Days like Easter are special and stay in children's memories forever. Eating things like Easter eggs and other treats are such a big part of the day that, personally, I don't worry about it at all. However, it can all easily (!) get a bit out of hand so it can be very helpful to have some healthier, lower sugar alternatives or additions. These recipes are also great for children, like my own son, who can't eat regular shop bought treats due to being dairy or gluten intolerant. These are my favourite healthy options - I love all of them because kids love them, they are pretty good for you and most importantly are simple and don't require too much fathing around - Nobody has time for that on busy family days like Easter!
Chocolate Peanut butter nests
One of my favourite treats from childhood was chocolate rice krispie treats.
This version here from "Joy Food Sunshine" is gluten and dairy free and has a lot less sugar than the ones I used to eat. They also have a good amount of protein in there to help minimise the sugar rush.
These are also perfect for dairy free children as she uses coconut oil as the butter substitute rather than margarine. If you wanted to keep these vegan you could add jelly beans as the 'eggs'. My son is ok with a little bit of dairy so I just use Cadbury's mini eggs.
Easter Egg Lunch Hunt
This recipe here from Glue Stick Blog is brilliant as you can pick whatever foods you know your child will like. You can also try adding some new foods that they might not notice amongst the sea of colour! Using the little plastic eggs as a 'hunt' is a great idea.
Fruit and vegetable Easter Bunny
Easter Bunny Trail Mix
I love this recipe here from My Fussy Eater. It is such a simple idea but one that children will love. You can use any mixture of foods you have to hand and and it is the perfect recipe to get children involved too as they love mixing things up like this.
Fruit cup Easter Chicks
Finally I love this ingenious idea here from the blog No Biggie.
One of those ideas that would be impossible to turn into a Pinterest Fail even for non creative types like myself!
Takes seconds and you have a very cute snack on your hands that would also work for breakfast or lunch too.
In the Paleo diet there is considerable focus on grass-fed meat. This is because grass-fed meat contains a higher level of nutrients and a healthier ratio of healthy fats compared to regular produce. It is also more sustainable and environmentally-friendly.
However, whilst there are many farming methods in Scotland and across the UK, the labelling laws are not yet clear on this issue. Only a few farms sell grass-fed or pasture-fed meat that meet the requirements of the Pasture Fed Livestock Association and can label their products 'pasture for life'. I have yet to see this label in supermarkets so currently I just try and buy organic meat when possible.
However, if you have any significant health problems, are trying to heal an auto-immune condition or just want to take your health to the next level then it is possible to buy grass-fed meat in Scotland. One of the best ways is to go straight to the suppliers via Farms and Farm shops. There is a list on my website here under Paleo Resources. If you can buy meat in bulk and then freeze it, that can also be highly cost effective too. Another good source is to visit your local Farmers market. A list of markets are available here to browse through. Again, Farmers' markets can be a lot more affordable than you might think as they cut out the middle man.
Personally, I wouldn't let not being able to buy grass fed meat put you off starting a Paleo diet. You can still have an extremely healthy diet without it. Switching to a Paleo diet from a standard Scottish diet will immediately (and vastly!) increase the amount of nutrients you eat, reduce inflammation, and lead to good gut health which we increasingly know is vital for well-being.
If you just want to focus on buying organic meat, my recent blog post here details my experience of shopping for organic meat in supermarkets. There also seems to be healthier meat products continually coming on to the market. Marks and Spencer's now sell nitrate- free bacon and the Northern Irish company Finnebrogue sell nitrate-free ham, bacon and sausages in some Scottish Sainsburys stores. I think these items will become more common place as consumers become more aware of the links between nitrates in meat and some serious health conditions.
Whilst I try to buy organic, my diet most definitely contains non organic meat (more trips to fast food places with my young son than I care to admit!) and I don't fret about it - I just try and buy the best meat I can depending on availability and cost. It is also important to say that whilst meat seems to be intrinsically (and weirdly) connected with the Paleo diet in mainstream media, in reality it can play a relatively small role in the Paleo diet.
Whilst proteins, such as meat, fish and eggs, are important for health, the bulk of our meals should ideally contain as wide a range of plant based foods as possible. A good rule of thumb is to have at least half your plate with vegetables or salads and to include approximately a palm sized amount of protein (or a quarter of your plate). The remaining quarter can be made up of healthy fats and healthy carbohydrates such as starchy vegetables or fruit.
