The Reality Of Sugar.

Did you know that over feeding your kids sugar from a young age can create an incredibly unhealthy sugar addiction for them as adults? Also, did you know that rewarding your kids with food isn’t always a healthy idea either. I find that people often laugh at me or shrug off the intensity of sugar. I often find myself cringing when I see the food that kids eat on a daily basis. I’m not judging, but rather wish that I could educate them on how desperately kids need a healthy diet for their tiny bodies and to help their brains work at their full capacity.

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Here’s my own personal story:
SUGAR & TODDLERS = MINIATURE MONSTERS

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Without exaggerating, it was literally three minutes ago that I gave my son two teenie tiny SweeTarts. (My absolute favourite candy that my dear friend brought me back from the States.) I couldn’t resist sharing with Olly, because, of course, they remind me of my own childhood visiting the States to see my family.

My mistake! He had been happily playing outside in the mud, when he came inside to ask me to roll up his sleeves. I then handed him two of these little sweets. One for each hand. Within a matter of minutes – three to be exact, he turned from a sweet little boy who was happily entertaining himself, to literally screaming, spitting, and just being ugly. Define ugly: shouting, not listening to me, making horrible sounds, and just being all round RUDE.

It is mindblowing what sugar can do! And I think that we underestimate the power of it. I’ve done an article on healthy eating before, and I have always been quite strict on what Olly eats. From a young age, he had a gluten intolerance, which meant that we had to be careful about what he ate. But, as he’s gotten slightly older, it isn’t nearly as severe as what it used to be, thankfully! However, at the same time – it seems that we have sort of loosened the ropes on steering away from sugar.

Olly will generally choose water over juice. He will never get any juice apart from 100% fruit juice that we dilute mostly in water. For school lunches and at home, he will generally get fresh fruit and nuts with his rice cake or sandwich or sometimes dried fruit. He also, surprisingly LOVES having baby tomatoes in his lunch box. Strange kid.

BUT, he’s a kid, and somehow he manages to persuade us to give him the BAD treats. That’s the kind of treats that are okay at a birthday party on the odd occassion. But, NOT to have on a daily basis. I never reward with food – for instance, he will never get sweets or a biscuit or snacks if he goes potty on his own, or does something good. I’ve learnt that it’s a no no, thanks to Munchkins parenting coach, Celeste Rushby who I used to au pair for and learnt so much from over time.

The problem is that when he catches David or myself munching on a biscuit, or a peice of chocolate or somebody happens to open a packet of chips, he comes running from the other end of the house (where he couldn’t hear me calling him from) to see ‘what we have for him’. I know that the immediate and obvious solution would be to just not eat that kind of thing when he is up and about and to rather save it for when he is asleep, and look – it isn’t a daily thing. I’m making it sound as if we constantly have junk food in hand, which isn’t the case at all. We never prioritize pudding for him after dinner. Every now and then he will have a yoghurt with a banana, or stewed apple which is home made with a drizzle of custard.

But – WHEN HE DOES have sugar – it’s as if I have a totally different child in front of me. And it scares the living daylights out of me. I do not like the child he becomes. The high is short and the low is long and dreadful. Totally not worth it! It’s the worst thing you can give your child – honestly.

I want to suggest that you (and I) replace the junk treats for healthier alternatives. Dried fruits, rice cakes coated in carob, dark chocolate, biltong or droerwors – you catch my drift. I struggle to wrap my mind around why I feel the need to give Olly sugar when he’s totally content, happy and polite (you almost feel as if you want to give them something nice as a treat to secretly reward their behavior) just to turn them into the opposite of what they are.

Olly LOVES his healthy snacks. He honestly does, and always has! And so, my July resolution – OUT WITH THE JUNK, IN WITH THE HEALTHY.

Natural sugar in small doses is totally OK! And every now and then, a sugary treat isn’t a bad thing. But, if you want to see a change in your kids behaviour and attitudes, choose snacks that have no added sugar, no colourants, MSG or flavourants, etc. You catch my drift. Don’t make sugar an expected thing in your home. And for those of you with young babies that aren’t yet there – start your babes off not even knowing what it is – because they don’t need it! They get all of the sugar they need through fruit!

Sorry about my long rambles, I was just actually so shocked this morning watching how such a small amount of sugar made my sweet child turn into a monster in such a short amount of time.

So, I just wanted to raise the awareness about how SUGAR is really a drug when consumed too frequently. And there are so many alternatives that you can rather choose from. Maybe I should do a post on some alternatives that you can choose from that don’t cost an arm and a leg?

Thanks for reading, and I would love to hear your perspectives and ideas on this.

— One Modern Mom

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Peanut Butter Energy Balls

These little guys are simply the best! I get so peckish for a little sweet treat every single day (without fail) around noon. I just crave sugar but had indulging in bad sugar.

These little power balls are delicious and have so much energy packed in every bite.

Want to know how to make them? So simple.

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1/2 cup creamy nut butter
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup coconut
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons cacao
1 tablespoon Chocolate Moondust wazoogles protein powder
2 tablespoons water

Mix together in a bowl, add more water (one tablespoon at a time) if too dry. Refrigerate for 15 min and then roll into balls.

