• Should I count calories for my children?

    You can’t read the news without seeing that obesity in children has reached epidemic levels. In a study undertaken in November 2016, childhood obesity among 4-5 year olds hit 9.3%, rising slightly on the year before.

    Lots needs to be done to tackle the problem of obesity in childhood, such as more restrictions on junk food advertising and encouraging more physical activity, but should counting calories be something to do for children?

    In a word, no.

    If you are concerned that your child may be overweight, it can be helpful to track what your child is eating, but more to make sure that they are getting all of the nutrients that they should be.

    Keeping a food diary can help you to see what your child is actually eating against a healthy diet.

    Worries that your toddler is ‘a bit chubby’ should not be a concern! Making sure that they eat a balanced diet with a healthy dose of exercise will usually mean that your child is consuming and burning what they should do. They are still growing and learning so much on a daily basis, and they need lots of lovely energy to do that.

    Restricting any food groups (other than those high in sugar or fat) will lead to lower energy levels, which can be dangerous to your child’s development, and also lead to a lot of “I’m hungry” whinging!

    So swap sweet foods such as biscuits and cakes for low salt, low sugar and more wholesome alternatives such as fresh smoothies packed full of fruit and veggies to keep your little ones topped up.

    Of course, the odd treat here and there is allowed too, as long as these remain extras and are not substitutes for your child’s main food.

    This is a broad guideline of a child’s calorific needs:

    Never let your kids calories count – it’s not necessary! But a broad guide is this…​

    Age:
    1 -3: 1,230 for boys, 1,165 for girls
    4 -6: 1,715 for boys, 1,545 for girls
    7 -10: 1,970 for boys, 1,740 for girls
    11 -12: 2,200 for boys, 1,845 for girls

    Find out more about being food smart at Change 4 Life .

  • bubble fun Activities to entertain a toddler

    Help, I have a toddler!

    Did you wake up one morning and think…OMG where did this toddler come from?

    Were you caught up in the blur of feeding routines and nappy changes that before you knew it, a game-changing toddler appeared?

    We are not for a second trying to suggest that looking after a young baby is easy, just that they usually stay put. They can be relatively easily placated.

    A toddler? Well, let’s just say it’s little wonder parents of toddlers are in bed not long after their little ones. Or much later as they put their house back together!

    bubble funIf you thought the baby phase was tiring, the toddler phase will have you reminiscing of those days you used to just sit down. In silence.

    As toddlers discover their increasing independence, they will understand a lot of what they’re hearing but won’t always be able to communicate what they want. So when it comes to meal times, this can be particularly challenging!

    Talking, singing, reading exploring, eating, playing indoors and outdoors, napping, creating, getting messy, helping…these are all things that will help stimulate, educate and entertain your toddler. Everything you do is an experience.

    playdoh

    An essential tip – allow twice as long for everything! Everything takes longer than it ever did before.

    Here’s some ideas to help keep you going through the toddler years….

    • Chores can be fun. Don’t think of these things as chores to be done before you go and play. Chores are play! Helping strip beds (make time for bouncing, hiding in covers, playing superman with pillow cases, pillow fights, snuggles, cuddles and tickles).
    • Washing baskets make great cars. If it keeps your little one entertained for 5 minutes, embrace it!
    • They can join in with washing up. Once you’ve got the pots and pans cleaned, get you toddler to stand on a stool and wash their plastic plates and Doddl cutlery. Always have an old floor towel ready to wipe up inevitable spills quickly.
    • Creative play is fun. Playdoh, crayons, paints, spaghetti hoops and jelly in the bowl – all helps develop fine motor skills.
    • Play in the bath. Take up plastic tubs, pots, watering cans, sponges, plastic cars. Anything can be fun to play with!
    • Do something outside everyday. Plant something, go to the park, take a walk, play with ride-ons, kick a football, go to the beach, chalk on the patio or drive, play in a sandpit, wash the car, post a letter, walk to the shop, feed the ducks, kick a ball, rake the leaves, build a snowman, go for a picnic, go for a boat ride, a bike ride, blackberry picking, collect wild flowers, leaf collecting and make a collage, learn to cross the road safely, go for an ice cream!
    • Keep one of your kitchen cupboards child-friendly. They can open it, empty it and play with child-friendly utensils again and again.
    • A box of dress ups is always fun. Don’t throw away old hats and scarves – toddlers love dressing up in fun items. It really pushes their creativity and imagination.
    • Rotate their toys. It stops them and you getting bored. It’s always fun to rediscover long-forgotten toys.
    • Always have entertainment and food options in your handbag. A car, a doll, snacks, drinks, a notebook and pen.
    • Playdates are essential for toddlers and adults.  Invite friends over and any parents you get to know from nurseries or play groups. It will keep you sane and help your child to learn to share.

