Ask me anything: kids lunchbox hacks, getting back into exercise, taming tantrums

Oct 20, 2022 | Podcast

Got a question on health, fitness, parenting or career? Send it in and host Amelia Phillips will answer it. In this episode she answers questions on: lunch box hacks for making them faster and healthier, how to get back into exercise after a break, and the best way to manage toddler tantrums

Show notes:

Healthy lunch box inspo: 




Episode on handling tantrums (with Jennifer Kolari): Help, I don’t like my kids!

Below is an unedited transcript of the podcast episode:

Welcome to another. Ask Me Anything segment of Healthy Her now as we record this. It’s been a tumultuous few months, I have to say, like honestly, I feel like I am just coming up for air now and we’re well into the year. It all started with Covid at the start of the year when six out of 13 of my family members got it as they were staying for Christmas.

And then, you know, once we’d just recovered from. Angus started kindergarten. Pretty soon after that, we went straight into the insane rain, and although I wasn’t as impacted as, you know, devastatingly as many people were, it still had a profound impact on my area, and it was still really challenging and depressing.

Then we had. Putin. Then my husband went overseas to Europe for two weeks, so that was a bit worrying. Meanwhile, I was finishing a massive eight month project with work, and then of course, 24 hours after Tim got back from Europe. Ella, no, was it Ella? No, it was Charlotte got Covid and then my other three kids got the super cough and were really, really sick.

Uh, luckily Charlotte wasn’t sick with Covid, but the super cough was. And now school holidays, just as they’re all recovering. So jeepers. Ah, I need a holiday for my life, , even as I’m recording this now, I’ve got Ella at home today with the sniffles because you know, if you’ve got any sign of sickness, you can’t send your kids to preschool or school, so she’s fine.

But I just didn’t wanna send her in just in case. So anyway, the whole point of me telling you all this is I have discovered a new mantra. I am finding is helping me to stay a little bit sane, and that is just to find calmness in the chaos. And I just keep saying to myself, Calm in the chaos. Calm in the chaos.

And what I’ve been trying to do, instead of trying to get this kind of life overhaul and waiting for everything to be perfect and back into that lovely routine, I’m just finding snackable moments of calm, whether it be a few hours of uninterrupted work. Maybe my failed meditation attempts even. I’m only probably doing 15 minutes once or twice a week, but just that moment of calm, a long car ride, listening to a podcast or a playlist, even chunking my weeks and days down into kind of manageable bite size pieces.

And of course my long runs are really good for trying to stay sane as well. So hopefully, if this is relating to you at all, just try that finding calm in the chaos. Anyway, let’s get into my, Ask me anything segment enough about me having a wind , but I’d also love to encourage you to subscribe to my show, and that way you’ll get alerted each time a new episode drops.

And of course, if you wanted to ask me a question, please connect with me on Instagram or over email. Just check the show notes and you’ll find all my connectable there. All right, let’s get into. Natalie m has written in. Hi Amelia. I find kids lunch boxes a source of stress. What are your tips for a healthy lunch box that doesn’t take all morning to make and that my kids will enjoy?

Great question, and I think all of us find lunch boxes painful and just relentless, but just think about all that amazing food that you are able to put into your kids’ tommies, and what a great opportunity this is. Here’s a few things I do, cause we’ve gotta make four lunches every single day. I start by having a lunch list in my online shopping order.

So I think if you know me well, you know that I’m a huge fan of online shopping for whether it’s. You know, Woolies or Coles or Harris Farm or wherever it is you get your weekly shop from. And I actually have four lists set up. I have a week, one lunchbox list, a week two, a week three, a week four. So that way I mix it up a little bit and I just basically put everything.

In there that I would put in the lunch boxes for that week and I mix it up. So one week it might be more wraps. I love, my kids love the mountain bread, so the really thin mountain bread in one week and then I might have just your plain multigrain bread in another week. So I find that’s really helpful cuz at least you know each week you’ve just got a whole pile of food coming and it’s varied enough that it keeps our lunch boxes.

The other thing I do is when I’m pulling all the stuff out of the fridge in the morning, I always count my veggies and fruit, and I try really hard to always have five different veggies and two fruits in their whole school bag. So crunch and sip. Recess and lunch, and it’s actually not that hard to do when you think about you have got crunch and sip.

