Save your back and body tips

After I’d just had my son, Luca, I didn’t realise that having a baby meant not only carrying them around but all their accessories and baby equipment too! Car seat, changing mat, buggy and steralising equipment!

Then there was also the picking baby up off the floor, out of the bath and lifting from the moses basket or car seat.

A new mums role is constant lifting, bending, carrying, heavy duty physical work and places stresses and strains on an already tired and weakened body! Here are my tips for body mechanics whilst changing baby, lifting and carrying to protect your body and save your back…

 

Then there’s the added factor of your unstable pelvis thanks to the excessive amounts of hormones, relaxin and elastin to widen it to deliver your baby. These hormones cause the ligaments to become lax. Ligaments are strong bands of fibrous tissue that provide support to the bones and link one bone to another in and around joints. Looser ligaments mean less support to bones and muscles.

The unstable pelvis has a ‘domino’ effect as combined with the after effects of the relaxin it puts stress on the anterior cruciate ligaments (major ligament of the knee) to balance the body and causes instability at the knee joint.

So it is with no doubt that a New mum may experience lower back pain, hip issues and knee pain post pregnancy. Being careful how you lift and carry your baby can avoid injuries or straining any already weakened muscles.

Balancing your baby on your hip is the worse thing you can do! I see mums carry their babies like this all the time – it’s the biggest factor that can lead to lower back and hip pain. It’s time to adjust the way you move your body, paying attention to your body mechanics when carrying your baby (and paraphernalia!) and respecting your pelvis! Here are some tips for saving your body and relieving your pains…

Avoid
Balancing your baby on your hip

Instead
Stand in correct posture with your spine in neutral and the navel slightly drawn in. Hold the baby with one arm resting just under his bottom and the other hand on the back of his head, so his chin is just resting on your shoulder. Avoid leaning back.

Bending and lifting baby from the bath, cot or the floor

  • Draw navel to spine and bend your knees
  • Squat down, keeping body weight into the arch of your feet, using your lower leg muscles, thighs and gluts (bottom) to lower your down and pick baby up, bringing them in close to you.
  • Keep knees aligned with ankles (avoid pushing knees over toes)
  • Use your legs to stand back up

Bathing tips

  • Choose a baby bath that rests in the main bath. Best to fill this up in situ. Alternatively I bought a lightweight bath chair that I put in the bath first, then placed Luca in afterwards. This avoids you lifting and lowering a heavy weight of water.
  • Kneel alongside the bath to bath baby or on a small stool with towel under your knees so that you are not stooping over the bath.

Changing Baby

  • Change baby on your bed and kneel next to the bed with a cushion under your knees to protect your knees
  • Place the equipment in front of you or to the side to prevent twisting behind you
  • Place the changing mat on a surface or table that is at a height just above your waist to avoid stooping

Carrying Baby

  • Instead of carrying the baby for a length of time, use a baby sling or carrier positioned high to avoid leaning backwards.
  • These are a great way to balance the weight of the baby and prevent shoulder and lower back ache. Babies also love being close to you and hearing your heart rate as it mimics when they were inside you.
  • It’s also great if you need to wander around the house and get some jobs done.
  • Choose one that has a back-saving design and can be adjusted as the baby gets bigger.
  • Practice good posture as you walk with the sling – maintaining the neutral spine position

Feeding Baby (in day)

  • Avoid at all costs the hunchback of Notre Dame syndrome when you bottle or breast feed. Your shoulders will ache and it will place strain on your neck muscles.
  • Place a cushion between the small of your lower back and the back of an upright chair. Avoid any low or far back sofas or chairs where you would slump.
  • Place your feet on a pile of magazines or books or small footstool to raise your knees so they are level with hips
  • Have a pillow or cushion on your lap to raise your baby and bring him closer to you

Feeding baby (at night when you are half asleep and not thinking about how you sit!)

  • Sit upright as you can, and place the pillow or cushion behind your lower back
  • Draw your shoulders down and back
  • Breath in, feeling your stomach swell slightly as it fills with air
  • Breath out and draw your navel to spine
  • Try to look down just occasionally to check on baby feeding and then look up and forwards (this means that you don’t strain your neck by continuously hanging the head down).

