Category Archives: Dietitian Advice

Dear new food brands, please be responsible.

We are living in a time of innovation in food. There has been a literal explosion of new products using a range of different ingredients, with new techniques and with all kinds of claims.

Now I totally love trying new foods and am always on the look out for brands and products that I can recommend. When companies approach me and ask me to try something or review it my answer is usually yes. Going to a food show is always a time of huge excitement, it’s like Christmas and Easter all at once. What new goodies will I find? What novel products will there be to taste?

Food Matters Live is one of those events that fuses seminars on the evidence base with talks on food manufacture and then has a huge arena for brands to showcase their products. It can be a great place to network, get your brand in front of people who purchase, recommend and know about foods and a place to learn.

As a dietitian I am literally learning everyday. Nutrition is an evolving science, we have new studies being conducted everyday. we are very much still finding new nutrients and discovering the effects of nutrients. It is an exciting time and I am always grateful to those who continue to bring us new, high quality research. I’m also grateful to those who continue to think of new ways to add foods to a product or come up with new food ideas. We need this. However there is a way to do it.

The food exhibition at Food Matters Live caused my dietitian soul to cry out. It left me with a sour taste and very skeptical, which for me is not the norm. Talk to my husband and he will tell you I’m a very positive, upbeat person who dreams big.

I met some fabulous people and brands.

I got to taste some delicious new products.

I tasted some foods I’ve wanted to try for a while.

I definitely discovered some new things to recommend.

So why so sad?

There was a sea of health claims being made that I just couldn’t see were true, proven or even allowed. Some of the products were frankly laughable. The science did not stack up. In fact at the show I bumped into a lady from trading standards who was blown away by the number of claims that needed to be looked into. The whole thing has led to quite a debate chat on twitter in the nutrition community. Registered nutritionists and dietitians being united in their views on how unhelpful and wrong it is to be advertising products with claims such as “boosts metabolism” and “calming” “anti-inflammatory” or “makes you feel energised”. I don’t think that all these brands are trying to dupe us or to lie, I just think they are confused about the science. That could totally be me being naive of course! Also, I don’t want to single these out by any means but what I do want to point out is:

  1. In order to make a health claim a nutrient needs to have the science to back it up and health claim has to be EFSA approved.

2.  There needs to be enough of a nutrient in a product for it to have an effect. Sometimes there is some science but the amount of the nutrient needed is just not palatable to have in a single serving.

3. By making wild claims a product may look good but consumers are becoming savvy and some will definitely start avoiding these types of food items.

4. What is the science? Is it good quality or a one off study on 10 people?

5. If you  are a brand and have used a different technique or added extras to a food product then be prepared to explain why. I chatted to multiple food brands who couldn’t tell me the role of an ingredient or how a product had been made.

6. Is there a need for your product or for the claim you are making? High protein water for example, why is that needed?

If you are a food brand or new starter to the market and you want your product/brand to be credible then it is not just a case of having a few studies to back it up. Ideally you want an approved health claim. If that isn’t possible then are still ways to word things. Working with a registered nutritionist or dietitian to get the wording, science and understanding of right is so important. We want to have the right messages going out into the public domain so that great brands flourish and the consumer knows they can trust labelling and advertising. Isn’t it better to make less claims and have a trusted product? Yes working with someone like myself will cost you some pennies, but in the long run you will end up with a much better product.

The goal of recovery is not about weight.  

I’m constantly on a journey with my clinical practice and dietetic thinking. One of the keys to a good health professional (or any professional) in my mind is one who constantly evaluates their practice, the evidence, the new trends and uses this to shape how they work and think.  

I started work as an eating disorder dietitian in 2007. On my first day I was handed a box file that contained a few black and white print outs of out of date dietary information and told those were all the resources. There had been no dietitian for 5 years. I built up the resources, my knowledge and educates the team as well as myself. As a lone dietitian on a psychology based team it was at times very tough but it was the making of me and I loved it. When I left that job I had experience of helping run a day care programme, groupwork, meal support, out patients, inpatients and I had gained a whole new language. I am so thankful for those years. 

