Sugar Smart Challenge – Our Journey! 🍎

Just over 3 months ago we, as a family applied to take part in the ‘Sugar Smart 12 week challenge’ in conjunction with Kalli Kids & Jamie Oliver. https://www.sugarsmartuk.orgTo be honest we weren’t really sure what we were letting ourselves in for, however we did know that we needed to become healthier, especially our Little Dude who is like any typical 4 year old – Likes: chocolate spread sandwiches, chocolate biscuits, anything chocolatey really! Dislikes: fruit, vegetables and anything that’s good for you! Oh! and when I say he dislikes fruit, I mean, like ALL fruit! I think it’s something about the texture but we have tried everything….hiding it in smoothies, smothering it in chocolate/sugar etc… (this was before we became sugar smart obviously 😂) but he always knew, and would subsequently spit it out, or have a full on tantrum because we had ‘tricked’ him!

So anyway, this seemed the perfect time to apply to take part in this particular challenge, and luckily for us out of over 200 applicants, we got chosen to be one of the featured families! Yay!! We were super excited (even the Dude, who didn’t really understand what this meant at this point!!)Week 1 came and we received our first challenge through the post – It seemed easy enough, we had to keep a food diary for the week, logging any products we consumed that had natural sugars and refined sugars in them! We were able to stick to our usual eating habits this week so were definitely being eased in gently, and also very lucky for us as Day 1 was a pre-planned visit to Slattery’s (if you’re ever in Manchester you must go!) and with the amount of sugar we consumed within the space of a couple of hours, it’s lucky we weren’t thrown off the challenge!We also had Dude’s 4th power rangers themed birthday party this week, complete with cakes, biscuits and sweets galore, so without all that, maybe our chart wouldn’t have looked so bad otherwise! Oh who are we kidding, we have a 4 year old who’s addicted to anything sweet!We were, however really shocked at the end of the week when we saw how much refined sugar in products we had actually consumed. Things absolutely needed to change.Somewhere around this time we received a huge hamper of goodies from Kalli Kids (supplied by various companies) and I’m not really sure who was more excited, us or the Dude! It was filled to the brim with low sugar chocolate spreads, Jam, drinks, ketchup, smoothie pouches, noodles, chickpea crisps and fruit tea etc… we all couldn’t wait to get tasting. The First Hamper Reveal!

Throughout the challenges our task was to upload pictures and videos of our results to our social media pages    FacebookTwitter & Instagram and this is where our little Dude certainly came into his own. After hours of watching YouTube videos, he is an absolute natural in front of the camera, and he was prepared to try absolutely anything if he knew that others would be watching his videos…seriously why didn’t we think of this sooner?!! And he most definitely didn’t hold back with his honest verdicts! Nevertheless we were over the moon that he was willing to try new things, our little superstar!
Week 2 was a challenge to make us aware of how much sugar is in drinks – and there’s a LOT, it’s actually shocking! It turns out that the Dude’s playschool are trying to become sugar wise too, and they had an eye opening chart displayed which showed how much is in the most popular products…it just makes you think! http://sugarwise.orgWe also had to make our own special concoction adding more and more sugar to each one, just to see how much the Dude could stand… needless to say he managed quite a lot!! Our Sugar Drinks Vid!

Week 3 was a fun one, we had to go shopping for low sugar products. Here is what we chose…Luckily for us the Dude isn’t actually fussed if the cereal or popcorn has no sugar on, so they were perfect for us. The fun began, however when we tried to trick him into eating fresh strawberries and natural yogurt, disguised in a petit filous pot. You can see for yourself that he didn’t fall for it!! I still think we can experiment though…we’re determined to get fruit into him one way or another. Obviously the other bits (chocolate, baked beans and hot chocolate) went down a treat, although we’re aware that even though they’re lower in sugar the key is for them only to be eaten in moderation.                                   Watch our hilarious yoghurt trick video here!

Week 4 was finding out tips from others on how to use less sugar. These included using fruit or honey as natural sweeteners, reducing sugar quantities stated in recipes and buying low sugar products etc…

Week 5 was hilarious. We had to bake a cake using no refined sugar, so we opted for a carrot and coffee cake  Find the recipe we used here! and we substituted honey for the sugar. I’m actually the baker in the family, I’ve said before that Dory can’t cook, however on this particular day I was at work and we had a busy weekend planned, so the baking was down to her….obviously with an idiot proof step by step guide from myself.

