Tag Archives: Food

Healthy school snacks – we’ve been trying Pulsin’

Pulsin review

Two and a half weeks in and food has featured heavily in our school conversations (it’s one thing she is keen to talk about – she definitely has schoolnesia about most of the things that go on in class).

Food-wise there are the healthy snacks the school provides (carrots on Monday, apparently), the anticipation of school dinners (definitely macaroni cheese every day), the after school nourishment and the questions over packed lunches (I’m holding out on these – hopefully the promise of hot macaroni cheese will tide her over for a while).

We’re currently all about the snacks here – especially with Baby D’s appetite. So Pulsin’ Kids’ Fruity Oat Bars scored highly when we were sent some to try. The bars are gluten free, dairy free, soya free and include only natural sugars. They come in strawberry, blackcurrant & apple and orange choc chip flavours so still feel like a real treat.

She loved them and I really enjoyed the raw chocolate brownie that found its way into the package for me – thank you! I also like the fact they’re made in Gloucestershire which is just next to us (we’re now in South Glos).

We trialled them before she started school and they were described as a school lunch bag or snack time treat and now she’s started and has the hunger of a bear I can see why they’d be good. Certainly worth considering over carrots…

Pulsin’ Kids’ Fruity Oat Bars are £2.99 for six 25g bars in a multipack. They are available from selected leading retailers. Thanks for sharing some!

Breastfeeding bars for energy and nutrients – Nutrimum

Nutrimum breastfeeding barsNext week marks the six month mark for baby D, and six months of me breastfeeding him. I’ve always said I’d like to try and get to this stage for both children and I’m pleased I have. It hasn’t been an easy ride this time and I have to admit it’s still not always comfortable with him, I think because of his tongue tie. But I’ve mostly enjoyed it and he seems to be doing well.

My weight loss this time has been gradual – certainly a lot slower than first time around when I was back in regular clothes by now. I’m still rocking the maternity jeans with belts and rotating my breastfeeding tops and oversized t-shirts. I’d like to lose more and more quickly – but I know that’s not a great idea when breastfeeding and I also know that whatever I do my body isn’t letting go of much weight around my middle while I’m feeding.

I’m still pretty hungry but I’m over the initial coffee and cake (or pain au chocolat) stage now and trying to snack on fruit, nuts and seeds. I also have an oaty breastfeeding bar most days. I did try and make my own – through Pinterest and online research I found some homemade ideas – but I’ve found there’s always a taste compromise with the healthier bars.

So I tend to go for a Nutrimum bar which is tasty and filling. It also gives you the right amount and range of vitamins and minerals so you don’t need to take another supplement when breastfeeding. They come in two flavours – Cranberry & Chocolate or Red Berries (my favourite). I don’t remember anything like this being available first time around, three years ago.

I first discovered Nutrimum through Boots Parenting Club and then I was invited to a Nutrimum event which was a Q&A and cookery session at Food at 52 – a great venue, even if it is the other side of London from here. In the company of TV Dietician, Lucy Jones, and Midwife and Blogger, Clemmie Hooper, we made a day’s worth of meals designed to be simple but nutritious for pregnant and breastfeeding women. We put together scrambled eggs with feta, rainbow salad with chicken (or tofu for the veggies like me), a fish dish and a smoothie packed full of good ingredients.

It was interesting to see how we could easily get more nutrients into meals – even basic ones – but also to hear how it’s so difficult to get all the vitamins and minerals we need through food alone. I took a supplement throughout pregnancy and I take one now when I remember, but I do find it reassuring that the bars not only stave away hunger for me but also give me everything I need. I also like the taste – they’re sweet enough to feel like a treat.

My only criticism is that they’re expensive at £5 for a box of 5 – especially costly on a mat leave budget. But if you’re buying separate supplements and snacks, it might work out around the same cost.

Nutrimum also offer pregnancy products – there’s more on the Nutrimum website. Thanks for a fab and very interesting evening!

New Wafer Wisps from Heavenly – organic snacks for babies and children

 

 Pushchairs, car seats, nappies, bottles – it feels like everything has moved on in the three years since Scrip was born. We’re a way off thinking about baby food for little D yet but I’ve no doubt there will be a whole lot of new options alongside what were Scrip’s firm favourites.

When I was weaning Scrip I started off playing it very safe with baby rice and mashed banana at five and half months. Then an NCT friend handed my little one a rice cake one grizzly lunch time and everything changed. She gobbled it up (or gummed it up), and from then on we moved on to baby crisps, crackers, toast, sandwiches, baby biscuits and lots more rice cakes. She loved finger food and mastered the art of holding and eating it pretty quickly.

So when Heavenly offered their new Wafer Wisps for a trial, I was keen to say yes and start exploring what baby food was now out there. The Heavenly range is made up of healthy snacks for babies and children. Currently well known in Northen Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, it was founded by Shauna McCarney-Blair who wanted to give her child healthy, organic food that was suitable for allergy sufferers.

The Wafer Wisps have just launched in the UK via Ocado and come in two flavours – “Pumpkin & Banana”, and “Spinach, Apple & Kale”. Suitable for 6 months+, they are designed to be super healthy – made from organic fruit and veg, blended together with ancient grains like buckwheat.

We all tried them – even me (a hungry breastfeeding mum!) Scrip liked them, although she is used to crackers with something now so we topped with some Philadelphia. My friend’s eight month old enjoyed them and my friend was pleased they were relatively mess free and dissolved in the mouth, with no sticky leftovers. And although I found the mixture of savoury and sweet a bit unusual, they tasted natural to me and not at all artificial.

