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Lifestyle

The movies we’re loving as a family right now

28th July, 2021

Sitting down for a movie together as a family is always a favourite activity in our household. The girls are at the age now where they are able to sit through an entire movie and actually enjoy it so we’ve been working our way through a mixture of new movies and classic films. I love being able to revisit a lot of my childhood favourites and introduce them to the kids for the first time and it’s always nice to see Sophia and Grace getting into a movie I too loved as a little girl. There are so many great family flicks out there but I’m always looking for suggestions so definitely comment below and let me know your faves!

If you’re looking for ideas of a movie to check out with the kids, here are a few of the winners at our place.

Family favourites

We have sat down to watch these movies as a family and have found them to be movies that both kids and grown-ups will enjoy. Some of them the girls love so much (The Greatest Showman for example is the girls’ favourite movie this year and the soundtrack gets played every day in our household) that we often find ourselves re-watching them a number of times. These movies are always a winner in our house.

The Greatest Showman

Freaky Friday

Parent Trap

Matilda

Elf

The Lion King (live action)

Enchanted

Maleficent

Paddington

Johnny English

Sing 

Childhood faves

I am loving the excuse to re-watch all of my childhood favourites. It’s so nice to be able to introduce the girls to them and the trip down memory lane also brings back a lot of great memories of watching these movies as a kid. Here are a few classics the girls have watched and absolutely loved.

Labyrinth

The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking

Honey, I Shrunk The Kids

Hook

Mrs Doubtfire

Home Alone

Home Alone 2

The Sound of Music

The Little Mermaid

Babe

Fashion

How to update a kids’ wardrobe on a budget

12th June, 2021

Kids grow so much and at the start of a new season you’re guaranteed to always need to stock up on new pieces to replace everything they’ve outgrown. And when you have to do this twice a year it can become quite the expense, particularly if you’ve got to do it for more than one child. So how can you buy the basics without spending a fortune? Try these tips for cutting down on your clothes shopping bill.

Buy out of season

Winter clothes get drastically reduced in summer and the same goes for summer things in winter. So if you aim to snap up pieces the next size up out of season then you’ll find yourself being able to buy everything at a fraction of the price.

Take advantage of special discount offers

If you time your purchases for when major discounts or spend and save offers are happening you’ll be able to buy more for less. If you look in store and online ahead of time and know what you need, you can get in early once these offers are announced and save yourself a lot of money in the process.

Sign up for newsletters from your fave kids’ clothing brands

There are so many sale offers that come through via newsletters so make sure you’re on the mailing list of your go-to kids’ clothing brands. You’ll often be alerted to sales first and also any discount offers and bundle deals and ensure you can grab the pieces you’ve had your eye on.

 

Smart shopping can help save on your kids’ clothing budget

Check out Facebook marketplace and other online groups

As kids go through clothes so quickly you can often find that there are good quality (sometimes even designer) pieces that are sold through Facebook marketplace or other swap and sell groups. Just do a quick search for those in your area, or those with brands that you’re interested in and see what bargains you can snap up.

Invest in quality items upfront

I did this when I first started buying Sophia clothes and have found that because I invested a little more on quality items at the beginning, I was able to easily recycle pieces and have Grace wear them without everything looking too worn. This works great for things that don’t get a constant workout such as coats and special dressy pieces.

Check out overseas brands

Since our seasons are opposite to the northern hemisphere it’s sometimes a great opportunity to check out overseas brands and check out what kids clothes they’ve marked down. This happens to work perfectly with our current season as all their winter clothes will be on sale just when we’re heading into that season.

Swap with mum friends

If you have a friendship group that includes mums who have kids with similar ages, why not arrange a swap meet afternoon? You can all bring gently worn pieces (probably best to leave the puree stained onesies out of this one!) and swap your clothes with others in the group. You can then all go home with new wardrobe pieces minus the cost.

Fashion

How to nail practical and stylish dressing as a mum

26th May, 2021

One of the most common questions I receive is how to build up a great mum wardrobe. I’m sure a lot of mums out there will agree that dressing when you’re looking after a tiny human is all about comfort and wearability. I can’t be wearing anything too fussy when I’m with the girls as I am often running after them, playing in the park or just generally on the go so I’ve got to be comfortable. Over the years I feel I’ve managed to really nail the key pieces that make my outfits cohesive and allow me to get dressed with minimal fuss. Here are some of my musts…

Have go-to pair of sneakers

I spend my life in sneakers whether it’s paired back with a dress or jeans and a tee. A pair of classic white sneakers is a must and is a worthwhile investment as it can work back with so many outfits. They’re ideal for those days when you’ve got a packed schedule with the kids and need to be comfortable.

