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**

joshealthycupboad21

 

Weaning Diaries: Weaning Multiples with first time mum, Ruth and her twins

This weeks’ weaning diaries come from Twin mum Ruth, who followed baby led weaning in order to wean her little boy and girl. Being a twin mum, feeding two little mouths at the same time, was not without its difficulties but seeing how different each child’s weaning journey can be more apparent when you are feeding multiple babies simultaneously as Ruth found out!

About Mum:

I’m Ruth, when I’m not toddler wrangling, I work part time running a debt counselling service for local people. I love food but am not a fan of cooking at all as it stresses me out trying to get everything ready and cooked well/tasting good!

 

About the little ones:

I have twin toddlers who turned 2 in October. 1 girl and 1 boy.

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

That it seems much harder to introduce new tastes/textures after about 1 year old. I probably would have been more adventurous more often in the earlier months.

What helped you the most during your weaning journey?

Having twins made me see that every child is unique in what, when and how much they will eat. My two have different dislikes/likes and it helps to know it’s nothing I’ve done/not done that has made them that way as I’ve treated them both the same!

What did you find hardest during weaning?

It’s soul crushing to prepare amazing food for them that gets rejected and ends up in the bin.

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 love my fill and squeeze pouches. http://fillnsqueeze.co.uk/ Though we didn’t do purees, I love them for minimal mess yoghurt and smoothies that I can make and then decant. Brilliant for taking out and about too.

Can you recommend or share a favourite recipe?

http://www.annabelkarmel.com/recipes/sweetcorn-fritters/ These fritters are easy to make (even for me), freezable, contain VEGETABLES (and can be tweaked for a variety of veg) and my kids eat them every time.

SALT: How much is too much for babies and toddlers?

Salt and weaning for babies and toddlers

Salt is a tricky one, we know we don’t need too much of it but it was one thing I struggled to get clarity on throughout the time I was weaning my twins. Too much is a bad thing of course, but how much is too much and why is it so bad for little ones? And what’s the difference between sodium content and salt content?

I had lots of questions, but as so often seems to happen, I had no time to find proper answers to them. I hope this blog post helps!

img_4003

What’s so bad about salt?

Salt is not great for any of us, whether we are one or ninety one. Too much salt puts our kidneys under pressure and leads to high blood pressure and eventual kidney damage

So here’s the science bit (I always like to understand the why!) – our kidneys are essential for removing waste and fluids from our body and anything that stops them doing their job, poses a risk to our bodies. As blood passes through the kidneys, the kidneys filter out the fluids we don’t need and send them to our bladders to get rid of as urine. If there is too much salt in our blood, the delicate filtering process is upset, the kidneys can’t remove excess water from the blood and our blood pressure rises. This puts strain on the little blood vessels entering the kidneys and over time can lead to kidney damage.

Why is too much salt a problem for babies and toddlers?

Babies have very fragile little systems and their kidneys are particularly sensitive. They are unable to process excess salt which leads to kidney damage in the same way that it can for adults. Their tiny bodies are just a lot more sensitive to any imbalances than ours.

how-much-salt-for-my-baby_1

What safe levels of salt for your baby or toddler?

According to the NHS the recommended daily amounts of salt for babies and toddlers are:

  • Up to 12 months – less than 1g of salt a day (less than 0.4g sodium)
  • 1 to 3 years – 2g of salt a day (0.8g sodium)

What’s the difference between salt and sodium content?

Salt is made up of two minerals, sodium and chloride, and food manufacturers often quote only the sodium content on food labels. This can sometimes be confusing if you are thinking in terms of salt content and how much salt your little one can have. Salt is made up of about 40% sodium and it’s the sodium content of salt that causes the health issues.

copy-of-signs-your-little-one-is-ready-to-start-solidsTo work out salt content from quoted sodium values, simply use the sodium figure on the packing and multiply it by 2.5. This is your salt content! If you see 1g of sodium per 100g on the label, this is the equivalent of 2.5g of salt per 100g. To find out the amount of salt per serving, just divide by 100 and multiply the answer by the serving size.

