Kids, do you fancy some avocado on sourdough - no? Chocolate - yes?

If you are lucky enough to have kids that will happily devour avocado, nuts, seeds, homemade energy balls and only drink water, then I take my hat off to you. Whilst many of us, have a long list of foods that we'd like our kids to be eating , getting them to eat it is another matter.

I do have some general snack rules in our family, which have varied over the years but two I have always stuck to, I very rarely buy sweets and for many years now, we never have biscuits in the house, except for at Christmas, when I buy one box, which if I'm lucky will last a couple of days max.

Habits are easily formed, especially when time is precious and you want some peace from nagging kids who are apparently always hungry. A friend of mine only gives her kids fruit between meals which they never seemingly question, knowing they can eat a hearty meal when the appropriate time comes. Subsequently they have good appetites and are less fussy eaters than most children. I wish I had started this habit with my own kids as it's much harder to bring in new ways of eating later on once they've got accustomed to snacking.

I'm not against snacking, we need to keep our blood sugar levels even to maintain energy and mood levels, it's what we are snacking on that's the crucial factor.

I always used to give my kids wholemeal, granary or seeded brown bread, but when we moved to France, surrounded by lovely fresh, good quality white bread we quickly switched to always eating white, especially as the only available brown bread was usually processed, sweetened loaves from the supermarket. Back in the UK, although we can still get great quality white bread, my son now refuses to eat brown bread.

I figure the best thing I can do now is to keep on bringing in gradual changes, which will hopefully instill in them good habits if not now but for the future, rather than a drastic overhaul which will send then running to the nearest sweet shop.

Like all parents, I struggle with hungry kids returning from school and the challenge of what can I feed them, to keep them going until supper time. A while back I made a conscious effort to avoid buying any more sweet treats or processed snacks and to restock the cupboard and fridge with healthier options, rice cakes (chocolate and plain), hummus & carrots, berries, nuts, oat cakes, toast if nothing else, on the basis of it's not in the house, they can't eat it! Now this has been a gradual process and yes I do still buy the occasional crisps or tortilla chips otherwise I'd have mutiny on my hands.

I've lost count of the times I've heard my kids complain that they have the most boring snack to take to school. Why can't they have chocolate bars like all the rest of their class? But I think it's been worth riding the storm on that one as they're actually beginning to complain less now, and I think they've accepted mum's not going to budge on that one!

If I have time I'll make some snacks, favourites include baked apple rings with cinnamon, granola bars (a great way to pack in nuts and seeds which they might not normally eat), which I make with honey or maple syrup rather than tonnes of refined sugar. Once you have a basic recipe you can add in whatever you like, cranberries, dried apricot, cacao nibs, chia seeds, whatever takes your fancy. Roasted chickpeas are another easy to make, nutritious snack that you can make a big batch of to last you a while.

Popcorn is a great go to, cheap and easy option. Not the caramel coated version, but there are so many other healthier toppings which you could try from marmite to balsamic vinegar, to dark chocolate and sea salt or even a hint of chilli?

Another family favourite now are my quinoa cookies. I say now, because admittedly when I first made them it took a bit of adjusting to eating cookies that are not super sweet (they have no refined sugar) but they're used to this now and you can change the flavourings to suit your family, I've used cranberries, but you could use raisins, cacao nibs, nuts or coconut flakes?

I'm still struggling to get my kids to eat avocado, despite the fact they used to eat it mashed with banana as a baby, but this is long forgotten. Although my daughter has started adding avocado into her morning smoothies , which even she agrees, makes them much creamier and yummier and I've even sneaked it unknowingly into my sons. It's a small step in the right direction. But that's okay.

See my recipe for quinoa cookies here:

#nutrition #recipes #food #healthyliving #wellbeing

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