So there’s a Heavenly thumbs up all round and one to remember when I’m weaning this very hungry baby in a few months.

Wafer Wisps are £2.19 per box 

To find out more visit the Heavenly site

 

Bonapeti – healthy fresh meals prepared in minutes

BonapetiReading the Bonapeti description, they could be describing my life: “Busy London living”, keen to have wholesome meals but without the “cooking, chopping and preparing”. I love cooking, I really do. But I particularly love it when I’ve got time to do it and unless we get ourselves organised at the weekend and fill the fridge and freezer (which rarely happens) we’re faced with cooking from scratch 4 or 5 times a week. And by the time we’ve had the bath, stories and a few rounds of water-carrying to the bedroom (in Scrip’s special ‘sucking cup’, obviously) it’s 8pm and the adrenalin has run dry.

I will happily resort to cereal or beans on toast when I’m really tired, but not every night. So Bonapeti did sound appealing, and when we were offered a box to trial I was really intrigued. Continue reading

Simple Banana Bread: delicious and uses up bananas

Banana Bread SlicesFrom being an always-in-the-lunch-box baby staple, Scrip’s now a bit take it or leave it about bananas. She does like them mashed with milk and a bit of brown sugar (thanks to my mum for reminding me how much I used to like them like this!) And she’ll occasionally eat a whole one as long as she can try and peel it herself. But she’d generally rather have an apple or a pear. Which means that we sometimes have one or two  browning bananas left in the fruit bowl. Continue reading

Little Yeos new Fromage Frais: for growing hands

Little Yeos fromage fraisYoghurt is up there with ice cream on Scrip’s favourite dessert list and when we were sent some Yeo Valley organic Fromage Frais from their new range to try, they didn’t stay in the fridge for long.

The first thing that struck me was the size – they’re really sweet and squat little tubs which are described as ‘perfect for growing hands’. I think they’d be particularly great for weaning and are very portable.

They also look lovely – colourful but tasteful designs reflecting the organic range. I’ve loved Yeo Valley since those brilliant farmers rapping ads and I like the fact it’s a family-run organic company based in Somerset. I can’t say everything Scrip eats is organic but we do have an organic veg and fruit box every week from Abel & Cole (particularly good for me as a veggie) and we always try and buy organic dairy and meat.

Flavour-wise, I can’t say Scrip had a particular favourite as she happily wolfed them all down, but Pear & Apple sounded quite interesting to me as did Mango & Vanilla and Strawberry & Peach. And that particular range was sweetened only with organic grape juice, which was a nice touch. All the ranges contain no artificial sweeteners, colours or preservatives.

They definitely had the (sticky) thumbs up from Scrip and me.

Little Yeos Fromage FraisThe full range

Merry Berries 6 pack (Fromage Frais)

  • 3 x Strawberry and 3 x Raspberry
  • 6 x 45g
  • £1.79

Mellow Yellows 6 pack (Fromage Frais)

  • 3 x Peach and 3 x Apricot
  • 6 x 45g
  • £1.79

No Added Refined Sugar 6 packs – sweetened using only organic grape juice concentrate

  • 3 x Strawberry & Vanilla, 3 x Mango & Vanilla or 3 x Strawberry & Peach, 3 x Apple & Pear
  • 6 x 45g
  • £1.79

Little Yeos Fruity Favourites (Yogurts)

  • 1 x Strawberry, Peach, Apricot and Raspberry flavours
  • 4 x 90g
  • £1.79

Little Yeos Tubes (Fromage Frais)

  • 3 x Strawberry, 3 x Raspberry, 3 x Apricot
  • 9 x 40g
  • £1.79

The website: yeovalley.co.uk.

Welsh cakes: a family recipe

welsh cakesA Rayburn is ideal for making these, but in my West London kitchen a flat griddle pan on top of my gas oven works almost as well. Even so, I’m still perfecting my technique whereas my Welsh dad, who’s been eating and then making them for as long as he remembers, makes a delicious batch each time.

Scrip has just joined in with him to cut out a few and they’re currently cooling in time for tea later on. Here’s a tried and tested recipe from BBC Good Food. Welsh cakes are simple and great for freezing or keeping in a tin for up to a week. We have them cooled on their own but they’re also nice warm or with butter and jam. Mwynhau (sorry to Nan if that’s wrong).

Ingredients

  • 225g plain flour
  • 85g caster sugar
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 50g butter, cut into small pieces
  • 50g lard, cut into small pieces (or Trex, which is what I use) plus extra for frying
  • 50g currants
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • splash milk

Continue reading

Bill’s in Chiswick: trying out a toddler lunch

Bill's restaurant collageI loved the original Bill’s in Lewes and have also tried out the Reading and Soho versions. So although I quietly mourned the loss of Giraffe in Chiswick (that veggie breakfast was one of the best) I was pleased to see the white chalk-like logo appear one day announcing that the High Continue reading

War & Peas: a new book tackling children’s fussy eating

Toddler feeding collageThings move so fast with a rapidly growing little one that it’s easy to forget how far we’ve come. It’s really important to celebrate the little achievements as well as looking ahead to the next stage. Like the fact that the 22 month-old Scrip now doesn’t just smile when nursery rhymes come on – she can also sing (or mutter) along to them, which we find very sweet (not to mention entertaining). She’s progressing from jumping to ‘dancing’ and she can now entertain herself for long enough for me to put a load of washing on and make our lunch.

Continue reading