Lately there have been mutterings in the Shearsmith household that we aren’t overly happy about the sugary intake that is going on. Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s just been Halloween but with Edith going through another phase of refusing to eat anything but sweeties, chocolate, chips and my sleep, the boys have started to notice that she gets away with rather a lot more than she should.
We’re making improvements with her, but the boys are starting to give me the side eye when they are passed the same old snacks *again* and she’s not forced to eat the half apple slice that she’s feeding to the dog. Especially Toby who shares her sweet tooth and is going through that growth spurt that seems to strike when your child hits 5 years old.
He’s gangly and he needs all the protein for growing, but there are only so many yoghurts and pieces of cheese you can shovel before you start to feel mildly resentful towards your mum! He also needs lots of energy as he’s such a lazy little so-and-so when he goes out walking, but throw the boy a football and he’s charging about like a loon for hours. Speed is his aim, so it’s my goal to make him as fast as Ronaldo … our as close as can be.
On the plane on the way to Portugal, I mentioned to Adam that I would love a bag of peanuts but I never ended up grabbing any and it got me thinking – I wonder if the kid’s would eat nuts. The boys haven’t ever really been interested in them, but that’s more for lack of giving them as a snack than anything, always preferring the healthy fruits and veggies – unless you count Edith who threw the rule book away with the dirty nappies. They have eaten them in nut roasts and Asian stir fries, but as a bag of snacks… well, they often come in bags of seeds and grains and they just aren’t that keen (neither am I!) On top of that, bags of nuts are, well dare I say it, boring. Come on, how many of us have seen anything with nuts in it marketed at children in a way that grabs both the parent’s interest for the health benefits and the children’s interest for the FUN?
Whitworth’s, a brand we all know and that I love, have solved the nutty marketing that goes on (yep, I went there) when it comes to nuts and making them appealing to both sides of the parental/child coin. They’ve created Bright Little Nuts.
These fun little boxes of nuts aren’t just cute and easy to slip into the back pack for those hunger pangs that seem to arise as soon as you get away from any shops or you left your purse at home. Brightly coloured and featuring little birds, it didn’t take long for the kids to be intrigued with what these were. They also have little cards inside, not unlike another big brand that makes children’s fruit roll ups amongst others. Toby actively collects these, always the fan and always wanting to have them read to him – a trait he gets from his dad (the collecting, not the reading – Adam’s a big boy now and he’s got that bit down pat). There is nothing like learning about how cool your body actually is – especially if you have a curious little mind and want to know all about the bubbling, sloshing, stinky contents of your bod.
So which nuts and why?
- Almond halves are an awesome source of protein, not to mention that they are sweet and easy to nibble. Protein contributes to the maintenance of muscle mass and normal bones, something all growing children need (especially during a growth spurt like Toby is having).
- Mini Hazelnuts are excellent source of copper, and I have found that telling Toby they are the perfect thing to decorate his gingerbread man with means that we avoid the sweets and have something a little bit more of a natural energy boost. Copper is essential for energy, and helps the functioning of the immune system so hopefully we can stave off the winter colds a bit better than we have done!
- Cashew nuts (my fave!) are a fantabulous source of phosphorus which is essential for the maintenance of bones. I find cashews really creamy, which makes them perfect for little ones.
Now, I know what you’re thinking – your school has probably banned nuts in lunchboxes and rightly so. No one would want to be responsible for the reaction of a child in school, but that doesn’t mean that you should discount nuts altogether. I love the fact that these are something a little bit different to what I would put in the lunch boxes, a little bit of a treat when they get in the car without being something that bores the living daylights out of us or has absolutely no benefit to them whatsoever.
Nuts are such a good source of so many things for our bodies, so give them a go and your children may well surprise you.