When it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle for your kids, ordering takeout can be a bit of a challenge. When kids have a menu full of options in front of them, some of their go-to favourites may be fish & chips, hamburgers, grilled cheese or chicken nuggets, which makes it even more challenging to steer them in another direction. While it’s ok to let your children splurge on this food once in a while, make sure you consider the healthier items on the menu and encourage your kids to try new things on a daily basis.

Below are just a few tips to follow when ordering takeaway for your family:

Chinese

chinese food

While most Chinese dishes include a high amount of vegetables, having them deep-fried and surrounded by noodles isn’t always the healthiest way to eat them. Since noodles can weigh in at nearly 200 calories per cup, be sure to consume them in moderation. Better yet, replace the noodles with a side of brown rice or tofu.

If your kids love dumplings, remember that Chinese takeout menus may serve them in many different ways. Wonton soup, for example, contains a few steamed dumplings and soup is considered to be more filling, which will prevent your family from overeating before the main entree. And, according to LiveStrong, a cup of wonton soup contains a high amount of vitamin B6, Niacin, B12, and pantothenic acid. Just keep in mind of the amount of sodium you might be consuming.

Pizza

pizza

Believe it or not, pizza can be a healthy meal when made with the right ingredients and when eaten in moderation. While you don’t have to forgo the cheese to make a pizza healthy for your kids, it’s important to know how to best utilise the pizza’s canvas. Rather than adding sausage, pepperoni, or bacon to a pizza, consider choosing leaner meats like grilled chicken and loading up on the veggies, including mushrooms, peppers, red onions, spinach, and artichoke hearts.

Building a healthy pizza is much easier than it sounds. Hungry House has an enormous range of takeout menus to choose from, including some of the best and healthiest pizza restaurants in your area. Whether you search by rating or price range, pizza restaurants today are much more accommodating to those with special diet requests.

Indian

indian

From deep fried samosas to rich paneer, Indian food has become incredibly popular in recent years because of its creative use of spices. If you haven’t noticed already, many vegetarians tend to veer towards Indian cuisine as meat is not often used in many of this cuisine’s dishes, but this doesn’t make ALL Indian takeout food healthy. Dishes that are prepared with lentils and chickpeas provide the protein growing kids need and are on the healthier side as these foods aren’t typically prepared with high amounts of oil and butter. Instead, Indian food is often prepared with a variety of spices to produce unique and delicious flavour combinations.

Turmeric, for example, can be found in many Indian dishes and is known to have health benefits such as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, according to WebMd. In addition, Tandoori items on Indian takeout menus are often found to be lean because they are cooked in traditional clay ovens called Tandoor. Meats like Tandoori chicken or shrimp retain more nutrients because of the way these dishes are prepared.

If You Don’t Know, Ask!

As it can be difficult to judge how some takeout dishes are prepared, don’t hesitate to request details from the person who is taking your order. In general, try to avoid ordering deep-fried foods and overly processed meats with all of your meals and replace them with hearty sides of steamed vegetables, fruits, or brown rice.

While having family meals shouldn’t always be a task of choosing the healthiest foods, be sure to keep in mind the nutrients your kids (and yourself!) are getting from what you eat.

Baebox monthly subscription for girlsBe strong   Be bold   Be brave   Be unique   Believe in yourself   Be you

You may have noticed that for the past month or two I have been proudly ‘wearing’ a new badge on my sidebar. It’s Baebox and it is a unique idea created by a lovely friend of mine, Rosie Shelley.
Her genius idea is a monthly subscription box aimed at young girls to promote a healthy and motivating message to make them feel good about themselves and positive about their future.

Rosie chooses the contents to put in the Baebox very carefully from brands who share her vision, she wants the monthly subscription to be powerful. Her idea is to make young girls feel more confident about themselves, be more courageous and bolder in life. To have faith in themselves and trust their instincts. Qualities that can rank low during the delicate transition phase from child to young woman.

The BaeBox ambition is to help circulate the message to tweens and teens that they are just right as they are, that they are not defined by how they look and how society says they should look, that they are unique, they have choices, and they can be whatever they want to be. To empower our daughters. To empower the next generation. — Rosie Shelley

Above you can see for yourself the twins reaction to the unboxing of their first Baebox, I hadn’t told them anything about it as I wanted to capture their reactions. They were very excited and intrigued to the contents. Once I put the camera away I watched them take a closer look at the gifts and re read the quotes. It was an amazing moment to witness from afar.

I am fully aware of the fact that my babies are growing up. They are conscious of how they dress as they’ve heard certain items (vests for example) are for babies. They no longer want white socks for school but are wearing black socks which are for ‘older girls’. I get this, it was similar back in my day but we do hear so often about the pressures on kids to look right, act right and to be right in order to be accepted into the gang.

I am also conscious of the precarious stage in life we are fast approaching, we have a lot of attitude in the house right now from one of the two. She doesn’t even realise she’s doing it, she’s picking it up from her environment and trying it out at home. It’s my job to make sure she stays a ‘nice girl’ throughout this phase, that she remains confident in herself to be able to make her own choices and not following the others like a sheep with no mind of her own. Plus to stop her bossing her sister about.

