Healthy Fast Food?

I’ve really enjoyed The Detox Kitchen’s Mama package this week*. Nutritionally designed for postnatal mums in collaboration with nutritional therapist Amelia Freer I was so interested to give it a go (even though I can hardly excuse myself from the kitchen on the grounds of being postnatal …but I’m on half term break with my four children so I’m hoping these are considered extenuating circumstances!?).

So, for three days this week every meal, snack and drink was taken care of and I didn’t have to lift a finger.  Wow, it’s strange not to have to order food in, prep, cook or even think about meals (oh, except for the children’s meals of course. How could I forget them!?).

I have to admit I was initially sceptical about how much I’d enjoy The Detox Kitchen’s home delivered food. I had a few reservations: I love cooking and thought I’d miss planning and making my meals; I like contemplating and experimenting with new recipes; was there really going to be enough food to keep me going all day long; I knew The Detox Kitchen’s Mama meals were going to be healthy (they’re designed in collaboration with nutritional therapist Amelia Freer after all) but were they going to be tasty?

I’ve been so surprised to realise over the past few days how ill founded each of my reservations have been. I’ve really appreciated the new flavours and ideas that these meals have exposed me to (apple and lime bircher – why had it never occurred to me to add lime? A breakfast of corn bread? How could I have forgotten about this option?). Their meals and snacks have given me cooking inspiration and great ideas and they have all been delicious and filling. In fact, there were times when I didn’t need my snacks or puddings because the meals were so big. Who would have thought? Perhaps it’s something to do with the fact that I’m not breastfeeding or sleep deprived….So for their target audience (a postnatal mum who may be breastfeeding and who will be sleep deprived) I doubt anything would go to waste.

This Mama package is really delicious and a great gift for a friend or sister who has a new baby and all the chaos that entails or for someone who might just need a break from the stove for a while.

*gifted. Not sponsored

If you’d like 15% off then you’re welcome to use my discount code: MVDW15. ENJOY! 

The Detox Kitchen chicken.jpg

5-a-day: portion size for children

For many people the government's "five-a-day" campaign has firmly conveyed the message that everyone should be eating five portions of fruit and vegetables each day.  But is this all there is to it? And what does a portion size look like?

Firstly, let's review that number: Recent research by BANT (The British Association for Applied Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy) recommends that people of all ages, including children, should in fact be eating 5 portions of vegetables and 2 portions of fruit every day. So, 7-a-day is in fact the ideal.

Secondly, let's check the ratio: we're not trying to get our children to eat 7 portions of fruit each day (we should be so lucky; that would be a lot easier!). The ratio of fruit to veg should very much be weighted towards the vegetables. So, 2 portions of fruit and 5 portions of vegetables would be perfect.

Thirdly, let's look at portion size: the easiest way to think of a portion of fruit or veg is to look at the palm of your child's hand. That is roughly one portion of fruit or veg for your child.

Hope this helps! Come and see me if you want any further info!



As another academic year begins, you may be concerned that the end of the summer will herald a surge in colds and viruses within your household.

Statistically, your child is more likely to get lurgies in the autumn/winter as the days shorten (less sunlight means less of the immune-boosting vitamin D) and become colder: studies suggest our immune systems are less effective at responding to viruses in colder weather. However don’t despair, there is lots you can do to boost your child’s immunity over the next few months.

Give your child a variety of fruits and vegetables: When choosing fruits and veg think of a rainbow and get your child to do the same. A variety of colours will ensure a variety of nutrients to best arm your child’s immune system for action. Aim for 4 portions of veg and 1 portion of fruit daily.

Avoid refined carbohydrates (including white pasta, white bread and sugars) and replace with wholegrains: consumption of refined sugar can suppress the immune system. Sugar and refined carbs are also void of nutrients and negatively impact blood sugar levels (= increased potential for hyperactivity and mood swings) so replace with wholegrains (rye bread, quinoa, brown rice) which are rich in fibre to balance blood sugar levels and to fuel the body’s detoxification and digestive processes.

Get your child to bed early: This will probably be music to your ears. It’s also essential for an optimum functioning immune system. Studies have shown that people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to get sick. Sleep will help the body to repair and the immune system to stay strong. Your child’s school teacher will probably thank you for your child’s increased focus too.

