Homemade Toddler Snacks – Switching processed for unprocessed

It’s BLOODY HARD WORK being a mum! This week I’ve had several mummy fails including sending my husband and son to a birthday party two hours before it started…. AND making spinach scones my son refused to try!

We do our best as mums but we spend too much time worrying about the things we do wrong, the latest research that says energy light bulbs are dangerous or rice cakes aren’t good for us, or we shouldn’t leave our babies to cry….

Let’s STOP right there and think about what we are doing right for our little ones. Think about five things you’ve done today that are positive and write that STUFF down.  Remind yourself that you’re an awesome mum right here, right now!!

Now, lets think about what we can do more of, instead of berating ourselves for the things we need to do less of. My purpose on TickleBuds is to focus on the small things we can do to make life a little healthier and tastier for our families.

This month, it’s about the ‘snacking’. Lets face it, snacking is an important part of the day for most little ones… It’s part of their routine and keeps their energy levels up until their next meal. My son is 4 and he has 1-2 snacks a day (as long as he’s eaten his main meals). These usually happen mid morning and if he’s hungry early afternoon.

chopped banana and almond butter snack

I try REALLY hard with snacks to offer my son things like fruit, natural yoghurt, dried fruit and nuts, humous, homemade nut butter, and oatcakes. These are options that I know he likes but don’t contain vast amounts of ‘added sugar’.

Don’t get me wrong he also enjoys a treat from a packet such as pom bears, or a barney bear now and then!!! Why is everything a bear?? BUT there’s no substitute for homemade snacks, using whole food ingredients. I want you to know it’s actually really easy AND you know exactly what you’re putting in the snacks you make!!

When I was little I loved things like chocolate spread, pop tarts and frosties but I’ve steered clear of these with my son because I know it’s up to me to help him make better choices and not always resort to something in a packet because it’s quick and easy.

Something I wanted to recreate recently was “nutella” after my son saw it in Sainsbury’s and asked if he could have some. With a whopping 227g of sugar in a 400g jar. That’s more than half the total ingredients weight!!! Plus a massive 8.5g sugar in a 15g tablespoon I wasn’t going to start that habit!!

I set myself a challenge to make my own “nutella” sweetened naturally with dates and a small amount of maple syrup. These are the results, which both make delicious toddler snacks!

Chocolate “Hazelnutella”

Ingredients

150g whole hazelnuts

1 mug of soaked dates

3 dessert spoons coconut oil (melted)

2 dessert spoons cacao powder

1 dessert spoon of maple syrup

2 dessert spoons of water

ingredients for homemade chocolate spread

Add the nuts to the food processor with the cacao powder and blend for a few minutes until the nuts are a crumbly consistency but not quite a powder. Then add dates, coconut oil and maple syrup and blend again. Check the consistency and add water if needed. You want it to be a thick consistency but not so hard that it won’t spread. Transfer the mix into an old jar or pot with a lid and keep in the fridge. It will last 5-7 days in the fridge.

We like to spread our chocolate spread onto oatcakes, rice cakes or chopped banana.

 

Chopped banana and almond butter

 

Another favourite snack, which doesn’t even require the food processor, is chopped banana with almond butter or peanut butter. My son regularly asks for this. The bananas are sweet and the almond butter adds a little crunch and it’s a fun snack. Almonds are a rich source of vitamins and minerals and they provide energy for these busy little people.

**To check out more of Jo’s healthy living ideas and recipes visit her Facebook Page**

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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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Making time for breakfast time

 

As I sit down for my first (hot) cup of tea of the day, it makes me think about breakfast and how important it really is to make time for the first meal of the day. This morning we were all running behind, I skipped breakfast and I am catching up by myself in a cafe, sneaking a bit of me time before my work day really begins, my husband had a gulp of coffee as he ran for the tube and my little ones munched on a banana until they got a proper breakfast at nursery. It wasn’t the ideal start to our day, and it’s not that uncommon.

We are regularly told how breakfast is THE most important meal of the day, the one you shouldn’t skip. But it feels even more important now we have two little people in the house. My twins have just turned two and breakfast is a meal that is gobbled down. They seem to wake up starving and the change in energy levels after they have had their breakfast is hugely visible. From cuddly and sleepy little people (and often a little on the grumpy side), after an injection of food, they turn into bundles of energy. And even though adults are better at hiding how they feel, I know how much better I feel when I leave the house with some food inside me, I don’t charge down the street at top speed, but I do feel better in myself.

Breakfast provides all of us with the energy to start our day in a better way, it jump starts your metabolism and lets your body know that the calories will be coming regularly throughout the day and there’s no need to start conserving stores. Although it is not always possible, the best breakfasts are the ones we all share together as a family. Due to work schedules, it never seems to work for us to sit down for dinner at five pm, so breakfast is the meal we can all share or at least all be in the kitchen together. When we make the effort to do this, it always seems like a much better start to the day, we all leave the house with our tummies full and smiles on our faces.

By making time for the first meal of the day, I want my children to grow up with breakfast as a regular part of their day, a moment that we all have together, before all our different days start. It might be messy, hectic and rushed but at least sometimes we are aiming to start the day together! I hope that these early habits will stick for them and help them build healthy habits for the future.

Running out of breakfast ideas? See our next blog on some ways to make breakfast more nutritionally varied and more interesting for your little ones. 

Sparkly Mummy