Tricky one to put across but I personally think Baebox can help me do that.

Baebox monthly subscription for girls

Don’t you just love the vivid colour scheme chosen for the boxes? This is how you will identify the real box as sadly there are already copycats out there jumping on Rosie’s genius idea and interpreting it badly. Be warned.

What’s included in a Baebox?

September was the first month of the subscription and in it we found

  • A notebook to write down thoughts and ideas.
  • A heart tin to keep little things safe.
  • A yoyo to play with outside.
  • A special plaque to display in the bedroom.
  • Positive cards to look at every day.

There was a slo a card with an inspirational message about Katarina Johnson-Thompson which I found very empowering. We read it together and talked about it afterwards.

Baebox doesn’t finish on the day of opening but offers a lot of things to do throughout the month, a plaque to look at every day, inspirational and motivational quotes and a notebook to encourage young ones to write down their thoughts and feelings.

baebox

What does Bae mean?

“Bae,” Urban Dictionary says, is an acronym that stands for “before anyone else,” or a shortened version of baby or babe, another word for sweetie, and, mostly unrelated, poop in Danish.

Sign Up

This is where you need to go to sign up for Baebox

 

school year 4

The twins have gone back to school today and they have entered the world of Year 4. New teachers – we have a job share this year so we have more than one – new classroom, stricter rules as children are expected to become more and more independent and focused for longer.

I know this first week will be a difficult one as they have been used to lazing around, playing and doing nothing, after all that’s what school holidays are about, right?

However as much as I like to let them relax during the holidays and enjoy a more outdoors lifestyle both husband and I take schooling very seriously, we want them to have the best education we can offer them. We have kept the reading ticking over, with the promise of completing a Brownie badge, we got them to keep up their handwriting by writing a daily diary for 4 weeks. That one got difficult towards the end when the novelty wore off.

And, we have been setting them 10 maths questions per day for the last couple of weeks, just simple addition, subtraction and multiplication to get their brains geared up again. This caused tears, BIG tears, so we bribed them with pocket money and that seemed to work.

We know we’re not raising tomorrow’s Einstein here but we’d just like to make sure they remember what they learnt in Year 3 with the hope of making Year 4 that little bit easier for them.

There is already talk of SAT’s and 11+ too and as much as we try to be laid back and relaxed we are very aware that they only get one shot at education. We feel it is our duty to make sure their education journey is the best they can get.

school reviewer

I was really interested to come across the website School Reviewer, this is exactly the kind of website parents need to make sure the choices they make are the correct ones and to find lots of additional advice and tips to making the educational journey as enjoyable as possible.

For a start School Reviewer includes stats and knowledge about every school in the UK. Each school has it’s own page and you can read an About page with contact details and lots of information about the school, the academic results for the past three years, you can check out the catchment area and read reviews from other parents.

There is also a parents forum enabling everyone to talk about all sorts of topics regarding their children’s school life. Not only that there is a very interesting Buy and Sell page which allows you to sell on your own items or search for a pair of nearly new football boots, ballet leotard or school tie.

school reviewer

As your child progresses through school you can also download SATS and GCSE papers, some are free and others for a small fee. These will help enormously on the run up to the exams.

Another point of interest for me was the Tutor page, inviting tutors from all over the country to sign up and be available for parents up and down the country.

So as we head towards Year 6 and SATS I like having the knowledge that I can use School Reviewer along my parental journey and help the girls out as much as I can on their educational experience.

Why not take a look for yourself and head over to post a review about your school today?

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post with School Reviewer, all opinions and words are my own.

 

painting pottery twitchen house

Our summer holidays are running along fine at the moment, a two week break in Devon (which still needs writing up – ahem) and a week back to work already under my belt with the help of some lovely friends who have looked after the twins for me.

This week my mum is doing her bit and taking the girls down to our static caravan at Birchington Vale for the week where they can swim, go to the beach and discover hundreds of things to do on the Isle of Thanet. I’m going to try and record what we do on my new blog and hopefully it will come in handy for others too when visiting the area.

It’s quite a chore keeping the kids entertained all the time isn’t it? If you feel you’re running out of ideas take a look at the great list below. I had a chat with some of my favourite blogging friends to see what great ideas they are coming up with and I’m amazed at the response. This is your summer holiday inspiration in one click, bookmark for future reference and keep the kids happy with all these great activities.

