Healthy Lunchboxes with Flora #FloraLunchbox

Flora have recently carried out research into the contents of children’s lunchboxes and the results have shown that only 1.6% of children’s lunchboxes meet school food nutritional standards.  Based on this they are now trying to encourage and inspire people to make healthy packed lunch creations that children will enjoy.

wp_20161008_07_48_44_proLook out in the supermarkets as currently a double pack of Flora comes with a free lunchbox.  My children love these lunch boxes as they look fun and there is a also a little space for their name on it.  Pack lunches and picnics are something my children have always been fond of and love the idea of their food packaged up and having a selection of little things to eat.  But ultimately they do get bored if it gets too repetitive so we try to change up the contents regularly to keep them interested and keen to eat.

I find that even the same thing on two consecutive days gets boring for little ones so it’s crucial to change it up everyday.  Whether it’s a piece of fruit or a sandwich, I try and give them a different variety each day.  So for savouries you could change up a sandwich for a roll, wrap, pitta or a pot of rice, pasta, couscous etc.  And don’t just add ham or cheese, add a few thinly sliced cucumber slices to a sandwich or diced vegetables to the rice and pasta pots.

wp_20161008_07_52_03_proFor snacks, we always include a vegetable such as cherry tomatoes, or carrot sticks with a little pot of houmous or a bunch of colourful pepper sticks.

For dessert we normally include a tube of yoghurt for ease and a small treat such as a box of raisins or a little biscuit snack.  I try and avoid chocolate at school as there is plenty of time for special treats like that on the weekends with the family.

By encouraging healthy eating during the week, it will become habit and your child will see it as their normal way of eating, which hopefully will follow through as they grow up into adulthood and become a way of life.  So think about what you put in your childs lunchbox as habits that are instilled in them when they are younger tend to stick with them for many years onward!

This post is an entry for the #FloraLunchbox Linky Challenge, sponsored by Flora. Check out their lunch planner and recipe ideas HERE.

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Holland & Barrett More Store Plymouth

Holland & Barrett More stores are the latest innovation from the brand and I was lucky to attend the launch of the new store in Plymouth last week.  Being only the third store of it’s kind in the country, it was a fantastic opportunity to see how Holland & Barrett are moving with the times and bringing a fresh, modern, innovative approach to their shops that will attract a new wave of customers of all ages.WP_20160714_10_20_41_ProThe store is huge compared to a standard Holland & Barrett shop that I’ve visited and very bright and inviting.  Being right on the doorstep of our shopping centre Drake Circus, you can’t fail to miss it and it invites you right inside to try out it’s array of interactive displays, taste it’s fresh goods, grab a pic ‘n’ mix pot of olives or nuts etc or even make your own body scrub in store ready to take away and use at home that evening!

The beauty section of the store is quite frankly huge!  Beauty isn’t something I would normally associate with  the store, but the More stores now have a large section dedicated to it, packed full of natural and organic brands, far more than I can list down here.  A few of the more prominent ones that spring to mind are Dr Organics, Burt’s Bees, Beauty Kitchen, Weleda to name a few but do check it out for yourself because the choice is vast.  Rather than products being packed into endless rows across shelves there are a lot of inviting displays eager to catch your eye, there are even opportunities for mini makeovers, hand treatments and a lot of sections where you can really see and smell the products.

holland & barrett more store 2Beauty Kitchen are a range that focus on providing 100% natural and effective skin care and body care products that smell amazing.  They have an interactive stand where you can make your own body scrub adding ingredients of your choice.  They also have lip balm kits which would make great gifts as well as an array of bath bombs and other exciting products.  The Zoya stand stood out, a vegan range of nail polish in so many gorgeous looking colours, I could wear them all.  The beauty section here has really impressed me and definitely somewhere I’ll come back to.

