Melissa Gunn is looking to get her daughter, Emily, aged 5 into a healthy eating routine before starting school after the summer. The challenge for Melissa has been creating quick and healthy snacks suitable for her busy work schedule that will also fit into Emily’s new school day. Melissa wants to make Emily’s transition from nursery to primary school as easy as possible, so keeping a healthy mealtime routine is essential. She wants something that she can eat, but that she can also feed Emily to avoid making two sets of meals every day.
“I start the day with wholegrain cereal, or porridge oats in the winter months, which I enjoy at the dining room table with Emily. I think it’s really important to relax and enjoy our food before a busy day ahead. She loves her morning cereal, and its great to know it gives her a good boost first thing. I try to stick to oat based cereals as it gives slow release energy and sets us up for the day.
A healthy breakfast provides me with energy in the morning and sustains me until lunchtime – I definitely notice the difference when I don’t make time for it! If I know I’m going to end up having a late lunch whilst at work, I’ll grab some fruit to keep me going. I’ll also give Emily some fruit with her as part of her mid-morning snack, which she’s used to from nursery, so will be a staple in her new school routine.
If it’s a hectic work day, as most days can be, I make sure that I set aside time to sit down and enjoy lunch which is usually soup and some oatcakes. It’s great to try different kinds of soup – like tomato and basil in the summer, and hearty vegetable in the winter, and that way, I can match them with different flavours of oatcakes. I tend to go for Nairn’s Rough Oatcakes, as they have a thick texture to dip into my chunky soups.
Since introducing oats into my midday meal, I tend not to eat anything else until dinnertime in the evening. Occasionally when 4pm comes around and I’m looking for a ‘pick me up’, I’ll have a cup of tea and a Nairn’s Oat Biscuit. I feel like I’m treating myself (especially when I have those dark choc chip ones!), and still benefiting from the goodness of the oats. The Oat Biscuits are also good to give Emily and I’ll be including one in her lunchbox as an afterschool treat.
Dinner is enjoyed as a family at the table and I’ll usually make a stir-fry during the week as its quick and easy and ensures we’re stocking up on some vegetables.
At the weekend, when I have more time, I’ll cook a roast dinner – which Emily enjoys helping me prepare. It’s great that she enjoys the preparation of food, and helping out, and I think she enjoys it more when its one of her own creations!
Over the past year, I have been attending Zumba classes two or three nights a week, which keeps me naturally energised after a hard day at work. Emily comes along too, and it’s nice to have some exercise time that we both enjoy – she’s better at the moves than I am!