Simple Food Switches to get More Goodness into Family Meals.
We get asked a lot if there are any quick tips to keep a focus on healthy eating (yes it's exhausting with kids in the mix, agreed!) and our first suggestion is always to simply to make some switches in the foods you already eat. Take a look at these ideas...
Switch flavoured yoghurt for plain or Greek
Flavoured fruit yoghurts are touted as a ‘health food’ but are generally very high in added sugar. Try natural yoghurt instead and blend in your own fruit puree if you want a little sweetness. This gives you control over the type and amount of sugar you’re adding.
Give your breakfast a make-over
Ditch refined-sugar laden cereals for overnight oats, porridge, sugar-free muesli, homemade bircher (Honestly Healthy’s Bircher Muesli is lovely or homemade granola (one of our favourites is Deliciously Ella’s Cinnamon Pecan Granola, although we tend to reduce the added syrup).
An even better option is to phase out cereal entirely and try more of a protein option like eggs. Eggs are a brilliant protein packed breakfast food, or you could try our sugar-free, gluten-free Pancake Mix. Remember that breakfast doesn't have to be sweet, we've just got into that habit!
Sneak in seeds
We do a lot of home baking. But I rarely follow a recipe entirely (unless it is a complicated scientific kind of bake!). Instead we toss in a couple of spoonfuls of seeds and grains to add fibre and goodness - into everything from scones, cakes, bread and pizza dough. Our current favs are flaxseed, chia seeds, and quinoa flakes. No need to overdue it and put the kids off, but you'd be surprised what you'll get away with. We also often switch a bit of white flour for wholemeal too and reduce sugars often by half. (not for light as air bakes like a sponge of course as any extra fibre will add a little weight!)
Avoid refined sugar
Be label savvy and check the sugar content of your foods as sugar pops up in surprising places like ready meals and shop-bought pasta sauces. Aim to buy foods with low or no added refined sugar, and make your own food so you can control the quantity and quality of the added sweetness.
Change-up your chips
Experiment with alternatives to traditional fries: celeriac or sweet potato wedges both work well and contain far more nutrients. Balanced Being’s Spicy Roast Sweet Potatoes really hit the spot with our crew.
Try changing white pasta for wholemeal or spelt, and white rice for brown or wild rice. As a tip, wholemeal basmati rice tastes far less ‘brown’ than normal brown rice. You could also experiment with buckwheat noodles for a great gluten-free option. Our Playful Pizza Dough Mix is predominantly whole-grain flour and has the added benefits of chia and flaxseeds, giving you a far healthier alternative to normal pizza dough.
Look for snacks that actually get the goodness in, rather than just being empty calories. Oatcakes or veggie sticks with houmous, nut butter, tzatziki or guacamole are all great options. Boiled eggs also make an excellent quick snack.
For kids, presentation goes a long way – try offering them ‘ants on a log’ (nut butter and blueberries on a celery stick).
You can make your own ‘trail mix’ too by roasting nuts and throwing in goji berries and toasted coconut chips.
Ditch juices and sweetened fizzy drinks
Fizzy sugar-laden soft drinks offer no health benefits and are best avoided. Freshly squeezed juices do of course contain plenty of nutrients to give a bit of balance to the natural sugars, but many packaged juices are just an unnecessary sugar hit (try scanning them with the Sugar Smart app…you’ll be shocked). Try flavouring your own water using fruit slices, cucumber and mint leaves. Or go for coconut water which is super-hydrating and low sugar.
Super-power your treats
Skip the sugary sweets, and the accompanying slumps, and try our New Energy Ball Mix or our Super Oat Flapjack Mix for those times when you need a bit of get-up-and-go.
Focus on fats
Fats are an essential element of a healthy diet: focus on heart-healthy unsaturated fat sources like olive oil, rapeseed oil, avocado, nuts and seeds. Steaming meat, fish and veggies is a great way to cut down on your fat intake too, and preserves the flavours of fresh produce brilliantly.