I love to snack on mine with a strong cup of black coffee. And Olly loves them too! 💪

Be Your Own Chef – UCOOK SA

When I landed up on the Instagram page of UCOOK SA, I needed to find out more. Could such a company with such a clever concept truly be local? Or was I just getting ahead of myself? Either way, I was on a mission to find out.

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My day was made, and my mind was slightly blown away when I checked out their website and saw all of their delicious meal options! You can only imagine my happiness when they told me to select THREE meals to try out! The entire online process through ordering was so simple. I gave them the date and time frame on that day that I would need my order to be delivered, and it arrived punctually and FRESH.

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I must admit that it did sort of feel like an adults version of Christmas day, or perhaps a moms version! The thought of having to eliminate a grocery shop for three meals was such a treat! The UCOOK SA website is super easy to navigate, and it explains everything well. Their Menu is divided up into ‘Low-Carb’, ‘Rustic’ and ‘Veg’, so I decided to choose a meal from each category.

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The beauty of UCOOK is that they change up their meals every now and then. That way, for families that order frequently, you get to change up your dinners. I love that! Sidenote: I would totally cheat and order this for a dinner party to just cook up myself.

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So how does it work?

You log onto https://www.ucook.co.za , browse their list of meals and order! Each meal comes with it’s very own beautifully laid out recipe card as well as it’s life span (i.e. cook within 2 days/cook within 4 days). Each meal is delivered to your door with its fresh ingredients in a brown paper bag in a cooler box. Your box will arrive on a Monday morning, ready for your week of cooking ahead! This gets scheduled on your account on the website.

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One does have to choose a minimum of 3 meals per week, however, once you’ve tried it, you’ll be quite content with that option! It really is such a convenient service. One of my favourite things about UCOOK is that it cuts out so much food wastage in my home. You decide on your portion numbers (how many people you need to feed), and they give you just enough food for a very generous meal per person. We can be so bad in our home with wasting food, and it is the one thing I just get so frustrated with myself about. This way, the ingredients are the perfect quantity for the dish you’re making, and nothing will be left behind in the fridge!

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Onto my experience… I could sum it all up in two words, ‘YUM’ and ‘GOURMET’. I’ve never had such a happy hubby after dinner. He was so excited about the meals that I chose, and when were ribs and gourmet chicken fillet not the way to a mans heart? These meals are amazing, and if following the recipe card, you just can’t go wrong! I must admit that I felt quite proud of myself after each meal, because I made something I really enjoyed and that my entire family loved too!

 

I often struggle with making sure that I have the correct amount of greens, carbs, protein, etc in each meal, and I at times overdo one and almost totally forget about the other – UCOOK has it so well planned. I was amazed at all of the delicious, HEALTHY ingredients that were in the little brown paper bag. Fresh, nutritious and clearly there for a very good reason! These meals were definitely created with families health in mind.

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I also love that they encourage good initiatives, like ‘Meat Free Mondays’ and they also have meat-free meals available all of the time! Another thing that totally amazed me was how quickly the meat cooked! UCOOK chooses the perfect cuts of meat, which are ideal for each meal. I was actually shocked at how the ribs could cook from raw to perfection in 2 minutes and how my chicken fillets were more tender than any piece of chicken I have ever cooked before in the exact amount of time they mentioned on the recipe card. UCOOK, you know how to blow this mamas mind.

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All in all, I could ramble on for ages – but I think you actually just need to try these meals yourself! They sure know how to keep up with the seasons and the healthiest, and most delicious meals. Check out their website now to see some of the most delicious meals I’ve ever seen – it’s like taking your family out to an expensive restaurant for a scrumptious meal, except now you can do it yourself, from home, without a fancy chef for half the price! https://ucook.co.za/

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I’m actually quite excited to hear your thoughts on UCOOK, because I was blown away by the service and the quality of food that was delivered to my doorstep. And hubby keeps asking me when we’re having it again – GOOD SIGN!

BE SURE TO SUBSCRIBE ON THEIR WEBSITE, AND YOU WILL GET 30% OFF YOUR ORDER WITH THE CODE: #onemodernmom

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You can also follow them on Instagram to be inspired daily by their delicious meals and photographs of their food: @ucooksa

And, also don’t forget to keep up to date with them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ucooksa/

Thank you @angievictoriarea for the photographs! You can follow me on Instagram too at @onemodernmom x

We All Need That Little Zang.

Is there possibly anything better than a piece of chocolate to indulge in with a hot cup of good coffee?

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Our lives are constantly busy, and as a mom I find myself knowing exactly what time of day it is just by how my energy levels drop at certain times. For instance, 11:30 could quite possibly result in me curled up on my bed snoring away if it wasn’t for having a toddler to keep me on my toes, but then again, I guess there’s a chance I wouldn’t be craving some extra shut eye so early on in the day without a toddler?

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However, be it a busy career driven life, an active life or just being that early bird that catches the worm – we all have a point in the day or week where we couldn’t get through the day without a cup of coffee by our side at all times of the day.

