Healthy Kids…. Creating Lifelong Nutrition Habits

First, let me start this by saying that I am not a dietitian/nutritionist/GP etc. I am a mum (who happens to be a Personal Trainer, Gym Manager and Health & Fitness enthusiast!). I understand that children’s eating/diet/habits can be a rather contentious issue, so this is only my own experience, views and beliefs. I have not lived with a child with severe allergies or a fussiness related to food. This is not meant as advice, it is simply my ramblings about my family, take from it what you will.

Children learn by the examples we set. As parents, we are the biggest role models and influence they will have. The same way they learn their values and morals is also the way they learn their lifestyle habits and food associations. With childhood obesity at an all time high (scary statistics), I am passionate about children learning the importance of healthy, nutritious food and forming good habits from a young age. I strongly believe we should be doing all we can to instill healthy food and lifestyle values in our children from the time they are tiny babies. Sure, when they get older they will make their own choices, and we are not with them 24/7, but if they are around a healthy family lifestyle for their entire childhood they are much more likely to continue living this way well into their adult years. Bad habits are hard to change (in adults and in children), so why not start off well and make it their ‘norm’.

Wise Benjamin Franklin

Wise Benjamin Franklin

Just last week, I started my 4 month old on her first taste of solids. So far she has enjoyed homemade rice cereal (so easy to make), avocado, steamed apples, pears and sweet potatoes. She is learning taste, texture and all sorts of other things. I let her ‘play’ with the food as I’m feeding it to her, not because I like the mess that’s for sure, but because these are all her very first experiences with food and I want it to be a positive and fun one. So far, so good, she seems to love it all. If she turns her nose up at something, that’s OK we will try again tomorrow. Persistence is key with children!

indie solids

I love nothing more than watching my 7 year old daughter devour a plate of veggies. There is not much that kid won’t eat. Don’t get me wrong, she likes the not so healthy stuff too and she is a sucker for party food, she’s a kid after all and I want her to enjoy being a kid. We are not the worlds strictest parents by any stretch but we do promote balance, moderation and choices and it seems to be working well for us. The important thing is that she knows what food is better for you than others and that we eat predominantly healthy food and save other things for treats or special occasions. We do not eliminate or restrict other foods as I believe this ‘can’ lead to over indulgence, binge eating and poor choices later on in  life, but we do limit them and always offer healthy alternatives. Everything in moderation!

Often Lily’s snacks and lunch look like this:

lil snacks

She loves a tasting plate, she’s a bit of a grazer and it is a great way to enjoy many different foods and you know what, it doesn’t always have to be eaten with a knife and fork and that makes her pretty happy.

My child has a very healthy appetite and some days I actually struggle to fill her. She does snack during the day (I think genetically she has a high metabolism like me) but she always eats her meals. She’s just a hungry kid, a lot of children aren’t and don’t need to eat a lot during the day and that’s OK too! We’re all different.

A few snacks Lily likes to eat include:

* Tuckers Natural Tiny Dippers. These are great because they are individual serves with just enough crackers and dip for little people. This is the Quinoa Crakers with Tomato Salsa Dip. We also love the Quinoa Crackers with Corn Dip. Yummo!

Tuckers

* Boiled eggs, avocado, carrot & cucumber sticks and dried fruit. These are all so easy to prepare and put on a plate.

* Smoothies (let them experiment with their own recipes and flavours)

* Multigrain wraps or mountain bread. Quite often she will just have one plain

* Spelt flour pancakes. I make up a big batch and freeze them individually. They are great in the school lunchbox (put them in frozen and they are ready by recess or lunch time). We also do the same with mini homemade cheesy-mite scrolls.

Lily  has porridge for breakfast every morning (this is by choice there is not much else she likes for brekkie except pancakes some weekends). What I have found very interesting in the last few months is that from seeing me put chia seeds, diced apricots and blueberries on my oats every morning, she now chooses to do the same. Not because I told her to do it or did it for her but she made the choice and does it herself. This is, in my opinion, a much better way as it is more likely to stick with her rather than something I rammed down her throat, pardon the pun! She enjoys sprinkling them on and making her porridge look ‘pretty’.

Kids need to be involved in making choices about food. What we learn in our childhood, we take into our adulthood.

We discuss what is good and why it’s good for you and I let her help make things with me, which she loves. One of her favourite things to make is smoothies. After watching one of the ‘infomercials’ on TV she thought it would be a good idea to write her own smoothie recipe. She got all the ingredients out and made it herself. She absolutely loved it (the process and the end result) and she was so proud of herself that she could create something so yummy and healthy.

This was all her own work. I did not help her at all. *NB by 'flower' she means ground Linseed/Flaxseed (it looks like flour)

This was all her own work. I did not help her at all. *NB by ‘flower’ she means ground Linseed/Flaxseed (it looks like flour)

So, what are some things we do to ensure we are encouraging healthy habits?