    As you can see, having a toddler means that you need to rethink situations and how you approach them!

  • Vegetable planting to teach your child where food comes from.

    Planting some of your own veg is a great way to get kids engaged in what they eat.  It’s fun, tasty and truly organic.  It’s also not overly difficult (our favourite kind of activity!) and outside, so any mess can be left at the back door.

    You can plant in anything too so you don’t need loads of equipment.

    You’ll need…

    1. A container of any kind – hunt around your garden for old pots not used anymore
    2. Soil/fertiliser – available at most supermarkets or garden centres
    3. Stones (for drainage) – get some from your garden
    4. Plant food – just like us, they need to eat to grow

    And some really simple instructions:

    • Put stones at bottom of container
    • Add soil
    • Add seeds
    • Water
    • Feed weekly (or when you remember)

    Here is a handy guide to get you started…

    Carrots

    When to sow: April

    When ready: September

    How to tend: Use sandy soil (add sand to pots)

    Space needed: 20cm between seeds

    Depth of soil: ½ cm

    Peas

    When to sow: March/April

    When ready: June/July

    How to tend: Use loam soil 

    Space needed: 5-10cm between seeds

    Depth of soil: 6cm

    Potatoes

    When to sow: March/April (sow in a grow bag and invest in some canes)

    When ready: 3–4 months after sowing

    How to tend: Lots of manure!

    Space needed: 25cm between seeds

    Depth of soil: 10cm

    Tomatoes

    When to sow: March/April (sow in a grow bag and invest in some canes)

    When ready: July/August 

    How to tend: Sun, ideally a green house!

    Space needed: 30-40cm

    Depth of soil: 1cm

    When to sow: April/May (get plants from garden centre) – put straw under fruit to stop rotting before it ripens

    When ready: June/July/August 

    How to tend: Well drained soil and sunlight

    Space needed: 10cm

    Depth of soil: 8cm

    Simply harvest when ready. It’s a Doddl – give it a go!

  • Keeping track of your weaning journey

    When your baby was all shiny and new we’re sure that you had times where you couldn’t remember what time you’d last changed their nappy, given them a bottle or put them down for a nap.

    There’s so much to remember that it happens to the best of us!

    So when it comes to introducing solids, you’ll be trying so many different foods it’s understandable that you might also forget what your little one had eaten, how much had actually gone in (and not on the floor), and whether they’d liked it.

    As busy working Mums ourselves, we know how overwhelming this can be, and that’s when we’re lucky enough to be getting a bit more sleep!

    3 kids

    To combat this, we kept scrappy notes that we quickly lost or that got covered in mushed up broccoli.

    We also tried various apps on our phones to help us track patterns, but inevitably found that this led to getting easily distracted on social media instead of actually making the notes. As advocates of ‘no-tech’ at the dinner table, we found that this began contradicting our values for family mealtimes.

    Enter the tiddler weaning tracker, from tiddlers & nippers.

    Born out of exactly the same experience, tiddlers & nippers journals started by trying to keep some order following the arrival of a new baby. The inventors couldn’t find a physical product that combined functional format and good design to do the job, so they came up with their own range of baby and toddler tracking journals.

    In a world where technology is beginning to take over every aspect of our lives, there is a resurgence of making notes and appreciating stationery. Journaling is very on trend at the moment as a way to bring structure and routine, as well as to record and keep special memories that we might otherwise forget.

    The tiddler weaning tracker does just this. Keeping a journal of baby’s transition from milk to solids, with space for logging each new taste and reaction whilst baby is being weaned, as well as sleeping pattern, feeding routine, and nappy changing frequency helps to bring order to the chaos that can sometimes ensue with babies and toddlers!