holland & barrett more store

Although Holland & Barrett are known for healthy foods such as seeds, nuts and dried healthy snacks, if you are vegetarian or vegan then you need to get down to the More store now!  It has aisles packed full of not only the usual seeds, pulses, dried substitutes but a whole wall of refrigerated and frozen foods.  There really is a vast choice and I spotted many of my favourite brands in both the chilled and dried aisles.  The snack selection is pretty amazing too, so I know where I’ll be popping into when I’m feeling peckish in town.holland & barrett more store 4If you thought that sounded good then wait until you witness the fresh food offerings the store has to offer.  I wasn’t expecting this lot when I walked in but there is an enormous fresh olive stand where you can pick up a pot and fill with your favourites.  Then there is the nut and seed pick and mix counter which looks truly divine.  These are perfect for a snack during the day or in the evening with a glass of wine. Then there is the Tea Bar, a utterly unique feature that allows you to lift a small glass cloche and sniff the flavoured tea that’s gently wafting inside the lid.  There is a vast range of teas to smell before you buy, with some amazing flavours to try out, such as chocolate orange.  There is also a salad dressing station where you can fill your own dressings and oils from tapped dispensers, again a unique and interesting feature. holland & barrett more store 3

I think you’ll have gathered from the above that I was rather impressed with the new Holland & Barrett More store with it’s vast range of products and modern concept of displays and interactive features.  It really has taken this shop into the future and is a place I’d love to visit  every time I venture into town.  Get down there now to check it out for yourself!

Here you can watch me talking about my thoughts on the store:

Keep you eye out for my follow up blog post reviewing the products I’ve been trying out!

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Getting in shape for the Summer!

With the Summer fast approaching, well in terms of seasons rather than the weather, it’s that time we all think about our weight and fitting into Summer clothes.  With an opportunity to lose a few pounds before hitting the beach this year I’m keen to see what foods are around to help me out.  I’m tending to have just a salad for lunch at the moment but sometimes if I’m tired the night before and don’t end up making one for work the next morning, I need something quick that I can grab and chuck in my handbag ready for lunch.

This is where Forza Stir it Slim meal replacement drinks come in handy.  A new range of slimming drinks to rival large competitors currently on the market, Forza comes with two big advantages.  To make each drink you simply stir into water, no need to shake and no need to add milk. Another big difference is that not only do they offer cold shakes but they do hot drinks as meal replacements rather than just milkshakes.

Forza

With Latte, Caramel Latte and Hot Chocolate available, I knew Hot Chocolate would be the one for me, so I gave it a try. Ideal either in the morning for breakfast or lunchtime, this is quick and simple to make and only 204 calories, but contains all the vitamins, minerals and fibre needed so you are not losing out.

So the all important, what did it actually taste like?

Well emptying the sachet into a mug, I was quite surprised and the volume of powder, but then again I guess you need that if it is replacing a light meal.  I did wonder how well it would stir in, but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised and it mixed with ease and quickly, producing a rich, creamy looking hot chocolate drink.

Then it came to taste and I can honestly say that it tasted just like a thick, rich hot chocolate drink.  I really enjoyed it and have to say, I didn’t feel at all hungry afterwards and happily went through until my next meal/snacktime.

These are definitely worth a try, so easy to use and taste great!

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Nothing But. are a range of freeze dried snacks, in fact they are literally just freeze dried fruit and vegetables in individual snack packs, obviously in combinations deemed palatable.  With a ridiculously low calories per pack, just 36 cals for the Sliced Beetroot & Parsnip, 40 cals for the Pineapple & Grape and 34 cals for the Strawberry & Banana, these are the ideal healthy snack, not forgetting the biggest bonus of all – each pack contains one of your five a day!

Nothng butPersonally I prefer the vegetable combinations of these, although my friend loves the Pineapple and Grape variety.  They are not the most filling of snacks but if you are healthy eating then these are a great addition to give keep you going through the day, whilst also giving you some of your daily nutrients.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the product in order to write an honest review.

Pulsin’ Kids Fruity Oat Bars – Review

Pulsin’ Kids Fruity Oat Bars are a new wholesome oat based bar containing real fruit that it made to be highly nutritional and a perfect snack for kids.  Coming in a variety of flavours such as Strawberry, Blackcurrant & Apple and Orange Choc Chip, there is a good choice for all tastebuds, and the biggest bonus is that each bar contains 1 of your 5 a day!

pulsin

I’ll be honest in that I’m always a little sceptical of these super healthy bars for kids, as no matter how healthy they are, if the child doesn’t like the taste, then they just won’t eat them, so I was keen to see how these faired with my two, aged 5 and 8.

pulsin 2Well I think you can tell by Miss M’s face that these are a hit!  She ate the whole bar and said she liked it.  Her favourite is in fact the Strawberry flavour whilst 5 yr old Mister B wasn’t really fussed and happy to eat any of them.  With all the benefits these have over junk food, they will always be more expensive than regular cereal type bars but if your child is getting one of their five a day, then that is worth it for me.