Invest in great outerwear

During winter I often rely on my jackets to change up the look and feel of what I’m wearing. If I’m purely relaxing with Sophia and Grace then I have a puffer jacket I pop on as it’s casual and warm. However if I need to look smarter I often put on a nice coat or a blazer to help dress things up a little. The thing with outerwear is I can be wearing the same thing underneath— so jeans and a tee for example and changing up the jackets can instantly change the vibe of my ensemble.

A great pair of jeans is a must

Take the dress shortcut

Dresses have got to be the easiest thing a mum can have in her wardrobe. I just pop on a dress, pair them with sneakers and then I’m pretty much ready to walk out the door. They’re great for when I need to get dressed in seconds and don’t have much time to fuss around (which is pretty much every day.)

Look for pocket details

I love clothes with pockets. Since the girls are getting older I don’t need to bring a baby bag with a million things which is why I tend to gravitate towards coats and jeans with pockets. If we’re not going out for long I don’t need to pack a massive bag, and I just pop my key essentials in one of my pockets and I’m set.

Go for hands-free bags

Backpacks and crossbody bags are a huge trend and they’re a godsend for mums. I often opt for either style when I’m out with the girls as it leaves my hands free (this is ideal as most mums can attest you never know when you’ll need to stop someone from running off or need to wipe someone’s hands). I’ve invested in a quality leather backpack and crossbody bags as it can withstand the daily wear and tear that running around after two kids can bring. A simple neutral colour such as black, grey and navy is perfect as you can match it with virtually everything in your wardrobe.

Take the easy way out when it comes to fabrics

I love the feel of luxe fabrics like cashmere and silk but when I’m on mum duty they stay at home. I will always wear easy wash and wear items made of cotton or wool as I’ll invariably end up with something on me so need to be able to clean it off quite easily.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with prints and colours

Build up a staple collection of pants

I’ve found that by building up my collection of comfortable pants— so think things like jeans, leather leggings and casual lounge pants— it has made getting dressed every day easier. I can pair them back with my trusty t-shirts or jumpers and I’m set.

Ensure you have a healthy supply of tees and sweaters

I’ve found that anything I can easily throw on (that doesn’t need ironing) makes getting dressed so much more straightforward. I’ve got a good range of t-shirts and sweaters in practical neutral colours that I can rotate every day. I’ve made sure that my tees and sweaters can work back with everything in my pants collection and vice versa so I don’t have the added layer of complexity of trying to figure out what to match with which.

Play with prints and colours

I’ve found one of the easiest ways to liven up a an outfit is with a touch of colour or a great print. I tend to incorporate a few bold pieces amongst my neutral pieces and find that it can give my look a little extra personality.

What are some of your favourite wardrobe essentials as a mum?

Lifestyle

Your guide to easy and healthy school lunches according to a paediatric dietitian and nutritionist

18th January, 2021
Embrace plenty of colour when it comes to the foods in your child’s lunchbox

With back to school time just around the corner, most parents are starting to think about prepping for another year, and one of the key things would have to be school lunches.

Having to pack a school lunch daily can often mean parents are stuck for food ideas or not entirely what to pack in their child’s lunchbox day in and day out. And it can be one of those things that can make the morning rush even more stressful.

To help make it easier I’ve enlisted the help of Sydney-based paediatric dietitian and nutritionist and mum-of-two Karina Savage to share her expertise about all things school lunchboxes. The director of Smart Bite Nutrition is here to help make organising healthy lunches this year a stress-free affair.

What types of foods should a healthy school lunch comprise of? 
  • Slow release (low GI) carbohydrates “[This will] provide a sustained release of energy into the blood stream over the day – this helps to keep blood sugar levels stable which supports good concentration and learning, together with happier mood at pick up! Grainy bread and crackers, fruit, homemade baked goods such as a muesli slice and brownie, which are all good options.”
  • Plant foods “Include plenty of colour and always try to put at least two different coloured vegies into the lunch box.”
  • Quality protein “Shredded chicken, boiled or mashed egg, tuna and legumes such as baked beans or hommus are all good options here. Stay away from processed meats where possible.”
  • Good fats “Usually nuts aren’t allowed [at school], so our go-to here is seeds such as sunflower, pepita or incorporating sunflower (tahini), linseed and chia into baked goods. Avocado is another great option providing a good source of healthy fats.”

What are some great foods to include in lunchboxes to ensure satiety and boost energy?

  • Grainy bread sandwich (can be as simple as Vegemite or raw honey)
  • Grainy crackers with cheese/vegemite.
  • My black bean brownie 
  • Fresh fruit
  • Chopped vegies
  • Grainy crackers and hommus
Do parents need to tweak what they include in lunch boxes according to age?

