Half Term Temptation

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Half Term Temptation – Can you click straight back into the good stuff?


Good God! Is it only me who really struggles with Half Term temptation? If I’m out for coffee by myself or having meetings with clients, I can generally order what I want to drink and avoid too much eye-balling of the contents of the cake counter. However, when small people are in tow, and you are trying to give them that little morale-boost to get through the end of the day’s job list or around the last half of whatever attraction you have decided to venture to today, I find it so much harder to resist. This might be because it takes my youngest son just a few moments to check they have his favourites, whereas my eldest is busy mentally calculating the surface area and overall volume of each item in the fridge, just to make sure he is getting his money’s worth (and obviously a larger portion than G!) The problem is, then it’s there on the table next to me – telling me how my coffee is far too wet without just a mouthful to mop it up, how a single bite won’t matter, they won’t eat it all anyway so you might as well help clear it up! The sad thing is, I cannot actually remember when I programmed my brain to think I couldn’t or shouldn’t have any. When did carrot cake become a sinful act? When was it decreed that millionaire’s shortbread is only for the skinnies in life who will burn it off in their lunchtime bootcamp or when they are running or cycling home from the office clad in their luminous lycra get-up? There is so much guilt surrounding food – the ‘good’ stuff, the ‘bad’ stuff - that this is one of the things I am working to change in my own life and in the lives of many of my Nutrition clients. Are you sick of it too?


Ultimately, I plan to enjoy half term with my children - as everyone should have the chance to do - whatever that means in terms of snack attacks out and about and meals that weren’t on the weekly meal plan, because that’s what holidays are all about – spontaneous, carefree behaviour!


What I have decided to focus on is being ready to kick straight back into good habits as soon as they go back to school on Monday……BUT what does that actually LOOK LIKE?  This will be different for you, and different again to that friend in the playground who you are comparing half term stories with on Monday morning – but that’s OK. It’s as it should be.


You notice I used the phrase ‘good habits’ not ‘being good’? I believe this is really important; reframe your sense of good and bad around food.


‘Good habits” for me are – planning meals for the week ahead, around crazy busy live with a million clubs and commitments that have thrown our regular teatimes out of the window. It’s all too easy to resort to grab and go kind of meals; feeding one whilst wrestling the other into cub uniform or checking swim bags as we fly out of the door munching on something to ‘keep them going’. Sitting down for 20 minutes on a Sunday morning whilst the boy do their homework gives me a chance to check the diary, work out when we are eating, where, who’s actually in for tea that night, do I have extra mouths to feed, and then decide what I can cook that will either reheat quickly, or do a couple of nights, or even lunches for me for a couple of days later in the week.


‘Good habits’ mean that, from that meal list, I can write a shopping list and often then shop online to save time, avoid extra temptation and know that I have got what I need when I need to open the fridge and throw something together.


‘Good habits’ also involve getting my head in my cookbooks at times to find some simple inspiration. I’ve always loved cooking, but sometimes the monotony of providing the family meal night in night out can rob you of the joy of time in the kitchen. I love getting re-inspired and find that, these days, it’s the one-pot cookbooks, or simple family meal books that get the most thumbed pages. Yes, I still love to get creative and fancy, but a great burger recipe, a family chilli, hearty pasta dishes or simple marinades for BBQs are such useful things to have in the repertoire, especially at this time of year when we can experience all season in one week!


‘Good habits’ are definitely anything that makes life easier. So, a trip to but plastic pots in all shapes and sizes from the poundshop (other discount stores are available obvs!), and batch cooking extras to shove in the freezer or turn Bolognese into lasagne later in the week are absolutely a lifesaver here; something my Dad taught me in the days of Vitalite pots marked with thick magic markers that lay in the freezer until we needed an emergency tea! This has become a weekly ‘go-to’ and definitely takes some of the effort out of meal-thinking!


So, what ‘good habits’ could you build into the tail end of this week, so you feel ready to face crashing back into the chaotic term-time routine? Could the 1st be just to chill out and give yourself a bit of a break about the Iced Chelsea you have just ordered to go with your skinny latte? Enjoy your half term, relax and don’t worry about what the next few days bring beyond being present with your families and relaxed about your choices.


If you need help with that by the time you get to Monday, then drop me a line and we can plan some simple changes together.


Happy holidays x