Following on from my blog post last week on ‘Detoxing the Pantry’ with wholefoods for the entire family, I had quite a few questions from mums asking me how to best navigate through the numerous products sitting on a supermarket shelves and locate the ‘good’ (real) stuff, particularly when it comes to school lunch boxes.
As most of you ladies know, I’m a huge fan of making the bulk of our meals and snacks from scratch, but in this day and age – pre-packaged foods can certainly help in terms of time and efficiency. So long as you choose the RIGHT ones. I gave you a quick glimpse into HOW to navigate the food labels during my shop today on Insta Stories and it generated MASSIVE interest and numerous emails! So, I thought I’d pull together a quick blog for you.
I prepare five lunch boxes most days and as three of them go to school and kindy (hello nut free, egg free, dairy aware SIGNS EVERYWHERE!), I’ve had to get creative (nuts and eggs are a staple in our house!) and also really take a good look at what pre-packaged items I include in them. In terms of bread, I aim for good quality grains and rotate it each week for variety. My favourite grains are wholemeal, spelt, rye and oat bread and the kids enjoy a sandwich or wrap, each day. I load up the rest of their lunch boxes with fruit, yoghurt, dried fruit, popped corn, bliss balls (based on seeds rather than nuts) and crackers.
When it comes to choosing which yoghurts, popped corn and crackers – one of the biggest tips I can give you beautiful mummies (and I’ve been saying this for almost four years now) is to READ THE INGREDIENTS LABEL. Forgot about the nutritional panel. Read what’s in the product. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient, you don’t know what a word is or there are “numbers” to hide those nasty flavour enhancers and artificial colourings etc – put it back on the shelf. It doesn’t have a place in your body, or your family’s. Simple.
Reading ingredient labels is a habit for me now. I’m that nerdy mum in the supermarket who actually enjoys catching the big brands out. I really don’t understand why packaged ham needs to have 18 ingredients in it, or why a kids yoghurt needs 12 ingredients or even better, why simple rice crackers need to have ‘numbers’ on them instead of stating the ingredient. That one there is a big one for me. Because my kids would eat rice crackers for breakfast, lunch and dinner if they could. And, well as I’m a huge “platter fan” on the weekends, my husband and I devour them.
The only brand you’ll find in my pantry is Sakata. For the simple reason, that it’s the only major brand in Australia that contains NO artificial colours, flavours or added MSG across its entire range. MSG, again – another big one for me. It is still hidden in so many products that happily sit there on the supermarket shelves, waving happily at you in their fancy ‘healthy looking’ packaging.
What we fuel our bodies with affects us. Emotionally and physically. And as my kids have been fairly consistent “clean eaters” since they were babies, I can see their reactions to the ‘fake’ stuff almost immediately. Yes, they enjoy ice-cream and hot chips (so do I! Mmmmm ice-cream) now and again – I believe our bodies do need to be able process little bits of the junk every so often. But, when it comes to sneaky ‘additives and basically, chemicals’ in foods that marketed as everyday ‘healthy staples’ – it’s just not good enough. And, it makes it all damn well confusing. So today, I wanted to give a shout out to the awesome folk over at Sakata. And, over the next few months – I’m going to be revealing even more of my favourite pantry staples and naming the exact brands that I use. I’m kicking the blog series off with rice crackers, because I believe they are an everyday staple that a lot of mums purchase on a weekly basis.
Start to become an educated shopper. Start to read ingredient labels and take them seriously. Because those hidden numbers and artificial flavours and enhancers have a lot to answer for in our current health industry.
Before I sign off, as always – I love to share either a recipe or workout with you on each blog! Seeing as though I’m on my rice cracker train this week, I thought I’d share our family favourite and oh so simple, creamy cashew & sundried tomato hummus dip. I often make little pick plates on the weekends and load them up with simple, yet tasty food for the little people to enjoy.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
Big love, Kimberley.
*Note – I only work with companies that align with my brand. At this point in time, i’m currently collaborating with Sakata.
1 x cup organic chickpeas
½ x cup cashews
½ x cup sundried tomatoes
1 x tbs olive oil
1 x tbs tahini
1 X sml clove garlic
1 x juice of a fresh lemon
¼ x cup water (or enough for desired consistency). Blitz and serve with your favourite SAKATA rice crackers, mini sandwiches, veggie sticks and fresh fruit.