    We think this idea is a great partner to our educational children’s cutlery as part of your weaning toolkit, allowing you to keep a handy record of what your little one eats, likes, dislikes and also any changes in sleeping pattern or fluid intake.

    So we thought we’d buddy up with tiddlers & nippers to give you the chance to win a set of our Doddl children’s cutlery, and one of their clever Weaning Trackers.

    Enter below for your chance to win with Doddl and tiddlers & nippers

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • Pancake Day ideas for toddlers

    We love a good pancake.

    Delicious, easy to make, and usually a hit with the whole family, pancakes are also brilliant for baby-led weaning and little toddler hands too. Continue Reading

  • Some tips for handling food and toddlers!

    As busy working parents ourselves, we know that unpredictable toddlers and their food habits can be, well, challenging to say the least.

    Just as you think they have them all figured out, they go and throw a spanner in the works and change their minds all over again! And usually, just as you’ve stocked up on whatever their ‘favourite’ thing was (this week).

    We thought we’d put our heads together and share with you a few hacks we’ve learned along this wild journey of parenting when it comes to getting toddlers to just eat their tea…

    • Master the three t’s – Taste, texture and temperature are all really important when it comes to fussy eaters. Anything slightly different can cause a meltdown, so make sure it’s all mixed thoroughly to help prevent fussiness.
    • Do add spices – Wse a hint of chilli, curry powder and other spices to your cooking to get them used to eating foods with flavour that’s just sugary sauces.
    • Go easy on the salt – In fact, avoid it completely if you can.
    • Leave food prejudices at the door – Don’t influence your kids by telling they will or won’t like something – let them try and see what they like.
    • Don’t mention healthy – Don’t focus on food being healthy. Present it. Enjoy it. Eat it.
    • There are no alternatives on the menu – Make sure they realise that this is dinner – there is no substitute. No child EVER deliberately starved themselves. Bring forward the next meal if they refuse. Remember sometimes they might simply not be hungry.
    • Tickle tastebuds by presenting food in fun ways –  Make food into a funny face, separate it by colour, provide pots of fruit or cheese, cut sandwiches into interesting shapes etc.
    • Make eating a game – Ask, “can you eat like a… dinosaur… a rabbit… a tortoise” etc.
    • Try and eat together at a table – No TV or screens for anyone. It’s a good habit and gives you time as a family to talk, to have fun, ask questions and more.
    • Try again with previously rejected foods – Keep putting it on the plate and encourage small tastes – they may end up actually enjoying it. Did anyone really like mushrooms when they were small?
    • Offer limited choices – Carrots or peas, broccoli or beans?
    • Be prepared – Fill the fruit bowl so there’s always a healthy choice at hand.
    • Get the kids involved in food prep – Kneed pizza dough and freeze in individual balls. Kids love making their own pizzas and can use our cutlery to help chop up the toppings too.
    • Keep them hydrated – Have a jug of water on the table at dinner times and offer water before juice!

    What hacks have you discovered over the years?

     

     

  • healthy eating Healthy eating: Easy midweek family recipes

    So here we are; January.

    After the fun and frolics of the festive season, it’s time to put down the boxes of chocolates, start making ‘to do’ lists, and get your family’s healthy eating back on track.

    We have pulled together a few ideas of easy midweek family recipes to give your healthy eating goals a kickstart for the New Year.

    Meatballs and pasta – this quick and easy option is suitable for all the family and a firm favourite in our house.

    Chicken & sweetcorn egg-fried rice – super cheap and can be adapted for even the youngest tastebuds, this is packed full of veggies for extra goodness.

    Crunchy fish fingers – ditch the frozen options and whip up this low fat healthy alternative.

    Chicken curry – January doesn’t have to mean the end of food with a bit of taste! This chicken curry is child-friendly, and if you want to use a reduced fat coconut milk, you can make it more healthy too.

    Field, flat and wild mushroom tagliatelle – Grown up dining that only takes 15 minutes to rustle up – perfect for veggies too.

    One pot minestrone soup – This is the perfect comfort food and really simple to tweak according to what veggies you have in.

    Lean turkey burgers – Suitable for bigger plates, but can be made up in smaller sizes for little hands too. Serve with salad.

    Bon appétit and a happy 2017 to you all!