It started well, at least she was able to locate all of the ingredients…but then she had to grate some carrots, well quite a lot actually, and this is where she started to get a little stressed (I know, getting stressed over grating carrot of all things 😂) but she managed it, and finally got a batter like consistency after mixing the rest of the ingredients together.I arrived home while the cake was still baking, and I must say the house smelt absolutely divine! I was then able to take over, and so took the cake out of the oven….it looked a little burnt but nothing a load of whipped cream wouldn’t cover. We did have a few cross words about whether to cut the cake or just put cream on top…we decided on the latter for fear of the cake falling apart and Dory’s masterpiece (which in her words “has taken me hours, and caused lots of mess in the kitchen which I’ve spent the rest of the time clearing away”) being ruined! And voila, our carrot and coffee cake completed!It was actually rather tasty, although I think it did lack a bit of sweetness, so maybe more honey or some fruit added next time!

We received another hamper around this time…we didn’t think we were getting another one but they just kept coming! We got a box which included no sugar popcorn, some fizzy drinks, marshmallows, raw brownie balls, spaghetti and chocolate etc… cue lots more excitement from us! Our second hamper reveal!

Week 6 we had to do the same as week 1, and then compare our charts…easy enough you’d think, except it was Easter and we’d also planned a few nights away camping! We did however try our hardest to stick to low sugar where we could (but the term ‘we’re on holiday so it’s ok’ was thrown around quite a lot) Yay another hamper arrived…this time it was a2 milk, and 40 vouchers for free milk to keep us going for a while! This made us very happy as we get through a lot of milk!! We found this to be extremely good for digestion, and it tastes just as lovely as our usual brand…so another converted product for the Walcroft Family!Week 7 was trying low sugar breakfasts – we actually found this ok as had porridge, or cooked breakfast in the mornings, using honey and fruit if we needed a sweet fix!

Week 8 was shopping again, this time looking at product packaging, how they can be deceiving, and nutritional values. This was an eye opener. We found lots of products, mainly aimed at children, stated certain nutritional benefits, but actually when you compare the sugars to similar products, a lot of the time they have been very misleading! We were definitely starting to feel more sugar smart at this point! Even without this challenge we had found ourselves looking at the packaging to compare sugars in foods.

Another hamper of goodies arrived around here, we have certainly been spoilt! Just to see our little Dudes face light up when a new package full of food arrives from the postman made our day! Week 9 was snack week – the Dude absolutely loves baking and so we spent some quality time in the kitchen making snacks, and then of course trying them in front of the camera so all could see! Ryvita snack taste test! 

We also tried some synergy balls that were full of fruit and nuts, everything he hates, but he gave it a go, and again gave a very honest reaction! Watch the Dude’s funny reaction here! 

We had another cool hamper delivered full of Kefir milk, and found ourselves looking up recipes for new and exciting things to make and try. I personally didn’t like the live milk, but then I don’t like yoghurt either and found that these tasted very similar.

Week 10 was the most difficult challenge – a completely ‘no refined sugar’ day! Arghhhh!! We found the breakfast and meal times a doddle, but it’s the in between times when we came unstuck – snack times, you know where all we get is “can I have a biscuit” or “I want some chocolate” on and on and on, constantly trying to wear us down! I’m not going to lie, it’s really bloody hard to keep saying ‘NO!’ to a 4 year old that doesn’t like fruit, and will only try the odd mouthful of something new in front of a camera, and even then he usually doesn’t like it. But we have, luckily found a few new things that he does like, and we finally managed a whole day, long as it was, that was completely sugar free….we were very proud!

And now we’re on week 11, our week of reflection, and we can’t quite believe we’ve got this far!
And they definitely saved the best hamper till last – one that was full of ice-cream!! Amazing!!! We have definitely enjoyed tucking into this while reflecting on the past 11 weeks!

Another funny video of the Dude!
We can honestly say that we have absolutely loved taking part in the Sugar Smart challenge, and feel extremely lucky to have been chosen. We’ve received some fantastic goodies along the way, lots of which we have definitely been converted to, and our eyes have been opened to the amount of sugar in products, and healthy alternatives to switch to.
Our little Dude is also opening up to new taste experiences thanks to this challenge, and now we’re nearing the end we can certainly say we are more sugar smart than before.

We must thank Kalli kids so much for the opportunity we have been given, we have loved these past weeks and know we have a certain little boy who will definitely miss all the videos and messages/retweets he received in response to them. In fact we’ve promised him that once the challenge has been completed, we will still continue to be Sugar Smart by purchasing at least 1 new low sugar product a week for him to try in front of the camera, and we will post on our page with the hashtag #SugarSmartSaturday. Follow us @ 2 Birds 1 Love
We are so proud to call ourselves a Sugar Smart Family!

“We need to make sure that all kids are given the opportunity to learn about food and good eating habits while they’re still young, so that they’re sorted for life”              ~  Jamie Oliver

Much Love,

2 Birds 1 Love xxx

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