Overcoming a Nagging Pain in the Arch.. Plantar Fasciitis

I had this once when I started to increase my running. It can be really sore and a right pain (pardon the pun!).

Plantar Fasciitis is an inflammation of the strong fibrous bands that run along the bottom of your foot. It helps maintain the arch and holds the foot rigid as you walk.

Along with the muscles and bones this connective tissue, the plantar fascia, forms the arch of the foot. You will usually feel plantar fasciitis pain in your arch and heel as shown in the diagram to the right. When first arising standing you may experience heel pain which is the fibre stretching at the plantar fascial enthesis when the foot is bearing the body’s weight. After walking around the pain can ease. When applying thumb pressure the pain is worse at the heel bone.

Sometimes known as Heel Spur Syndrome, plantar fasciitis is one of the injuries most commonly experienced by young runners, post partum women, golfers, athletes and also those who stand for long periods of time on hard surfaces with poorly fitting or supportive footwear or pumps. There is also high incidences in people that are overweight in their 40s-60s and in 20% of cases, pain can occur for over a year if it is untreated..

The vast majority of people with this pain may

also have feet that over-pronate.

If you have flat feet or high arches, take extra care as you are more at risk. Tight archilles tendons put more risk on the fascia, so make sure you stretch both of them and your calves.

EFFECTIVE TREATMENT:

Try one or more of the following methods to help improve the condition:

  • An ice massage the area for 10-15 minutes. Fill a paper cup with water and freeze it. Peel off the paper, place the ice under the foot and roll your foot over it, from the heel to the ball and back.
  • Taping your foot before jogging or running can help relieve the discomfort. Follow this by stretching the calf muscle, to within limits of pain, which is very effective.
  • One stretching method is to use your toes to pull a towel, piece of paper, or marble off the floor.
  • Place a golf ball under the base of your big toe and roll the foot forwards over the ball to the base of your second toe, and repeat. Do the same motion starting from each toe, exerting enough pressure to experience a little tenderness.
  • Sit on the floor with one knee bent and the same ankle flexed towards you. Pull the toes towards the ankles. Hold for a count of 10, and repeat nine more times.
  • Wear proper supportive shoes. Running or athletic trainers with excellent support, no or minimal heel, and well-cushioned soles. You can also include padded or gel inserts
  • Use felt, gel, viscoelastic, or synthetic heel pads that spread and are shock absorbing as the heel lands on the ground. This eases pressure on the ligament structure of the plantar fascia that supports the longitudinal arch of the foot.
  • Aim to lose weight – bone, joint, muscle or nerve pain tends to worsen with more weight the body has to bear.

Read More…

Beyonce’s pregnancy diet and workout secrets revealed.. by UK pregnancy and fitness expert, Vicky Warr


Now Beyonce has announced that she is expecting a baby, how will she maintain those sexy curves and stay fit during her pregnancy in the public eye?

To stay looking so good with her naturally curvaceous body shape, Beyonce exercises five times a week  and consistently eats healthy.  To avoid piling on the pounds now she is pregnant she’ll adapt her current exercise regime to ensure she stays in shape, while keeping it safe for herself and her baby.

Here are her best kept secrets you can follow to help you enjoy a healthy fit pregnancy and stay in shape.

Plenty of greens with fresh vegetables and salads rather than pre-packaged foods are Beyonce’s current daily prerequisites, before her pregnancy.  These are even more so important now as the Folic Acid found in these foods help prevent spinal growth and brain abnormalities.  Green vegetables also contain calcium to help the bone development of her baby.

Fresh fruit, also part of her pre-pregnancy nutrition plan, will feature as great snacks providing the vitamins and nutrients she needs for energy in the first and second trimesters to sing, attend awards ceremonies and do interviews!  Lots of green vegetables and fruit means she’ll boost her immune system to ward of coughs and colds.

Beyonce doesn’t eat too much red meat but as it is an excellent source of dietary iron and one in ten women are deficient during pregnancy, introducing organic lean steaks as well as sardines twice a week will keep her energy levels up so she can continue to exercise.

A fan of chocolate, Beyonce doesn’t eat too much of it as she knows the effect it may have on her curves so she keeps it as a cheat food in moderation.  Some dark chocolate (more than 70% cocoa solids and Green and Black’s being a good brand) means she will not have eat so much poor quality fat (dark chocolate contains less than milk chocolate) and will also benefit from some iron.

