7 year old Mollie lives with her mum and baby brother and sister, and she spends every weekend with her Dad. When Mollie’s mum heard about BeeZee Families, she thought it would be a great opportunity for Mollie to learn about healthy eating and try out lots of new activities, and suggested her Dad Jonathan took her along. He jumped at the chance not only to get a bit of guidance on better nutrition for himself and his daughter – but also an excuse to spend an extra evening with Mollie every week!
Jonathan told us that he tends to spoil Mollie a bit at the weekends – and although they didn’t live an unhealthy lifestyle, they would often opt for quick ready meals and he would allow her a few too many snacks like crisps and biscuits. “If I’m honest, I’d say we eat 60/40 unhealthy vs healthy” he said. They enjoyed doing activities together at the weekend, and Jonathan would jump in the pool with Mollie after her Saturday morning swimming lesson for another hour or two splashing around! They also enjoyed playing in the park, but admitted to being ‘fair-weather’ outdoorsy types, and would opt for the car over a walk at the slightest sign of clouds!
When her parents told her that they’d signed her up for BeeZee Families, Mollie was excited at the prospect of spending some extra time with her Dad! Jonathan, however, was the one with cold feet! “I had about 10 days notice and if the course had been a bit further in the future I might well of found a reason not to attend because nobody wants to be told they are overweight or unhealthy, right? I’m so glad I didn’t find that excuse, because BeeZee Families has led to subtle changes in the way we behave as a family and all for the better”.
Before their first BeeZee Families session, Mollie and Jonathan made a pact that they would try everything. From the activities, to the recipes, to new foods – they were all in! Mollie particularly enjoyed reminding her dad of this pact when his most-hated food – banana – was the weekly snack!
“When it came to the mid session snack one week, there was banana and Mollie’s face lit up! I haven’t eaten banana for over 30 years! She loves banana but she’s always known not to come near daddy when she’s eating one, so it gave her great pleasure to tell me ‘we said we would try everything’ and she took a video to show mummy as well. I ate it but let’s just say I won’t be having another one anytime soon!”
Since attending BeeZee Families, the dad and daughter duo have made some seriously healthy habits! They have discovered that they love cooking together, and have tried all the BeeZee Recipes; slow cooker curry, flatbread pizza, spinach and ricotta pasta, carrot cake, granola cookies, cheesecake, vegetable cous cous. In fact, cooking has become part of their new Saturday ritual: swimming lesson in the morning, trip to the supermarket in the afternoon to get the ingredients and then preparing and cooking a healthy feast for the evening.
They also now choose healthier snacks, and are more mindful about their snacking habits too. Jonathan explains:
“Snacking is slightly different now, I’d say it’s more like 80/20 in favour of healthy snacks, and we now realise that we think we are hungry sometimes because we have nothing to occupy our minds or are bored. Previously if Mollie said she was hungry the immediate reaction would be to have a little something, but now we often say not right now (if she asks again in 10 minutes then it was genuine hunger) and we try and do something different, it’s surprising how often we don’t actually need that snack.”
They have also been more active from going to the trampoline park a few times, to just the little things like walking into town instead of taking the car, or a quick game in the garden. “Even if it’s only 10/15 minutes in the garden it the realisation that it all counts” said Jonathan.
The most valuable lesson Mollie and Jonathan said they learnt was that “quick doesn’t need to be unhealthy/less healthy. There’s plenty of easy heathy and quick options out there and, in all honesty, we do have the 20 minutes it takes to prepare and cook.”
“I found the course FANTASTIC and enjoyed every week. More importantly, my 7 year old daughter loved every aspect; she looked forward to going, got involved in conversations and took part in all the activities. The course itself has led to subtle changes in the way we behave as a family and all for the better. As far as I am concerned the only issue is that this isn’t more widely available, the lessons learned should I believe be brought into schools so that more children can benefit from it.”