Salt and weaning your baby

At the beginning of your weaning journey, your baby will still be reliant on milk. Breast milk has exactly what your little one needs in terms of sodium, and equally formula milk has also been designed to provide exactly the right amount for babies and toddlers, so no worries there! But as you introduce solid food, it is really crucial to keep an eye on the salt content of the food you give your baby. The most important things are to avoid processed foods not designed for babies, and to avoid adding salt to any home cooked baby food.

How to reduce the amount of salt you give your baby

  • Offer healthy snacks such as fruit or vegetable sticks and try to avoid salty snacks like crisps or biscuits.
  • Make snacks yourself so you know exactly what is in them.
  • Don’t add salt to your baby’s meals. Try to add flavour through herbs and spices.
  • Swap your sandwich fillers, try tuna and chicken instead of ham and cheese.
  • Check food labels- many things like cereals and bread have surprisingly high levels of salt.
  • Try making your own pasta sauces. Shop bought sauces can be high in processed salts.
  • Avoid giving your baby processed foods not designed for babies as these are very likely to be high in salt. Weaning products for babies will not contain high levels of salt, so specific baby products are a much better option for your little one.
stage-4-roasted-carrot-hummus-with-pitta

Home made hummus: a great alternative to shop bought hummus which are often high in salt. This carrot hummus is from a Tickle Buds weaning recipe box. (Photo by Melissa Collins, copyright Tickle Buds 2017)

How to add flavour without adding salt to homemade baby food

Spicing up fruit purees– Cinnamon can be a great addition to apple purees. Mint often works well with fruit as do small amounts of nutmeg, vanilla and ginger.

New flavour combos for vegetables– Basil is a great herb for adding to sweet potatoes. Add garlic to green beans, nutmeg to butternut squash, cinnamon to carrots, turmeric to root veggies. Creamed spinach works well with nutmeg too.There are loads of yummy combinations to try!

Less salt = healthier weaning

By looking at labels, home cooking with fresh ingredients and by avoiding adding salt to your baby’s food you can ensure that your little one doesn’t consume high levels of salt. And you can have lots of fun coming up with healthier and more adventurous combinations of flavours and tastes. There is so much out there you can use instead of salt, it’s just a case of experimenting!

 

Diary of an imperfect mum

 

WEANING DIARIES: Weaning tips from first time mum and Tickle Buds co-founder Emma Conder

emma-first-time-mumEmma, our co-founder, kicks off our new “Weaning Diaries” and shares her experiences of weaning as a first time mum. We hope this mini-blog will be a place where everyone who is or has been on the weaning journey can help each other with top tips and funny experiences but also share the hard times and help each other with things they learnt. This is the first of many “we’ve been there” weaning experiences so sit back and enjoy the ride!

Please feel free to comment or ask any questions, we want this to be a place where we all swap ideas and support each other!

About Mum:

I’m Emma and I’m a co-founder of Tickle Buds- trying to make the weaning journey easier! I have always really enjoyed cooking healthy food, I love trying new tastes and experimenting with new dishes. In the whirl wind of the first two years, it was really important for me to remember my passion and for it not to get lost in the business of being a first time mum. I wanted my passion for food to be something I could share with my little boy.

About baby:ralph-weaning-first-time-mum

Ralph is now just over 2 years old and currently preparing to become a big brother in January. Eeeekkk!!

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

Don’t stress over the individual meals – the bigger picture is more important.  Just because one meal doesn’t go well it doesn’t mean he’s a bad eater.

What helped you the most during your weaning journey?

Talking to everyone and anyone! Hearing that other parents felt exactly the same way and finding out that all little ones go through fussy phases, definitely reassured me through the tougher days.

What did you find hardest during weaning?

Ideas!!!  I’d definitely have ‘blank’ days where I’d have no idea what to feed Ralph or what to make.  I’d stare into the fridge hoping an amazing meal idea would jump out at me.

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?

My microwave steamer was my weaning life saver.  I’d never used one before, but now I wouldn’t be without it.  Being able to cook fresh veggies really quickly definitely saved me a lot of stress.

Can you recommend or share a favourite recipe?

 Overnight oats are amazing!! Place equal measures of yoghurt, milk and porridge oats in a bowl and add whatever fruit you have (frozen berries are ideal). Cover and leave in the fridge overnight.  By morning you’ll have a healthy, super-quick and delicious breakfast.

Mummy in a Tutu

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