Although she has kept carbohydrates minimal pre-pregnancy, her body will now demand more vitamin B12 as B12 is needed for the body’s tissue growth. If Beyonce plans on breastfeeding her body will store B12 so there needs to be enough for her baby. Good quality cereals, Wholegrain seeded bread with Marmite or hard boiled eggs will be good food choices for her breakfasts.


Processed fats or trans (unhealthier fats found in pre-packaged foods, biscuits and cakes) have never been part of Beyonce’s regime or any curvy woman wanting to stay fit and firm looking. During pregnancy the growing baby benefits from the nutrients in essential fats for it’s brain development and as a mum to be, essential fats – nuts, almonds and nut butter (from health food stores, such as Brazil Nut Butter) will be on her shopping list.

Beyonce has always eaten smaller more frequent meals, rather than less frequent larger meals or ever skipping meals.  Sticking with this strategy can help ward off morning sickness – keeping blood sugar levels constant, relieving heartburn and nausea.

Drinking plenty of water is a given for Beyonce as you can tell from her glowing skin.  Keeping rehydrated during pregnancy is key for energy levels and to avoid constipation and fluid retention.

Nutrition is one of the most important areas to address as part of a healthy pregnancy. Beyonce engages in a personalised nutrition plan to avoid excess weight gain and compliment her exercise regime.

Exercise
Beyonce knows that consistency is key to keeping her toned and her body sexy.  Her magic exercise formula has consisted of jogging 6 times a week and weight training.  As she progresses through her pregnancy, the high impact activity of jogging would be substituted with lower impact water exercise with aqua jogging to support her joints or land based fast paced walking intervals. Focusing on good posture and being aware of her core muscles by drawing her belly button into her spine and keeping her shoulders down and set back will mean she looks great in photos and wards of back pain.  Keeping her intensity levels to where she can hold a conversation but not able to sing a song during her cardio-vascular exercise will mean she still burns calories but doesn’t overdo it.

Free weights will still be part of her regime.  Whilst once many mums-to-be would steer clear of using weights, the benefits are now becoming more evident as research unveils how, with adaptations,  weight training not only keeps mum toned but prepares her for the lifting, bending and carrying she will need to be doing once the baby comes. By keeping weights lighter and focusing on good technique and posture, Beyonce’s regular pregnancy specific personal training strength sessions will be essential for her and help ensure she springs back into shape faster post baby.

Dancing is one of Beyonce’s top exercise activities as she likes the variety and it keeps her motivated with exercise, when she starts to get bored.  Lower impact aerobics without the sudden turns will still burn calories and ensure her cardio-vascular fitness is maintained.  She also likes bike riding – spinning or stationary biking to music, making adjustments to her bike seat to ensure comfort and address posture would be ideal during pregnancy.  Keeping endurance up is essential for the birth of the new Knowles addition!   Add regular yoga sessions to the mix to release tight muscles and relieve stress and she will continue to glow from head to toe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Minute Healthy Breakfast Smoothies

Here are my two top favourites. Ready in just three minutes and all you need is the fruit and your blender.

A perfect quick breakfast choice.

Peach and Almond Smoothie
1 x heaped dsp of Ground Almonds
Half banana
Half teacup of Natural Yogurt
Three quarters cup frozen peaches
Some Water – 3 tbsps

Combine all ingredients together in a blender and process for 1 minute or until smooth and creamy. Drink immediately.

Berry Smoothie

1 tbsp of natural yogurt with half banana and
one choice of berries (can be frozen)
one apple
some water – 3 tsbps

Combine all ingredients together in a blender and process for 1 minute or until smooth and creamy. Drink immediately.

Tip: Good Posture during Pregnancy

Good posture is essential during pregnancy to ward off back pain. Your uterus expands up to 1,000 times, combined with the added weight you have to carry around, this throws out your centre of gravity and puts huge strain on your back muscles. These tired muscles then become painful and your posture becomes poor, leading to a hunchback form! Not only that it can also lead to sciatica. To prevent back pain and sciatica you need to:

  • Strengthen the postural muscles, known as your core
  • Stretch tight hip flexors
  • Stretch hamstrings

Follow these tips to help maintain your posture, which will help prevent that pain in the back during pregnancy and post natal!

