Tip’s that keep our Neverland Kitchen a happy place…

I’m a mum of two beautiful girls as many of you know and since taking on that role food and it’s nutritional values have become something I want to stay educated on to ensure i’m making the right food choices for my family. Neverland kitchen’s mission is to not only get adults back into the kitchen but get them cooking with their kids as I want this next generation to know real food and be able to cook with it. I’ve compiled a list to help establish positive eating habits and inspire your families journey on the road to health and positive eating habits for the rest of their lives. This list is by no means conclusive but it does give you an insight into what I do or at least try to do for the good and health of my family. In no particular order, actually the order off the top of my head, my tips for change not a mutiny LOL….

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  • Add fruit or Organic Rice Malt Syrup to sweeten foods when intially replacing controversial highly processed foods for healthier options. I’m currently doing this while reintroducing Natural Greek yoghurt as my girls had been eating an organic vanilla bean brand but it contained high amounts of sugar.
  • Make small changes for the sake of your sanity and to avoid a mutiny….
  • Involve your children in all aspects of cooking, from the grocery shopping to setting the table. Make it fun. I often get my 6 year old to write out our list and then let her take charge when were shopping telling me what we need. Alternatively with my 4 year old I read out the list and she finds the food and fills her trolley.
  • Always make extra dinner portions as it’s the simplest option for lunches, yours or the kids. Leftovers take the stress out of your next meal.
  • Praise your children when they make a good food choice, I think this works particularly well for girls. We have a good food decision sticker book, the girls get a sticker when a good choice is made or they try new flavours after 10 stickers they receive $5. They can bank this money or spend straight away on a non food treat.
  • Add spinach to smoothie’s it generally goes unnoticed if you’ve won the green battle. If not put the first few introductions in a coloured cup with a lid as the taste will win the day as its yummy, once they are happy with the taste remove the lid.
  • If something marketed as food has more ingredients than you can count on one hand, walk away…..
  • Stock your fridge and cupboards with real food, giving you constant options:
    • Meat
    • Fish
    • Vegetables
    • fruit
  • If you don’t want them to eat it don’t have it in your home, the same applies to clothes LOL
  • Communication is key. Explain to your children the importance of food being fuel, the car methaphor is great here. Communicate at a relevant time if you’ve taking a walk explain your using the fuel that their food choices has made for them.
  •  Work on the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time theirs and your diet should be healthy and nutritious. Were all human though so ‘bad’ food is allowed in moderation, don’t beat yourself up when eating it focus on all the good choices you made prior. Food is there to be enjoyed as stress is one of the biggest factors in weight gain.
  • Children learn by example make sure your doing what your preaching.
  • Don’t give alternatives, cook one dinner and one lunch. They aren’t going to starve if they miss a meal, luckily our children will never experience hunger. Bedtime isn’t an option they need to sleep, it’s the same for food they must eat well to thrive.
  •  Good ingredients don’t need a fancy recipe. Something I have to keep reminding myself…..
  • Look out for Preservative 250 in cured meats as its Sodium Nitrite which is listed as probably Carcinogenic to humans. Ask your butcher for nitrate Free bacon.
  • Eat eggs daily.
  • Start the day as you mean to go on with a healthy breakfast, it keeps you on track to keeping your choices the right ones.
  • Learn to make your family favourite’s junk food from real food at home. We have Pizza night every Friday and 80% of the time they are homemade by myself and my girls.
  • Start them eating real food and flavours, when they start solids. A small battle each day is easier than fighting a one day war. I started with buying Annabel Karmel’s cook book, ‘New Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner’.
  • Always be prepared don’t rely on convenient healthy food options as there often isn’t any. This is where last nights leftovers come in handy.
  • Surround yourself with people that want or think the same as you, whether their relationship is to inspire or be inspired its that constant reminder and motivator to keep going.
  • Snacks are and can be real food:
    • Fruit slices
    • Carrots
    • Two ingredients Peanut butter
  • Clean your non organic fruit and vegetables, by filling your sink with water and adding one TSP of Organic Apple cider vinegar and let them soak for around 10 minutes. This keeps costs down.
  • Focus on why some foods are so cheap…..
  • Recommended Olive oil brands:
    • California Olive Ranch
    • Cobram Estate
    • Corto Olive
    • o-live
    • Oleoestepa
    • Ottavio
    • Omaggio
  • Have at least 5 staple recipes that can be put together if your out of time and inspiration. remember my mum saying,  ‘Your feeding your kids Salmon fillets again?’… yes mum its not McDonalds LOL
  • My Pantry staples:
    • Organic Rice Malt Syrup
    • Pink Himalayan salt
    • Organic Coconut oil
    • Coconut Milk
    • Organic Tinned Tomatoes
    • Organic tomato paste
    • Dried Spices
  • Write a weekly Lunch and dinner plan it saves you money and stress. Im guilty of not always doing this.
  • Only introduce one new recipe per week, remember meals don’t have to be fancy just nutritious.
  • Drink water to stay hydrated and ensure you’ve not thirsty when you think your bodies saying your hungry

Most of these tips are just reminders of what you already know, but even writing them down just down helps to motivate me to stay on track and make my journey less stressful and more real. Remember it wasn’t such a long time ago there wasn’t a need to label food as organic it was simply called FOOD….Back to basics…. the 1980’s has a lot to answer to but it did produce great music…..

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