When it comes to healthy living, I like to think we do OK as a family. We’re not complete couch potatoes, eat a fairly balanced diet and don’t tend to stockpile huge amounts of junk food. But still, we could do better.
Last week, like hundreds of other families up and down the country, we took part in the #NoJunk Challenge set by kids’ food brand Organix. The aim of the challenge was two-fold: to get us to eat healthily, cooking food from scratch and cutting out the processed rubbish, while raising awareness of the need for higher levels of regulation in the UK food industry.
So how did we do?
I’m not going to lie. It wasn’t always easy. There were times when I was ready to throw the towel in and hang up my #NoJunk boots, as I battled against pregnancy exhaustion and the lack of motivation to cook something healthy come 5pm.
But I stuck with it – we stuck with it – and, overall, I think we did OK. Every night we ate a home-cooked meal, even on Friday and Saturday evenings when we’re partial to a takeaway or one of those pizza counter pizzas you can get at Asda.
We ate a mixture of meals, from white bean and chorizo stew with fish, to baked chicken with roasted leeks, onion and cauliflower. We tucked into home-made tuna burgers with sweet potato wedges, and snacked on fresh fruit, rice cakes and dried apricots.
The NLM even whipped up a home-made chicken jalfrezi from scratch on Friday night and we feasted on fresh olives with hummus, carrots and peppers on Saturday night, along with some fancy cheese.
Where did it go wrong?
We weren’t angelic all week though. On Saturday we had a family day out to the beach and bought salty chips to eat by the sea. We also had a 99 icecream complete with flake. Oops.
On Sunday afternoon I tucked into a slice of my mum’s fruit cake. And on Saturday night I had two slices of delicious thick-cut, still-warm Tiger loaf bread from the supermarket.
But that’s as far as the food crimes went. And, you know? I think that’s OK. Afterall, they say healthy eating is all about moderation and balance.
How do I feel?
While I can’t vouch for the husband or three year old, I can safely say that I felt much, much better for eating this way.
I’ve already made an effort to cut down on bread as I’ve found it doesn’t take much to bloat me while pregnant, and last week the only bread I ate was on Saturday night – I felt a gazillion times better for it.
We don’t tend to drink fizzy drinks (except for my Friday night Schloer which replaces my much missed Friday night wine) and already drink quite a bit of water, but I made an effort to drink even more water, which made me feel pretty good too.
It was an effort at times to cook from scratch, especially on Tuesday when we get home late after a swimming lesson and Frog is at her most tantrummy due to tiredness. But I forced myself to make something from scratch and it reminded me that cooking doesn’t always have to be a time-consuming exercise. It’s just as easy to whip up a homemade pasta sauce as a shop-bought one, really.
The NLM refuses to give up his weekly Wednesday night pizza and no amount of persuading can tempt him otherwise. But he’s recently rediscovered his love of cooking and vows to make a weekly homemade curry instead of resorting to a takeaway version.
I’m going to carry on cooking family meals from scratch and have taken all shop bought pies and quiches off the menu. Ironically, although we bought lots more fruit and veg last week, our weekly shopping bill was down. So that’s another bonus we hadn’t thought of.
Overall, the week was a huge success and a reminder that a) I love bread but bread doesn’t love me b) cooking doesn’t have to be a big fat pain in the backside and c) roasted cauliflower is pretty delicious.
I’m still on the hunt for tasty, easy, healthy recipes, so would love to hear more of your suggestions. Any great recommendations for me?
Thank you to Organix for inviting me to take part in the #NoJunk Challenge. All views and words are my own. For more information about working with me please see my disclosure and PR pages.