  1. Keep your knees ‘soft’ so they are unlocked and relaxed. Slowly rock forwards and backwards between the balls of your feet and heels, distributing your weight evenly towards the arches of your feet as you slowly stop.
  2. Tilt your pelvis back at the same time draw your navel into your spine so it feels like it lifts upwards and backwards. You should feel your lower back lose some of the natural arch.
  3. You may feel like you have grown an inch.
  4. Let your shoulders drop down and feel your neck relaxed.

Avoid wearing high heels, as this accentuates the curve of your lower back and pushes you further forward and makes you even more unstable!

Aching after your exercise session? Ways to reduce the soreness

Ever experienced soreness the day or two after an exercise session?  Many people have! It is known as Delayed Muscle Onset Soreness (shortened to DOMS) simply – muscle pain, muscle soreness or muscle stiffness. It is usually felt when you begin a new exercise program, change your exercise routine, or increase the duration or intensity of your exercise routine.

Try not to be alarmed even if you are pregnant.  Delayed onset muscle soreness is a normal response to the different exercise or exertion and is part of an adaptation process of your body that leads to improved stamina and tone as the muscles recover and build.

The soreness will be at it’s worse within the first 2 days following a new, more intense activity and slowly subsides over the next few days.

Tips for Dealing with Muscle Soreness After Exercise for both pregnancy and post natal.

Try these methods to deal with your discomfort, they are not all are backed up with research, but many people ease the soreness with one of these remedies.

  • Use Active Recovery. Low-impact aerobic exercise such as swimming or walking increasing blood flow.
  • Some R and R (Rest and Recover). The soreness will go away in 3 to 5 days with no special treatment.
  • Try a Pregnancy or Post Natal Massage. Some research has found that massage may help reduce reported muscle soreness and reduce swelling,
  • Try an Ice Bath or Contrast Water Bath. (Not the most popular option (!) but if you go for this one, take a Holiday/Travel Magazine in the bath with you and just fill the bath so your legs are covered. An Ipod with favourite music will take your mind off the cold too!
  • Gentle Stretching. Many people find it simply feels good, although there is no evidence that stretching alone reduces muscle pain of soreness,.
  • Listen to Your Body. Avoid any vigorous or high impact activity, which is certainly not suitable in pregnancy or soon after a baby in any case or exercise that increases pain.
  • Warm Up completely before your next exercise session (this is a vital part of theBeezKneez classes which is why we incorporate the dynamic stretches). This can help reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness
  • ** If your pain persists longer than about 7 days or increases despite these measures, consult your physician.

Ten Minute Core Restore and Flat Abs Programme

Before beginning this ten minute flat abs programme be sure to warm up with some dynamic stretches beforehand for 5 minutes. 

 

 

Straight Arm Pushup Hold

  • Start the movement in a pushup position.
  • Extend your arms into a pushup.
  • Hold that position for 10 secs and rest for 3 secs and repeat 6 times.
  • Alternative: Rest on forearms and elbows with elbows under shoulders

 

 

 

Alternative option below: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Left and Right Side Pillar Hold

  • Lay on the ground on one side. Raise your body using one
    forearm and support it in this raise for 10 secs, rest for 3 secs and repeat six times.
  • Lower your body and repeat on the other side.
  • Remember to keep your head, neck and body in a straight line.

 

 

 

 

 

Hip Extension on back (with or without band – arms by side if you not using a band)

  • Lie on the floor and place the resistance band across your waist (if using) and pin it to the floor with your hands.
  • Squeeze and clench your bottom (NOT your back). Keep you back flat (tilt hips)
  • Extend your hips up towards the ceiling keeping your feet on the ground.  Hold position for 10 secs then rest for 3 secs. Repeat 6 times. 
  • More challenging option: Lift one foot off the ground and bend the same knee pushing the foot in the air towards the ceiling as you hold your tight glutes (bottom). 

 

 

 

 

 

Bird dog (opposite arm and leg raise on all fours!)