Things to do in the summer holidays

Days Out

Kirsty over at the Mummysphere has a great activity for Peter Rabbit fans, at Willows Activity Farm

Rebecca from Here Comes The Girls has taken her children to the Warner Bros Studios and tells us all about it

Michelle from Mummy from the Heart suggests cliff walking as a great outdoors activity

Crafts/Activities

Hopefully there won’t be too many rainy days with the remainder of the holidays but just in case here are some brilliant ideas to consider

Try your hand at gorgeous mosaics like Liz over at Me and My Shadow

Penny at A Residence has a fantastic list to make the most of your garden this summer

Carolin from Mummy Alarm has top tips for camping

And Emma and 3 talks about the ABTA swim safety campaign

Recipes

Another fabulous way to keep kids entertained is getting them into the kitchen and making some delicious ice cream like my Snozzcumber recipe

Becky at Simple Parenting has a scrumptious recipe for Banana Muffins

Jenny at Mummy Mishaps has ice cream cones with sprinkles

Bucket List

Cass at Frugal Family has 100 Frugal Fun summer activities to keep you entertained all summer and light on the pocket too!

top tips for summer play

Our children are part of Generation Z; they spend approximately 7 hours a day at school, a lot compared to our European neighbours, and some children will attend Breakfast club and have after school clubs to attend. The summer holidays are the perfect time to put pens down and play.

Nintendo recently commissioned research that reveals 70% of parents worry that their youngsters are growing up too fast and may lack the ability to bounce back from adversity.

Leading child development and play expert, Dr Amanda Gummer advocates the introduction of play to areas outside of the playground, thanks to its proven impact on cognitive development. Working on the proven theory that when children play and have fun, they learn as well, they become more open to talking about what they think and how they feel.

Dr Gummer advises that parents who feel nervous about approaching difficult topics with children can easily apply playful tactics at home, helping to build on their child’s emotional resilience over the summer and enabling them to think more critically.

Dr Amanda Gummer’s top tips for summer play

1. Spark an enthusiasm for learning with fun educational activities

The summer holidays are the perfect opportunity to really get children enthusiastic about learning with fun, hands-on activities. For instance, they can practice maths by helping out at a car boot sale with the money, have a go at some amazing experiments with science kits or tell stories by creating their own characters.

2. Engage with videogames

It’s helpful to meet children where they are, in order to take them where you want them to be. Videogames are very popular with kids and the right ones can encourage critical thinking and discussion around an array of topics. For instance, the characters and their stories in the popular Nintendo 3DS game based on Japanese Folklore, YO-KAI WATCH® offers an imaginative platform to talk about real-life issues, such as falling out with friends or bullying – issues which often crop up during long school holidays.

Bess Nintendo car

3. Encourage playing together

Group games are brilliant for getting family and friends to play together, while helping children learn to think strategically, plan ahead, and work with others. There are many board and card games that also support key educational topics like maths so you can be confident that kids are learning whilst enjoying themselves.

4. Mix and match playmates

A good mix between playing with friends and family gives children the chance to expand their social skills, build relationships, and share knowledge. An older sibling can sometimes explain a topic to a younger sibling in a better way than a parent or teacher, it feels more playful, and at the same time this is reinforcing their own understanding.

play date

5. Don’t forbid screen time

There’s no reason why children can’t enjoy some screen time, it’s just important to select videogames that captivate them as well as support learning and development. This will help them to think imaginatively and creatively. Brands such as Nintendo offer a variety of games that will make your kids think and apply their brains, such as Disney Art Academy which helps teach children how to create their own art or Teddy Together which teaches them about friendship through the guide of a cuddly teddy bear and encourages chidren to practise their reading, spelling and interpersonal skills. They will feel like they are being given a treat but will be learning at the same time.

6. Allow time for unstructured play

It’s important for children to be in control of at least some of their play, so remember to schedule in time where they can play freely. This allows them to explore their own ideas and build on things they have learned, at their own pace. Building a den, for example, is an exciting way for children to explore the outdoors, harness their imagination and learn to solve problems.

7. Use children’s interests to grab their attention

These few weeks will give children a chance to explore their own interests. Parents can use something a child is big on right now, such as a particular cartoon or game character, to make all sorts of subjects more appealing and really tailor the learning to the child’s individual interests. For example, if a child likes superheroes, parents might get them to write a story about the character to encourage writing skills.

micro sprite scooter

8. Take them out for a breath of fresh air

Rain or shine, outdoor play has many advantages to a child’s development. It’s a great source of exercise, a chance for children to master physical skills, and offers a fascinating world for exploring and imaginative play. Going down the park can be a pain for parents, who end up standing around cold and bored while their children play; we suggest arranging play dates so that parents have someone to talk to and children get the added benefits of mixing with other children.

9. Boredom is good

Parents needn’t feel that children need entertaining every minute of the holidays, because children are perfectly capable of coming up with their own activities and this is actually really good for their development. It encourages children to think for themselves, supporting decision-making and independence, and can stimulate their creativity.

10. Use this opportunity to practice life skills

Life skills are vital, but unfortunately they aren’t always covered in school. So now is the ideal time for parents to get children to help plan and cook meals, clean the house, and generally get their heads around all the chores they will need to survive as adults. Of course they will still need plenty of time to play, but a good work ethic is a valuable thing to instill into a child, just make it fun, for example by bringing in songs and rhymes.

Nintendo blogger

Disclosure: We are part of the Nintendo UK Family Blogger scheme and review products for them on a regular basis plus bring articles that we consider will be of interest to you.