Usually I always put veggies in crunch and sip because that’s kind of a captive audience in that moment, and they usually tend to eat most of that. So I’ll do two veggies in that and then I’ll try to get the three veggies mixed throughout recess and lunch. And the same with the two fruit. Bento boxes are another great tip.

I absolutely love those. You can get that kind of nude food phenomenon that’s happening where you know, there’s less packaging and I just find it compartmentalizes everything physically and mentally for me. Now, a tip that I have, but I don’t actually do it myself, is to pack the lunch the night before.

Do you know? I just can’t bring myself to do it. And any of you that do pack the night before, can you please inspire me and motivate me? I keep going, All right, I’m gonna give it a go, but I get to the end of the day and I just cannot be asked to do it. So look, it’s a great tip that a lot of moms have, but I can’t say if I’m being truly honest that I do it.

I just tend to do it all the morning of. Now, when it comes to trying to get more fruit and veggies into our kitties, I’m just gonna run you through the list of the veggies and fruit that I put in my kids’ lunch boxes over and above all the, you know, really obvious normal ones, your mandarins, your apples, your bananas, et cetera.

So corn on the cob, those mini corns, I will steam or boil a whole bunch of mini corns and I’ll chuck those in. Cool. Frozen peas. I know that sounds crazy, but I’ll literally, especially if the cupboard’s pretty bare, I will in one of the little bento boxes, put the frozen peas in and you know what? Most of them get eaten Raw green beans.

Yep. They eat those capsicum strips. Shredded carrot or precut carrot. So if you are someone that’s a busy working mom, just paid a little bit extra and get it precut or the shredded carrots, it’s amazing when it’s just cut slightly differently. Raw broccoli. Yep. They’ll eat it. Especially if you put dollar performance in there.

Sugar, snap peas, snow peas, butter, lettuce, and spinach. I will actually in my bento box, cause the sandwich doesn’t always take up all of the mountain bread, all the room. I actually line it with lettuce and again, like not all of it gets eaten all the time, but a lot of it does. But what we’re doing. Is we’re training our kids’ eyes that when they see a meal, they’re seeing lots of green, and even if they don’t eat it, they get in the habit of seeing that green and it becomes a lot more, I guess, palatable visually.

And then eventually some of it starts to go in the mouth. Stuff you can pre-make and freeze, which is also a really great thing to do. Fra Tarts, muffins, both sweet and savory. They freeze really well and they, you know, you just put them in frozen and it’ll to frosted by the time lunch comes around for.

Laughs are a great one. Meatballs and also bliss balls. Whether you do them homemade, which would be amazing, just remember no nuts. Or you can buy them made from the supermarket as well.

So there’s just a few ideas that I have. I’ll see if I can find a post. There’s some great Instagram accounts. You can follow off the top of my head, Kids’ Lunchbox. That’s a really good inspirational one and I’ll, I’ll think of a few more and pop them in the show notes for you as well. But keep at, at Natalie, a healthy lunch means a healthy.

Okay. Question number two, Kylie V. I’m only now finding myself able to get into fitness after all the lockdowns, the bad weather and the stress. Oh, honey, I’m hearing you. What is your guide to getting back into a fitness routine when you are starting from absolute ground zero? You honey, and so many other people.

I totally get it and understand. So a couple of tips I have for you would be first. Focus forwards, not backwards. You know, our brains tend to slip into the negative, so it’s, Oh, I’ve let myself go, Oh, I’ve, you know, gained weight or lost strength, or lost fitness or energy. You know, even if you’ve done nothing and you know you’re feeling down about yourself, don’t let that get you down.

When you start exercising and you know, your brain goes into that mode of, Oh, you know, even walking’s really challenging for me at the moment. Don’t be hard on. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you improve and just recognize, Oh, there I slip into that negative mindset again, to really focus forwards and not backwards.

Schedule it in just like you would a work meeting or a catch up with friends. Have it in your diary. Have it locked in like an appointment. Plan those sessions out in advance. Have a wet weather option as well. Another great tip is to really focus on your core stability. Often we wanna just, you know, get out there and go hard straight away, and that’s fine.

