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.

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!

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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.

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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.
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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