We’re three weeks into our healthy eating challenge with the Co-op now, and we’ve made some interesting discoveries about ourselves. Nothing spiritual mind, I’ve not discovered God or anything, but we have come to the conclusion that Belle is probably lactose intolerant.
I’ve always taken a fairly laid back approach to health complaints from my children. My standard reaction to most things is to suggest either a bit of fresh air, a glass of water, or a little something to eat. To prove the point, after 18 years, when she finally managed to escape my insistence that her stomach aches were nothing a brisk walk and some fluids wouldn’t solve, my eldest daughter Bee officially got herself diagnosed as unable to stomach dairy.
(As a side note, I made sure to spell ‘oops’ properly there, as Bee emailed me this week to request that I stop spelling it opps. I told her I thought it was one of those words that you could spell however you wanted, like sshhh, but apparently not.)
Belle it seems then, has followed in her sister’s footsteps. I had always put her complaints of tummy ache and feeling sick down to anxiety/dislike of school/not wanting to do the dishes, but doing the food challenge has made us think a lot more about what we eat. Belle has been keeping a food diary, and it occurred to me that perhaps there was more to her whinging than just attention seeking. We cut out dairy and immediately the tummy problems were gone! Who’d have thought it? It could explain too why as a baby she refused anything but breast milk for about 11 months.
Cooking dairy free hasn’t been too much of a challenge, as there are so many dairy alternatives around nowadays, but the added benefit has been that it has improved Belle’s diet by making her stop and think. She can’t just say yes willy nilly when friends offer round bars of chocolate at school now, and I’m sure her sugar intake has reduced as a result.
To get some dairy free dinner inspiration, we’ve been trying out the Co-op’s ‘Dinner 4 Tonight’ tool. When you needs an injection of ideas, it suggests some simple options, which you can either make as they are, or use as the base for your own inventions. They’ve got things like stuffed chicken, easy beef stew and chorizo bean burgers – plenty to appeal to everyone.
This week we made Pad Thai. We actually had it for lunch, but I think that still counts. It took under ten minutes and my fiance said he would put it in his top three lunches of all time.
You can find the full recipe on the Co-op site here – I’m just going to show you how we got on.
First up, cook the noodles as per instructions. We decided to opt for wholewheat noodles, as switching from white to wholewheat options has been one of our super easy changes.
While they’re cooking, use the eggs to make an omelette, and set it to one side on a plate, so that you can use the pan for the rest of your lunch.
Add the vegetables to the now empty pan, and stir fry for a few minutes. At this stage, try not to eat all of the water chestnuts, even though they are delicious.
Next, add the drained noodles and Thai red curry paste, and mix well, making sure everything is hot through. At the last minute, add your chopped up omelette and plenty of fresh coriander.
Tada! A tasty, dairy free lunch or dinner that may well make your top three.
What are your favourite quick meals?
Produced in association with the Co-op.