Now as someone who works in the private eating disorder field I am constantly working to better the support I offer. Not so that I am better, but because I want to do myself out of a job. I want to see my patients recover, I want them to have a good relationship with food, I want them to no longer need my support. 

We live in a weight focused culture. I personally struggle with this. I would love to not weigh anyone who comes to clinic, yet most of the time I have to. Working with people who are very low weight it would be negligent of me to not know what their weight is doing. It has to be a focus, but I don’t want it to be the primary and only focus.  So we get it out of the way, debrief and then move onto other areas. Weight is never an easy topic and is certainly not foolproof. The simple idea of eating so much leading to so much weight gain every week just isn’t that simple  in the community. There are so many factors than can complicate the picture. Activity levels, mental energy used in work/study, looking after children, anxiety etc… So focusing on the weight alone can make it slow, hard and distressing. 

Instead of a weight focus only, I like to work with people looking at their relationship with food. We may look at the their food beliefs, busting any incorrect ones. Ideas such as carbohydrates are fattening or I shouldn’t eat fat are common ones. It doesn’t always work but I try to stay away from calories and strict meal plans and instead focus on eating regularly and including a good balance of foods at meals.  No food is off limits, no food is good or bad. Switching the focus from weight to health has always been one of my aims. Instead of what foods you need to gain weight I look at why food groups are good for your health and how restriction is unhealthy and can cause physical harm. Finding out what foods people have been avoiding and why, is always a good place to start.

 As people make progress it can be so liberating to weigh less often and incorporate more freedom into the meal plan. Learning to listen to those signals of hunger and fullness can be very scary and overwhelming at first but it opens up a whole new future and a way of eating that will see you through life, with no need to restrict, binge or diet every again. Let’s make that the goal. 

Guilt free eating?

This week I spoke to a new client. A lady who has previously had an eating disorder and now has recovered to a healthy weight but has some left over eating traits and food beliefs. She was very relieved and refreshed to hear my viewpoint of:

“All foods can be included in your diet, there are no Good and Bad foods, instead focus on enjoying your food, listening to your body, trusting your body and eating without guilt.”

It got us talking about why there is guilt associated with food. Such a huge and emotive topic.

We all know that food is something our body needs, without it we cannot live, too little food and we lose weight, not eating a balanced diet means our body does not function correctly and can be physically unwell. So where does the guilt come from?

From an early age we learn that some foods are not as good for our bodies. This is often taught in a very black and white manner, labelling foods as good or bad. Now I would agree that something high in calories, fat and sugar, like a slice of chocolate fudge cake, is not something we should be eating daily. However it isn’t a bad food… on the contrary it is delicious and can bring a lot of pleasure. 

Eating for pleasure is important. Lots of our experiences are associated with food. If we only ate for  our physical need think of all that we would missed out on. For example the pleasure of an ice-cream on a hot day or cake at a birthday. These experiences feed our soul, they are part of our social life and our emotional well being too. Food is more than just nutrition.

When we label a food as good or bad it affects the way we think and feel about it. So by labelling that slice of cake as “bad food” we feel we are being naughty/bad when we eat it. It can lead to anxiety before eating, judgement, criticism and then guilt afterwards. Our food rules therefore hold a lot of power and influence.

Having just worked with a TV production company on a food show, this topic also came up when they wanted to label a group of foods as good/bad. This instantly brought a red warning flag up in my mind. It became a great opportunity to talk about some other ways we could soften the language used and how powerful our words can be. This is definitely a journey I am on with my language both at home and as part of my work.

