The Challenge concludes

And so, the end is nigh.

After three weeks The Challenge draws to its painful and inevitable conclusion.

For those who don’t remember (or care), I’d agreed to be an ambassador for Safefood’s START campaign. It encourages participants to instigate one ‘healthy start’ into their routine on a daily basis. Changing one thing about our diet and sticking with it. They call it the ‘daily win’. The philosophy is that big results begin with little changes.

It started with me experimenting with healthier breakfasts. My son’s Coco Pops were exchanged for the now infamous organic puffed rice cereal (

It continued with the introduction of a daily walk into the family routine (

And now it’s done. I won’t pretend that it’s been easy. We’ve had a surfeit of rows and, yes, I did end up with a bowl of organic puffed rice cereal over my head at one point. As the semi skimmed milk dripped from my nose I did wonder why I was bothering.

It’s very hard to change a routine. None of us ever have the time to do all the things we want and we all fall too quickly back into the lazy old habits. Eating the same food, not being active enough.

But we’ve stuck with the concept gamely. At the very least it’s part of the conversation now. It’s on my son’s radar.

Today I was shovelling a slice of apple pie into my mouth. My son stopped me.

‘Daddy, why are you always eating treats? You have to eat healthily.’

True, he was eating a McDonald’s Happy Meal at the time, but you take one step at a time.

So the next question is what do I do now that it’s over?

I’m in the process of running myself a goose fat bath when I hesitate. Maybe now that I’ve started this thing is it not worth sticking with it? Maybe the little steps will grow into great strides for my son if I keep pushing the healthy eating and active lifestyle message?

There has to be a balance. After all, he’s four years old. He’ll always want his treats and will gorge on chocolate if I allow it. I just have to try and balance it with fresh fruit, milk, the odd rice cake smuggled into his lunchbox instead of a biscuit.

And the message is starting to get through. I noticed in the news last week that Kellogg’s Ireland has announced it is to reduce the amount of sugar in its cereals. The firm says sugar in Coco Pops will come down by 40% next year – from 30g per 100g to 17g.

This announcement was made just days after I wrote about how I was replacing Coco Pops with the organic puffed rice cereal.


I’ll let you decide.

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