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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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.

Weaning Diaries from Mum and owner of Jo’s Healthy Cupboard

This week our “Weaning Diaries” series is from Jo Rae in Scotland who runs Jo’s Healthy Cupboard. Jo makes gorgeous healthy and raw versions of our favourite sweet treats- but Jo’s versions use all natural ingredients, contain no refined sugar and most importantly are good for you!

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We are very excited that Jo will be returning to our First Foods Blog with a monthly post about small healthy changes you can make in your life. We know how hard it is to make time for you, we spend so long worrying about our little ones that there is often no time for anything else.  But looking after you is also super important. Jo’s ideas are all brilliant small changes that are really easy to implement especially on busy days or when you’ve had no sleep and aren’t quite firing on all cylinders! And after trying a few myself they have definitely given me the boost of energy I have needed!

Anyway over to Jo and her Weaning Diaries….

About Mum:  image4

I’m Jo and I’m a mummy, wife, runner, Research Manager and owner of Jo’s Healthy Cupboard, which combines my various interests in health and wellness. I live in the North East of Scotland in a little town called Aberdeen. I’m passionate about inspiring and helping other mums to feel confident and healthy. I started creating healthier versions of classic meals and desserts when I was weaning my son, who is now nearly 5!!! I loved the creative process of thinking about ways to make food healthier for the whole family. My interest in health and wellness expanded from there.

 About Little One:

I have a little boy who is nearly five years old and he is starting school this August. I currently spend most of my time in between nursery and work answering tricky questions like who looked after the dinosaurs and where did human beings come from? When I’m not doing that you’ll find me hunting for tiny playmobil swords!

What is the one piece of knowledge you wish you’d known before you started weaning your baby?

 Keep it simple and don’t worry so much. You’re on a learning journey as much as your baby is.

image2What helped you the most during your weaning journey?

 My friends who were experienced in the weaning process and my NCT chums who were going through it at the same time. Plus, lets not forget Annabel Karmel’s recipe books.

What did you find hardest during weaning?

 It was quite a while ago now but I think it was the freezing and defrosting part.  I like to make things fresh and not plan food too much in advance, so it was something new to me. I learned to embrace cooking in batches and planning meals in advance so that I wouldn’t end up using quick fixes.

 What was the best piece of equipment you found which helped make life easier for you or your little one when you were weaning them?

I had a little thermal flask, which I bought from Boots that I’d use to store homemade soup or porridge if we were going out. This meant that I could always feed the baby without having to wait for someone else to heat up his food.

Can you recommend or share a favourite recipe?

Everything with sweet potato! They are so nutritious and quick to boil or bake. They have a subtle sweet taste and mix well with lots of other things. I used to make a really simple sweet potato and lentil soup for my son when he was around 6-7 months old. It consisted of onion, red lentils, sweet potato and an organic vegetable stock cube suitable for babies. The great thing about this recipe was that everyone could eat it. I would process some of the soup for my son and leave the rest for us.

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If you want to see more of Jo’s healthy recipes see her Instagram and Facebook pages.