There is no greater joy in life than a good snack, in my opinion. Life is better with snacks, whether you are three or thirty three. Fact. But I’ll be honest, in the past I’ve always seen snacks as a bit of an indulgent “naughty” thing. We’re not meant to eat between mealtimes are we? Snacks are for greedy people with zero will power. Well it turns out I was completely wrong on that point.
I took Freya and Effie along to work with me during the Easter holidays, on a girls-only trip to Bournemouth to visit the Organix HQ. We had a blast, mainly because the girls were ridiculously excited to be on a mini adventure involving a hotel (The Green House Hotel is lovely if you’re after an eco-friendly boutique hotel near the beach in Bournemouth that serves amazing food, by the way). But we also came back armed with new knowledge about snacking, the importance of snacking and the dangers of choosing the wrong snacks. And this stuff applies to grown-ups too, not just the kids.
While the kids played in the dedicated garden play hut with a couple of childminders (“Way more fun than you Mummy! We didn’t miss you at all!”) the mums heard from Emily Day, the Food Development Manager at Organix as well as the brand’s nutrition adviser, Dr Frankie Phillips. We learned how rather than just being an opportunity to keep hunger at bay, snacking is a great chance to give your kids (and yourself) something nutritious. In little ones this is even more important, because their tummies are too small to take in all the nutrition their bodies need in just three meals a day. Snacks = life, quite literally.
The thing is, it’s not always easy to decide which snacks to give your kids (and, actually, this applies to me too). I have enough trouble planning our evening meals let alone planning exciting snacks throughout the day too. This is where I need quick and easy ideas, that don’t cost a fortune, to fall back on. Dr Phillips explained that snacks shouldn’t be limited to just one food group (for example, not just fruit) but should include a range of types of food if possible. Just typing this is making me hungry, by the way.
This is where “convenience snacks” come in particularly handy. I don’t have time to chop up a selection of fruit and artfully arrange it with some cubes of cheese and crackers, carrying it all up on a platter for the school run (side note: do anyone else’s kids come out of school and pre-school absolutely starving?!). Instead, I’d much rather opt for something in a packet that I can pop in my pocket or handbag. That’s not to say I do this for every snack, but for some snack situations it’s the only way.
But what if what was in that packet was actually harming my kids? What if I’d picked up a selection of kids’ crisps, for example, thinking they were the “healthy option” because they had words like “nutritionist approved” and “gluten free” but they were actually packed with just as much salt in an adults’ bag of crisps? As I’ve said before, I have no problem with “honest” bad food (i.e. food not marketing itself as the healthy option) but when I’ve paid over the odds for a supposedly healthy snack that is, actually, not healthy at all, well, that makes me mad.
This is, unfortunately, what’s happened many times in the past, simply because of the way that food is regulated in the UK. This is why Organix has put together a Junk Buster panel of mums, encouraging us to really look at the ingredients in some of the foods we buy marketed towards our kids. From just a few trips to the supermarket I’ve come to see that there’s a huge level of transparency lacking in much of the packaging around these foods.
Back to snacking then, and this is where Organix comes in. None of the snacks in the Organix range have any added “nasties” in them. In fact, the ingredients lists are amazingly short (which, by the way, is what you want from any food – the fewer unrecognisable ingredients the better). All Organix foods carry a No Junk promise, which means that not only are they not full of anything that could be BAD for your kids, they’re full of stuff that is actually GOOD for them. It’s back to that idea that snacking is an opportunity to boost the nutrition and good stuff that kids get into their bodies in a day.
The snacks pictured above are the new offerings from Organix, along with the ingredients in them. For example, the Cheesy Pea Snaps (big favourite in our house) contain 65% dried split peas, along with 17% corn, 10% sunflower oil, while the last 7% is made up of cheese powder. This is all listed clearly on the website and on the packet, showing there is absolutely nothing to hide in each cheesy pea snap!
(On a completely unrelated note – Freya got on SO well with Mel’s little girl Beanie, that she has not stopped talking about her since the trip!)
The other big hit in our snack armoury are the Cheese and Onion Lentil Hoops. In fact, I *may* have eaten a few of these packets myself. They’re properly nice – and with far less of the guilt that comes with a regular packet of crisps! They’ve been a great addition to the lunchboxes as well as an easy snack option for the walk home from school and pre-school. And although Freya may be nearly eight, she loves them just as much as her little sister.
I feel like this whole food thing is a constant lesson and I’m learning new things every day. I’m determined not to get bogged down in paranoia but at the same time, what we eat is SO important – again, I’m not just talking about the kids here.
Since that trip to Bournemouth I’ve been really aware of what foods we have in our cupboards and what I don’t want to spend money on – and, surprisingly, Simon has too. As Dr Phillips says, there’s a big difference between a “snack” and a “treat”. Snacks are for two to three times a day, but treats shouldn’t really make an appearance more than two to three times a week. Banning foods completely is never a good idea, but just being aware of what we buy and eat can make a huge difference.
See more of our trip in the little vlog I made here:
This post is written as part of the Organix #FoodYouCanTrust campaign, in my role on the Junk Buster panel. For more information about how I work with brands check out my Work With Me page.