It’s a first for me but today I am featuring a guest post. We have all been to and held kids parties, and the food is always a conundrum – go healthy and some kids won’t eat, go traditional and they are bouncing off the walls, here’s some ideas…….
Healthy Kids Parties
My son was invited to a birthday party about a month ago and I immediately began to worry. I knew the mother of the boy who was celebrating his 7th birthday and I knew that she had a tendency to spoil her children with sugary treats and fatty foods. Sure, those things have their place, but I didn’t want little Arthur gorging himself on pizza, candy and ice cream. I had it on good authority that this mother, who in all other respects was a great parent, kept a candy bar in her purse for every time her kids got an “A” on a test or held the door open for an old woman at the grocery store or ate a carrot. To top it off, her husband was an amateur hot dog eating champion! I was worried going into it so I came up with a few ways to make sure little Liam’s next birthday wouldn’t end in a sugar crash.
Pizza is one birthday party staple that is hard to replace. I’ve experimented with making my own pizzas and I’ve always had a great time while doing it. It’s pretty simple to let kids make their own pizzas. You can buy wheat dough, have them roll it out, cover it in pizza sauce and top it with veggies, a selection of cheeses and pepperonis. This is a much healthier alternative to the grease-soaked bread that most pizza places will try to get you to eat.
Sodas are one thing I try to steer Liam clear of all the time. Did you know that one soda a day for a year will add 10 pounds of fat to the average person? If you can cut these sugary indulgences out of your child’s diet and out of their party, you’ll be doing everyone a favor. Instead, replace the soda with all natural fruit juice. For a pool party, try whipping up some smoothies using fruit, yoghurt and ice.
How do you have a party without birthday cake? That’s a hard one to answer and you’ll probably find that a cake is the hardest thing to replace at a party. The good news is that cakes come in a lot of varieties. You don’t have to have a rich, thick cake with buttery icing. You can have an angel food cake with a light, sugar-free icing. This fluffy birthday cake will provide the perfect denouement to your child’s soiree.
Genny is a guest blogger who writes about party planning issues, such as how to throw the perfect Super Mario birthday party.
Being a parent is a busy old job. As a single working mum it’s hard to find the time to fit everything in. Trouble is some things can’t be put off till tomorrow. We have to eat. I am also a firm believer that we have to eat well. Now I will hold my hands up and admit that I am medically obese. I take full responsibility for it. When I left home I was over weight in medical terms but I was a slim size 16. Years of eating what I want, no exercise and 2 children later….well that’s why I want my kids to eat right! It would be so easy to roll in from work after picking up the kids and shoving a pizza in the oven. There’s loads of ready meals out there to chose from too. It’s not the best but it’s easy isn’t it?
Before falling into that trap, I decided I needed a something in the kitchen that cooks for me and when I come home it sets the table and dishes up. I can’t afford my own chef so I got the next best thing – a slow cooker!
When I was a kid I remember my mum using a slow cooker on the odd occasion. It was always stew when the slow cooker went on. So when I bought my slow cooker a year ago, I decided I would cook other things in it too. I have 3 slow cooker recipe books and have made some fantastic food in it, including Cidered Pork for Valentines Day.
Now that Autumn is here and winter is fast approaching, my slow cooker is hardly ever off, this week it’s cooked us chicken and mushroom in gravy, beef stew and lamb in mint. It’s so easy to use, when I make the days packed lunches each morning, I also fill the pot with my ingredients of the day and add enough stock to cover. Then it gets switched on and left for the day. I’m saving money too, because it cooks so slow that I can get away with the cheaper cuts of meat and it is still tender by the time it is cooked! I’ve used it for chilli and bolognaise sauce in the past too and that’s just recipes I have made up myself!
The other good thing is my kids are getting the good stuff. You have to cook everything in a stock, and as such, the goodness from whatever vegetables in there goes into the gravy. H is pretty fussy and will only eat mushrooms, but the amount of “special gravy” she has on her bread at the end, I know she is getting lots of vitamins and goodness too. There really is no excuse for me now, and as a treat for being so good all week, Fridays are rubbish night – either a chippy or a pizza, whatever we fancy because everything is ok in proportion!!
I’d love to know what you cook in your slow cooker, new recipes are always welcome!!
Right then, it is now a week exactly till I start work and start my new get fitter and shift the baby weight program! Also known as Mummy Tummy Begone, I have decided now is the time after some encouragement at reading Karin at CafeBebe’s posts. Now, anyone who knows me knows I can’t stick to diets, I feel like I am depriving myself and so want it more. Therefore I have come up with the following plan, which, if it doesn’t work I will rethink and may then decide the time has come to start counting calories!