It is time to change the way we categorise foods. Instead of good and bad can we not see all foods as back on the menu, just some more occasionally than others? This is not an easy, overnight change but one that requires practise, patience and plenty of self compassion. The first step is to identity how you see foods, then try to catch those moments when you pass a judgment on a food or on your eating. Can you step in and reframe it. Instead of “I shouldn’t have eaten that ice-cream, now I feel guilty, it is bad for me” Rephrase it as “That ice-cream was really delicious and brought me a lot of pleasure”. Let’s bring all foods back onto the menu and start working towards loving our foods and ourselves.

Beef and Red Pepper Noodle Soup.

Red meat is often seen as something to cut down on, but these messages are actually leading to an epidemic of iron deficiency, confusion over how much to eat and how often to eat it.  New research has shown that 51% of people did not know how much red meat you  can safely eat and 85% of people are likely to underestimate the amount of red meat that can be consumed.(1)

This “eat less red meat” message is leading to some of our population not eating enough iron rich foods. 27% of women aged 19-64yrs and 48% of girls aged 11-18yrs are not meeting their iron needs.(2) Why is this a concern? Lack of iron can result in symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, dizziness, heart palpitations and pallor. It can be quite debilitating for some people. Red meat is also a fabulous source of protein, providing the body with all the amino acids that it needs. Other notable nutrients include the B vitamin complex including B12, zinc, selenium and phosphorus.

What is a portion?

A portion of red meat is 70g of cooked meat. This quite simply is a palm sized portion. I love using hands as a way of measure portions as our hands grow with us, so a child’s portion of red meat is their palm size.

For example (adults portion sizes):

  • A palm size chop or steak 
  • 3 slices of back bacon 
  • 5 or 6 cubes of meat in casserole
  • 6 thin slices of beef, pork or ham 
  • 1 and a half standard sausages 
  • 4 to 5 meat balls

How often can I eat red meat?

If you are sticking to the portion guide above then 70g of red meat can be eaten 5 times a week. This includes red meat at breakfast, lunch and dinner, but it shows how red meat really isn’t something to be avoiding. The Meat Advisory Panel are running a “5 A WEEK” campaign and I think this is a really invaluable and important message to be highlighting.

So to get on board with the campaign here is a super tasty recipe that makes a wonderful lunch time soup:

If you would like to make this recipe at home (and I highly recommend it) then here are the step by step instructions:

Marianade 450g beef strips in 2 tsp chinese 5 spice, 1 tbsp soy sauce and 1 chilli
Place 2 pints of beef stock in a pan, add 2 cm grated ginger, 2 garlic cloves  and simmer for 5 mins.  Then add 7oz of chopped greens and simmer 1-2 mins.
Add the beef, 1 sliced red pepper and175g  noodles in, simmer for 3 minutes. Stir through some spring onions and coriander and serve.

Beef and Red Pepper Noodle Soup
Serves 4
A quick and delicious spicy beef noodle soup that is perfect for a lunch or light supper.
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Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
394 calories
38 g
123 g
8 g
41 g
3 g
265 g
221 g
2 g
0 g
4 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
265g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 394
Calories from Fat 70
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g
12%
Saturated Fat 3g
14%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 123mg
41%
Sodium 221mg
9%
Total Carbohydrates 38g
13%
Dietary Fiber 4g
16%
Sugars 2g
Protein 41g
Vitamin A
26%
Vitamin C
91%
Calcium
9%
Iron
21%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 450g/1lb lean beef stir-fry strips
  2. 10ml/2tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  3. 15-30ml/1-2tbsp soy sauce
  4. 15ml/1tbsp prepared chilli or Schezuan sauce
  5. 1.2L/2pint good, hot beef or vegetable stock
  6. 2.5cm/1inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  7. 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  8. 175g/6oz fresh or dried fine egg/rice noodles
  9. 200g/7oz pak choi or green cabbage, shredded
  10. 1 small red pepper, cored, deseeded and finely sliced
  11. Small bunch spring onions, finely chopped
  12. Large bunch freshly chopped coriander
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl dust the stir-fry strips in the Chinese five-spice powder. Add the soy sauce and chilli or schezuan sauce. Cover and set aside.
  2. In a large pan add the stock, ginger and garlic. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the noodles and pak choi or cabbage. Simmer for a further 1-2 minutes. Add the beef with the marinade mixture and the red pepper. Simmer for a further 2-3 minutes or until the noodles are tender. Remove from the heat, season if required and stir through half the spring onions and coriander.
  4. Divide the broth between four bowls and garnish with the remaining, spring onions and coriander.
beta
calories
394
fat
8g
protein
41g
carbs
38g
more
Dietitian UK http://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/
To find out more about the “5 A WEEK” Campaign you can pop to Simply Beef and Lamb on Facebook or to Love Pork.  Twitter: @lovepork.UK @simplybeefandlamb.

