Let me start off the “New Year” with a bug bear that is niggling away at me right now. The latest idea in the UK is that “children should be eating only 2 snacks per day (equivalent to 100 calories)”. Yes, some great ideas, but not really workable at this time of year when there is so much chocolate and sweets in the house from all the selection boxes and gifts of chocolates which families receive as presents.When you look at the calories in each bar of chocolate you realise that you can’t implement this idea, at this time of year. This post is about ideas for baking with the Christmas chocolate and why I disagree with this the above statement (especially in my household).

Chocolate Bars

In my house, all the left over chocolates from “Christmas” which the children and husband need to plough through at the moment is unbelievable. I am not a great chocolate lover myself, but my husband, who runs every day,  does enjoy chocolate and makes sure to take some to work as his snack, for the next couple of weeks. Anything helps to reduce the mountain of chocolate, so I will be using some in my baking, for a couple of weeks, to help the children consume what there is left as before you know it will be Easter and there will be more chocolate but not as much as we have in the house at this time of year (wishing my life away now).

My children, to begin with at “Christmas” time, will tuck into chocolate bar after chocolate bar and I will let them, as long as they don’t overindulge to the point of missing out a meal or making themselves sick which touch wood they have never done yet. I sometimes have to remind them that “enough is enough” but looking at them now watching the TV – the two youngest ones are not going anywhere near the chocolate which is sat right in front of them.

My children have been bought up to have everything in “moderation” as I feel you shouldn’t deny yourself any foodstuff because you will just crave it more. I don’t count calories or diet but try to lead by example and love my body shape and size, especially as I have two very impressionable teenage daughters in the house. My children all eat quite sensibly although some are more faddier than others – my son lives on cereal, pasta, fruit and wraps with Nutella. He will not eat a single dinner unless it has pizza or pasta on the plate. I know his tastes will change as they have with my other children over the years, so in the meantime, I will just persevere and keep getting him to try different foods. I have one daughter who will eat any meal I make but at the same time she is the one who would quite happily eat the chocolate till it comes out of her ears (I have to keep an eye on her).

Back to my bug bear, basically it is every parents job to encourage their children to eat more healthily and try to apply moderation in the amount they eat of particular foodstuffs in order to have a better lifestyle. At this time of year bringing out this idea will make many parents feel guilty and parenting is a hard enough job to start with. This notion of “100 calories” is impossible when you look at the calories per bar in a selection box which a child receives at “Christmas” or an Easter Egg at “Easter”. Holiday times aside, I know my children don’t have more than two snacks per day –  usually in their packed lunch boxes so I am not too worried.

Flapjack Traybake
Flapjack Traybake

I know that the government schemes are trying to educate parents and children about healthy eating but to advertise this idea at this time of year is ridiculous. Not only that, the food prices increasing it is becoming more and more difficult (maybe this will stop the buying of chocolate and unhealthy snacks). I doubt it as when some supermarkets place sweets so near to the checkouts it does not help matters. I will add here that Aldi don’t place the chocolate near the tills – they have healthy snacks and water instead which is so much better. I know these problems have been going on for years but like I say it is not easy being a parent so having an advert saying “100 calories and 2 snacks per day” is ridiculous and not fair. Really the government need to do more and organise the food industries, supermarkets etc., to help with the fight against obesity and tooth decay and not just put it on the shoulders of the parents. In the meantime, all we can do is :-

  • just be sensible
  • control your children diet quietly in the background (cut down on sugar in recipes)
  • don’t have fizzy drinks  (the worst contender)
  • make them brush their teeth properly
  • have fruit within easy reach
  • keep trying

When I start baking with the left over chocolate I will take into account the calories and sugar that the chocolate adds to the recipe and adjust the recipe to suit. I try to make healthier snacks for the children especially when they are taking a packed lunch in to school everyday. I have already made them pancakes  ( one daughter’s request) where the child chose what filling of chocolate they wanted in their pancake – they really enjoyed their pancake too.  I will be making Brownies, Cookies and Cakes these next few weeks and freeze some of the chocolate too. The only time I let the children have fizzy drinks is at special parties such as “Christmas” or “New Year” or when I bake Pink Lemonade Cupcakes (tastes of sherbet) or Cola Cake ( might have to make one of these and share the recipe). I will share the recipes for my healthier options using the leftover Christmas treats soon.

Back to today, I know what I am going to bake this week and I have a list prepared for the supermarket but with four children in tow I may order on line instead to make my life a bit easier. This would free up my time to try and start to get my house in order – put toys away, get children to do their homework, check uniforms are ready, print out a 2018 foodie calendar and finally work on my webshop.

I feel like I have got what I wanted to say off my chest  and given you an incite into what I am planning to do in the future. Hope I have given you some food for thought – let me know what you think and if you have any ideas of how to implement these new guidelines and how you control your own children’s snack intake. 🙂