“Children typically need similar types of food going into the lunch box throughout primary school. As they get older, children may require more food in the lunch box (eg more carbs) if they are really active, however many will struggle to finish their lunch box as they are “too busy” running around with their friends. They will often make up for this at afternoon tea time.

As children move through primary school, they may start to refuse more of the healthier lunch box snacks. As parents, have the confidence to be consistent and stick to your guns – always including plenty of plant foods in the lunch box daily.

With home baked goods, I’ve found with my own children, that I’ve had to add a little more sugar into some recipes to make sure they eat them. In my opinion, this is OK, as I know my children will still be getting much more nutrition compared to giving them a supermarket baked item or packaged product—which are usually much lower in nutrition.”

What are some common mistakes parents make when it comes to packing their kids’ lunches?

“Giving in easily to pester power and including too much of the processed packaged foods such as Shapes, biscuits etc. Kids often love these snacks as they usually taste great, however these products are usually high in salt and very low in fibre. 

Most of us are in the same situation here and it can be exhausting as parents, when the healthy food comes home every day.  We need to have the resilience to keep offering the good food, teaching our children about the balance of foods — the sometimes foods and the everyday healthier foods. Popcorn or dried legumes are much better packaged option compared to many of the packaged crisps/Shapes products.”

Incorporate a variety of different vegetables into lunchboxes

If a child will only eat a limited amount of foods for lunch, what are some ways a parent can help broaden their food repertoire?

“Don’t stress too much if their intake is healthy—if your child isn’t too fussed about the lack of variety from week to week, don’t worry. As long as they have a balance of protein, carbs and plant foods in their lunch box, you are doing well. You can always balance out the day at other meals and snacks such as breakfast and dinner.

Remember it’s a nutritionally balanced week rather than day. 

For some more ideas about healthy lunch box additions, check out my lunch box ideas sheet here.”   

What are your tips for making school lunches more exciting?

“I think it can be really hard sometimes to please kids with school lunch boxes and as busy parents we need to take the pressure of ourselves. School lunches don’t always have to be “instagrammable”, they just have to be as balanced as possible with some good quality contents. 

To improve acceptance of food, a good tip is to bake some options with the kids on the weekends – such as muffins, brownies, bliss balls etc and work out what they like/don’t like. You can then be more confident of putting those preferred baked goods into the lunch box.

Experimenting with various dips can be fun – such as hommus, beetroot, guacamole and cheese dips. These can be included with raw vegies and crackers in the lunch box. Home made pizzas can be another good option that children can be involved in creating the night before.”

Most parents have to deal with the mad school rush in the morning. What are some of your time-saving tricks for creating a healthy school lunch every day? 

  • Make sure lunch boxes are clean and ready to go the night before – you may even wish to include a little secret message/note which will make them smile when they open it the following day.
  • Pack what you can the night before – fresh fruit, popcorn, dried legumes, muffin, homemade brownie or cookies placed in plastic containers. Muffins and cake can also be frozen in individual portions and popped in the lunch box in the morning.
  • Some parents also pre-chop vegies and cheese, which can also be placed in the lunch box and popped in the fridge overnight
  • Use leftovers – you may consider doubling the batch at dinner time and using some for leftovers the next day. These can be sent cold with an ice pack or warm in a thermos.
  • Freeze yoghurt pouches and small containers of dip so that you can pull out of freezer in the morning and they will stay cold until eaten.

For more of Karina’s tips, follow her on Instagram, Facebook or check out her website.

Lifestyle

The biggest issues new mums will face and how to deal with them

29th November, 2020

In the past, psychologist and co-founder of The Bumpy Road, Belinda Williams has shared her tips for new mums and mums-to-be. This time, she’s got more practical and useful advice for those who are currently navigating their way through motherhood for the first time. Most especially when it comes to dealing with the overwhelming feeling that comes with being a mama and dealing with the reality of what it’s really like to care for a baby day in and day out (spoiler alert: it’s not all sunshine and rainbows like a nappy commercial!). If you’re a new mum read on for your survival guide for the first few months…

What should new mums do if they’re feeling overwhelmed?

It is so important to recognise that you are not alone. Not only do all new mums feel this way, there is most often people in your support network that are very willing to help out. Here are some ways to help manage these challenging feelings:

Set realistic expectations. Things seem to take exponentially longer to complete. Don’t pressure yourself to do everything, instead prioritise what is most important and target your energies here.
Make time for yourself/self care. It’s hard to do but oh-so important! It may be a small activity like an extended bath, body scrub or washing your hair, a coffee up the shops solo or a walk around the block with your partner. Micro moments can be magically restorative.
Avoid isolation. Try to connect with other mums and talk to them about their experience. It can help to see that others are having challenges too and often gives you better perspective on your own experience.
Ask for help. Try to open up to the people close to you and let them know you need help. It is not a time to be a hero and the only person you let down when you push through the pain is yourself.