 

 

 

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What makes it easier to recover from an eating disorder?

“Recovery is like riding a wild stallion. It is unpredictable, you will likely fall off many times. You will go through emotions ranging from fear to excitement, feeling out of control at times and clinging on to anything you can. Keep getting back on the horse, keep holding tight, sit up tall and go with the ride.”

There are many times in my working life that I just wish I had a magic wand to make recovery easier. The fact is, recovery is hard, damn hard and it takes a lot of guts, determination and hard work to even make a start on it. Once you start it can feel like it just gets harder at points, so you really need to plan and have support in place to help guide you and keep you going. Here are some things that can help the ride.

Have a social support structure in place

Deciding to make changes to your eating may sound simple, but once you plan it and then actually have to put it into place, it really gets harder. Having people around you who you are accountable to, people who will sit with you in the hard moments, challenge you to keep going and celebrate with you too. True friends and family who love you for you but want to see you healed up and able to live life to the full.

Have professional support

Yes you can do it on your own. However an eating disorder is an isolating illness, it can be a long and lonely path. So having a professional or a team of professionals who you trust is a good idea. People you can get the right information from and trust it, people who will challenge your thoughts, assumptions and beliefs and believe that you can do this. 

Being in the right place at the right point 

There is a cycle of change that I often use with people to talk through how you need to be in the right mindset and the right point of your life to begin recovery. This is especially key if you are in the community, recovering at home. In a eating disorders unit things are a little different and you have more support and encouragement. Take a look at the  phases below and see if you can identify where you are. Recovery can be a cyclical process where you move forward 5 spaces and then back 2 spaces, but do not give up, this is normal. 

Stages of ED recovery 

  1. I don’t think I have a problem
  2. I might have a problem but I’m ignoring it or I don’t care
  3. I don’t know how to change but I  want to
  4. I tried to change but it didn’t work
  5. I can stop some of the behaviours but not all of them
  6. I can stop the behaviours but not the thoughts
  7. I can be free from my eatind disorder some, but not all the time
  8. I am free from behaviours and thoughts = recovered

Have goals in mind

You need something to aim for. Why do you want to get better? What will life be like when you are free from your eating disorder? What do you want to do with your life that you cannot currently do. I recommend writing out or creating a vision board showing where you want to get to. Write out your dreams and dream big. Then use this as a motivational tool, put it up where you can see it. 

Surround yourself with the positive things

Part of recovery is about changing your mindset and the way you view life. It can be so easy to see the negatives about your life and yourself, then use food as a way to help with this. Or to get drawn into the negatives about weight gain. I challenge you to instead see the positives. Why is weight gain good? What does it mean for your body and your life? Grab hold of those negatives and turn them upside down. Having motivational phrases and images around you can be really helpful on those days that thinking is too tricky.

Go do it. I believe you can.

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The golden toolbox of recovery

What’s in your toolbox?! I was recently at a meeting and friend turned to me and said “I have a strange picture that I’ve seen, it’s you with a golden toolbox. It’s like you have everything you need in that toolbox to deal with life”.

