A HEALTHIER KIDS PARTY….

A Health Kids Party....___(2)

Guest post and recipes from Joanna Rae of Jo’s Healthy Cupboard

At risk of sounding bah humbug, I’m going to talk about healthy-ing up kids’ parties this month.

I can’t be the ONLY parent who has a sense of fear when a multiple party weekend commences. How do you tame a sugar induced five year old who’s attended two back-to-back birthday parties with copious amounts of cake and sugary sweets?

For me there is a certain dread that looms when I’m organising the food for my son’s birthday party…

I love parties! I’m an organiser and I enjoy planning, invites, food, décor BUT I feel really stuck when it comes to food. Do I go down the healthy route and risk being seen as THAT annoying mum who always does the healthy thing and risk the kids not enjoying the food OR do I stick with what’s expected at a kid’s party.

Last year I made a standard sponge cake decorated with ‘normal’ icing and all the usual party foods with some healthier little treats on the side like popcorn, homemade smoothies and sweet potato brownies, humus and veg sticks. This year, it was just family so I made a healthy chocolate cake with chocolate avocado icing and some other sugar free treats.

What is the balance between keeping the kids happy and keeping them healthy???

I recently had great success providing healthier cake for a friend who’s son was turning 4 and this has given me the confidence to stick with more healthy, fun and appealing food for my son’s future parties. I am so grateful to my friend for being the first mum who came to me and said, “Can you healthy-up a birthday cake and treats for my four year olds birthday?” I won’t lie… I was PETRIFIED. My friend has VERY high standards and I’d avoided promoting my cakes as suitable for kids parties until this challenge.

She had the idea of a chocolate beetroot cake, which I spent some time researching and a few attempts at making and trying with family and friends. I wanted to get the taste and texture right and tried a few different flours until I was happy. The result was a gluten-free, dairy and cane sugar free chocolate beetroot cake with chocolate avocado icing and ‘free from’ chocolate buttons on top.

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I also made banana bread and sweet potato brownies cut into little cubes with the same principle (gluten, dairy, cane sugar free).  That is a total of 3 cakes with a fruit or vegetable included…. Not bad for a kids party!!

The best feedback I had from the party was that one little boy who had an egg allergy was able to enjoy birthday cake without any worries and the parents and kids scoffed down the cake in equal quantities. It was my first kid’s party hit!

I am really passionate about helping mum’s create healthier options. Reducing sugar has been the thing I’ve tried hardest with for my own family and I hope some of these ideas are helpful. My biggest piece of advice would be to make party food yourself whenever you can because you know what is in it. These ideas have all been tried and tested with my family/friends and my own son who is five.

If you try any of my ideas I’d love to see your creation. You can tag me on instagram @joshealthycupboard or hashtag #joshealthycupboard

 Chocolate Krispie Squares

A healthier twist on a traditional classic party treat

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  • 3 dessert spoons coconut oil
  • 3 dessert spoons almond butter
  • 1 dessert spoon cacao powder (depending how chocolaty you like it)
  • 2 spoons maple syrup
  • 3 cups rice krispies
  • 1 cup of oats
  • 1 cup chopped dates or raisins is you prefer

 

Method

  1. Melt the coconut oil, almond butter, maple syrup and mix together
  2. Add cacao powder, rice krispies, oats and chopped dates
  3. Mix everything together until all krispies and oats are coated with mixture
  4. Add more krispies/oats if it seems too wet
  5. Pour mix into a baking tray and press down flat
  6. Put in the fridge for 30 -40 mins and cut into squares once hard

 

Chocolate snow balls

These are just like chocolate truffles minus the sugar

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  • 1 cup of dates (pre-soaked if using pitted dates)
  • 1 dessert spoon cacao powder
  • 2-3 dessert spoons coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup almonds
  • Extra desiccated coconut for rolling

Method

  1. Blitz almonds, desiccated coconut, coconut flour and cacao powder in food processor.
  2. Pour in coconut oil and dates and blitz again until it all starts coming together
  3. Add a little more coconut oil or water until it all comes together in a big blob
  4. Pull off little bits of mix and roll into balls.
  5. Pour some desiccated coconut onto a plate
  6. Roll balls in coconut
  7. Place in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