Often the fantasy of becoming a mum is different to the day to day reality of motherhood and some women may feel a little disillusioned by the experience. What are some ways to deal with this? 

Women are often shocked by how consuming and relentless being a parent can be. Each women has a different remedy. This may include:


Look at what it is that you are missing from life before your baby—is it the mental stimulation of work, the relevance beyond the home, the lack of freedom in being able to just walk out the door—maybe all of these? Look for ways that you can reestablish this within your routine as a mother. It may not be in the same form but there is often different opportunities that we have not had to consider before.
Be patient—this adjustment in self concept can take time and is not always pleasant. Try not to make the mistake that challenging feelings mean that things are not going well or that motherhood is not for you. These feelings are common as it is a very stressful and demanding time. If you are worried about how difficult you are finding the transition into motherhood, speak with a professional to navigate these thoughts and feelings.
Make plans—it may be for a holiday, your return to work, a night out with friends. Motherhood is not all or nothing. Eventually you will find a way to weave back in aspects of your life that you enjoyed. Making plans for this can be empowering.
Be selective about what information you are consuming. If you are evaluating your experience of motherhood against Instagram tiles, look elsewhere. This is only a narrow reflection on moments of motherhood and not the gold standard. If it is impacting you negatively then maybe switch off for a while.

Some new mums may miss their old life and the freedom that they had. Is this a normal feeling to have? What are some ways to deal with it? And what should they do if they feel they’re not settling into their new life at all? 

I think that this is pretty common. I remember being pretty bewildered when my first child arrived and asking my mum (probably with a few tears running down my face!), “how does anyone get anything done?!”. It is such a sudden and significant shift in pretty much every domain of your life so even if you are ready for it, you want it and it is where you want to be, it is normal to feel very shaken and destabilised by the seismic adjustment that takes place. Talk to others about how you are feeling.

Caring for a newborn is a steep learning curve and some women may start to feel self-doubt about their abilities as as mum at times. What can be done to address this? 

I think that all new mothers suffer a crisis in confidence. Firstly everything is new and secondly there is so much conflicting information coming at you even within the hospitals. I think it can be helpful to identify a few trusted people and resources and use that as a starting point. But most commonly women experience the greatest distress when they feel disempowered to trust their own instinct. I am a big advocate of trusting your gut and nowhere seems more natural to do this than when caring for a newborn. If in doubt, then of course, seek advice and do this early. It is often just small adjustments that make the world of difference and help us recover and restore our confidence.

Becoming a new mum often means having to deal with a new identity in some ways as you try and blend the old you and the new you. What can women do if they feel a little lost during this process? 

It is exactly that, a process and one that takes time. I think motherhood is a constant time of adjustment and readjustment as our children grow. Very rarely does the learning and changing plateau. This is an experience quite unique to the world of parenthood. There will be parts of your life before children that you no longer connect with and enjoy and there will be parts of life as a mother which you never imagined would bring you joy, but insanely they do. Whilst these changes can be confronting and challenging, it can help to approach it with curiosity rather than judgement. You always have choice even if the options on face value seem more limited to begin with. Try to start out prioritising the things that are most important to you and look at how you can maintain them (perhaps in a different format). Motherhood is a journey not a destination.

Fashion

A paediatric nutritionist shares her tips for how to make prepping healthy kids meals easier

15th November, 2020

Mandy Sacher is a paediatric nutritionist and founder of Wholesome Child and she’s here to making kids and healthy eating work a little more seamlessly together. I sat down with Mandy for a chat about how to prepare nutritious meals when you’re time poor, the pantry staples every parent should have on hand and her quick and easy go-to meals for every meal of the day including snacks. If you’re scratching your head about what to feed your children for dinner tonight then read on because there are plenty of amazing ideas up ahead…

Parents are generally time poor so may not always have the time to prepare healthy meals for their children. What are some of your tips for making the process a little easier?

This is a topic that often comes up in my workshops and with clients in my clinic.  We are all incredibly time poor—so it’s an understandable pain point for families who are keen to improve their nutrition sustainably and achievably.

Batch cooking freezer-friendly meals and snacks to have on hand goes a long way towards saving time, stress and money!  A few hours of prep on a weekend will soon result in a freezer filled with nutritious, homemade ‘convenience’ food like spaghetti bolognaise and beef and veggie meatballs. I also suggest making a little extra each time you cook – for instance, when roasting vegetables or steaming cauliflower, save portions for the next night’s dinner or for use in other recipes.

