Are you wondering how you’re going to cope while self- isolating with the children or being in lockdown? Being cooped up in the house while trying to home-school and work from may be filling you with dread. Let’s look at ways to make this time as harmonious as possible.
Kick start the day with a healthy breakfast, older children particularly have a habit of skipping breakfast only to choose sugary snacks later on, however missing breakfast can leave them feeling irritable and lacking in focus. Encourage them to have something healthy with protein and slow release carbohydrates and either a portion of fruit or vegetables, even if it’s just some yogurt and fruit with a few seeds sprinkled on top. The advantage is you will now have extra time in the mornings now, so no excuses! Eggs are a fabulous breakfast; experiment with different omelettes, add tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms or onions. Or you could try making my home-made granola:
Easy, healthy Granola
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp honey
40g flaked almonds
40g crushed flaxseeds
40g chopped walnuts
40g pumpkin seeds
20g chopped organic apricots
Pre heat your oven to approx. 150c meanwhile melt the coconut oil in a pan. In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients together then stir in the melted oil and honey. Spread mixture on a baking try and bake for approx. 20minutes until lightly toasted. Kept in an airtight container your granola should last up to 2 weeks. Serve with natural yoghurt or coconut milk and fresh berries.
Children love to snack and will often graze all day and then refuse a healthy dinner. Provide a healthy snack but limit high sugary snacks and treats.
Let them in the kitchen
Children are often more likely to try food that they have helped create. Now is the perfect opportunity to let them loose to experiment! Younger children will enjoy making faces on pizzas or cutting sandwiches into fun shapes and older children can write their own menus and get creative. Why not use this time to plant some seeds? Children love growing vegetables and are more likely to try them if they have input into their creation! You can order everything you need online.
Food for mood.
Many of us are feeling anxious or stressed about the current situation. Choosing certain foods can help us feel calmer and lift our mood. How do you feel after Christmas dinner? Chilled right? That’s because turkey contains high levels of tryptophan. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that your body turns into serotonin the brain chemical that regulates mood and sleep. Tryptophan is also found in eggs, fish and tofu. Being Brits you don’t need me to tell you about the calming effects of a lovely cup of tea. My mother has a poster saying ‘where there’s tea there’s hope’ and I couldn’t agree more. Tea (especially green tea) contains the amino acid L-theanine. L-theanine has a calming effect on the body and can help reduce anxiety. Omega 3 is an essential fat found in oily fish. Omega 3 fats (EPA and DHA) are found in high concentration in brain tissue and low levels are assioated with depression. Oily fish includes salmon, sardines mackerel and anchovies.
When kids are at school, they are often burning off lots of energy running around with their friends at break time and doing PE. Whilst eating healthily is really important at this time, so is regular exercise! Getting out for a brisk walk and some fresh air is crucial both for the physical and mental health of all the family and to help avoid going ‘stir crazy’! 15 – 20 minute exercise routines can be done indoors and outdoors. Simple exercises like squats, press ups, star jumps and burpees for instance. Whilst these can be done indoors, if you have outdoor space then all the better!
This is also a great opportunity to get creative with active games like badminton, table tennis, tag, homemade obstacle courses (!), catch etc. The sky’s the limit! Try to set aside at least 30 minutes a day for a fun activity and another 30 minutes for a good walk or run.
Remember this time won’t last forever use this opportunity to strengthen family bonds and make some lasting memories.