This spoke volumes to me as a person and as a health care professional. Having worked in a team which was predominantly psychological I was immersed in the language of the therapists and the word toolbox often came up. I sat in on plenty of group therapy sessions and got to experience a whole range of different therapies.  Also, in our team meetings we used these skills on ourselves as part of the debrief process. It showed me how important it is to look after not just your patients, but yourself. If you have a life with some stress in it (let’s face it that is probably everyone) then you need to have some skills to hand that help you deal with that stress. Stress and anxiety can be a huge factor in an eating disorder, in mental health conditions and also to physical digestive issues such as IBS. When you have a stressful event how do you respond? What does it trigger in you? When you know how you respond you can start to work on a more effective and helpful mechanism. 

 I will never forget my interview for my eating disorder post. I was asked such an eclectic mix of questions that I had no idea how I had done on leaving the room. When I received the call to say I had the job, I asked why I was chosen. The response “we could see you are robust and able to cope with the strains of this work”.  In the eating disorder field this robustness is certainly needed. I continually need to keep on top of my own anxiety and practise what I preach. 

I want to  highlight some skills or tools that we all, health professionals, patients, people, could include in our golden toolbox. Tools you can use regularly for moments of anxiety, tools you can pull out for those emergency moments.

I remember being on a train that got stuck in a tunnel and suddenly feeling trapped and my anxiety levels rising. It was not an experience I was prepared for and suddenly I knew I needed to use one of my tools. At that point visualisation of a calm beach with lapping waves and some square breathing helped immensley. I know if I had not practised these skills  previously, I wouldn’t have been able to use them there and then. So practise really is the key. 

Here are some of my favourite toolbox tools that I use myself and recommend. 

Journaling –

I’m a seasoned journalling fan. This is something I have always done since my teenage years, I now have a lot of full notebooks with a collection of my teen angst, my working life, my spiritual life and my family life in them. Looking back it shows me how I have evolved and where my stress triggers are. I can see the patterns that I fall into and work on improving my reactions. I dig out my journal when I have a moment I need to work through, when my mind feels cluttered or when something erupts! I also love to journal the good and positive, so any life events or just when I get the urge.

If you are on a recovery journey then I recommend that you journal daily  or at least 4 times a week. It needs to become a discipline and a part of your coping mechanism. A good way to start is to write down 3 things that went no so well in your day and how you could have dealt with these better. Then always finish on a positive, so 3 things that have gone well or that you coped with well. You can also take a single scenario and write out alternative endings. Using an eating disorder example: You had an argument with a friend, this increased your stress and you responded by missing your snack. Thinking through why this was not a useful response – restriction of food does not help your emotional well being, it is a quite fix but not a long term cure. Now you have missed out on some nutrition for the day and your body is hungry. Your body needs regular food right now as you work towards recovery. So take a think through how you could have responded instead…. maybe you could have gone for a walk, taken a bath or done some mindfulness to help you reduce your anxiety after the argument instead of turning to food.

Mindfulness and Breathing –

Such a buzz word at the moment, but this is not a fad. I’ve been using mindfulness with eating disorder clients for over 10 years and I’m sure it has been used for far, far longer than this. Just 10 minutes before a meal or after a meal can make a huge difference. It is all about calming your thoughts and body. I personally love just deep breathing, there are so many variations on this so try a few out. For me, the breathing  is something that spills over from Pilates practise and so I get a double benefit from Pilates of exercise and mindfulness. There are some great free resources to help here. 

Exercise –

This is something to decide upon according to your recovery stage. Exercise can be amazing as a mood booster and a de-stresser. However if you are working on weight gain then it will also have an affect on this. If your BMI is less than 17.5 then you will want to modify your exercise so that it is physically safe. 

Distraction – 

I often suggest that people put together a list of distraction techniques that they can use. For example, after a meal,  or when a the urge to binge strikes, at times when anxiety levels are rising it can be useful to have an activity planned. Things like craft, having a friend to call, painting your nails, reading a book, cleaning out a cupboard – something that immerses your mind and changes your thoughts. Puzzles, crosswords, knitting, collage are all great things to have on your list.