1.) Eating together as a family every dinner time because I believe it is important. We also eat the same meals, our only variation is if we have a curry which Lily does not like, she will have the meat we are eating served with at least 3 vegetables and often a mountain bread wrap. I never take for granted how lucky I am to have a child that will eat almost anything and usually chooses to ear all her veggies before anything else. Some of her favourites are: broccolini, asparagus, corn, brussel sprouts and carrots.

2.) We stopped allowing TV viewing while eating breakfast as I was finding Lily wasn’t concentrating and it was taking her too long and she ended up rushing (with me constantly telling her to “hurry up, or we will be late for school”) or not finishing it. This has improved 100%, infact it has improved our entire morning routine so much there are no arguments or constant pleads all morning and everyone is much happier. I also believe this leads to a better association with food (specifically the importance of breakfast) as it is not associated to stress or rushing etc.

3.) Encourage trialing new foods or foods that perhaps she didn’t like last year. I never make a bit deal about foods Lily doesn’t like and I would never force her to eat something that she is old enough to know if she likes or doesn’t like. After all, we all have certain flavours, foods, spices etc that we don’t like so it’s not fair to expect a child to eat and enjoy everything put in front of them. What I do encourage, however, is revisiting certain foods to try them and see if her tastes have changed. If she tries it and still doesn’t like it, we leave it at that and praise her for trying it again. Fortunately Lily’s list of food she likes is HUGE and her dislikes are minimal.

4.) Involve her in weekly meal planning (asking for her input for certain weekly meals), shopping (get her to write the list) and preparation of food. We also discuss different types of food and why we chose some products rather than other ones. She has a pretty good knowledge of food. She also loves cooking shows and really got into Masterchef and My Kitchen Rules this year.

As I mentioned earlier, this is just a look at what we do as a family. It may not work for everyone. Maybe you already do all of that anyway, maybe there is one new thing that you can try and see if it works for your children? Keep encouraging healthy eating in children, they will thank you in the long run!

I thought this looked like a super cute idea. Notes on fruit in the school lunchbox would definitely make it more fun and exciting! (source – Pinterest)

Source - Pinterest

Source – Pinterest

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I Quit Sugar Choc-Coco Muggin (Muffin in a Mug) Recipe

This is a delicious healthy and super quick and easy recipe from I Quit Sugar (Sarah Wilson’s amazing cookbook). We often make these after dinner as it is like having desert when you just need that little something after a hectic day, but there is nothing bad in it at all. The other good thing is you don’t need to make an entire batch of muffins. Just individual serves and they are ready in minutes!

Source: I Quit Sugar

Source: I Quit Sugar

 Paleo/Dairy Free Choc-Coco Muggin

Ingredients

1/4 cup almond meal

2 Tbsp desiccated coconut

1 Tbsp raw cacao powder

1/2 Tbsp rice malt syrup (or 1/2 tsp stevia or sweetener)

1/4 cup milk (I use oat milk)

Directions

Add all ingredients to a microwave-safe porcelain mug and mix with a spoon. Microwave on high for 1 1/2 – 2 minutes.

We serve ours with a drizzle of honey and coconut flakes but you could add whatever you like. The recipe says serve with greek-style yoghurt.

I like it slightly runny in the middle rather than too dry so I do 1 1/2 minutes and it is perfect!

Enjoy FitMummies xxx

Fit, Fast & Furious Training Session with Guin from Guin’s Everyday Style

Guin and Kel

WOW! What a session.We were both super excited about starting our first Personal Training Session. Guin wanted to be pushed and push her I did. I put Guin through a 45 minute High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Session which was predominantly body weight exercises. We did use a set of dumbbells for some of the exercises but most can be done without.

Guin already does a variety of exercise so she wanted to compliment her other workouts with a full body High Intensity Session. These sessions are awesome as they full of short burst intervals with minimal rest and they burn mega calories and get the heart rate up high. My trusty stop watch was getting a workout that’s for sure as I wanted everything we did to be between 20 – 50 seconds of hard work (max. Effort) and 15-30 seconds of rest. HIIT Training is no good without a stop watch so we can keep an eye on the time and really make the most out of the workout.

HIIT Trainers Secret Weapon

HIIT Trainers Secret Weapon

We also did a hard set of Plyometrics. For those who are unfamiliar with Plyometric Training, it is explosive, fast paced moves which work several muscles at once. It is a great way of training to increase fitness, speed and agility and also burns mega calories as your heart rate stays elevated the entire time, allowing you to continue burning calories after your session is finished.

