Outings and birthdays- shifting the focus away from sugar

As a society, we have got into the way of outings and birthdays involving a lot of sugar, whether for the outing itself (e.g. a trip to the chocolate factory, Pizza hut or similar restaurant, or the cinema with sweets and popcorn added in), the meal within the outing(full of junk food like burgers, crisps, popcorn, sweets), the sugary cake, or the party bags (sweets and more cake). When I was a child parties were rare- most parents could not afford to invite that many kids and most parties were in our own homes with mum or dad. Party food was a few sandwiches and sausages, and party bags had a little toy and a single piece of cake. I expect I only went to three or four a year, whereas these days some kids can get invited to one a week.

Can you think of doing other sorts of outings for your kids’ birthdays or days out?

Here are a few of my ideas, and with all of these consider just having 2-6 kids rather than the whole class. This saves on the cost and also means you can have a proper meal afterwards, maybe back in your own home.

A picnic in the park or forest
The climbing wall
Go karting
Quad biking
Local National Trust place for something to do with farming or history
Pottery party
Go Ape

You could bring your own food or take them back to your house after the main event.
Food could be like any main meal and have a protein source- meat, fish, eggs, chicken, some good carbs like veggies and berries, and some good fats- like cheese, or added mayonnaise, olive oil dressing, or avocados

Cakes- how about a proper “cheese” cake, or a cake made with a lot less sugar, or individual low sugar muffins?

This is a good one from the PHCuk cookbook:

Chocolate cake with chocolate ganache- by my friend Dr Jen Unwin
5 eggs
2-tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoons vanilla powder
1 banana
2 tablespoons coconut flour and almond flour
2 tablespoons ground flax
Blend up eggs, oil and banana
Add dry ingredients and stir gently
Should be of “cake consistency” if too runny add almond flour. Pour the mixture into a medium lined loaf tin and bake at 180 degrees c fan for about 30 minutes.
Ganache topping
200g plain over 70% chocolate
600ml double cream
Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a bowl. Gently heat the cream in a pan and when it just comes up to a simmer pour it over the chocolate and keep stirring till it melts. Keep stirring and as it cools it will thicken. Then spread it over the cooled cake in the tin. Place in a cool place till needed.

A “cheese cake” is often used for weddings, but I bet you could make a fun one for kids if you wanted.
Below is an adult version ☺

Treats and rewards
Try to give kids treats and rewards that are nothing to do with food. I am often told by older people that the most important thing you can give children is your time and attention. You could listen to them reading, you could sit down and watch a film together, turning off your mobile phone, you could play together by making things (models or puzzles), or you could go for a walk( (and add in an “I spy”), you could go to the swings, or an art gallery or museum, you could go and visit a relative or help the old couple down your street. Think of nice things to do that do not involve sugar or even food, and ask your child to do the same. The aim is that you, your child and your family more activity centred and less food centred.