Planning ahead is also crucial to success and ensuring that you have the right ingredients on hand. My book contains a range of different meal planners which is designed as a practical guide for busy parents. Getting the family and kids involved in the planning, shopping and cooking process is another top tip.  Not only will it be a great way to spend quality time together, the family will feel included and more engaged with meals and fussy little eaters will be more likely to sample something that they have helped prepare (which is always a winner!)

What’s your idea of a healthy meal for kids? What should be on their plate?

Typically, I encourage meals to be varied, whole foods based and most definitely looked at as more than something to simply fill little tummies – rather it’s an opportunity to support healthy growth and development, improve their ability to concentrate and boost energy levels for physical activities.

Meals should contain a serve of quality protein, one to two serves of a slow-release carbohydrate, two to three vegetables (aim for a variation of colours for maximum phytonutrient benefit), a single serve of a healthy fat and a calcium-rich food. Include little ones in menu planning and involve them in the shopping and preparation – these are great ways to encourage enthusiasm and give them an element of limited choice. I generally recommend that fruit be included as a morning or afternoon snack, to keep blood sugar levels in check.

I’m quick to advise parents that fruit shouldn’t be used as a substitute for veggies – a topic that my book goes into detail around.  Vegetables are nature’s insurance policy against disease and so it’s worth persisting with encouraging vegetable intake (as challenging as it may be!).  Setting children up with a genuine appreciate of whole foods and vegetables is so important.

What are your top 5 healthy go-to…

Breakfasts:Pumpkin Spice Porridge , Scrambled Eggs with Leftover Veggies, Strawberry Beetroot Smoothie, Pumpkin, Banana and Cinnamon French Toast and nutritious Homemade Granola (I feature a few different recipes in my book)

Lunches: I’m a big fan of using leftovers for lunches – or dishes that have been bulk cooked and repurposed.  Recipes like my Beef and Veggie Meatballs, Mini Salmon Quiches and Chickpea and Pumpkin Patties are ideal for this. Other great additions include: Broccoli Tots and Zucchini Crackers alongside some homemade tzatziki or some versatile veggie dipping sauce.

Dinners:Healthy Mac ‘n Cheese, Easy Fish Curry, Cheesy Cauliflower Pizza, Chicken Drumstick Casserole and Coconut Lamb Meatloaf.

Snacks:Trail Mix 4 Ways, Veggie sticks and crackers with Beetroot Hummus or Butternut Hummus, Tahini Carrot & Date Bliss Balls, Cheesy Polenta Chips and Apricot Coconut Muesli Bars.

What are some big issues that arise if a child isn’t on a healthy diet?

Little ones have very precise nutritional needs given their intense phases of physical and cognitive development.  Deficiencies in core nutrients like protein can lead to poor muscle tone and development as well as fatigue. A low intake of iron rich foods can lead to anaemia, the most commong nutritional deficiency in childhood. Low levels of healthy fats in the diet can impact brain development and hormone levels.

A high fibre diet rich in whole grains and a diverse range of vegetables helps to ensure healthy immune function, gut health along with the alleviation of other unpleasant elements like constipation.  It’s no secret that diets high in processed refined sugars and salts are detrimental – for both children and adults.  Numerous scientific studies and research have linked obesity, disease and concentration issues to these unhealthy and imbalanced diets. Educating little taste buds early on to appreciate whole food in its natural state, free from additives, flavourings and preservatives go a long way towards training children to enjoy healthy food.

What’s one easy standby meal parents can turn to if they have to get dinner on the table in a short amount of time but haven’t really had time to prep?

Cheesy Cauliflower French Toast with Mushrooms is a great option and a fun way to get the kids involved.  It’s packed with nutrition, quick and easy.  Its versatility means that the mushrooms could be substituted for other vegetables like asparagus, pumpkin, or sweet potato.

What are some food staples all parents should always have on hand?

Fruit and vegetables: Aim for a good mix of colours to maximise the phytonutrient benefits and go for organic wherever possible (especially for produce you plan to eat with the skin on). Ready chopped veggie sticks and fruit stored in containers in the fridge make the perfect snack and lunch box addition. Going with what’s in season is often a good choice and don’t forget to include fresh herbs and spices like mint, basil and ginger. They are packed with essential oils and nutrition.

Dips, sauces and spreads: A selection of on-hand sauces like Homemade tomato sauce and dips like Tzatziki and vegan Beetroot Hummus are a versatile option to enjoy in sandwiches or with flatbread chips or veggie sticks. Betta than Nutella Chocolate Spread is a healthy alternative to commercial chocolate spreads and homemade almond and cashew nut butters are also a great option.

Dairy and non-dairy: Great options include almond milk, coconut milk and cream, organic A2 milk, unsalted butter, unsweetened natural yoghurt (cow, goat, sheep), homemade coconut yoghurt., good quality cheeses (organic where possible) – cheddar, parmesan, mozzarella, gouda and ricotta.