The Plyo set I put Guin through was Squat Jumps (reaching up nice and high on the jump), alternating lunge jumps and mountain climbers. It’s fair to say her heart rate was up and her legs were burning! But she was still smiling at the end of it so I continued to push her with an upperbody strength session with shoulder press, burpees, pushups and punches followed by abs and lots of stair sprints!

It was a fantastic first session, Guin pushed through everything I threw at her and never once stopped. She is a machine and I am looking forward to our weekly workouts and seeing Guin’s results. She is also working on her nutrition at home and paying particular attention to snacking and ensuring she has healthy snacks handy at all times. The key to good nutrition is planning and preparation, see my previous blog post all about this topic!

So, session one has been conquered and we are both looking forward to session two next week. Stay tuned via FitM.U.M’s Facebook page and blog and Guin’s Everyday Style Facebook page and for updates, tips, progress, photos and workouts and feel free to comment with any questions or words of support for Guin, who has been fantastic to share her health and fitness journey with us all!

Peace xx

A look inside FitMUM’s Shopping Trolley

I have had a few questions about what health food products (and brands) I use so for something different I thought I would do a post all about what made its way into my shopping trolley this week. Once I started I realised that there were so many more products that I could have written about. I have enough for a second blog article on this topic at some stage. If this is something that interests you, leave me a comment on my blog or my Facebook page here if you would like more.

Obviously this is not my entire shop (how boring and long would that be) but this is a selection of products we buy on a {very} regular basis and things that I love and use ALL time {basically can’t live without}.

Traditional Rolled Oats

Good old fashioned 100% rolled oats. Not often you find a product with only one thing listed on the ingredient list. I love oats and have them for breakfast every morning (with the exception of the odd Sunday when I have poached eggs on toast). They are quick and easy, super good for you and delicious. I make mine with Oat Milk and then add a drizzle of honey, chia seeds, diced apricots and either a handful of blueberries or a sliced banana. I also make a delicious Overnight Oats recipe about once a week from the I Quit Sugar Cookbook. YUMMO!

rolled oats

Black Chia Seeds

I add chia seeds to many things. I have them on my oats, in my smoothies, and in our bliss balls and choc granola.

Among other things Chia Seeds are high in fibre, protein and omega 3 and they are loaded with antioxidants. They certainly pack a health punch for such a tiny seed and they are low in calories for something so high in fibre.

chia seeds

Rice Malt Syrup

This mild tasting syrup is a fantastic fructose-free sugar substitute. It is very versatile and inexpensive. I use it in any recipes instead of sugar. You can drizzle it over pancakes or oats or use it to sweeten your tea if you are trying to quit sugar.

It is made from 100% brown rice and is a better option than other sweeteners that are high in fructose and release sugar faster into the blood stream causing insulin spikes and subsequent blood sugar crashes.

rice malt syrup

Green Tea & Peppermint Tea

I used to be a bit of a tea addict but since being dairy free I have switched to only drinking green tea and peppermint tea. I always start the day with a cup of green tea and I always end the day with a cup of peppermint tea (I also drink them throughout the day if I feel the need). I use Organo Gold Organic Green Tea which is infused with Ganoderma, a very powerful ingredient that has been used for centuries in China and Japan for its many health benefits and healing properties

*If you would like to know more about this product (both tea & coffee) email me at fitmumsa@gmail.com for more details*

OG green tea

 I have pretty much tried every brand of tea, if you don’t use Organo Organic Green Tea, these are others I buy:

green tea

We have all heard the many benefits of green tea (the list is long), one of the big ones being that it has been shown to increase fat burning and boost your metabolic rate.

Coconut Oil

I love coconut oil for so many reasons, from cooking through to using on my bubs cradle cap and dry skin…. seriously awesome stuff!

It goes great with cacao when making sweet treats so we use it in our choc granola, bliss balls, homemade ‘chocolate’ and other baking. It is the healthiest oil to cook with and has a high smoke point so can be used at high temperatures.

coconut oil

Oat Milk

I use organic unsweetened oat milk. Since removing dairy I have found this to be the best substitute for me (personal preference). I do have almond milk sometimes too. Oat milk goes perfectly with my breakfast oats and smoothies. I also use it in baking as a substitute for cows milk and the rest of my family can’t taste the difference (they still drink cow’s milk).

oat milk

Almonds

We buy dry roasted almonds by the truck load. They are a great snack mixed with dried fruit and other nuts. I usually carry a container of homemade trail mix in my bag for when I am out and about. I also put them in our choc nut bliss balls recipe here

We often make our own almond meal and use it in baking. This is also a great alternative to crumbing meat eg. Schnitzels.

almonds

Quinoa

We are a bit obsessed with Quinoa in our household. We usually eat it at least 3 times a week (minimum). We also buy health food brands from the markets or the Woolworths Macro range, however this is the one I grabbed this week as we were almost out. All of the organic brands are as good as each other in my opinion.