Positive thoughts –

Those anxious, negative thoughts are something that we all get. It is how we deal with them that is key. I love the thought of noticing the thought, and finding the opposite reaction. So turn that negative into a positive. If you practise this regularly it can turn into a habit that you hardly notice you are doing. I’m now working on this one with my children too, teaching then that there is always a positive side to things. It is a great skill to learn at a young age but one that you can learn at any age.

I’d love to know what tools you find useful. 

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IBS and the Microbiome

Priya regularly writes for Network Health Digest (NHD Magazine), here is her latest article.  The microbiome is such an up and coming area with so much we are still to research and find out.

Click the link below for the article.

Issue 126 fermented foods IBS and microbiome

Eating Disorders: Why can’t I recover?

Working in eating disorders as a dietitian is the very hardest part of my job. As a freelancer I cover a huge variety of roles. In my other world as a Pilates teacher and studio owner I have an altogether more energetic and flowing role. Yet it is working with eating disorder clients that uses the most of me, pushes me hardest, and pulls on my mind, spirit and emotions. 

 Some of my hardest work is with the “stuck” clients. Those who really want to change, really want to break free, really want help…. and yet they just can’t do it. It is so very hard for them as you can see they do want to get better. Imagine this – knowing how you are living is ultimately going to shorten your life, make your life difficult and lead to you not being able to do a lot of things and yet not being able to change it. Life with an eating disorder is a very hard life.

Often there is a specific weight that they cannot push past. 

Sometimes there are behaviours such as exercising or purging that they cannot give up.

Change can be made, but only to a point.

 

So what causes this “stuckness”?

An association with a certain weight.  

It is not uncommon for me to being working with someone who 100% agrees that they need to get their weight to xx kg. We put a plan in place, they are working towards it really well, everything seems to be on target and then the “stuckness” hits just before our weight goal. Why? It could be that when they were last at this weight they didn’t like their bodies/themselves, someone said something negative about them or that something traumatic happened at this weight. It could be they have never been that weight before, it is the highest weight they will have reached.

I like to work this through with people. 

“What will it be like being this weight”

“How will it change your relationships and how you see yourself”

“What will be better and what will be worse?”

I also remind them that you really cannot predict how it will feel and be until you get there. Using the analogy of a night in a hotel. You can guess how it will be, you can imagine how you may spend the time with your partner, you can predict the layout of the room, the hotel and the menu. However you cannot really be sure what it will be like until you get there. Even if you have stayed there before, things change, things feel different at different stages of life.

2. Not wanting to move on.

Having an eating disorder can for some be a way of escaping. Escaping growing up, escaping emotions, escaping reality. So getting better means that you have to deal with all those tricky issues. You cannot run away any longer. You have to put on those big pants and be a grown up. It isn’t necessarily going to be fun, but in the long term it will be worth it. 

I find using some motivational work can be beneficial here. Looking at the pros/cons of change. Planning out a vision board of where they want to be in 1 year, 5 years time. Talking through the real reasons they need to get better. For most people there is something driving the desire to make change. Examples are wanting to have a certain career that you can’t do at a low weight (nursing, law), wanting to have children, wanting to be able to go travelling.

3. Invested in the Eating Disorder.

This may seem like a strange one. If you have had an eating disorder for a long time it can be hard to imagine not have one. It becomes part of who you are. It becomes part of the way that other people see you, relate to you and care for you. If you no longer have an eating disorder there is an uncertainty, how will others see you, will they still care for you, will they still take time over you? If you no longer have an eating disorder who will you be? A huge part of this is all around knowing your identity. Spending time journalling can help with this. Thinking about who you used to be, who you would like to be. What are the things that make you come alive inside? Spend time doing those. What are your dreams and aspirations? What things are you good at? Asking someone close to you the question “What are my giftings or what are I good at?” can be very revealing and helpful.  Once you have an idea of who you could be outside of your eating disorder you can push yourself to move past it.

