Meal Time with a threenager

In the morning, my son wakes up, has a cuddle and asks for his breakfast.

He wants the following:

  • Muffins
  • Chocolate
  • Chocolate cake
  • Chocolate yogurt

I serve the following:

  • Oats with banana, chia seed, cinnamon and rice milk
  • Gluten free weetbix with rice milk

A similar pattern repeats for lunch then it intensifies at dinner time.

Before I get accused of having all the time in the world to cook (as has happened in the past), I work 2-3 days a week, I am a student, we are building a house, we are getting married in 6 weeks time, my son goes to  kindy half an hour away, my daughter to playgroups, we visit Grandparents at least once a week, I do bootcamp 3x a week and take the kids on walks too and I manage all of the household chores. Like everyone else, I don’t have time for their shit when they refuse food.
So how do I get him to eat his meals?

  1. Wake up early. I have realized that I need to get up before the kids so I can make their breakfast and have it on the table, ready and waiting. That eliminates the kids trying to ask for other foods while I make their breakfast. For lunch and dinner, I get my kids involved in the cooking where possible.
  2. Be direct. Guide them to the table saying directly, “This is your breakfast”. It is not a discussion, I am not asking my kids what they want. I am telling them, this is your breakfast.
  3. Non negotiable. Don’t argue with a three year old. It is not a discussion, a choice, a compromise. I try not to have this arguement with my preschooler because it leaves him thinking he has wiggle room. I tell him, “your breakfast is on the table”.
  4. Eat together. I absolutely love drinking coffee and eating brekkie alone, in peace, in silence before the chaos of the day begins but I find that the simple act of eating together as a family sets the atmosphere and culture in the house of meal time. Ever noticed how kids eat food off your plate but wont touch their plate even though you have made the same damn meal? It encourages kids to eat when you are eating at the same time. Monkey see, monkey do. 
  5. If they don’t eat, serve it to them again when they say they are hungry. This is what we do but I know not everyone agrees. A great example of how effective this is with my 3yo is at dinner time, I serve it around 4 or 5 (as I dont eat late) and if he doesn’t eat it then, he will usually cave by 6pm and eat some dinner. After he has his dinner he is allowed a smoothie for dessert, but never a smoothie just for the sake of it. It is a little hard because if he goes to bed hungry then we know we might be in for a 2am wake up. I have been up with my son at 2am while he eats his steak. But now that he is 3, he gets it, and will even use eating his dinner as a stalling tactic at bedtime. I don’t mind this as I know he is eating nutritious food which will fuel his body. Personally, we start again in the morning with brekkie, we don’t go as far as to serve his dinner to him again the next day.
  6. Consistency. On repeat. They soon get it!

We have had so many setbacks of when my kids are with relatives and their routine/eating habits are set out of whack again. My kids were at my Mums house on Thursday while I worked and she spoils the crap out of them, it is extreme. My son is a king there, he demands a muffins, blueberries and cookies so she goes to the shops and buys it all for him !!!!! What the fuck Mum? Then back out to the shops when he asks for an ice block. She is his slave. You can imagine the next couple of days following a day at their grandparents house is quite hard on me. I have to put in a real effort to get them to eat what they are given. It is also like this coming back from holiday when my 3yo knows who to ask for alternate food to what we have cooked, there is always a relative or two who will stop eating their own meal to comply to his request for toast instead of meat and veg. When we come back from holiday it takes a few days and a lot of “in our house we eat what we are given for dinner”, “I want you to eat your oats”.

Healthy meals are so important for our kids. I was bought up with “you’ll get what you are given and you’ll like it”, “no you can’t have that, you can have a smacked bum instead” or “eat everything on your plate. There are starving kids in India”.

Interested to hear what happens at your place? 

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Running

I have always wanted to run a half marathon.

I have quite a few runner friends, some who compete multiple times a year, others who have made a name for themselves in New Zealand and then there are all of the “half marathon ticked off my bucket list” facebook posts I see time and time again or “1hr 51 smashed it”. I wanted that.
While running 2km this morning after 1 round of strength, as part of bootcamp, I realized why I have not ever run a half marathon.

It’s because I don’t really like running.

Don’t get me wrong, the orange sunrise at the top of Point View hill was gorgeous and uplifting… but I am not runner.

On reflection I wanted to complete a half marathon only because everyone else was doing it. But I am not a runner. I like HIIT, I like weights, yoga/pilates, short bursts of stair running, strap one kid on my back and the other in a pram and I will walk uphill for kms. But I am not a runner, so it feels good to no longer feel like I have to be one just because everyone else runs.

Not into zumba or bikram yoga either… happy to have tried these but they are not for me! It doesn’t matter what you like or dislike, try things and find YOUR thing.

It doesn’t matter how you move, just get up and move that body while you’re still able to. 

I often walk past a multi level retirement apartment block on the way to a playground nearby and I see people looking out the window at us. When I am in that position, as an old lady, I want to look back and know that I used my body while I could. I made the most of being capable. I worked out in appreciation of being able to work out, rather than because I hated the fat on the theighs.

Better organize that kayaking date which my fiance and I have been meaning to go on for the last 5 years… while we’re young(ish)

X

Good Morning Bootcamp!

Bootcamp – I have been going 2-3x a week (and sometimes 4) every week for 4 months.

Prepping the night before is key 👌

Tip: Have your phone with an alarm away from your bed. I always jump up to grab my alarm so it doesn’t wake anyone. This means I am out of bed!