I think these are particularly useful for school break times, which is what Miss M has used them for.  Also good for when out and about, which is what I’ve used them for with Mister B as we are often hanging around waiting for the particularly sporty Miss M whilst she attends various after school sporting activities.

Aimed at ages 3-9 years of which my two both fit into that bracket, they are both happy to eat them.  They are suitable for vegetarians, gluten free, dairy free, soya free and contain no artificial ingredients so really fit the majority of dietary requirements.

pulsin 3I was lucky to get to try out an Almond & Raisin Raw Choco Brownie, well you give something like that to a chocoholic and it’s pretty much a given that I’ll like it!  It did taste good, but you could tell it was healthy, it was moist though and a good chunk of energy, would be great for an afternoon snack at work!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the product in order to write an honest review.

Actimel For Kids Yoga Challenge

Actimel bottles of yoghurt drink are a firm favourite with my two children, they love the taste, they love drinking out of the little bottles and they love the characters on the bottles so when we were asked to join in with the Actimel Kids Yoga Challenge I knew they’d be up for it.

actimelThe challenge provided us with a booklet of ten yoga poses of which it suggests getting the children to do two each morning to wake them up and get them feeling ready for the day ahead.  Both my children were eager to do the yoga poses and tended to do more than two each morning as when they saw each other doing one, the other had to copy!

They did make me laugh trying out the moves, but they had a good go and really enjoyed themselves.  Yoga is very calming and helps to improve focus and concentration which is just what a child needs ahead of a day at school.

Here are my two demonstrating the Crescent Moon, Downward Dog, Aeroplane and Tree poses:

actimel 2After all their hard work each morning, they were rewarded with one of their favourite Actimel drinks.  They come in various fruity flavours although we love the strawberry ones. As well as yoghurt each drink is packed with billions of L.casei live cultures, fruit puree, calcium, vitamin D and protein.  They are great for pack lunches too, and I often include them in their school bag as a lunchtime treat.

actimel 3Why not get your kids in on the challenge and try out a couple of yoga poses each morning to get them feeling ready for the school day ahead?

We were sent some goodies/vouchers in exchange for sharing our yoga challenge with you.

Fruit Bowl Snacks for Kids – Review

Fruit Bowl offer an incredibly appealing range of prepacked snacks aimed at children, with the bonus of being healthy, in fact most of them provide 1 of their 5 a day portions of fruit.  There are various varieties of snacks from fruit shapes, to fruit peelers and fruit bars.  There are also yogurt coated fruit pieces although these only count as half of 1 of your 5 a day.

My children’s eyes lit up when they saw the selection of snacks we received from Fruit Bowl to try as they do love their snacks and are keen on fruit.

Fruit bowl 2The Fruit Bowl Fruit shapes come in jungle or sea varieties and both of these were a big hit with my children.  They love eating them and view them as a pack of sweets even though they contain 1 of their 5 a day.  Made with apple, pear, strawberry and blackcurrant juices and containing no added sugar, these really are a handy but healthy snack.

Their other favourite were the Fruit peelers, which come in strawberry, raspberry and blackcurrant varieties, these are easy to eat and peel down into six thin strips.  My children were really keen on these and it’s such an easy way to boost their fruit intake in a day.

fruit bowl 3School Bars are a chunky, fruity bar ideal for pack lunches.  My two did find these a little hard to bite and were ok with the strawberry and raspberry flavours but not so keen on the apple and blackcurrant variants.

Yogurt Raisins were a big hit with Mister B and he probably could have eaten them endlessly if I’d let him.  He loves raisins anyway, so covered in yogurt just makes them extra tasty.

Being pre packed, I found Fruit Bowl snacks really handy for when out and about.  They are also useful for pack lunches but I found them most invaluable when on days out at the weekend, after school activities and days with Mister B when he’s not at nursery.

I can always carry a few packs in my handbag, particularly the shapes and peelers in my children’s cases as these were their preferred options, but being fruit based they couldn’t melt or get crushed.  All importantly though, I know that I’ve always got a healthy snack on me for them that I know they’ll enjoy.  I’d definitely recommend trying Fruit Bowl if you haven’t already,  a healthy option that kids love!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and some Fruit Bowl snacks were sent to us in order to write the review.