Fruit ice lollies

For a summer party these would make a great treat and contain very little sugar

  • 250g raspberries or strawberries
  • ½ a banana
  • 200mls yoghurt of choice
  • 1-2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey
  • Splash of milk of choice

Method

  1. Whizz up the fruit, yoghurt and honey in a blender
  2. Taste and add a little more honey is needed.
  3. Divide into 4/5 ice lolly moulds, then pop a stick in each
  4. Put lollies in the freezer for 4 hours until solid.

 

Sweet potato brownies

Another classic kids party treat, which include the wonderful, versatile sweet potato

1 mug dates (soaked in hot water first if not majool dates)

  • 2 cooked (cooled) sweet potatoes
  • 3-4 dessert spoons maple syrup
  • 3 dessert spoons raw cacao powder
  • 1 teacup GF oat flour
  • 1 teacup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon GF baking powder
  • 3 dessert spoons coconut oil (melted)
  • Coconut milk

Method

  1. Blitz cooked sweet potato with dates and coconut oil in a food processor. Add maple syrup, cacao powder and blitz until smooth with no lumps
  2. Pour mixture into a mixing bowl and add dry ingredients: coconut flour, oat flour, and baking powder. Add a couple of spoons of coconut milk or a bit more until you get a thick batter like consistency. Mix well with a spoon
  3. Coat baking tray with melted coconut oil and pour mix into tray.
  4. Bake in oven at 180 degrees for 15 minutes or until cooked but still squidgy in 
the centre.
  5. Once brownies have cooled, you can make y°our own chocolate (coconut oil, cacao powder and maple syrup) to cover the brownies or melt dark chocolate and pour over the top.
  6. Place in the fridge to cool.

Mini cheese scones

  • 225g wholemeal self-raising flour or gluten free oat flour
  • 1 teaspoon GF baking powder
  • 55g butter or veggie alternative
  • 150 mls milk of choice
  • 30g grated cheese (I like a mix of Parmesan and cheddar)

Method

  1. Mix flour and butter together using fingers until you get a crumbly texture
  2. Pour in milk and mix with wooden spoon
  3. Add grated cheese and mix again
  4. Break off small piece of mixture and place on a baking tray with grease proof paper
  5. Bake in the oven at 180 degrees for 15- 20 mins.

 

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A Healthy Start to the Day! By Jo’s Healthy Cupboard

Improving your overall wellbeing does not require a GIANT leap from where you are …

It’s the small, smart choices you make on a daily basis (and continue to make) that help you feel good in the key areas of your life; health, relationships, finances or anything else for that matter.

There is no such thing as overnight success or a quick fix when it comes to your health, weight, relationships, happiness or finances. Those who feel good and have positive relationships work consistently to make that happen.

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I’m passionate about the power of small choices and encouraging others to take tiny steps in the direction they wish to travel. This is why I’ve teamed up with Tickle Buds and will share some of the small choices I’ve made since becoming a mum that have a positive impact on my life.

Does this sound familiar?

You’re woken by the sound of tiny feet entering your bedroom at some ungodly hour, you heave a sigh, pull back the covers and let small person clamber into bed. You get about three hours of battered, broken sleep and wake up with a sleep deprivation hangover (no alcohol involved) …

You get up, rush downstairs, unload the dishwasher, which you left on last night, get a healthy breakfast ready for small people, iron clothes, dress small people and dash out realising they forgot to brush their teeth and you didn’t eat A THING.

You feel irritable, harassed and HANGRY as you bundle everyone into the car…

You arrive at nursery or pre-school, say goodbye to small people and rush to the nearest coffee shop to grab a large, extra shot latte and a blueberry muffin to keep you going for the rest of the morning…

This is a habit I found myself in more often than not and I’m sure I’m not alone.

