1. Back to school breakfasts

      Summer is nearly over, and those of you with children will be preparing to send them back to school. Even more important than the uniform and new crayons is ensuring that they are well fed throughout the day.

      Breakfast is the first, and undoubtedly the most important meal of the day, and should aim to combine complex carbohydrates with protein. A good breakfast can help boost your child’s energy, and sustain them through the morning  to help with their concentration, learning and behaviour in class.

      Porridge is one of the best options since the oats will give them slow-releasing energy though the morning, but if they prefer cereal, look for one that isn’t too sugary such as a granola, muesli or something oat based. Chop apple, pear, berries or  bananas and sprinkle some nuts on porridge on cereal for maximum benefit. Natural yoghurt is also a great substitute for milk, supplying both protein and calcium.

      If your child prefers toast, try and stick to brown, granary or wholemeal bread, and spread with peanut butter or Marmite, or even a mashed banana.

      Try and avoid too much sugar since this can cause rapid peaks and dips in your child’s blood sugar which can affect mood and concentration and cause fatigue. If they insist on fruity jams, try and find one low in sugar or made of natural sugars, and also keep an eye on sugary fruit juice drinks. Look for low sugar fruit  juices and try diluting with water to reduce their sugar intake.

      If you do have time to cook breakfast, eggs are a great choice. Boil, scramble or poach an egg and serve with granary or wholemeal toast. Grilled mushrooms and tomatoes will also help contribute to their 5 a day. Beans on toast is another quick and easy options which kids love and Heinz do a low sugar variety of baked beans. As before  brown, granary or wholemeal bread can help slow down the release of sugar into the bloodstream.

      Send them off with a good breakfast and they are more likely to feel satisfied all morning, and far less likely to reach for a sugary snack or drink at break time!

      A great week for foodies in Brighton and Hove.

      Over the weekend I took the plunge after living in the City most of my life, and finally did the Brighton and Hove open top bus tour. One of the interesting facts they came up with is that we have more bars, cafes and restaurants per head of population than any other city in the UK.

      We are already lucky enough to enjoy a wealth of fantastic farmers market, organic food and farm shops, and The Tin Drum at Seven Dials has recently  re-branded as a charcuterie, adding a great new dimension to their offer of home bred and home grown produce. Already a great fan of their Hove restaurant, I am looking forward to checking them out.

      With that in mind, summer is proving to be a great time for the foodies amongst us, with this week being a particular milestone.

      This Thursday sees the opening of  Thornes Foods  in Upper Gardener Street, promising locally produced wares,  a cafe and restaurant. Then on Friday, the fabulous Cook moves from its current location on Western Road along to Church Road, Hove. For the busy amongst you, who occasionally need to throw a ready meal in the oven or microwave, do check them out. Their dishes are home cooked, use healthy and nutritious ingredients, and the meals are good enough to serve at a dinner party. My personal favourite is the Moroccan spiced lamb tagine.

      Eating seasonal, local food is not only good for us, but by supporting our local independent businesses, we can help them compete with the High Street giants, so let’s get behind these new initiatives and help them succeed and maintain our reputation in Brighton and Hove as the place to be for foodies.