Christmas –A time of (un)happy eating?

Christmas –A time of (un)happy eating?

  How was your Christmas?  Chances are it had its moments -  children laughing and Walton-style family bonding, but those times may have been punctuated with stress, everyone getting on each other’s nerves and some pretty fraught mealtimes.  Mealtimes can be stressful at the best of times.  As well as feeding my own family, 7 days a week for the past 19 years (yes it does get monotonous, doesn’t it?), I do spend a lot of time listening, sympathising and trying to help other parents.   So today I had an email from a lovely lady who contacted me for skype support about 6 months ago.  Her main goal?  For her fussy little eater to sit up and eat Christmas dinner with the extended family this year.  Her email today was one of the best I have had all year ‘He did it!  He sat up at the table and had the same meal as the rest of the family!’.   So why was...
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Why cook with kids?

   To learn cooking skills that will benefit them later in life.  Cooking, sadly, does not get taught enough in schools. Fussy children are more likely to eat food they have made themselves. Getting children involved in planning, preparing and cooking gives them a sense of pride.   Bespoke cooking sessions are also available for 'very cautious' eaters - get in touch to find out details. Younger children learn fine motor skills and hand eye co-ordination from chopping etc.  It always amazes me how much children enjoy chopping which brings me on to the next point..... Kids love to help and are very capable.  Why not cash in on this enthusiasm and  put the 'little workers' to use?! While you (or I) are cooking with your children, it is a great time to discuss why they  need a balanced diet.  Being able to understand this and make informed food choices helps children chose sensible options for themselves. Cooking is great...
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Fred’s Bread

Fred’s Bread

This is a guest post by my 12 year old son Fred! At school we were asked to adapt a basic bread recipe; our changes had to improve the sensory appeal, nutritional value and be suitable for a child’s packed lunch. So I decided to add pesto, cheese and ham, a bit like a ready-made sandwich.  It was so yummy that all my friends wanted to try it and I made it again today at home.  What do you think? After making white bread dough I let it prove. Once proved I rolled it out into a large square. I then spread a thin layer of pesto over the dough. Then I added ham and cheese. I rolled it up and cut it into small swirls. I placed on greased baking tray into small flowers of 7 swirls. The bread was then baked for around 10-20 minutes till golden brown. Here is the basic bread recipe that I adapted to make 'Fred's Bread'. 225g strong white flour ½ teaspoon salt 25g butter 75ml...
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Forget the diet, make 2016 the year of Happy Eating!

So it is THAT time of year again!  The time many of us feel obliged to commit to a year of  losing weight.  Weight loss regimes generally involve denying ourselves something that we like, or restricting how or what we eat, meaning these plans are often not sustainable past January.  In fact did you know that the most likely long term outcome of following a weight loss diet is actually weight gain?  The more you try to lose weight the more you will gain long term.  So diets generally don’t work but we still kid ourselves that this year will be different, this year it will work……  And this is the reason that popular weight loss groups are bombarded with repeat customers every year.  Not a bad business model I guess! Even if we ignore the fact that diets generally don't work long term, it is also worth considering  the message you are sending your children by going on a diet....
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How to be a super-mum!

How to be a super-mum!

Back to school!! Where did the summer holidays go? Is it just me or is September a time of New Year-style resolutions?  New School Year resolutions I guess! Whilst I am not a fan of making promises you can't keep at the beginning of a year, it is sometimes a good time to 'get your house in order', if only to make you feel in control after 6 weeks of madness! So what better time to start planning the meals your family are to eat this week? I can guarantee that you will feel like 'Super-Mum' in no time! Menu Planning - why bother? OK, so it may sound a bit boring and like something your Granny would have done, but there are massive advantages to planning what your family are going to eat. - Less stress for you - simply because you have thought, planned and shopped prior to 5 pm with 3 hungry kids and a short temper! - Less scope for fussiness as...
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Who do you trust to give you nutritional advice?

Who do you trust to give you nutritional advice?

OK, it is a bit of a minefield I know, but it really should be quite simple. Who do you trust with your health or that of your children? With so much confusing advice surrounding the topic of food and nutrition , it is surely even more important to fully trust the training and knowledge of the person you are paying to help you. There are a lot of so called experts out there who have little or nothing in the way of proper qualifications and are happy to advise you about what to eat.  You don't get this with many other professions. We don't let a lady in the queue in the post office examine our eyes, or let a random person take a blood test for us, do we? Although I am pretty sure that doctors get fed up with Joe/Joanne Public's well meaning advice to their patients, and Dr Google diagnoses! There are a lot of other professions that , with...
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After-school swimming and hungry children

After-school swimming and hungry children

The sun is out and my children are keen to go to lovely Park Road Lido in Crouch End after school today. They will be tired, hungry and hot when I pick them up from a hard day of learning, so I have made some orange juice ice lollies  to cool them down and hydrate the little cherubs, and this Weetabix loaf to give sustained energy for hours of playing in the water with their friends!     I came across this recipe on the magnificent Netmums website and as luck would have it, I have all the necessary ingredients sitting in the cupboard.  That, and the fact that I am much more in the mood for cooking than doing my accounts, meant I had to make it immediately!   Weetabix loaf cake       Ingredients 300g self raising flour 225g sugar 200g raisins (or any other dried fruit) 2 Weetabix (crushed)  1 tsp mixed spice 275ml milk 1 medium egg (beaten)   Preheat the oven to Gas mark 3/ 160...
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Busting the food and diet myths!

Busting the food and diet myths!

There is always so much contradicting advice in the media about health and nutrition that it is no wonder we all get a bit confused.   Here are a few of the common myths that people talk to me about ...... Eggs are bad for your heart Myth! We all know that to keep our arteries healthy we need to keep an eye on  our cholesterol levels .  Eggs have got a bad name for themselves in the past as they contain a substantial amount of cholesterol in their yolk.  However, we now know that dietary cholesterol is not the main problem.  It is more important to monitor our intake of saturated fat, as this has a much bigger effect on blood cholesterol. Eggs are a great source of protein, and are fantastic for creating a quick, easy, healthy, light meal, or for use in cooking. Carbohydrates make you fat Myth ! So many diets advocate cutting down on carbohydrates like bread, potato, rice and pasta, but is...
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Secrets of Happy Eating

Secrets of Happy Eating

There is so much contradictory information in the media about nutrition, that it is no wonder we are all a little stressed and confused about what to feed our families.  It seems almost each week we are told something else we should be eating more of, or should cut down on.  Obviously some of these reports are valuable in the correct context, especially when related to disease prevention or treating medical conditions.  However it does, in my opinion, mean we sometimes get ‘bogged down’ with irrelevant advice and can neglect other more basic food related issues.  I strongly believe that food and mealtimes are about so much more than nutrition, especially as your children are growing up. Yes, we want our children to eat healthily, and we want to make sure we are doing the best to ensure a healthy future for them by feeding them well.  But it is equally important to encourage them to have a positive outlook towards...
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