1. Smaller Portions – I have kind of already started this one. I realised after watching Super Nanny last week that not only do I feed yourself too big a portions, but I also put far too much in front of my kids, so it’s smaller portions all round and not only that but I will listen to my body when it says “STOP EATING NOW!!!”
2. Water – I don’t drink enough that’s for sure. Up until recently all my fluid intake consisted of was milk on my cereal, a tea or coffee if I was out and about, and the odd mouthful of milk, juice or water as I got on with my jobs. Now I realised that was an issue as I was always fighting headaches and so changed – but started drinking a minimum of 5 cups of tea in a day. I have practically stopped drinking coffee though. And I drink a Green Tea blend so my argument is it is healthy. I need to drink more water though so no matter how much tea I drink I will make sure I have at least 8 glasses (which I believe is the recommended amount) a day.
3. Sit ups – the best exercises for stomach muscles yet I haven’t done one since I found out I was pregnant 2 and 1/2 years ago! So as of Monday I will be doing a minimum of 20 per day – I know about 4 different variants with legs up, crossed, twists etc so I think that’s a reasonable start and no excuses it just means 10 minutes less on the laptop in an evening!
4. excercise! – We all know it burns calories and those of us who are over weight but not trying to lose weight will probably admit to not doing any. So I am going to do some! I have 3 fitness DVD’s and once I get my Wii fixed, I can get back on with using the Wii fit to track my progress. I may well also have free time in the week with no kids once I start work and H is at nursery. I am going to begin by aiming to do 30 mins, 4 days a week and aim to increase this to 6 days a week once I get going.
5. Snacking – I won’t stop snacking, and come Easter Sunday I can eat chocolate again, but I am going to limit myself to fruit only for snacks, with a chocolate or other none fruit snack on the days I do my exercise, and it will be a small portion not a binge!!
So there we go, that’s my plan and I plan to stick to it. Watch this space to see how I do!
I recently received a free sample of Very Lazy Garlic to try and then review on here. Now I will be honest, I don’t cook with garlic normally although I love the taste, but as a single mum I tend to have worked out a “quick” version of my meals and I never find peeling and chopping garlic quick. I have tried the crushing with the side of the knife then chopping, I have tried just chopping, I have a garlic crusher and most of the clove ends up still in the crusher when I am done. So that’s why I don’t use garlic. And that is also why I thought this sounded like the sort of thing that would be handy to have in my fridge. I also thought that as I am probably in one of the categories this product is aimed at then I could write a valuable review.
I have tried substitutes for “real” garlic in the past, to be honest I have always opted for nothing rather than settling for alternatives. Garlic paste to me never adds the right taste and has a grainy texture. I had given up hope of finding a substitute and only included garlic when cooking for guests or on special occasions. I had seen Very Lazy Garlic but never really looked closely enough to see what it really was.
My sample arrived, well packaged and I opened to find the jar and was greeted by the wonderful smell of fresh garlic. My initial thoughts were that the jar had broken in transit so I checked it over and no, all was well and in tact. I was optimistic already! My 1st experiment was roasted carrots. Now I hate carrots, unless in a casserole or grated into a sauce, but on this particular day the only vegetables I had were carrots. So I decided to do roasted carrots and use the Very Lazy Garlic to add a bit of a twist. The garlic is finely chopped and in the jar along with white wine vinegar, which evaporates off with cooking. The jar states that 1 teaspoon is the equivalent of a clove of garlic so that is what I have worked to. The carrots were lovely. I would never have bothered had I needed to peel and chop an actual clove of garlic. The fact it is in the vinegar also makes it easier to distribute that the sticky feel of fresh garlic. It was a twist that I only thought of because this product was there.
The next day I made bolognaise, and where I would usually omit the garlic, I added the Very Lazy Garlic and was very surprised. It tasted as if I had used fresh garlic. I could tell no difference at all. It was better that real garlic though, my fingers didn’t have that lingering garlic smell, the garlic crusher wasn’t a nightmare to get all the bits out of. It was so easy!
After using this twice, I am converted. I know I will always have a jar of this in my fridge now. It may be lazy but lives are so busy, with this in my fridge I no longer have to compromise on taste. In fact I am going to look out for the other Very Lazy products out there and will be giving them a try too! Have you tried it and what did you think?
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