I hope this helps you find the foods you want to eat. I would love to hear if you have found any other good sources of quality meat in Scotland or how you include other good sources of protein too. Feel free to comment in the section below,
Shopping for a Paleo diet and buying fresh, unprocessed food should, in theory, be a doddle. However, it can sometimes be a bit more challenging than it first appears. Whilst fruit and vegetables are easy to find, shopping for other ingredients isn't always straightforward.
In order to get all you need (and at a reasonable price) you do sometimes have to shop around. I haven't, as yet, found a one stop shop for everything. I do a lot of schlepping around from shop to shop so I thought I would share what I have learnt. This is, of course, highly subjective and doesn't cover all supermarkets (I don't go to Lidl or Asda very often for example) but it may help point you in the right direction and save you some journeys.
I try and get organic produce whenever I can although this is not always possible nor is it affordable. I therefore try and focus on food which I think most benefit sfrom being organic. Meat and meat and dairy produce are at the top of my list. If you could see my fridge you would see that I don't always manage this at all but I try and do what I can!
In my experience, Tesco is the best supermarket for good quality organic meat. I can normally get organic chicken breasts, beef, minced beef and pork fairly easily. Tesco is also good for frozen wild fish such as their wild salmon fillets. They also stock a pretty good range of organic fruit andvegetables too. I normally manage to get at least half the items want as organic produce. They also are good for organic nuts and seeds and items such as tinned tomatoes. This does depend on size and locality of the store but my overall impression is that you can get a lot of what you need in Tesco.
I like a lot of Sainsbury's food, especially their huge free-from range, but I have found them to be surprisingly poor in terms of organic meat and wild fish. However, they do have some items that make it worth a visit to stock up. They are currently the only supermarket that stocks Helen Browning organic sausages which have the kid-friendly appeal of cooking in five minutes! Sainsburys are also currently the only stockist of Finnebrogue nitrate free 'Naked' ham and bacon. Nitrates in processed meat have been linked to some serious health issues so I think these products are worth the extra journey when possible. Sainsburys also stock a very reasonably priced range of organic low sulphate wine that you don't tend to see elsewhere so they definitely deserve kudos for still being ahead of the game in some areas!
Morrisons do have a small range of organic meat and it is certainly a lot cheaper for similar quality to Tescos but I only tend to see organic chicken there. It is worth buying it and freezing if you spy any. Morrisons also do really good gluten-free meatballs and sausages. They are not organic but it feels a good compromise. They have some organic fruit and vegetables but not nearly as much as Tescos. They do however sometimes have their own brand organic tomato sauces which are delicious. My local Morrison's has also really upped their game when it comes to free-from products. They also stock some items that you normally only see in health food shops such as protein powders and high-quality vitamins.
At the other end of the price scale, Waitrose has a similar range of organic meat and other produce when compared to Tesco but it does seem a lot more expensive. They do however stock organic meatballs and a big range of organic sausages,many of which have a high meat percentage and fewer additives than other brands. Waitrose also sometimes stock organic cold sliced meats such as chicken which I have yet to see anywhere else.
Aldi (and Lidl too) is really good if you are trying to cut costs on fruit and vegetables which are such a big part of a Paleo diet. The prices are excellent and they do have some organic produce too. The fresh food sometimes doesn't last as long as other supermarkets but if you are happy to go in more frequently it is fine. They are also brilliant for other items such as really good quality olive oil, coconut oil and nuts and seeds. They also have a good range of frozen fruit plus paleo friendly fruit and nut bars and small boxes of dried fruit, nuts and seeds. I have never seen organic meat there but some of the fish seems good quality and again, good value.
Last but not least, Costco is shopping heaven if you are eating a Paleo diet. Once you have got past the giant teddy bears (they seem to have set up camp there!) they have lots of items that are hard to get in other supermarkets such as coconut flour, coconut sugar, chia seeds, cacao nibs and protein powders. They also do huge bottles of maple syrup and big tubs of coconut oil. All of these tend to be cheaper than anywhere else. They are also good for nuts and seed mixes. Their meat is good value although it doesn't tend to be organic. However, they have fantastic salmon burgers made from wild Alaskan salmon that are worth going for the trip alone. America is about a decade ahead of us when it comes to the Paleo diet and it shows when you walk around here. They often have America products such as sweet potato crackers and sweet items made from coconut flour that you can't get anywhere else here.
I really hope you find this information useful. It is of course entirely based on my own experience shopping around Edinburgh but I do keep my eyes peeled and I have become a bit of a Ninja shopper in terms of spotting a Paleo bargain! I also know all the best coffee shops near every supermarket too in order to make the whole thing bearable. I would love to hear where you find good food in supermarkets near you too and if you have spotted any other Paleo gems out there too!