Get outside: Make sure your children are still as active as possible on a daily basis outside school hours - walking to school where possible or simply kicking a ball around the garden. Being outside and in the sun (when it’s out!) will help to boost your child’s levels of vitamin D which is vital for an optimum functioning immune system.

Eat fermented foods: Sounds disgusting? Your child may think so. But foods that are fermented (e.g. sauerkraut, pickled gherkins, miso, unpasteurized cheese, live yoghurt) are brilliant for your immune system because the fermentation process creates easily digested probiotic-rich foods. When consumed, they help contribute to the beneficial bacteria living within our gut and it’s in our gut that 80-85% of our immune system resides. Try getting your child to eat these fermented foods daily if you can: start with arguably the most child-friendly of the fermented food range - sourdough bread and plain live natural yoghurt!

Last but NOT LEAST: Don’t forget your omega-3 essential fatty acids: These fats are vital for a healthy immune system. They are called essential because our bodies can’t make omega-3s without the right foods so it’s essential we get them from our daily diet. There are three types of omega-3s: EPA, DHA and ALA. Out of these three types, EPA and DHA have the most powerful anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties and can be found in oily fish (such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout and tuna).

Try to get your child to eat oily fish twice per week (no more due to pollutants). On the other days it’s worth trying to incorporate other sources of omega-3s into your child’s diet, e.g. walnuts, chia seeds and flaxseeds. These foods contain ALA, which is still really beneficial for us because our bodies, if functioning optimally, can make EPA and DHA out of ALA. However this process isn’t as efficient or as certain as getting EPA and DHA directly from the diet. So, fish is the focus. Oily fish is also an excellent source of vitamin D which we’ve already looked at as vital for immune function. Win win.

If you can’t get your child to eat their salmon (let’s face it, some have a severe aversion to anything fishy) or if you just want to boost your child’s omega-3 levels then an omega-3 supplement is something to consider. Bare Biology’s Super Hero Pure Omega-3 Fish Oil For Kids is a really good quality option and, crucially, it’s a tasty liquid that children will drink neat…and then they’ll ask for more (at least my survey of 4 tells me they do!).



Breakfast Like A King

What is a king's breakfast?

Answers to this question vary wildly in my household and are largely driven by Kellogg's very effective marketing strategy (oh, and my husband suggested I crown this egg with bacon to make it appear more regal...). My interpretation of this old adage is that you need to eat a breakfast that is nutrient dense and will keep you full until your next meal. 

So, look for foods with protein, complex carbohydrates, fibre and beneficial fat (the best meal is one that combines all of these) as it is these components which mean a food will be slowly digested and absorbed by the body which will help keep your blood sugar levels balanced throughout the morning. Balanced blood sugar levels are vital if you want lots of energy, optimum mood and a focused mind.  When blood sugar levels aren't balanced (e.g. due to eating a sugary cereal) your body is put through a roller coaster of hormones and associated emotions as it deals with the ride. Stressful.

There are so many brilliant breakfasts to choose from.


- Eggs in any form - accompany with avocado or spinach for extra nutrients;
- Porridge, granola, bircher muesli or full fat live yoghurt each topped with mixed nuts, seeds and low sugar fruit such as berries;
- Sardines on toast (think of all that vitamin D and omega-3 before their day has even begun!); or
- Nut butter on wholegrain, sourdough or rye toast. I particularly like Whole Earth peanut butter and Biona or Raw nut butters but just aim for zero/low salt and sugar varieties. This is a really quick and easy option so no more excuses for you to miss breakfast!


Avoid any high sugar or refined carbohydrate option (i.e your average supermarket cereal or white toast or a biscuit…). This type of food is rapidly digested by the body and so results in a peak in blood sugar levels which is swiftly followed by a sharp drop in blood sugar levels. This drop in blood sugar levels involves a release of hormones which can affect mood, hunger, concentration and memory: not ideal for an adult coping with morning stresses at home or at work or for a child’s behaviour or focus in class.


I often get asked this by clients. If you can tolerate gluten, wheat and dairy then Sugar Free Alpen is one of the best options I can find. It certainly doesn't have any added sugar and although it has salt listed among its ingredients it is present in a really small amount. 

For those with intolerances Primrose's Kitchen may suit you as it's free from gluten, wheat and dairy. They have delicious combinations of ingredients. Watch out for nuts though.

Please write and tell me which breakfasts keep you full all morning. I'd love to know!