4 Easter eggs each and we haven’t even visited family yet - but it’s worth remembering that the official guidelines state that food with any added sugar should be avoided for children under 4 years old. And that children aged 4-6 years should have a maximum of 19g (5 sugar cubes) of sugar each day. So how do you manage that? Well remember that up to a certain age, children will be unaware of what they are missing…until they have it! Most will be happy with some chopped fruit and natural yoghurt as a dessert for example. Remember we are setting taste preferences for life!
But for older children and anyone who does want to offer some chocolate this Easter it’s a good idea to set some boundaries One idea is waiting for lunch to be over first instead of letting them eat themselves into a sugar high as soon as they wake up. And, there is nothing wrong with hiding a few eggs from sight until a much later date (out of sight out of mind)! It is no surprise that children love sweet foods, but we need to remember that too many sugary foods such as chocolate and sweets are not good at all for our small people. The sugar in these foods are bad for their teeth and play havoc with their blood sugar balance. This can lead to very hyper and then very grumpy children as the sugar “spike” hits and then disappears – causing parent stress levels to soar through the roof!
So, enjoy Easter with your family, but try and moderate the sugary food intake for older children and avoid it where possible for the younger ones! For those with babies starting their weaning adventures, a lovely roast is the perfect meal to start them off, around the table, with the people who love them the most – what’s more of a celebration than that?!
Theresa & Nicola (Happy Tums)
Happy Tums is owned and run by Registered Nutritionists and child nutrition specialists Nicola & Theresa. It was whilst weaning their own children that they realised just how much out-dated and conflicting advice is directed at parents during this time. Together, they condensed everything they knew (both theory and practice!) into a 2 hour workshop and so ‘Happy Tums’ was born. Since then they have gone on to provide support to parents on all aspects of feeding their children including managing allergies and fussy eating. Their continued and extensive learning in this area mean they are experts in their field and have helped over 1100 families (including one or two famous faces) to start their adventures in weaning!