Your tool box

Tool #1

Conquering the Friday night munchies

Even if you have been super well behaved at dinner and are feeling full to the top after a satisfying well balanced meal; the chances are soon after, you’ll still be hunting for a an extra hit to top it off. Whether your after-dinner craving is for something sweet, like chocolate, or you prefer a closer of cheese and crackers, more often than not there’s a, “plus one” coming along to the (after) party.

Habit plays a huge part when it comes to capping off a meal with a treat, especially if you were brought up that way. And you will never feel complete until you have put that cap on it. As well as that, treats also boost our happy hormone – serotonin. Habit + Happy Hit = a hard urge to resist, despite how full you are.

Use these tools:

Close the (kitchen) door on it.

  • Set some limits and make a rule that once the dinner dishes are washed, there is no going back in the kitchen. Not only will this stop any before bed binging or mindless munching, it will also give your body time to digest your food before bed allowing you to fall sleep more easily and to sleep much better throughout the night.
  • Go one step further and make a sign that says “NO ENTRY” and after those dishes are done stick it on your fridge or pantry… or both! This will stop any sneaky wandering hand that you sometimes just can’t control. This will also instil good habits in to any older kidlets, in a fun way!
  • Change your evening routine. If you tend to finish dinner, turn on the TV and sit on your butt for the rest of the evening, change it up. Make it story sharing time with the kids, get them to tell you the story of what happened in their day and one thing they were grateful for in there day. This creates a real ‘feel good’ vibe to end the day on.
  • If your bubs are too little for this and tend to be in bed by this time, no doubt you count this as your down time and likely reward yourself with a nibble or a wine at this time, am I right?? We don’t want you to feel deprived or to miss that all-important downtime; it’s about shifting the mindset of what that reward looks like. Rather than a glass of wine, why not enjoy a nice relaxing bath, instead of that block of chocolate why not enjoy your favourite organic herbal tea and swap that cheese platter for one to an hour with a good book. It may feel odd to begin with but changing it up keeps it feeling special, as well as keeping it clean.
  • This is the oldest trick in the book and you know what they say about the oldies being the goodies. After dinner – brush your teeth. Yes it is as simple as that. The chances of you reaching for anything sweet, savoury or otherwise naughty after that are unlikely.

If you must..

Let’s face it; despite all of the above sometimes an actual dessert, whatever form that might be in, is the only thing that is going to cut it. And in that case, here is my guide to the best of the bunch.

  • If sweetness is your weakness, make some choc-dipped strawberries by melting chocolate that’s at least 80% cacao, then dipping fresh strawberries in it before placing on a lined tray in the fridge to set. Portion them up and enjoy just one or 2 at a time.
  • If you need a salty hit to top of your night, pop some popcorn kernels on the stove using a little coconut oil, or organic butter, then sprinkle with some organic sea salt, wayyy tastier than chips and guilt free!
  • If you are usually undecided and god forbid munch your way through a sweet and salty platter post dinner, try a spoonful of organic nut butter. Even better, scoop your spoonful into a small bowl and stir in the teeniest bit of melted coconut oil mixed with cacao. Make it last longer by eating it with a tiny spoon or a toothpick – trust us!
  • If cheese and biccys is your thang,a scoop of cottage cheese with a sliced apple should do the trick. If you usually have a glass of red with that, add a few red grapes!
  • If you are a wine girl, why not go for the real thing – a vine of frozen grapes is just as satisfying and will probably last longer. Plus you will have the added benefit of better sleep and less hangovers.
  • If you are a comfort hunter, try chia seed pudding – simply pop a tablespoon or two of chia seeds in a cup, cover with coconut milk, sprinkle with cinnamon and allow to set in the fridge for 10 minutes. Makes a creamy, yummy pudding.
  • Chocoholic? We will let you in to a secret – we are too! Go for Lindt 90% dark chocolate. It’s impossible to have more than a few squares of this super rich treat, which is also incredibly low in sugar!

Tool #2

Survive the social scene

OK I get it, as a mum grown-up social occasions are few and far between compared to what they once were. It means so much more being social these days and saying no to an opportunity for Friday night champers is getting pretty hard, right?

I don’t want you to feel as if you are missing out and you shouldn’t have to. It’s all about creating a healthy attitude towards healthy eating, working out, and being mindful. Not about being or looking perfect, or obsessing about any of these things. Consistency is key and being consistent but balanced with your nutrition, and exercise will leave you feeling happy, strong, empowered and alive.

I want you to say a big YES to every social invitation that comes along (the ones you’d like to and can attend anyway), but at every opportunity, turn those outings into nourishing occasions, either for your body and for your mind.