Protein: Protein tends to be a common nutrient missing from little ones’ diets so try to pack your fridge with as many different sources as possible. With meat, go for grass-fed and organic wherever possible. My book and website feature a range of recipe inspirations.  Fish is among the best natural source of omega-3s, so try Atlantic mackerel, cod, flathead, trout or snapper. Wild or organic salmon fillets are perfect for San Choy Bow, rissoles and mini quiches. Organic eggs are a nutritious and versatile option to always have on hand, as are a wide selection of nuts and seeds like almonds, brazil nuts, pecans, hazelnuts, cashews, macadamia, pine nuts, chia, flax, sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Ideal for adding to salads or using in trail mix for an instant boost of protein and healthy fats.

Snacks/biscuits/bread: Pack the pantry with delicious and nutritious alternatives to sugar-laden biscuits such as my Apricot & Coconut Muesli Bars, Gluten Free Honey and Coconut Biscuits and High Protein Peanut Butter Biscuits.  On the topic of bread, I believe that making the switch to a high quality whole grain option is one of the most important changes you can make to your family’s diet.

How can parents teach their children to establish healthy eating habits?

Positive role modeling is one of the most important and powerful influencers in a child’s healthy eating habits.  Little ones are sponges for information and are incredibly impressionable.  Seeing their other family members enjoying healthy wholefoods, celebrating their health, their bodies and discussing how important wellbeing is, are all crucial. In addition to this, being involved in food preparation processes and knowing to expect nutritious foods at snack and mealtimes will guide them on a lifelong path of health and wellbeing. It’s definitely more of a marathon than a race!

To learn more about Mandy Sacher please visit the Wholesome Child website. Her book “Wholesome Child: A Complete Nutrition Guide and Cookbook” is available to purchase online and through iTunes, and you can connect with Mandy on Instagram and Facebook.

Lifestyle

How to get your kids to eat more vegetables

20th September, 2020

Finding ways to get kids to eat vegetables is a constant challenge for most parents. I know it’s something that we have to deal with in our household on a daily basis, and finding new and creative ways to make vegetables appealing can become an impossible task at times.

This is why I’ve enlisted the help of paediatric nutritionist and founder of Wholesome Child Mandy Sacher, who has previously shared her great insights on kids nutrition on the blog. Here she shares her tips on how to deal with a child who isn’t really big on vegetables, and how to make it a process that’s less stressful and more fun.

Create a “rainbow” plate

“Many children I see are repetitive vegetable eaters—meaning that they eat the same limited range each and every week. Whilst all vegetables are beneficial, the ultimate goal is to eat a diverse range of colours and groups to get the maximum benefit. We all eat with our eyes first, so it makes sense to engage your child visually when encouraging them to eat more variety. Encourage your little one to create their own rainbow plate, it’ll engage their imagination and will lead to a nibble or two!”

Include one new veggie a week—and lead by example

“There’s often a strong connection between children who eat the same vegetables each week and parents who do the same. Through parents expanding their own repertoire, children will have an opportunity to see and taste a variety—and watch their parents enjoying the broader range, too!  Try salad veggies, cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and brussels sprouts, and starchy vegetables like pumpkin or sweet potato.”

Don’t forget beans and legumes

“Beans and legumes are our most nutritious plant foods. Rich in proteins, B-vitamins, iron, potassium, fibre, minerals and phytochemicals. Hummus, lentil soup, bean stews and chickpea falafels are a fantastic way to introduce legumes to your child. Try kidney beans, navy beans, black beans, adzuki beans, chickpeas and lentils. For canned varieties, look for BPA-free cans wherever possible and rinse well beforehand to reduce sodium levels.”

Include sea vegetables

“Due to its high calcium content, seaweed strengthens bones and teeth. It’s also high in iron, has antimicrobial properties and is a good source of essential vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre which helps prevent constipation.

Nori, rich in vitamins A, B1, B2 and C as well as iodine also contains protein. Use it for sushi, shred it over salad or create veggie-filled seaweed wraps filled with julienned carrots, cucumber, shredded chicken (or protein of choice) and avocado. If your child likes the seaweed snack packs that are commonly found in supermarkets, seek out varieties that are free from additives such as MSG or added sugar.”

Remember to use fresh herbs and spices 

“Basil is packed with essential oils which are known to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Use in tomato-based pasta sauces, sprinkle on pizza and mix into rissoles. 

Mint soothes upset tummies and improves digestion. Chill mint tea with a dash of raw honey or add fresh mint leaves and orange slices to water and serve in place of juice. 

Oregano is often used to treat respiratory tract disorders, gastrointestinal disorders and urinary tract disorders.  Add to chicken, lamb or beef dishes. 