I have listed the health benefits of Quinoa on one of my previous Facebook posts and have written out the recipe for our Healthy Roast Vegetable & Quinoa Salad find it here

We also substitute any rice dishes with Quinoa, eg. Stir fry’s, Curries or just season it and use as a side dish with dinner. The options and recipes are endless so get creative with your Quinoa and start incorporating it into your weekly meals!

quinoa organic

So there you have a little insight into some of the staples in my family’s shopping trolley and some of the ways we use them.

Happy Shopping FitMummies!! Xx

A FitMUM’s busy week… if you can’t find the time, make the time!

It’s no secret that there is a lot to fit into a week, especially for mummies. I am lucky enough to currently be on maternity leave (bubs is now 4 months old) but some weeks I still struggle to fit everything in to a week. It’s crazy! This week was quite a busy one for us so I thought I would use it as an example and elaborate on how I make time (even if it’s only a small amount of time) for myself and to make sure I fit some form of exercise in every day.

findaway

Like a lot of you, it was back to school for my eldest daughter this week after a busy and fun filled holidays and it was immunisations for my youngest. Irondad is in training for a short course duathlon on Sunday which he has set a pretty high expectations and goals for himself (EDITED post race to say that he smashed it by the way but that’s a different story!). We’ve had plenty of appointments, visits and of course all the household jobs that don’t do themselves as much as we’d like them too. So at the beginning of the week I knew I would have to work hard to fit in my exercise and not use any of that as an excuse to let it slide. It is easy to say “stuff it, I’ll just skip it today” but that can lead to the next day and the next day and before you know it you’ve changed your habits again. That is self-sabotage, try hard not to head down that path. Keep your motivation high and remind yourself of your goals. I am constantly reassessing my short term and long term goals to help me stay focussed and always have something to work towards. I do this in life and in fitness and I find that it really helps me stay motivated, accountable and achieve things.

My week from Sunday to Sunday included 7 runs (1 treadmill interval training run and 6 road runs) ranging from 4km – 7.5km, 3 x HIIT sessions, 1 Gym session and stretching and foam rolling (my old muscles can get a bit sore after running and foam rolling is perfect for easing those knots in your muscles).

Even on the days where I think it is going to be hard to fit it in, I find opportunity when I can and try my best to make it happen. Two good examples of this which I had to do this week were:

* Thursday my little one had her immunistations late in the afternoon and I hadn’t had a chance to do anything beforehand. That night we were having dinner at my parent’s house (they have a treadmill) and I didn’t want to be too far away from bubs, so going out for a run was out of the question as was the gym. I planned to get to my Parent’s house a bit early, got baby to sleep and did a 40 min interval session on their treadmill. It was actually a great sessions because it broke up my running week and provided intervals and heart rate training that I wouldn’t otherwise get on a road run. I was sweating hard, burnt mega calories and it gave my dodgy knee a bit of a rest from the road * all boxes ticked*.

* Friday I had a full on day so once Irondad got home we decided to do our weekly food shopping as we knew we had a busy weekend and wouldn’t get it done. Never one to miss an opportunity, once we had loaded everything into the car, including the children, off they went home with Dad and I ran home from the Supermarket. It is only 4.5km to our house but at least I fit it in, otherwise it just wasn’t going to happen. Do you know, the bonus of this is that by the time I got home all the shopping was put away too. I also did a quick 10 minute HIIT session out the back when I got home to finish the session off. I am usually dressed in my workout gear, you never know when you can improvise and squeeze in a quick run when you are out and about.

As you can see it is not rocket science and if I can fit these little exercise sessions in, hopefully you can too. Sometimes you just need to think outside the box and use 20 minutes when you can grab it. The shorter the timeframe, the harder you should push yourself! It all counts. I am just an average mum like everyone else, who’s time is in demand but all I do is make sure I plan and prioritise so that I don’t miss out! I am so thankful I have such a supportive family too.

If you have to go somewhere as a family on the weekend make sure you wear your workout gear (or at least have it with you in the car along with a hat and suncream and earphones if you like to run with music – be prepared and you can’t go wrong) and get dropped off on the way home and run there. Make sure you pick a distance you know you can comfortably run and increase it each time. I’ve actually lost count of the number of times I have done this. Sometimes the family even pace me in the car and drive along side me for part of the run. My 7 year old loves yelling out the window to encourage me.

4 percent of your day

If you can’t find the time, make the time!

I have done previous posts about the importance of planning and having a goal, read here https://fitmumblog.com/2014/09/29/good-choices-planning-a-goal-results/ it’s the only way to get things done. So, even a busy week can be just as productive, it’s what you do with your time that counts. The choice is YOURS.

30km run week