We’ve joined the Nairn’s Naturally Energising Challenge. The challenge is a six-week lifestyle plan written in conjunction with nutritionist and broadcaster Amanda Hamilton. It has been devised to help busy families learn more about good nutrition and how to enjoy a healthier, more wholesome diet. Amanda’s top tip is that if you can’t pronounce an ingredient on the label, then you probably shouldn’t be eating it! Very true.
I signed up to a free weekly email and received an email a week over the course of 6 weeks. Each was packed with useful videos, recipes and helpful nutritional tips to benefit everyone in our family. I decided to focus on improving our breakfasts. We tend to rely on the same couple of ideas in rotation and it’s always such a struggle to get Ava eating in the morning. Breakfast is such an important meal, especially for a VERY energetic 3 year old, who needs the correct fuel to keep her going.
Amanda’s top tips for great breakfasts;
- Porridge gives you plenty of energy and you can vary your toppings to keep it interesting.
- Avoid that mid-morning crash by eating slow release energy foods.
- Add a sprinkling of nuts and seeds and a dollop of fresh, full fat natural yoghurt to your porridge or cereal.
- Top your morning oatcakes with nut butter and banana.
- Batch cook boiled eggs and peel them so they’re ready to use as a topping – delicious on oatcakes with some baby tomatoes or avocado.
- Balance your fresh fruit juice with vegetable juice, to reduce the sugar intake.
- Homemade Smoothies can be useful for children who find eating in the morning undesirable.
Which breakfasts should you avoid?
Avoid processed breakfast cereal that’s high in sugar, as this will set off the “blood sugar roller coaster”. The sugary cereal causes blood sugar to rise quickly (initially giving you energy) but then it will drop, leaving you hungry and craving sugar to get the boost back again. Unsurprisingly, mood and concentration can be affected by these drops and children are prime candidates for these rollercoasters. So what constitutes a high sugar breakfast? Processed cereal with milk, flavoured yoghurts/yoghurt drinks, white bread/toast with jam, marmalade, chocolate spread, orange juice or shop bought fruit smoothies.
Our alternative breakfasts
Wholesome cereals and proteins (protein can help regulate mood swings and make us feel fuller for longer) make for a sustainable energy boost. However, being busy parents it’s sometimes difficult to find the time to cook up a storm every morning, when you are trying to co-ordinate getting everyone out of the door at the right times, with the right things. This is where wholesome convenience foods, such as oatcakes, can come in handy.
So, I decided I would create a couple of twists on our usual breakfasts to make them much better for us, using more natural and less processed ingredients.
As I said, Ava sometimes struggles to eat breakfast and I remember I was exactly the same as a child. So offering her a smoothie is a great way to tempt her and it doesn’t feel like food.
- Unflavoured natural yoghurt
- Handful strawberries
- 2 tbsp. Nairn’s Porridge Oats
- a splash milk if needed
Simply whizz up with a hand mixer and you are good to go! I often have a smoothie in the mornings, so she loved drinking hers just like Mummy.
Bircher Muesli (Amanda Hamilton’s recipe)
- 70g oats (Nairn’s Gluten Free Oats are particularly good).
- 250ml coconut or almond milk.
- Handful of blueberries or strawberries.
- Optional: 1 tbsp. of live yoghurt / kefir will boost the levels of bacteria to support healthy digestion.
- Optional: cinnamon, grated apple, coconut, lime juice.
So easy to prepare, simply put all ingredients in a bowl, mix and leave ideally overnight.
Scrambled eggs on oatcakes
Ava loves scrambled eggs, although she often leaves the accompanying toast. So I simply swapped the often rejected bread for two Nairn oatcakes and it was MUCH more well received.
What is real food?
Real food = whole foods. Fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, eggs and dairy products, plus pulses and grains that haven’t been overly processed and modified.
Could your family benefit from more ‘real’ food? Why not sign up to the Nairn’s Naturally Energising Challenge?
Disclosure: This is a commissioned post.