It’s been a few weeks into my Mum’s United Heart Foundation challenge and I’ve been enjoying it.
The campaign is all about encouraging Australians to get healthier the easy way.
The idea is that we don't have to make difficult and expensive changes to our lifestyle – which are therefore often short-lived; but by making small, inexpensive changes. Which then hopefully become a part of life.
For us, that’s been surprisingly easy.
We started by making some treats from the Heart Foundation website.
The strawberry muffins – modified to suit what we had in our pantry, blueberries – were an instant hit. The kids at the morning tea we baked them for wolfed them down and we had had to rescue a few for the grandparents! We didn't use the almonds in the recipe either, because Chase is allergic.
We made a mixture of big and small muffins, and they were delicious!
The next day, Harmonie experimented by making another batch, but this time baking the mixture into a loaf. It was moist and delicious and just took a little longer in the oven.
Another challenge was finding healthier versions of our favourite foods.
As Mr 12 edges closer towards teenage-dom, he has developed an overwhelming love of KFC.
He’s a health-conscious child and knows he shouldn’t eat it often, so he’s been at me to come up with a home-cooked, healthier version of his favourite chicken treat.
“Ask your foodie friend if she knows how to make it,” he begged.
My 'foodie friend' is blogging legend Lorraine Elliott, of NotQuiteNigella fame.
I like to boast that I've loved her blog from before she was famous, and Chase was right, she was the perfect person to ask.
Indeed, she replied that she did have a couple of recipes for chicken that might pass for a reasonable version of KFC!
This is the one we tried ...
Ours turned out looking like this:
It was quite nice, but as Chase said, didn't really fill the Kentucky Fried Chicken craving. And to be honest, I didn't enjoy cleaning up the kitchen afterwards either!
However, we did have fun buying the ingredients and making it together, and it felt good to add a new recipe to our repertoire.
We also found a salt-reduced version of family favourite cottage pie on the Heart Foundation website. This one is a good way to get extra veggies into our diet without adding too much salt.
Ours looked like this, and we didn't notice any big difference in taste. The kids still cleaned their plates.
Served with a chunk of crusty bread
Speaking of bread, Chase has been making his own recently.
We don't have a bread maker, so he does it by hand using recipes we google off the internet.
It's surprisingly good.
He makes it at night, and leaves it in his room, which is heated, to rise overnight. It's lovely to have for breakfast the next morning.
This was the first batch he made, so it doesn't look as pretty as it can look. He sometimes makes little dinner rolls too.
We've made other changes too, like incorporating a family walk into our day - though we've had to put that on hold for a while as Harmonie recovers from shingles. She gets aches and pains in her legs and joints, and incredibly tired, and sometimes she's too worn out after a day at school. But we enjoy it when she's up to it.
And we make healthy choices when shopping by choosing Heart Foundation 'tick' products. The tick means foods must meet strict nutrition standards which limits bad things like saturated and trans fats, salt and excess kilojoules, and includes more good things like calcium or fibre.
We feel like we're a healthier family as a result, and best of all, we're spending more quality time together, exercising, shopping for ingredients, and cooking.
On a recent break away with the kids, I even joined in activities I'd planned for the kids when I'd normally just watch and take photos.
Why should the kids have all the fun?
Now it's time for you to enjoy getting healthier! Thanks to Mums United and the Heart Foundation, I have a $200 supermarket voucher to give away. To win, simply make sure you're a liker of my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Maid-In-Australia/250293071668396. Then leave a comment below and share a simple way you've made your life or you family's lives healthier. The winner will be drawn at 5 pm on Monday September 2. Good luck!
The competition has closed and the winner was MitchVee. Congratulations. Please contact me so I can organise for your prize to be sent to you.