But if you have been doing a lot of sitting around, if you’ve lost strength and maybe gained a bit of weight around that middle, your lower back. Is a lot more exposed. So really making sure that you are focusing on your core stability. So 10 minutes a day is all you need to do. And remember, it doesn’t even have to be part of a workout.

You can literally just do it after the kids have gone to bed or do it with the kids when you’re killing some time. A plank is a great place to start and. It’s pretty rudimentary to say this, but if you can hold a plank for two minutes, that means you’ve got a pretty good core, uh, hold a plank in good form.

So a great kind of litmus test is to go up. How long can you hold it for before your back gives way, or before your arms shake too much or before you lose your form. Yeah, I would highly recommend focusing on that. Make it fun. So let’s find an activity that you really enjoy, whether it be doing it with friends, and that’s what makes it enjoyable, whether it’s loud music.

A lot of moms tell me how much they love getting back into dance, whether it’s on your own at home. Or it’s with the kids, or whether you do go to do a bar class or a dance class, you know, create a great environment. And you know, making it fun really, really helps. And then my final tip would be the 10% rule.

Basically aiming to increase your time or your intensity by about 10% per week. And that helps to avoid injury or burnout. So you’re not going super hard right from the get go, but you are each week upping the anti just a little. So good luck, Kylie, and let me know how you go over the next few months.

Okay? And finally, we have ash tea. Ooh, change tact here. Handling tantrums help. I’ve got three kids and my youngest throws the biggest tantrums. Oh my goodness. My youngest threw a crazy tantrum the other day and she actually pinched me. She’s never hurt me before. I fully have a bruise. My other kids didn’t, and I’m at a loss at how to handle them.

Have you come across any good techniques? Okay, so I do remember talking to Jennifer Kaari about this in an episode Fittingly called Help. I Don’t Like My kids . And I remember she said, First of all, tantrums happen predominantly when kids are tired, hungry, or uncomfortable. So if we can avoid those things, the hangry, the tired, or the uncomfortable.

But she says that one of the biggest causes of tantrums is attention seek. You know, it’s when a kid isn’t feeling heard or feeling understood, and she has an acronym that she calls the Calm Technique. And this was a game changer for me because my number two, Charlotte was an insane tantrum thrower and I wasn’t prepared cuz Lockie very rarely had tantrums.

So I had this sort of beautiful angel baby for number one, and then number two came around and she was definitely devil baby for whatever reason and. The calm technique has really, really helped with her. So how it works, it’s an acronym. So it starts with connect is the C, and that’s all about getting down on their level, stopping what you’re doing.

Cuz a lot of the times we’re in the middle of doing something, they’re actually doing it when you are really distracted. So you literally have to put down what you’re doing. Stop, take a moment, turn to them, connect with them. Then she talks. Effect, which basically means sharing or showing your emotions and feelings to let them know that you have the same emotions that they do.

So, She’s just broken a toy or her Lego’s fallen down or something like that. So you put your dinner prep down, you go, Oh honey, no. What happened? Did it fall over? Oh no. And so you really kind of empathize with them and. Connect to show that you get what they’re going through, you get down on their level.

Uh, it’s really hard when we don’t get what we want or when something we’ve been working really hard on doesn’t work. It’s really hard, isn’t it? And then you listen. Yeah. And you know, Yes. I tried so hard and my brother knocked it over and it was just really, you know, it’s not fair. So that’s the L, that’s the next one.

The L in calm is listen and then you mirror. So you basically are reflecting back on them and you’re mirroring that empathy back to them. So it’s calm technique, connect effect, listen and mirror, and you know, usually to finish it up with them. I will then say, um, I think Maggie Dent coined this term a boring cuddle.

I’ll say, Come for a boring cuddl. And I say that because I don’t want to wallow in it, but I just want them to have a really boring, and I just boring cuddle. I just sit there with them, patting them until they break away from me, until they’re like, Okay, I’m over it now. And they’ve kind of filled their cut back up and off they go.

And it’s amazing, even with the really frustrating, angry ones when you know they’re throwing a tanty because of you. I have found that actually coming in for a cuddle helps so much more than, you know, the naughty corner or a timeout or whatever it might. So there you go. I haven’t done nearly as good a job as answering it as Jennifer does, but try the calm technique.

That’s a really good one. All right guys. Hope you got something out of that and I will see you next time on.


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