  • Start by placing yourself on your hands and knees.  Draw in your navel slightly so you feel your abs tighten. Keep shoulders down and away from ears.
  • Slowly raise your opposite arm and opposite leg and extend them out away from the body. Hold for 10 secs and rest for 3 secs. Repeat 6 times.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat with the other side.
  • Always keep this movement slow and controlled. Never flex your lower back. 

 

 

 

 

 

Standing Hip Extensions

Start by placing your hands on the back of your hips.
Slowly shift your hips forward using your muscles and your hands.
Only push until a comfortable stretch or range of motion is achieved. Hold for 5 secs and repeat 5-6 times

Psoas Hold (knee raise) (picture not shown)

Stand tall. Lift one knee up so that your knee is higher than your hip. Aim to hold with good balance for 10 secs, rest for 3 secs and repeat 6 times. Then replicate move on other leg. Be sure not to flex your spine. 

Goodbye Cellulite..

With the nice weather approaching and summer clothes making their first appearance of the season, many of us are now thinking about a problem that affect four in five women in Europe: cellulite. Aromatherapy can help you improve the appearance of cellulite. Research has shown that some essential oils indeed possess properties that are helpful in eliminating toxins, improving skin’s texture and stimulating blood and lymph circulation, thus reducing cellulite. Leila Denison-Pender, specialist in Pregnancy Massage and Aromatherapy in West London gives us her top oils to help combat that ‘orange peel’ feeling:

-          Juniper berry (Juniperus communis), known for its lipolytic (i.e. its ability to break up fat) and diuretic action

-          Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), for its cleansing, hormone balancing and lymphatic action

-          Grapefruit (Citrus paradisii), for its astringent and lipolytic action

-          Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens), for its astringent, lipolytic and detoxifying action.

For the best results, a weekly aromatherapy massage treatment with a blend of the above essential oils over the course of 4-6 weeks is recommended, in conjunction with daily skin brushing, a healthy diet and exercise. The regular local application of an ointment blended with the above mentioned oils is also advised to further exacerbate the effect of the aromatherapy treatment.

Leila Denison-Pender is offering £5 discount for any bookings made by 31st July for any of the Beez Kneez mums. For more information about Leila’s aromatherapy massage treatments or to book an appointment, please contact www.symbiosisaromatherapy.com

 

Get rid of heartburn in your pregnancy

Heartburn can be very uncomfortable and painful and affects 2 in 3 pregnant women and is most common in the last trimester as the uterus gets bigger, although you can start to get it at twenty weeks.  

It occurs as the increased hormone levels produced by your body in pregnancy cause the valve muscle between the esophagus and the stomach to relax. This means the valve doesn’t close properly and digestive acids can leak back up into the esophagus, throat and mouth. As they hit the sensitive lining within the esophagus it causes the burning sensation in the chest.

Foods to avoid, which can aggravate heartburn

  • Caffeine, chocolate, orange juice and oranges
    and other citrus fruit and juices
  •  Fatty and fried foods as they take much longer
    to digest
  •  Spicy foods such as chilli powder and peppers
    and stronger foods such as garlic and onions

Five ways to help reduce incidences of heartburn

  1.  Nutrition is key – eat five to six smaller meals every 3- 4 hours,
    rather than 3 larger meals and chew food properly in the mouth first, taking
    time to swallow
  2. Try chewing gum after a meal which can stimulate the salivary glands and neutralise acid
  3. Eat your evening meal 2-3 hours before going to bed – this means the digestive system has time to break down your food
  4. Place pillows under your upper body to prop you up and help your
    stomach acids flow down. Remain upright one to two hours after eating a
    meal
  5. Drink plenty of fluids and soup between meals rather than with a meal

Top Tip:  a handful of almonds or almond butter can help calm the feeling

TheBeezKneez have a selection of mums to be pregnancy nutritional programmes including one to one consultations for a personalised meal programme, making choosing the right foods for you very easy.  To contact our nutritionist: steph@beez-kneez.co.uk

Image courtesy of thenaturalhealthreport.com 

Fifteen Top Tips for getting your children to eat more fruit and vegetables

Natasha Gavin is a mum and knows what a struggle it can be to get your children to eat their fruit and vegetables! Founder of I Know why it’s Yum here she provide her top tips to help you encourage them to want to eat healthier food to benefit their well-being.