Here is my set up on the coffee table so I can get out of the house stealth mode as before the kids wake up. This is what I prepare:

  • 500ml water with a fresh squeezed lemon
  • Shoes, socks, activewear
  • Drink bottle, keys, license, sweat towel, ventolin inhaler (this technogym sweat towel has a zip to hold said items)

So when I wake up, blurry eyed and unmotivated because the kids have been up all night or I stayed up too late to do an assignment (or both!) Then I don’t have to do any thinking. I get ready on auto pilot and go.

Tip: Fasted cardio is best for fat burning so get it done in the morning, if not bootcamp then an hour long walk. Lemon water before cardio is OK but no food.

Hot tip: When you get to bootcamp, don’t winge. Just get it done. It is hard at first but your fitness levels will increase with every class. Committment and consistency.

Post work out is a great time to take some deep breaths (to encourage your system to flip to the parasympathetic nervous system) and eat. Grab a nourishing brekkie being mindful of eating protein, complex carb and healthy fats. One coffee is ok too.

Here is my brekkie from this morning, but you could do protein powder in a smoothie or in oats instead. Eggs are great if you can eat those! 

Try for veges, protein and some avocado.

This is tofu, meatballs, pumpkin seeds, spinach, grated carrot, olives, avocado and a black coffee with almond milk.
You got this! 

Bliss nice cream

Nice cream bombed with bliss balls for the ultimate treat.


My kids scream for this bliss nice cream. When I make it “for the kids” I can never resist it either!

Ticks all the boxes. Vegan and free from wheat, gluten, nuts, egg, soy, dairy and refined sugar. Suitable for AIP too.

There are two components to this dessert/breakfast/lunch/snack (and no rules on what time of day you can enjoy it either)!!

So it is bliss ball sprinkle and banana nice cream.

Bliss ball sprinkle

  • 1 cup soaked dates
  • 1 cup dessicated coconut
  • 1-2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • 1-2 tablespoons sunflower seeslds
  • 1-2 tablespoons chia seeds
  1. Whizz together until the mixture resembles bliss balls
  2. Crumble onto an oven tray, lightly greased with coconut oil
  3. Pop in the oven at 180C/350F for 8 minutes, optional turning at the 4 minute mark
  4. Pop into the fridge for minimum half an hour

Banana Nice Cream

  • 2 cups of frozen banana chunks
  • A little coconut cream or rice milk to help the mixture whizz easily 
  1. Put ingredients into the food processor and whizz until smooth (approx 5 minutes) stopping to stir and push down the mixture as required (approximately every 1-2 minutes). 

Bliss Nice Cream

  1. Layer the ingredients OR stir it all together and serve immediately.

Note – to make ahead of time, make the bliss ball sprinkle and store in fridge and seperately make the nice cream and store in freezer. Take out the nice cream 5 min before serving, whizz it up for a nice consistency and then combine the two layers. 

Enjoy!

I remember how it felt starting out on the food allergy journey…

​I remember how it felt starting out on the food allergy journey. I felt that the guessing game of trying to pinpoint allergies was by far the hardest part. The painful trial and error of testing with food and the unexpected silent shock I went into during my baby’s first blood test. 

I remember feeling way out of my depth, like I had no control over my child’s wellness and I felt like I was drowing desperately trying to find a life raft to cling onto. When my first child not only had multiple food allergies but severe eczema too, I had no idea how to tackle it and the well intentioned but totally wrong ideas from relatives were not at all helpful. So I did some modern parenting (google) where I learned a little bit here and learned a little bit there until the baby steps turned into a path which in turn became a journey we’ll forever be on.

This is what allergy friendly packet food can look like. I am in a lot of online allergy support groups where I see Mums starting out on their allergy journey, often breastfeeding a baby with food sensitivities. I remember those days of “WTAF can I eat!?” And “What do you snack on?”.

My son is nearly 3 now and I have learned so much, gaining certificates and diplomas on the subjects of food and allergies (and still studying for a full degree now), I have articles published on eczema, allergies, breastfeeding and am a recipe producer/food author, I speak with groups of Mums about starting solids for babies and am a baby led weaning advocate. I now have two children both with multiple food allergies and I feel confident that I can manage food allergies whilst teaching my kids how to manage themselves in an age appropriate way.

We beat infant eczema twice. The first time around my baby boy was so severe he was covered from head to toe, weeping and infected, oozing and crying all the time. I had strangers stop me in the street to ask what was wrong with my baby. We got zero sleep, I was washing blood out of baby clothes and wishing that I could be a regular Mum who only had pumpkin stains to worry about.

We have come such a long way and I am forever grateful for choosing to go down the natural, diet and gut health based route when it became evident that steroid creams etc. were not a solution, they only ever acted as a superficial mask.

I feel like my first child missed out on being a baby because all he did was scratch and cry. I lost a year to being the 24/7 scratch police. So when my second child broke out in eczema, we nipped it in the bud. She has had a wonderful quality of life as a result.

So now I spend a lot of time answering PMs and staying up until 2am sharing what I have learned in the hopes that it might help someone else.

In the case of convenience food, it may commonly be thought of as yogurt or cheesesticks, maybe a muffin from a cafe or a fluffy shared with Grandma.. but change that thinking and see that it is also a packet of blueberries, an apple/banana, pumpkin seeds, rice crackers, vege chips, deli meats, coconut yogurt, popcorn, rice thins, an avocado off the spoon etc.

Starting out is the hardest and most overwhelming part of learning to live with food allergies and eczema. It gets easier with every meal, with every day and every year.