Parsley is rich in many vital vitamins and keeps the immune system strong, tones the bones and heals the nervous system.  It also helps to flush excess fluid from the body and support kidney function.  Add to smoothies, chicken soup and pasta sauces.

Spices – as well as adding flavour, spices such as turmeric, ginger and cinnamon are packed with nutrients too. Add turmeric and ginger to chicken soup, sprinkle turmeric on cauliflower and add cinnamon to pumpkin and butternut squash.”

Create a veggie patch

“Children love planting seeds, watching them grow, and eventually harvesting what they have planted. It’s the best way to help them make the association between earth to plate, and to engage their curiosity about different varieties of vegetables. If outdoor space is limited, start off with herbs such as basil or oregano, or better yet get involved with a community garden.”

Shop for and cook vegetables together

Encourage your children to touch, smell and engage with their food.  Let them help with grocery shopping and encourage them to pick up new vegetables from the shelves and place them in the trolley themselves – this begins the engagement with the new food.

Little ones tend to be more willing to eat what they’ve helped to prepare and it’s important for them to be exposed to vegetables in their raw state and to understand how the texture and look of a vegetable changes when it’s cooked. Get them involved by asking them to peel carrots and potatoes (using kid-friendly graters), cutting lettuce with a plastic knife or adding grated vegetables to muffin batter.

It’s important for parents to be patient and to recognise that change is often slow with children.  Don’t be disappointed if they don’t eat the new vegetable or food the first time it’s offered – stay positive and freeze what’s not eaten and offer it again – persistent repetition is key here.”

What are some creative ways you’ve used to encourage your kids to eat more vegetables?

Fashion

Style staples when I’m in mum mode

30th August, 2020

As most mums can probably attest pulling together an outfit is low on the priority list when you’ve got a busy day ahead of you. The aim is just to get out the door fast! I know for myself that when I’m in mum mode with Sophia and Grace I need to be comfortable first and foremost and my outfit needs to be able to withstand whatever the girls may throw my way. This is why I’ve managed to refine my mum style staples down to a few key pieces so I can just go into auto pilot mode on any given day. Here’s what I can’t live without…

A roomy tote

For me a big bag is essential and I always like to carry a tote as it gives me plenty of room to carry my essentials and the girls’ too. I have lots of different types – from super casual to slightly more dressy – depending on where I’m going.

Athleisure wear

I love workout gear when I’m with the girls. If I’m going to a class with one of the girls or doing the school run then I can’t go past my Nike sneakers and Lululemon leggings. I live in both! It’s really easy to pull together and you can’t beat it for comfort level.

Sturdy sunglasses

I always carry a pair of sunglasses with me but I make sure that I leave any delicate, flimsy pairs at home. My sunnies are guaranteed to be thrown around in my bag or the girls will want to play with them so I prefer to wear the style that’s made of a thicker acetate so they’re not easily breakable.

Simple basics

If I’m running around then I’ll always opt for sportswear otherwise you’ll usually find me in lots of t-shirts and singlets paired with a good pair of jeans. They’re both definite mum style staples. I highly recommend splurging on a pair of jeans that can withstand lots of wear and tear because if you’re like me you’ll wear them to death. I also have lots of great knits throughout winter and will wear a big anorak/parka style jacket which I can easily throw on and can be popped into the boot of my car without too much fuss.

Comfortable flats

Heels are strictly reserved for nights out or for work events. I wear flats whenever I’m with the girls. I’ll usually wear white sneakers, which have become a core part of my mum shoe wardrobe or if I need to be a little more dressed up then I’ll wear my slides or loafers which are comfy yet still look polished.

What are your style staples as a mum?
Fashion

How to create a stylish and functional nursery

24th August, 2020
Get the basics right and enhance the room with decorative flourishes

As the founder of premium baby and children’s furniture brand Incy Interiors, if there’s one thing Kristy Withers is well versed in, it’s how to create a stylish and functional nursery. In the early days, there’s so much time spent in the nursery changing, feeding and putting baby to sleep that it has to be a place you love being in. And with endless inspiration for nurseries available, it’s important to know the difference between a simply Insta-worthy space and one that’s actually practical and useable in real life. Enter Kristy, who is sharing her go-to tips for not only creating a gorgeous nursery, but one that’s designed to make day-to-day life with your newborn easier.

What are the most important things to consider before styling a nursery?

“The first thing I look at when designing a room is to understand what space you have to work with. What is the floor space, how high are the walls, where are the windows and doors located. This is really important to understand upfront to save a costly purchase down the track.”

What are some of the key essentials in a nursery?

“The absolute essentials for any nursery are a cot, change table and nursing chair. You spend most of those early months either feeding, changing or getting them to sleep (and staying asleep) so choosing these pieces wisely is so important.”