Get the children to grow their own
Soil, water, anticipation, pride- all will help your children to feel positive about stuff that comes from the ground! After 12 years of low-maintenance allotment-eering with impatient young boys, I would recommend the following: strawberries, raspberries, plums, mangetout, courgettes, green beans, beetroots. All of those are usually prolific producers, with very little TLC.  Radishes are great but can get very fiery if left too long and go woody, so often not that popular with children. And in a back garden (where you can water often and keep slugs/snails at bay): tomatoes and salad leaves. And don’t forget SUNFLOWERS: plant them early enough, and they will amaze children with their tree like stems by the end of the summer, and you might get a few sunflower seeds to harvest!
Pick  fruit and veg with them
On the allotment, in the back garden, on the window ledge, at a pick-your- own farm. They won’t be able to resist sneaking a few into their mouths (make sure they are hungry before you start harvesting!), and everything will taste much better straight off the bush/tree/ plant. The flavours really ARE that much more intense. Even unripe strawberries can taste delicious.
Have fun with food
Make playing with the fruit and vegetables fun for ‘veg-phobic’ kids. Get them to pick sprouts off the tall stems they grow on, get them to pod the peas or broad beans and shoot them into a bowl, make snake tongues out of carrot peelings, play relay races with courgettes, paint your lips with red fruit. Lucy Thomas from www.MangeToutkids.com has lots of ideas that are accessible through www.tasteforlifenursery.com It might feel silly at first, but it achieves incredible results- I have seen them with my own eyes.
Explain WHY they should eat their greens (and oranges, and reds, and purples..)
This is what I believe in passionately. Kids always want to know WHY this, WHY that. So try explaining how the broccoli is good for their tummy, and raisins provide iron which they need for healthy blood. Have some nuggets at your fingertips that will amuse them, and convince them that you are telling the truth. Here are a few:

  • beans make you fart  because they are high in fibre which gets the food moving through your body
  • avocados are used in  face packs for ladies because they are so high in vitamin E – which repairs your skin
  • the staining colour of beetroot means it can be used to calculate the speed you process/ metabolise food: mashed potato with beetroot laced through it will be visible in your pink poo (it’s called the transition test!)
  •  carrots are great for your eyes but too many carrots will make your skin orange (honestly)
  • pineapples are good for sore throats as they are anti-inflammatory
  • pumpkin seeds are full of healthy fats which can improve your memory.

Each fruit and veg brings a specific health benefit, or several, that you can latch on to make your point. You can read more in The Food Doctor for babies and children by Vicki Edgson. And encourage them to achieve a RAINBOW DIET. Eating different coloured fruit and veg each day will mean their body gets most of the nutrients it needs. (Mother nature is so clever eh?)

