With the pressures of work life balance, juggling kids activities and trying to feed a family whilst maintaining composure (aka not losing your shit) can be a challenge, I get it.
Add to that fussy eaters, allergies, and trying new things to break the monotony can be well, overwhelming..
The key is to keep it simple!
There may be an abundance of iInsta foodies with beautifully laid out poke bowls or salads styled for magazine shoots, however all this means nothing if your family isn’t going to eat it! Plus comparing your reality to someone’s fictitious life is purely soul crushing.. I get it!
Working with families, I always base menu and meals off what they are already eating with the focus on expanding from here. Gaining an idea of what flavours they like, dislike and any allergies. There is no point recommending spice and chilli if they can’t handle the heat or garlic and onions if they suffer fructose intolerance!
Many of the recipes have options to add depth and flavour through spices and fresh herbs. Working with your palette and introducing these flavours slowly, can you then create a diversity of nutritious meals. Often, we only need a little inspiration!
I will suggest to my clients to look at food magazines as a source of inspiration. We have a multi-cultural society and to unlock the flavours of the world is truly going to cultivate the variety of meals AND aid your gut microbiome....
That’s another journal – See previous post about 10% human and the bacteria you want on your (in)side to learn more about the importance of the bacteria in relation to gut-mind health!
My own children have always eaten a diverse range of food. I love spice, curries and fresh herbs, chilli and garlic. I’m an intuitive cook and will rarely use a recipe and my husband often laughs when I 'try' follow one, as I will change it half way through essentially not ‘using ‘ it all, other than for inspiration. I urge you to do the same.
The more you try new things, the more confidence you will gain and who knows you may even come to enjoy it!
The following meals are some of my go-to when I lack inspiration or desire for trying a new recipe. This changes depends on my mood, creativity, season and just how many shits I give on a given day. I am a mother, wife, daughter, employee and entrepreneur.. it gets exhausting so why make life and eating tasty food harder than it need to be?!
As with any recipe, try it and adjust flavours to suit. We often add jalapeno's or chilli to our meals for extra hit. Chilli also increases the metabolism, helping to burn fat!
Eating seasonally available fruit and vegetables ensures that you are getting the maximum nutritional value from the food. It also tastes better, is cheaper and in more abundance.
Enjoying food in its natural state, or close to, ensure that you are obtaining the maximum benefits mentally and physically.
Summer for our family is predominantly salads with vegetables and can include beans, rice, fish or meat. More of our meals are vegetarian however; we still eat meat, just cut down the serving and frequency. When you are attuned to the way food makes you feel, you are more aware of the heaviness of food, richness or natural sweetness.
Finding easy, transportable snack solutions are key to a busy lifestyle. Not everything needs to be blitzed into a ball or baked.. Eating too much of these ‘health’ foods will spike your sugar levels the same as a dirty snack so be careful the amount you consume. Almond meal will be faster metabolised into our system than if we were to eat the nut as a whole.
The act of chewing releases chemicals in our mouth that travel into our stomachs to signal that we have eaten and stop the ‘feeling’ of hunger. It takes approximately 20 mins for this chemical message to compute, usually by this stage we overeat and feel crappy.
Nuts are exceptionally great snacks to take with you every day. We only need a handful of nuts to feel satisfied and deliver benefits. Too much and you risk over consuming calories. 10-15 nuts is sufficient and the high oil and fibre content will satisfy. Mix them up from day to day to ensure a diversity of nutrients as each nut offers difference benefits from skin, brain and digestive health.
Some simple snack ideas that I integrate into daily work, play and life are as follows:
Nuts are a difficult one for primary schools, with most banning them due to the high rate of allergies.. no excuse for work and home though!
Trail Mix- mix preferred nuts, seeds , goji berries, coconut flakes and cacao nibs- store in a air-tight container and pack small 50g containers with mix to snack on. Try a seed trail mix for school snacks, mix with goji berries, coconut flakes and cacao nibs (or dark choc).
Yoghurt & Granola- Granola recipe online- add to Greek yoghurt or Kefir (for an extra gut loving boost) – mix through frozen berries or goji berries. (there are chilled containers available to keep yoghurt chilled whilst at school)
Fruit- I don’t need to explain this one. Change it up by having a slice of tasty cheese with sliced pear, banana smash on Ryvita sprinkled with cinnamon or an apple sliced with nut/seed butter, sprinkled with goji berries or coconut flakes. The kids love the change and can encourage them to eat fruit.
Dips & veggies sticks- Dips such as hummus, tzatziki or veggie loaded dips are a great way to get extra nutrients into the kids (or yourself) whilst snacking. A fave of mine is the Beetroot, feta and Walnut dip. I add this to wraps, dollop on my eggs and sauté veg for breakfast, stir through grilled veg or pasta, a dressing to salads or boringly as a dip!
Platter- A great school treat for our girls is to create a little platter mix within their lunchbox. The love to snack on ours when entertaining at home and offer a healthy alternative to sandwiches/ wraps. In a bento box or container add; cornichons (little pickled cucumbers), cubed cheese, olives, grapes, dried apricots, dip, crackers.
For a treat, try mixing up some bliss balls or homemade muesli bars, when we make our food we know what goes into it and have control of the amount of sugars added to our diets!
Eating a predominately plant-based diet, full of whole-foods we are providing our bodies with balanced nutrition that fuels not only our physical health but importantly, our mental health too.
A holistic approach to health involves a balanced diet, movement and Mindfulness.
What we eat is as important as the thoughts and behaviours that fuel our lifestyle.
How are you supporting your holistic health goals? Comment below any areas that you feel you need support and ill happily give you some feedback.
If you want to learn how I can help with your family meal times, get on touch!
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