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You know, one of my biggest fears is being on the road going about my daily errands, or on a trip and craving that much needed cup of coffee and either not having time to stop, or not being near enough to a place I can quickly pick up a cup. But, then came my discovery of Zang. No, it’s not coffee. No, you don’t have to keep it in a flask for when you’re out and about, and refresh it after a couple of hours. No, you don’t have to worry about slamming on brakes and being covered and burnt by hot coffee while you’re on your way to a meeting. You can just keep a few stashed in random, convenient places (that will keep cool) – such as in your cubby hole in the car, in your bag and in your drawer at work – and the moment you’re feeling like you are in dire need of some extra energy, you simply whip out that CHOCOLATE (yes, see what I did there?) and revive yourself.

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I kid you not, each time I’ve eaten one, I have timed how long it takes for me to feel a sudden burst of energy. It isn’t that same kind of energy boost that leaves you feeling strange, shaky or as if you’ve just done some serious damage to your health – but rather, it gives you the same amount of caffeine as half a cup of coffee. In other words, just the perfect amount of caffeine to get you through your next meeting and to complete your last assignment. Within 10 minutes, without even really noticing, I had that natural energy back. That’s far quicker than an energy drink takes to kick in.

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Just like caffeinated coffee, these aren’t recommended for everyone. Kids, pregnant or lactating women, or even persons who are sensitive to caffeine should avoid these chocolates, or you can just stock up if you’re pregnant for those long days you find yourself in after sleepless nights with your newborn, and for when they become toddlers, and teenagers – you know… let’s just all be honest – you’re most likely never going to experience a full nights sleep again anyway. So, best be prepared! 😉

 

On a side note, being a mom – I have to share EVERYTHING! Even when I think I’m finally going to enjoy a treat all on my own while sneakily hiding in the bathroom, oh, he still manages to find me – and of course, I have no choice but to share. BUT, one thing Olly knows is that he isn’t allowed coffee. And being able to tell him that there is coffee in these treats means that he is well aware of the fact that he isn’t allowed them. Oh, you have no idea how good it feels to be able to sit in a public area in our home to enjoy my chocolate without being glared at by a toddler.

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I am a sucker for dark chocolate, so you can imagine my happiness when I was told that Zang has not only milk chocolate, but dark chocolate too! They come in both 14g as well as a 36g option. The 14g slab, as mentioned before is quantity to half a cup of coffee, and the 36g slab being quantity to 1 cup of coffee.

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Since being aware of Zang, I see them available at so many stores and coffee shops. And, funny thing is – they will always cross your path at the most convenient of times. So, keep those eyes peeled!
Check out their social media:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Zangchocolate/
Website: http://www.zangchocolate.com/
Instagram: @zangchocolate

Play With Your Food!

Trying to get your kids to reach for natural food rather than junk is no easy task. Luckily, I have come up with a creative way to get your kids to eat better!

 

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It seems that, in the past few years, children have started becoming increasingly picky with food – healthier foods in particular. In fact, we bet many of the parents reading this are nodding their heads furiously. If you are one of these head-nodders, we know you’re probably wondering how you could change this situation on a daily basis – right?

Well, for starters, we want to encourage you not to cave in. Don’t give your kids the food they think they want just because it is easier than many of the tantrums that can flare up with their ‘dislike’ of the meal that was freshly prepared for them.

Any child will opt for the junk if they have the choice – the processed foods, biscuits and snacks covered in sugar. Nodding again? We thought so. The kind of food that gives them a sudden burst of energy yet has the end result of them crashing out of exhaustion soon after. This isn’t going to keep them going for the remainder of the day.

This is a frightening truth as we are already living in a world that is becoming increasingly obese (children included!). From a young age, a child’s diet impacts their behaviour, brain and health choices as an adult and the first two years of their life set the building blocks for their future.

So, how do we get kids to eat good food? Well, we’ve got the answer and it comes from tapping into your creativity! Each of the health- and kid-friendly meals we’re about to show you took us a maximum of eight minutes to prepare – that’s no time at all! Your kids are bound to love these creations.

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A great idea is to recreate their favourite animal or character with food. “What about the waste?” you might ask. We took care of it – we ate all of the scraps. Let’s face it, when else does a parent find the time to eat? We would have once looked at photos like the ones in this article and pushed them aside thinking they were far too much of a mission but, to be perfectly honest, we had the time of our life creating these. Your older kids can even take a few bites and then recreate their own artwork out of their lunch. See, sometimes playing with your food is actually a good thing.

Before you get started, be sure to have a combination of fruit, protein (nuts, beans, grains, hard-boiled egg, meat, cheese, etc.) and greens at hand, and know that you cannot go wrong with colour and fun. Go wild!

P.S. If your young child doesn’t like something on one day, don’t force it – just wait a couple days and try again. Force feeding of particular foods can put a child off for life. But offer again a few days later and you may be surprised as a chid’s tolerance for textures and tastes change in a matter of days!

 

I would love to hear your feedback below!

— One Modern Mom x