Compromise
Try not to adopt an ‘all or nothing’ approach. Suggest porridge with hot chocolate drinking powder sprinkled on top, lightly steamed broccoli with lots of grated cheddar on top, or natural yoghurt with Smarties! Sometimes you might get further, less painfully, if you meet them half way.
Call recipes funny names and try out wacky combinations
I found an incredible book (The great big veg challenge by Charlotte Hume). Charlotte presents her three top recipes for each veg in the alphabet- according to scores by her fussy eater son. Cauliflower popcorn is a firm favourite in our house. Tiny florets are tossed in olive oil, a tiny bit of salt, paprika, and breadcrumbs, and are then roasted in the oven on a flat tray. Another of Charlotte’s recipes is stir fried shredded brussel sprouts with garlic, bacon and ginger. I was really surprised at how much even I liked them! Beetroot and chocolate cake, courgette muffins (if necessary, don’t tell the children the ingredients until after they have eaten them!). Hiding vegetables in soup or a bolognaise sauces is a fab short term option, but not a long term solution. On the other hand, there is no need to tell them the contents of a delicious meal or cake too early, if the mere name of what is in there is going to put them off, right?
Take them on a fruit and veg adventure & empower them with choice
Visit a local ethnic veg market, or look out for unusual veg and fruit in the supermarket. Let each of your children chose one, and then have fun finding recipes to cook it. (Charlotte’s book will come in very handy here).
 Make the oldest sibling your ‘partner in crime’
Bribe them or sweet talk them into leading by example to help convince younger siblings to eat good stuff, and to set a great example by responding positively to new dishes, and veg, you present them all with at the dinner table. There is nothing worse than an older child exclaiming: “Oh this doesn’t look very nice (or worse) mum” as you are trying to convince a fussy toddler to try something new.
Take difficult meals out of the kitchen
Eat in a tent, have a picnic, in a shed etc. Consider letting your children eat in front of the TV as a treat, if they promise to eat all the green veg? ( I know it’s a slippery slope, but I try to keep these kinds of solutions for meals I really really want them to eat.)
Reward small steps
Be happy with children just ‘trying something’ and keep offering it. Even if it takes 5-10 times. I never believed this method truly worked, and just accepted that as long as my boys ate a varied diet, it didn’t really matter that I pandered to their dislike of mushrooms, or courgettes. But then I put the theory to the test, with just a couple of raw spinach leaves on my three year old’s plate every meal time- eventually I noticed the leaves had disappeared without me asking Tom to just ‘try them’. After checking on the floor, I concluded that he had just picked them up and eaten them. So now I put a couple of salad leaves on Tom’s plate whenever his older brother is getting a big boy portion. I haven’t cracked ‘salad’ completely, but we are making progress..perhaps consider using a reward chart and plan a treat at the end of a fruit and veg discovery week?
Have school dinners!
Proven to be better for you nutritionally than even the best pack lunches, school meals offer your children diversity that they almost certainly wouldn’t experience otherwise (unless you make a habit of cooking Chinese, Welsh, Indian, Mexican etc- I certainly don’t). They will try dishes (and fruit and vegetables) you might rarely or never make at home-which broadens their palates, and makes them more likely to try new things at home. I never use tinned tuna (mainly because I never think to use the tin at the back of the cupboard!), but have discovered my eldest son Michael adores tuna fajitas at school. (And my toddler discovered humus, noodles and spring rolls at playgroup) And if you have wonderful in-house catering and chefs that care about what their children eat, it is a win-win situation, well worth the £2 odd a day. (I do both actually- pack lunches two days a week, school dinners three days. It’s a compromise on many fronts!)
Cut down on taste extremes: like salty and sweet
Very salty foods (like any crisps) and very sweet foods (like cakes/chocolate) kill taste buds. Reduce the amount of salt and sugar they eat, and they will find natural food less bland, and will ‘enjoy’ the taste of fruit and veg more, or meals seasoned with garlic and herbs more palatable.( I know everyone is always going about salt, but it’s true. Our diets are far too salty (even bread has loads in it), and little bodies can’t cope with it- reduce it now, before it makes an impact on their health. High salt intake in children can lead to high blood pressure in young adults.)
Keep them HUNGRY                                                                             
Children who have snacked will NOT be as likely to try new things, or eat things they are not so keen on. You know what it’s like: if you have ever camped, by the time you have set up your tent, blown up the lilo and lit the fire,- the tin of baked beans tastes like heaven on earth.
Distract younger children
If they are young enough, this might work. If I read books to Tom he just opens his mouth like a bird, not really conscious of what is going in. If I ever have a ‘tricky’ meal to get into him, I will just promise to read him his favourite book, or better still, recently purchased Cbeebies magazine. We ‘spot the differences’, and stick the stickers everywhere. Before he has noticed, most of the dinner has gone down (And there is usually some ketchup involved too.) It’s all worth a try.
And FINALLY: Encourage your child care setting or primary school to book a ‘I Know Why It’s Yum, Mum!’ show or workshop 
I know why it’s Yum Mum (www.iknowwhyitsyummum.com) and provides Workshops and School productions aimed at getting children to remember WHY different fruit and veg (and cereals and seeds) are SO good for them, so they actively chose to eat the right stuff in the dinner queue,  or when offered it at home.  The workshops include fun activities – including  genuine fruit and veg Top Trumps cards, sticker activities, singing fruit and veggie rthymes and playing games with selected fruits and vegetables. Children learn what the health benefits are of each type of fruit and vegetable.  Natasha is not a food fascist (She loves crisps, cakes and burgers), but she is passionate about children’s diets and knows the importance it has on their health and well-being.