Working on your relationship can also be helpful. If these are strong then you know that people will care for you always, with an eating disorder or not. Being in a sick role means you are seen in a very different way. Being recovered and healthy can expand and move your friendships and relationships to new levels. 

Being stuck in your eating disorder recovery can be a very natural part of the recovery process. If you are in this place do seek some help. Do spend time journalling, talking, being creative and finding who YOU are. To look for a good therapist and dietitian near you in the UK the B-eat website is a good starting place. Or drop me an email as I work with people around the UK by video call.

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Eating out with young children.

Eating out is meant to be a relaxing, delicious event, yes? Well, when you have young children it isn’t always the case. My husband loves to eat out, I find that I need to be in the right mood. Eating out with my tribe of kids (Miss K age 6.5, J-boy aged 3 and Etty just 1 yr) requires a military operation of packing bags, finding shoes, brushing hair, finding toys and by the time everyone is in the car I’m ready for a nap. I am the one that has the noisy kids that will not sit still and talk politely, the one everyone looks at, I like to think they are looking over and thinking how adorable my children are, but I’m probably deluded!

So here are my top tips for eating out with small people:

    •  

    • Leave them behind! I’m only half joking. If you want a calm, relaxing meal where you can hold an adult conversation then having a child-free meal could be the answer.
    • Choose somewhere that is family friendly. Somewhere that it is ok to make noise, to make a mess and to get down from the table. My kids do not sit still and they need something to look at, somewhere they can talk noisily and somewhere they can walk/jump/dance around. For us Sainsburys cafe, community cafe’s and Wagamama’s are a hit.

 

    •  

    • Check the menu before you go. Is there food suitable for the whole family? This doesn’t have to mean a children’s menu as such, just a balanced meal option your child will enjoy. There is no satisfaction over ordering a meal and your child refusing to eat it. A starter, a selection of side dishes or sharing an adults meal between a couple of children can work well. In fact, my children are not fans of the standard nugget and chips children’s fare. When the adult meal arrives and looks yummier they are not impressed and just eat mine. There go my prawns. 
    • Set the expectations. I tend to explain before we set out where we are going, how I expect them to behave and what type of food we will be ordering. I then repeat it when we get there.
       
       

 

  • Pack a bag. Toys that you can play with at the table, colouring bits, stickers, a book and snacks. I always have something to tide them over until the meal
    arrives in case it is a long time. You know you don’t want a grouchy, tired child on your hands.
  • Do not expect them to be perfectly behaved. They are children, they are meant to be noisy, they are meant to be active, they are meant to have fun. If you are ready for them to be this way then it is a nice surprise if they do sit quietly!
  • Breath and remember they are only young for a short, short time. Enjoy the moment and relish not having to wash up and leaving the mess behind. 

“This too will pass, so enjoy the moment”

 

 

Messy Home, but Top Nutrition Tips.

When the BBC ask if they can come and film you in your home what do you do? 

Firstly –  Say Yes.

Secondly  – Flap about in panic at the state of your house and kitchen. People who know me well will know that my kitchen is rarely tidy and usually full of our home life. Pictures from the kids, plates ready to go in the dishwasher, toys on the floor. ARGH. 

Thirdly – Wonder what on earth they are going to ask your to talk about. Oh well, that can wait, I have a house to tidy.

So, when the crew turned up, their first statement was “Wow lovely kitchen, it’s very lived in” which I read as “It’s certainly not pristine and clean”. SIGH. I did tidy, I promise. 

Then when they ask to look in your freezer…. OH MY GOODNESS. Really? I can’t say No, but I didn’t see that coming. My freezer is outside the house and definitely NOT TIDY or video viewing. 

So you have been warned, this is a “lived in”, mum with 3 kids, messy life video. Or maybe I should say it is REAL LIFE.

Love to know your thoughts.