Did you know that an average Australian family will consume well over 150 doses of harmful food additives in just 3 days?!
If you consider that most families will celebrate with both sides of their family and consume traditional Christmas meals on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and leftovers on Boxing Day, it is pretty shocking to realise that each family member could be consuming well over 150 doses of harmful food additives in just 3 days!
Just start to think about the list of ingredients in your Christmas ham, condiments, christmas pudding, custard, chips, dips, gourmet platters…the list goes on! Over half of these additives are banned in other countries around the world, yet are still permitted in Australia.
Does it still seem like a treat to you when your children are being exposed to toxic chemicals which are known to cause migraines, learning difficulties, learning delay, eczema, asthma, hives, irritability, sleeplessness, mood swings, depression, anxiety and cancer? Or when you have to calm your child down when they can’t sleep from the nightmares, insomnia and confusion?
These are just a few of the harmful effects these additives have been proven to cause when tested individually. These toxic chemicals have never, ever been tested in combination with each other so there is really no predicting what effect they have in combination with each other.
Christmas doesn’t need to be harder than it already is! Here are some tips for you to reduce the additive load for you this Christmas.
1. Candy canes and Christmas chocolates
Have your kids already started bringing home the candy canes and Christmas chocolates from their classmates? Such lovely gestures, however, each individual candy cane or chocolate brought home increases the additive load each day. Often parents will buy bulk candy canes and chocolates, the cheaper sort, which are usually laden with additives.
What about the advent calendars that may be going on home at too? It is no longer just one little chocolate, or one little candy cane. The lollies that I have seen handed out at school, in advent calendars at Christmas Pageants are the worst of the worst lollies, laden with colours that are banned in other countries, artificial sweeteners and flavours.
You will then hear parents commenting on the expected sugar rush the kids have had. Hate to break it to you, but it is more likely the additive load that they have just consumed that is now causing the hyperactivity, aggressive behaviour, meltdowns and tantrums.
Here are multiple doses of additives already (and these are just the small things in the lead up to Christmas)!
What can you do?
Have a supply of additive free alternatives on hand (or go buy some) that your kids are happy to switch these for. It isn’t about depriving your kids of these treats. It is about keeping them healthy, reducing the additive onslaught over the Christmas period.
2. End of school parties
Have you recently received a note / email to bring a plate to share for your kids end of school year party? If your school doesn’t have a healthy eating policy in place, you will often find ready made options bought from the supermarket on offer (parents are really time poor at this time of year), including sausage rolls, party pies, fruit mince pies, bulk iced cupcakes from Woolworths / Coles. You will also find flavoured chips, coloured lollies, biscuits. All of these options heavily laden with additives.
It is possible to have fun Christmas food, that doesn’t take a lot of time to prepare and is healthy too!
Check out these great options that our friends at The Root Cause have found:
Get the kids involved too! They love helping to prepare and cook! Guaranteed these will disappear in no time.
It is important to have a chat with your kiddies before the party about making the best choices they can with the food that is available. Some of the options we discuss include:
- looking for fruit options (kebabs, platters etc)
- popcorn (plain, salted, caramel not coloured)
- pretzels and plain chips
- items that look homemade (such as sausage rolls, mini quiches, sandwiches, biscuits)
These options don’t necessarily sound that healthy. However, the aim is to make sure your kids don’t feel like they are missing out and that they are empowered to make these decisions for themselves. After all, we are equipping them with the skills that they need to use when we aren’t with them all the time.
It is inevitable that they will have some food with additives, they might go overboard the first time. This is a great learning point for them. They are able to then make a connection between their choice, the food they have eaten and how it has made them feel. When kids see this connection for themselves, they will stay clear of that food next time, they don’t like having headaches, tummy pains, feeling nauseous. Your kids will create life long healthy eating habits as a result.
It is so important that our kids learn to understand how the food they put into their body makes them feel. When your kids are used to eating real food, additive laden food doesn’t taste appealing at all.
3. Christmas baking
Kids are almost on school holidays or perhaps your kids already are on school holidays? It is a really long break! What to do? Why not get some Christmas baking in? My kids LOVE christmas baking. We make big batches, most homemade biscuits and other baked goods can be stored for weeks. Firm favourites in our household include:
- Gingerbread biscuits – pick up some Christmas cookie cutters at your local kitchen shop, this will keep the kids busy for ages! Preparing the dough, cutting out the shapes, cooking the biscuits, icing the biscuits.
- Gingerbread house – you can make your own or buy additive free versions. Last year we made our own and it was a success!
- Florentines – easy for kiddies to make with very little assistance
- Shortbread – different options such as craisin and pistachio, lemon scented etc.
I love bringing these with us when we are visiting family and friends too (as a dessert option) or giving as gifts to teachers or friends. For the last few years, we have brought a gingerbread house with us on Christmas Day, and all the kids get in to it, they love taking it apart, sharing it with their cousins, its additive free and fun! A lot better for them (even with the sugar) than the additive laden christmas pudding, fruit mince pies and custard bought from the supermarket!
4. Christmas supplies
Be prepared for the amount of socialising that occurs over the Christmas period. You know there are lots of catch ups with friends, Christmas Carol picnics and of course the Big Day itself. Get online and get your shopping delivered, it saves so much time and you get to avoid the Christmas crowds! Make sure you have lots of supplies on hand to make / bring the following wherever you go:
- Additive free crackers
It is really hard to find additive free crackers on the supermarket shelves, even those that are purported to be original flavours are laden with flavour enhancers. If you have crackers with you can reduce the additive load on the family! My kids just love crackers with their favourite dips or cheese.
- Fresh fruit and veges
Make sure you have lots of supplies on hand so that you can prepare a quick savoury platter, fruit platter or your favourite dips (ours are guacamole and hummus).
- Nitrate free ham
Make sure you have ordered your nitrate free ham from your local butcher. It is virtually impossible to buy an additive free turkey or ham from the supermarkets. Every time I check them out at the supermarket, they are laden with flavour enhancers and preservatives. If your kids aren’t keen on ham or turkey, perhaps they may prefer an organic roasted chicken instead? This can be a lot more affordable and accessible.
- Undressed salads
If your family contributes food for the Christmas feast, request that salads are left undressed. This then allows for people that have allergies or intolerances to still enjoy all the salads on offer and add simple dressings (ie oil, vinegar, lemon juice etc) that are free from additives. Salad dressings are notorious for being additive laden!
- Christmas treat and goodies
As part of your school holiday activities you may have already made some treats to take with you, gingerbread biscuits, gingerbread houses, shortbread, home made fruit mince pies. These baked goodies last for weeks, bake in bulk and you will have something for the kids all through the Christmas period.
- Festive drinks
The kids also want to celebrate, make sure they have some fun options available to them that they ordinarily wouldn’t have. Some options include:
- fizzy juice (organic fruit juice and sparking water)
- punch (using fizzy juice above as a base)
- coconut water with fruit pieces
- homemade lemonade.