NEWSFLASH….. you need to take care of yourself first!! If you’re not functioning properly, your family won’t either and if you’re not eating breakfast your children will inevitably end up not doing the same!

Make one small choice….

Get up earlier to eat breakfast OR just eat breakfast…

Okay, you may be thinking NO WAY get up earlier I need my sleep!!!

I promise if you try this your day is going to start calmly and you’re going to feel in control and have a tiny moment to yourself to process thought before the little people arise. In this time you can make YOURSELF a super quick, nutritious breakfast (suggestions below).

When I’m rushed and HANGRY it affects my ability to concentrate and deal with the smallest challenges – a seat belt that won’t fasten, finding a tiny playmobil man who HAS to come in the car etc. This is when I may just loose my S***T if I haven’t eaten.

I initially started getting up ten minutes before my son to make breakfast and I’ve extended this to an hour, so I can have quiet time, read a few pages of a positive book, listen to an audio and think about my day.

Don’t panic if your kids are too young to predict their wake up, stick with ten minutes or simply ensure you EAT breakfast. This small choice is going to make you feel much better.

BREAKFAST SHAKE

 

This is my go-to breakfast and I love to pack it full of nutritious fresh fruit and vegetables. My favourite is a spinach and berries protein shake, which takes about 3 minutes to prepare using a Nutri-Bullet or other blender.

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Two handfuls of pre-washed spinach

1 scoop of vanilla pea protein (optional)

2 handfuls of frozen blueberries

2 teaspoons of almond butter

Half fill with almond milk (or milk of choice)

Top up with water

2 teaspoons of chai seeds

Handful of ice

 

CINNAMON AND APPLE OVERNIGHT OATS

This is a simple and filling breakfast, which you can prepare the night before.

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1 mug of oats

1 scoop of flavourless pea protein (optional)

1 small apple grated

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of maple syrup or date syrup

1 mug of almond milk (or milk of choice)

Place all dry ingredients in a bowl, add grated apple, maple syrup and milk and mix with a spoon. Place in an airtight container or cover bowl with cling film and place in the fridge. Add anything you like. Ingredients I like to add are sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, gojji berries or coconut shavings.

From Jo’s Healthy Cupboard

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Our monthly Health Fix from Jo at Jo’s Healthy Cupboard

Do you often feel too exhausted to think about anything, let alone looking after you? Too tired to care about what you eat or feel like you have no more mental space left to make healthy choices for yourself? As a parent you need some caring for too! We are excited to introduce our new monthly blog spot, ‘Healthy Habits’ written by Jo Rae Macdonald from Jo’s Healthy Cupboard.

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I know for me, the journey into parenthood was also a slippery slope into unhealthy habits and quick fixes to get me through the day. Before I had my little people, I was working in a busy job which involved a lot of travel and I naively thought I was used to tiredness. I thought I would cope since my body was often not sure what timezone it was in!

But I found new mum tiredness was a whole different ball game, I was not prepared at all. With two little people both feeding on their own three hours cycles it felt relentless. I distinctly remember thinking that 24hr cycles were not important anymore,  our world was on three hour cycles and it really didn’t matter if it was night or day.

With the lack of sleep came the unhealthy habits. I don’t think we should beat ourselves up about this though. The first few months of parenthood are tough and exhausting. It’s hard to be healthy when you have a much more important job of looking after your little one, and besides everyone who comes to visit brings cake which was always very welcome!

My days became filled with caffeine and sugary snacks. I had no time or energy left to care for me properly. All my energy went into the making sure our two little ones were fine. And this felt totally right, but at some point as you come out the other side of new parenthood,  you begin to believe you can do this new job and maybe even do it well. A few moments in your day start to open up and it’s time to start making a little bit of time for you. Just making small, gradual changes and making healthy choices can make all the difference to how you feel. And when you wake up and your body is ready to go, it’s so much easier to be the parent you want to be.

So to make it a bit easier to think about making these small changes, we are very excited that Jo’s Healthy Cupboard will be writing a monthly blog for us, helping us all make healthy choices as we navigate the first few years of parenthood.