A couple of weeks back we got picked along with 4 other families to do the #lidlhealthhacks Healthy Living Challenge with Lidl and HerFamily.ie. The challenge itself lasts five weeks and each week we are given one food and activity challenges to help us change our bad habits, get fit and overall become healthier. We also receive €200 in Lidl shopping vouchers each week and at the end of the five weeks, one family will even win a holiday.
If you’re following my blog awhile you’ll know I’m not shy about sharing our waffles and beans days but since baby number four came along it’s got really bad. I found myself ordering take-out a lot more, I was reaching for convenience foods as I couldn’t find the time to cook and that’s exactly why I wanted to do this challenge. I hoped to change my recent bad habits, to start cooking healthy meals and get out and active with the kids again.
In three weeks there’s been huge progress. I ditched the custard creams in favour of chopped fruit that I now prepare every night before bed, I’ve experimented and explored new foods that seem to be going down really well and I’m now working on how we are going to keep our healthy eating in a €80-€100 weekly budget. I’m also laughing at the fact that on week five we have to do a family swim. That’s gonna be fun with three under three and a six-year-old who thinks she’s an untouchable mermaid!
Week One #lidlhealthacks Healthy Living & Activity Challenge
On week one of the #lidlhealthhacks challenge, we had to swap white goods like bread, pasta and rice for whole grain brown variety. We had to use baby potatoes with skins or sweet potatoes instead of mashed or roasted potatoes. And we also had to try to remove white crackers and swap them for oat, rye or brown rice cakes. I love my bread, every morning I’d usually have a slice of Brennan’s with a dollop of Dairygold so I was dreading this challenge if I’m honest but three weeks in I don’t miss it at all. We changed our pasta, rice and spaghetti to whole grain brown and there haven’t been any complaints. We did struggle with the mash, it’s a dinner staple in our home but we’ve managed to drop it down to two days a week rather than our usual five or six.
We also tested our patience, relationship and sanity with a hike up to The Hellfire Club with three under three as part of out activity challenge. I’ll say no more.
Week Two #lidlhealthhacks Healthy Living & Activity Challenge
On week two we had to work on removing high sugar food and cereals from our diet, and soft drinks but that wasn’t a huge issue for us, the kids aren’t allowed fizzy drinks. We swapped our standard Cheerio’s for the low sugar ones, played around with lots of different fruits in porridge, made granola and tried overnight oats. This particular challenge thought me a lot, I was very surprised at the amount of hidden sugar in foods that I wasn’t aware of. For example, I buy the 50% less sugar and 20% less salt Heinz Tomato Ketchup for both myself and the kids. We have it probably once a week and I’ve never really thought much about how much sugar was in it considering it had been reduced so drastically. Well, I was watching Cliona from Lean Mean Momma’s snaps the other day and I was shocked when she discovered there were 26.2 teaspoons of sugar in the 50% less sugar Ketchup. I feel sick thinking about it! I’m now very conscious and read all the labels on the food I’m feeding my kids.
And as part of our week two healthy living challenge we had to have a game of footie. The Toddler doesn’t get the whole kicking of the ball concept and he wasn’t too happy he couldn’t hold it under his arm but we completed it never the less.
Week Three #lildhealthhacks Healthy Living & Activity Challenge
And week three (this week) we had to purchase two fruits or vegetables that we would never normally buy and make a homemade soup. So we decided to make one of the recipes that were sent to us at the start of the challenge. We gave the coconut milk and sweet potato soup a whirl and it was so delicious the wobbler begged for more! We also tried black grape, not red, black! Yep, they exist and they don’t taste. We also tried passion fruit, that was hilarious. I wish I had recorded their reactions, it was priceless!
We also had to have a game of frisbee as part of our activity challenge but due to the shitty weather we’ve had we went ahead with next week’s challenge and brought out the scooter, trikes and skates. I was on my toes for the duration. My woddler may be small but my god can she run!
Week Four #lidlhealthhacks Healthy Living & Activity Challenge
This week as part of out challenge we had to make a treat, and my gawd did we. We used the Lidl puff pastry and made a Pink Lady Pie using this recipe. It took five minutes to prepare, fifteen to bake it and seconds to eats. You should try it, it was delicious with a side serving of cream and the perfect little treat after a week of healthy eating! We’ll defo be making this again and I might add in a few raspberries next time too.
Technically last week we were supposed to play a game of frisbee but the weather was too bad to bring out a one and two-year-old so we swapped the weeks around. The weather wasn’t much better but we had some frisbee fun and some crawling in the mud fun (see knees)! They are currently using the frisbees as plates.
And our final challenge. This week we had up our water intake and we’ve to add up how many glasses of water we have drinking daily. Joe’s has been bringing a two litre to work every day. The kids are drinking cups of it, it took a few day, in the beginning, to get over the lack of orange squash I would have normally added but we got there! The Big Kid has always been a water drinker, so I’ll be honest there have been no changes there, she even brings water to school every day and has done since she started three years ago! As for me, I’m adding slices of kiwi, cucumber, mint or lemon. It’s really helped me cut down on the coffee but it also has me in the toilet every two minutes.
And our activity challenge was to go for a family swim, now could you imagine us bringing the four of them swimming, like with three kids under three and a six-year-old wanabe mermaid? Joe and I would have killed each other, like seriously. Hold her… Grab him… Watch her… We chose to let them have a safe swim – a ‘splash-splash’ full of bubbles. And do you know what they had a ball and the Big Kid was in there at one stage but she couldn’t cope with the carnage the wobbler and toddler were making. There was water in my hallway… downstairs!