As we find ourselves home-schooling in the depths of winter the temptation to eat cake every day to get us through sometimes feels overwhelming. We know that we need to keep our families and ourselves fit and strong but how is that possible? How can we make eating and cooking in a healthy way fun? We asked registered Nutritional Therapist Stephanie de Chillaz to share a few tips on eating well. Stephanie is a London based Nutritional Therapist who offers personalised nutrition and lifestyle advice with a view to promoting optimal health and wellness.
Practical ideas for a healthy and happy lockdown 3.0
Do not underestimate the importance of a good breakfast.
Breakfast is literally just that; the breaking of a fast and so it should be something with sustenance, especially for our children who are spending more time than ever in front of screens. Try to get away from eating breakfasts which are very high in sugar which will result in blood sugar spikes and crashes and ultimately cranky kids who want “snacks”. The best way to do this is to include protein and/or lots of healthy fats at breakfast time. Some simple ideas which kids love include:
- Soft boiled eggs with sourdough soldiers*
- Smashed avocado on sourdough with a bit of olive oil drizzled on top
- Slowly cooked porridge oats made with either full fat cow’s milk or plant based milk of choice topped with a handful of berries and nuts or seeds
- Full fat yoghurt mixed with oats, sliced pear and a handful of berries
* Side note here: I tend to eat and give my children sourdough as it has a lower glycemic index than other breads which basically means sugar is digested and absorbed more slowly and so we stay fuller for longer.
Snacking – keeping the number of snacks per day down
Snacking is inevitable with children running around the house so we need to try to keep to a minimum of 2 snacks per day and ensure that some protein is included. Protein takes longer to digest so it means that children won’t be hungry again an hour later!
Healthy snacks include:
- Apple or pear slices with a dollop of almond butter
- Carrot and cucumber sticks with hummus
- Full fat yoghurt with sliced banana and a handful of almonds
- Oat & seed bars (recipe below)
Eating Healthily Can be Fun!
Have fun with it! The best way to maintain a balanced and healthy diet is to make sure it is delicious. Despite your little ones’ protestations to the contrary, eating your 5 a day can be very yummy indeed. Not only that, it can be made to be fun. As parents we can do all of the following:
- Involve our children in food preparation to make cooking and preparing meals enjoyable.
- Make a rainbow plate of colourful vegetables such as red, green and yellow peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, red cabbage, beetroot etc. While doing so, you can speak to your children about the benefits of all the vegetables having lots of different vitamins and antioxidants which help to keep us healthy and our immune systems strong enough to be able to fight off viruses!
- Keep a chart of all the brightly coloured fruit and vegetables and tick off which ones you have eaten together during the week. Kids (& grown ups) love doing this!
- Get those little hands measuring, cracking and chopping.
- Wash, peel and chop soft vegetables using an age-appropriate knife.
- Teach your children how to crack and separate eggs.
- The use of a salad spinner (if you have one) is always a joy!
Take Time to Cook Something Fun and Healthy!
I’ve included two easy and healthy lockdown recipes for you to make with your children (or if they are older then they can bake for you!). I hope you enjoy them and that your Lockdown 3.0 is healthy.
- 4 ripe bananas
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup honey/ maple syrup
- 200g almond / buckwheat flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup walnuts
Preheat oven to 175C. Mash 3 bananas together in a large bowl and whisk in the egg. Mix in honey/ maple syrup, almond flour and bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon. Then add the coconut milk, and walnuts and mix well. Pour the mix into a greaseproof lined tin and chop the remaining banana however you like to decorate on top. Place in oven and bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
Oat & Seed Bars
- 5 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp honey
- 5 tbsp tahini
- 150g butter / coconut oil
- 250g rolled oats
- 100g raisins
- 60g mixed favourite nuts
- 50g sesame seeds
- 50g sunflower seeds
- 50g chopped dried brown apricots (non sulphur)
Heat oven to 160C. Gently heat the maple syrup, honey and butter / oil in a pan until the butter has melted. Stir the oats, raisins, apricots, nuts and seeds into the pan until fully coated.
Spoon half the oat mix into a tin (23cm by 23cm) and pack the mix down well. Smooth with the back of a spoon and bake for 25 minutes until dark gold. Leave to cool completely before cutting into 16 bars with a sharp knife.
Stephanie is a London based nutritional therapist who offers personalised nutrition and lifestyle advice with a view to promoting optimal health and wellness. In her practice, she takes a functional medicine approach, addressing the root cause of disease, with a strong belief that it is important to treat the individual, not the condition.
Her aim is to deliver realistic and achievable yet measurable treatment plans which are unique to each client. It can be tough for those of us with demanding work and travel schedules to follow a strict protocol and Stephanie takes all of her client’s lifestyle factors into account when creating a plan.
More information can be found on her website: http://www.stephaniedechillaz.co.uk