My tools for doing it:

  • It is time for a date with your existing better half or a new man. Suggest something that fits with your goals, maybe an active date like a Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) session and picnic, or do your research on a healthy brunch/dinner spot
  • Your girlfriends want to go dancing. Give yourself a limit of one or two drinks but don’t miss out on all the fun, sip on mineral water with ice, mint and lime in between alcoholic drinks, or grab some sweet, rehydrating coconut water. If anyone starts giving you a hard time, tell them you have an early start with the kids (this is one of the many benefits of being a mumma;)).
  • Dinner with friends at their choice of restaurant. Check out the restaurant’s menu before you go and decide what you’ll order before you even get there. Refer back to our eating out guide from sugar free week to ensure you are making the right choices.. When it comes to the wine, sip slowly on one luxe glass of red wine, before switching to water. And for dessert, make it all about the sharing – split a delicious dessert with your partner, a friend, or better yet – the whole table!
  • A work function. Make a conscious decision to stick to 1 or 2 glasses of alcohol, ideally champagne, red wine, or clear spirits and sip on water or sparkling in between. When it comes to those delicious snacks circulating, avoid the fried ones and reach for the fresh options – trans fats from fried foods can stick in your cells for AGES, we’re talking a year or so here, so they’re not worth it. That doesn’t mean you can’t still fill up on the rest, there are always a few protein and vegetable options. One thing you might want to do is actively take note of how many bits ‘n’ pieces you’re picking up – it’s so easy to loose count, but as a guide 4-6 should be about perfect.
  • A super special occasion. Whether it’s your best girl’s birthday, a romantic anniversary, or dinner with your sister who’s just found out she’s pregnant, special occasions are “enjoy the moment” kind of events. Enjoy it, let go, eat mindfully and enjoy every single mouthful! Do take note of your body and what it’s telling you – stop when you’re full, sip on water when you need it, say ‘no’ to the waiter filling up your wine when you start to feel its effects.

Tool #3

Getting convenience right

Being a mum is tough and by Friday evening you may not feel like cooking or socialising and grabbing something quick and easy from the supermarket to simply satisfy that hungry tummy is all you can manage. And hey, that’s fine. Just make sure that on those occasions you are making the right choices.

That is why my third tool is here to guide you through the tricky path of reading food labels.

  • First things first, when you’re checking food labels you should always look at the per 100g column, NOT the per serving column because the serving size is determined by the manufacturer and therefore not consistent. For example, Special K has a serving size of 30g and if you actually measure that out, you’ll see it’s a super teeny-tiny amount and any adult would actually eat a lot more than that (but not BUFmums, coz we don’t eat packaged cereal if we can help it, right 😉
  • When it comes to SUGAR, ideally look for products with 5g or less per 100g but in reality, so long as it has single digits (less than 10g), you’re doing OK. More than 15g/100g is quite a high sugar product, which is interesting because most muesli has at least 30g-plus! Keep this in mind with specialised children’s food as well, if your kids are bouncing off the walls or have disturbed sleep patterns it could have something to do with sugar laden products masquerading as the good guys.
  • When it comes to CARBS, it depends on what your goals are. If you’re keen to shift some weight, eating low-ish carbs is important, so you’d want to aim for products with between 0-20g of carbs per 100g. You’d also want to make sure you’re eating 100g-150g of carbs in total per day, so watch your portions. Lastly, make sure any grains you eat are unrefined, whole grains (wild rice, quinoa, amaranth, steel cut oats are all good examples of this. Pasta and bread do not fall into this category, unfortunately). If you’re looking for maintenance, or to keep your energy levels up, don’t’ worry too much about the amount of carbs in a product, just reach for those closest to their original state, i.e. steel cut or rolled oats, wild rice, pre-soaked quinoa, amaranth or millet. Between 250g to 350g per day is a good average guide for active women looking to maintain.
  • A bit of a tough one is FAT. Healthy, natural fats in the diet will actually help keep you lean, boost your immune system and improve brain function, so don’t bother too much about reading the fat content of products you know are healthy (raw nuts, avocado, organic yoghurt, grass-fed meats, fish). It’s usually carbs and unnatural fats (think deep fried foods, donuts, biscuits, chips, margarines and processed oils, sweets) that stack on the weight, NOT normal, healthy fats so the only thing you should really pay attention to is whether the product contains trans fats, or altered fats. When it comes to packaged products, you don’t want to see more than 1.5g of saturated fats per 100g.
  • Sodium, otherwise known as SALT is another one to look out for. As a general guide, less than 300mg of sodium per 100g is A-OK, but the lower the better really.
  • Also make sure you check the FIBRE content of your foods. This is perhaps the only nutrient that’s worth checking out ‘per serve’, rather than per 100g. Any product with more than 3g fibre per serve is a winner. If you are struggling with any post baby constipation issues (we all know that joy, right)? Be lead by your doctor on the fibre content.
  • Try and choose products with as few ingredients as possible, which are close to their natural state. An apple is an apple but what exactly is apple-caramel-splice-treats? Basically, if your granny doesn’t recognise an ingredient, it’s gotta go!
  • Don’t be fooled by ‘Low Fat’ products. The full fat, less tampered with products usually contain less sugar and more nutrients. They also help with satiety. Make sure you take a peek at the sugar column of the next low-fat yoghurt you pick up; chances are it’ll be packing 25g-plus of the white stuff!