  • cooking with kids Our tips for cooking with kids this Christmas

    Kids in the Kitchen

    During the Christmas holidays, once the excitement of the big day has started to lessen, you may want to let your children cook with you as a way to keep them entertained.

    There are lots of benefits of cooking with children, and toddlers just love to help out.

    In fact, it’s fair to say that toddlers will benefit from the value of an activity regardless of what they produce.

    That said, no one (least of all them) wants to put all that effort into making something only for it to be inedible!

    For a baby less than 12 months

    A one year old will happily amuse herself with a box of raisins or some cereal whilst sitting in their high chair. Give them an egg carton or small plastic tubs to empty and refill and you might even have chance to drink a hot cup of tea!

    Cooking with toddlers

    The toddler wants more!

    cooking with kids

    Our top tip is…

    PREPARATION! PREPARATION! PREPARATION!

    • Have all ingredients prepared ready to simply mix/cook!
    • Buy/make cupcakes ready just to decorate (with the prepared icing and toppings)
    • Get toddlers to use their Doddl knife for cutting
    • Tear up ingredients if easier e.g. lettuce
    • Shake dressings in plastic sealed containers
    • Definite boundaries – what they can and cannot touch and why
    • Use fun shaped cutters for sandwiches, biscuits and pie toppings (who doesn’t love a toddler’s finishing touch!)

    Have fun!

  • Mess-free Christmas mealtimes (kind of)

    Mess-free Christmas mealtimes (kind of)

    As a parent, you can’t guarantee that you’ll be early for anything again, or that you’ll have had a good night’s sleep, but there’s one thing that’s a given when it comes to babies and toddlers… MESS.

    Mess is just part of the job description.

    via GIPHY

    And whether we like it or not, it’s also part of our child’s development.

    When it comes to our little ones though, we always like inventions to help to reduce just a little bit of the inevitable mess.

    In fact, that’s why we made Doddl childrens cutlery; to make mealtimes easier (for both kids and parents).

    The way we have designed our cutlery helps children to hold and direct the utensils, meaning that more food goes into the mouth, and less on the floor. Well that’s the idea anyway!

    So when we came across Hippychick’s Lite Cup and Splat Mat, we loved the concepts.

    The Little Lite Cup offers mess-free drinking preventing tips with no fiddly spouts or straws to clean. It also has an in-built night light to avoid spills in the middle of the night.

    The Bumkins Splat Mats protect floors and tables during feeding time, so if by any chance your little one did drop something from their Doddl cutlery, you can catch it easily.

    Put the three products together this Christmas and you’ll give yourself the best shot at reducing some of the mess in your house.

    We’ve teamed up with Hippychick to offer you the chance to win all 3 products! Click here to enter.

    hippychick competition

  • Making life easier for parents this Christmas

    In the run up to silly season, life as a parent can already be hectic enough.

    The school plays, parties, shopping and all of those social arrangements, and that’s just the kids!

    With the prospect of rushing around like a headless chicken (or maybe that should be turkey?), we’re sure, like us, you’d welcome something to help you make the run up to Christmas a little easier this year?

    In fact, as the strapline suggests, Doddl was invented to make mealtimes easier, so we positively celebrate other things that we discover to make other situations easier for parents!

    childrens cutlery

    When we discovered the KidloLand preschool app that not only teaches children through songs, activities and games, but also helps us to make our lives easier, we jumped at the chance to partner up.

    KidloLand activities

    Both Doddl cutlery and KidloLand are both safe for babies and toddlers to use but also help to educate children. Our cutlery helps children to learn to self-feed through the development of their fine motor skills, and that’s exactly what KidloLand also does (when it’s also keeping them quiet).

    We can think of lots of situations as we approach Christmas when we might need to keep our preschoolers busy for a few more minutes…

    So for traveling to relatives, waiting in queues, getting dressed up for a party, or even on shopping trips, we can’t recommend the colourful and educational activities in the KidloLand app more!

    It’ll keep them busy and you won’t have the guilt of plonking them in front of the TV…

    KidloLand is available for iOS and Android – available on iTunes, Google Play Store or Amazon Appstore.

    WIN A FREE 3 MONTH SUBSCRIPTION TO KIDLOLAND!