Thursday, 24 October 2013

Make a Smart Restart!

Those that follow me on twitter, especially in recent months, will know that I am passionate about promoting #naturalchildhood and getting kids outdoors so that we can raise a generation of engaged, creative, inquisitive, healthy individuals! Despite this enthusiasm, as a parent I know first hand how difficult it can be to find the time and sometimes, the motivation.

So when I heard about Change 4 Life Wales' Smart Restart campaign it was easy to get behind it.

Smart Restart aims to help parents with children from 4 to 11 years old to make pledges to change their lifestyles for the better. Those who sign-up are supported with fitness tips, recipes, and advice via the Change4Life website and, as I selected, a weekly email and text message.

Change4Life Smart Restart is looking for families all over Wales to sign up online and make a pledge to change one thing – be it preparing healthier lunchboxes, avoiding sugary snacks, or swapping the car for the bike or your legs!!

The pledges are:
  • Stretch Your Legs: Swap some of your regular car or bus journeys for walking, scooting or cycling.
  • Super Lunches: Help keep your kids going right through the school day with our ideas for quick and tasty lunches.
  • Screen-Time Switch: Tempt them away from their screens for 30 minutes a day, with loads of fun game ideas.
  • Beat the Treats: Swap some of your kids’ treats for healthier alternatives.
  • 10-Minute Moves: 60 minutes’ activity a day helps kids stay healthy. Break it down into 10-minute chunks and that goal is easier to reach.
Sweet potato hedgehog, Autumn inspiration
To be honest I wanted to make pledges for them all, but the emphasis is on one to get you started, and there is nothing stopping you taking inspiration from the others!
Already making an effort to reduce Ffion's screen time and be more active outdoors, I chose to 'Beat the treats!'.

I have been fortunate that Ffion has always been a fairly good eater, never too fussy, open to new tastes and textures, especially as a baby and toddler. Recently however, as she has grown in confidence and independence, she has more of an opinion about her food. She also has a sweet tooth, and often the first question I get when I collect her from school is "can we go get some sweeties?"... something I regularly give in to when faced with a tired, pleading face... "I've been good at school Mama, look I got a sticker, please?". Mothers guilt (...there's always something!)
Home Cinema!

What has been key here is changing my mindset... and eventually helping influence hers - there is no nutritional value to sweets, they are not a 'treat'! Off the back of this simple "Beat the treats" pledge, we are making small but steady steps towards drastically reducing the amount of sugar in our diet. I have been shocked at just how many 'healthy', savoury foods contain added sugar (take a look next time you're adding items to your trolley!)

I enjoy receiving an encouraging (non patronising) text on the Monday... we're half way through! We've had suggestions to try making home-made popcorn (something that I loved as a child too!) and to try a new vegetable this week.

For those that haven't tried home-made popcorn... why not?! We picked up 1kg of organic kernels from our local health food shop for just £2.50 and probably have enough to keep us going for six months! How much is a small tub when you go to the cinema?! We created instead a home movie night! (Air-popped popcorn has only 31 calories per cup; oil-popped popcorn has only 55 calories per cup, it is low in fat and high in fibre!).

And this week, rather than a new vegetable I re-introduced one that has failed in the past. Sweet potatoes. 
We made an Autumn colours inspired dinner, with a goats cheese and red onion quiche, cherry tomatoes and a sweet potato hedgehog... which was a huge hit, although was too fun not to play with first!

If you feel inspired to introduce some small changes, to make a smart restart, register for the Change4Life Smart Restart, here: