I’ve never been great with numbers, but even a maths-challenged mama can appreciate the ‘5-a-day’ guideline.
Sure much of the time we cheat (hey, potato’s a veg right? And doesn’t ketchup count as a fruit?), but it’s a simple and helpful reminder to keep your family’s diet on track.
Yet, there’s another important digit that most of us forget:
Have you had your 3 servings of wholegrain today? Come to think of it, what exactly makes up 3 servings?
We’re big cereal eaters so my youngest and I were all smiles (and cool stare!) at the Team Wholegrain event in London on Thursday.
Backed by Nestle Cereals, Team Wholegrain is a nationwide campaign to get families in Britain eating their recommended 3-a-day as part of a healthier lifestyle.
The crack team of cereal pushers includes nutritionist Juliette Kellow, former rugby World Cup champ Matt Dawson, Olympic Gold medallist Greg Searle and radio presenter Zoe Ball.
When we arrived at the Good Housekeeping kitchen, my baby’s eyes nearly popped out of their sockets. For Jed, who loves his cereals, there is One Ring to Rule them All.
And there were Cheerios everywhere. Even in the flowers.
The venue was adorned with the cereal stylings of food artist Prudence Staite, a woman who clearly has too much time on her hands.
I jest… she’s super-talented. Can you imagine knocking out this castle?
We were bowled over (bada boom!) by her grainy portrait of Zoe Ball.
Until Jed got his hands on the real deal.
I think the feeling was mutual!
Ms Ball (Mrs Fatboy Slim?) was as warm and sweet as you’d imagine.
As a busy mum of two, Zoe said she relies on ‘green banner’ (wholegrain certified) cereals to give her kids a healthy boost for the day. She’ll often pack a snack of Cheerios for her kids (ditto) that she’ll find herself munching on too (double ditto!).
Dry cereals are a popular alternative to crisps and biccies for the babes.
Jed also got cosy with Matt Dawson, sportsman cum foodie (he won Celebrity Masterchef). Matt said as an athlete, breakfast was the essential fuel he needed to compete. Apparently a daily bowl of wholegrain cereal provides the right dose of good carbs, protein and vitamins to build a solid scrum half.
My little rugger babes are on the right track!
I especially enjoyed chatting with Juliette Kellow, who unlike some nutritionists, actually looks like a normal woman. She’s anti fad diets but encourages sensible, everyday eating.
‘You don’t need to be downing wheatgrass shots,’ she says. ‘For normal mums, it’s peas and sweetcorn and that’s fine.’
She admits she once had an ‘evangelical approach’ to nutrition but since having son Sam (2 in April), she’s a lot more practical.
‘Sam eats healthily and well, but he’s allowed the occasional bag of crisps. Children are programmed to like fat, sugar and salt and if you deprive them completely, they’ll go crazy later!’
For kids under 2, she says, being too strict on their fat and carbs intake and giving too much fibre actually robs them of the energy they need to grow. So it’s all about balance.
We spoke about the benefits of eating wholegrain including:
A healthier heart
A good digestive system
Better weight maintenance
And guess what? You only need 2 Shredded Wheat or 1 bowl of Shreddies and a slice of wholewheat toast to make up your 3 servings of wholegrain. Now that’s the kind of sum I can work with!
If you fancy being a bit more creative, Team Wholegrain has designed loads of recipes to explore with your little ones, all available on the web site.
We’ll be trying out some recipes and sharing our efforts on the blog. Who knows, we might even vlog for your amusement!
Thanks to Team Wholegrain and Nestle for raising this important health issue, as well as for the invite and the free cereal!
Visit Team Wholegrain web site for fun and easy recipes to make with your family and more info about why wholegrain matters