What are your tips for creating a great space on a budget?

“Great design doesn’t need to be expensive. Rather than painting walls you can create an amazing space with inexpensive removable wall decals, which is also a great option for renters. Buying prints rather than originals is a great way to create interest on the walls without spending a fortune. Another one of my favourite tips is to buy beautiful wooden toys that can double as decoration as well as a plaything, saving money and the environment.”

Kristy says choosing quality furniture is important

What are some things that perhaps aren’t entirely necessary in a nursery to start with?

“A bassinet is not a must-have but it was so helpful for me. It meant the baby was right next to me for middle of the night feeds and I could move it around with me throughout the day. I also deliberately left both of my children’s nurseries bare and then I purchased accessories such as toys, books and decorations as their little personalities started to show. This meant that their rooms were more of a reflection of them rather than me.”

What are some nursery design trends you’re seeing right now?

“I have been doing this for 10 years now and it has been so interesting seeing how nursery design has changed over that time. When we first started, nurseries were navy and red or yellow and grey. As general tastes have changed so have the nursery design trends. Mid-century is becoming much more popular.”

What are some of your best tips for maximising storage?

“Storage is something you can never have too much of. Always look for a change table with inbuilt storage as well as one that converts once you are done with it as a change table. All of our Incy change tables either convert to a dresser or a bookcase so that they can be used for years to come. Other great storage options are ottomans, toy boxes and storage baskets.”

Minty Magazine CoLab Styled by Madeline McFarlane Photography by Francoise Baudet

What are some of your fave design flourishes for nurseries?

“I feel so lucky to do what I do as children’s nurseries/bedrooms are the one space in the home where you can really experiment with things and have a bit of fun. I’m a huge fan of textures so I love mixing various fabrics and finishes. Leather, velvets and metallics are my absolute favourites right now. Mixing the three can create a feeling of warmth and luxury at the same time.”

What are the splurge and save items in a nursery? What should people invest in and what are some things they can afford to scrimp on?

“I always feel biased saying this but I am a big believer in spending as much as you can afford on good quality furniture, it can them be passed down through multiple children and my ultimate goal is for the furniture we are producing right now to be handed down to our children’s children. The items I tend to save on are the accessories. There are so many amazing Australian brands right now producing beautiful linen, artwork, toys and accessories. If you save on the accessories you can then swap them out for the next baby or when transitioning to a toddler/big bed.”

Lifestyle & Social

Where I’m clicking for educational screen time

29th April, 2020

Being at home with both Sophia and Grace over the last few weeks has made us have to be re-think screen time. With Luke and I still trying to work, it means that at times we have to rely on screens to keep the girls occupied. And while sometimes all they want to do is watch Frozen or another Disney princess movie, we have been trying to balance that with being able to watch and engage with shows or games that are educational too.

One of the most helpful things over the last few weeks has been the list of recommendations I’ve gathered from friends and family and Grace’s pre-school for great educational programs, games and shows for kids. With the focus of most of these online resources being on literacy and maths, it has been great for building on the things the girls have been learning at school and at pre-school. There have also been some really fun activities such as visiting some of the world’s best museums virtually or story time online that has entertained the girls and allowed them to learn at the same time.

I know there are countless parents out there in the same boat right now so I thought I’d collate the most popular sites that parents can check out, based on the recommendations I’ve been using during isolation. There’s a great mixture of learning tools, shows and games so hopefully it makes navigating screen time a little easier.

Online resources

There’s a mixed bag on this list, with the majority focusing on reading and writing and maths. There are different levels with most of the programs so they’re suitable for different ages. Some require sign up whereas others you can just launch straight into the program or games. Hopefully there’s something here that you and your kids will approve of.

Starfall

ABCYa

Funbrain

Splashlearn

Story Online

PBS Kids

Highlights Kids

Coolmath4Kids

MathGameTime

Unite for Literacy

Literactive

Science Kids

Switch Zoo

Seussville

Turtle Diary

E-learning for kids

BrainPop

Curiosity Stream

Tynker

Outschool

Khan Academy

Creative Bug

Scholastic learning magazine

Museum virtual tours

YouTube Channels

YouTube: more than just cat videos! There are some really good educational channels to check out on this platform. While you can find virtually anything on YouTube, I’ve found most of the kids’ channels are great for science and geography content as you can check out everything from sharks and dinosaurs to doing experiments and profiling different countries around the world. I’ve listed a few below but a quick search based on subject matter will unearth plenty of options.

Crash Course Kids

Science Channel

SciShow Kids

National Geographic Kids

Free School

Geography Focus

SciShow

Kids Learning Tube

Geek Gurl Diaries

Mike Likes Science

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fgm4Uvwz_FQ

Science Max