When I saw a tweet asking for parent bloggers to take part in a Kids Food Project I quickly volunteered as I think I provide a good variety of food for my children, but let the odd treat sneak in there.
I was lucky enough to be chosen to take part and here are my answers to the questions they have asked:
How do you shop for kids food?
If I am honest, we are on a strict budget as times are tough. I do a weekly meal plan and stick to it, therefore I am not buying excess food and wasting it. The older children eat what we are eating and if it is suitable for the younger ones then they will too, but I sometimes have to cook one meal for them and one for us.
Snack wise, I tend to look for what is on offer – especially for the older children, but do buy a lot of fruit, raisins and Organix goodies snacks for the younger ones. I try to avoid chocolate bars for lunchboxes but do let them have crisps and if we have baked then a flapjack or cake will go in too.
What are your priorities?
I like to cook food from fresh where possible and try to ensure that the children (and us) are getting the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables per day. I have no qualms about using frozen food either as the vegetables are frozen fresh, so still still contain all the vitamins etc.
What do you worry about?
I worry that the children fill themselves up with junk at school. We insist they take a varied lunchbox, but I often find mouldy fruit and sandwiches hidden in the depths of a school bag and/or wardrobe. You cannot watch the children 24/7, especially when they are at school!
I also worry about the sugar / salt content in processed foods which is why I like to cook fresh where possible. I had Gestational Diabetes when pregnant so am far more aware of excess sugar in food now and do check labels where I can, but with a toddler and 4 year old on a shopping trip, the emphasis is more on speed than label checking!
What do you look for?
I look for the Nutritional Information on the side of the pack. I tend to be drawn to things labelled as Organic, No Added Sugar etc.
What are the most important things to you when it comes to kids and nutrition?
That they enjoy food. We love to cook and bake as a family and even the bad stuff (in moderation) can be good!
Which brands get it right?
For baby foods, I do love Organix for their varied food range, especially their Goodies range for toddlers. They think they are eating crisps like their older siblings, but they are far healthier! I also liked Plum Baby, Ella’s Kitchen and Baby Zilli when I first started weaning.
With older children, they are more influenced by advertising and their peers. Mine do enjoy the fruit snack pots you can get in supermarkets, but I have found it cheaper to buy frozen and make up my own!
What do brands do/say that annoy you?
I get annoyed by brands saying things like “New and Improved recipe”, but you look at the labelling and there is still the equivalent of 5 teaspoons of sugar in each serving. I strongly believe that they should label the product in layman’s terms so it is easy to read – don’t blind us with science and fancy words!
Where do treats and puddings fit in? What are the challenges there?
I tend to buy yoghurts / fromage frais and fruit as an everyday dessert as these are a great source of calcium and vitamins. Ice Cream and other pudding’s are one off treats – normally at the weekend.
AND….what do your kids say/think?! Do they comment on their diet? Do they ask for certain things? Do they know about nutrition?
I get the odd moan and grumble, as I think every parent does. The schools to a fab job teaching them about nutrition from an early age and it is important to continue that work at home. By introducing a variety of textures and flavours early, they are more likely to eat well in the future.
They will try it on and ask for treats, and that is fine – as long as they are treats and not something we have every day. If we can afford it, we will take them out for a McDonalds or KFC or get in a Domino’s, but this is less than once a month.
I would love to know your thoughts – you can either comment below or do you own post and pop your link in the comments box below.