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Home Cooking The Healthy Alternative

Today dozens of snacks are marketed at toddlers and young children. Have you ever made it to the checkout only to have that final argument with your child over the chocolate bar placed deliberately at eye level? Today our children’s diets are full of packaged, processed foods. Yes they may be convenient, colourful and desired by your child but when you stop to read the ingredient list you may be astounded to see that these products are far from healthy. In large quantities these foods have a detrimental affect on our children’s health.

Many of the popular, processed snacks consumed by our children such as flavoured crackers, chips, biscuits, cakes and muesli bars are high in kilojoules, salt or sugar, full of additives and low in nutrients. They fall in the ‘Eat Least’ category of the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating.

The western diet today has moved well away from the days of eating whole foods like our grandparents used to do. Whole foods are replaced with fast foods and junk foods. Their convenience and low cost make them appealing to families today. This way of eating puts our children at risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

Basic home baking can be healthy, nutritious and far superior compared to the commercially prepared foods. Unfortunately because of a lack of time and maybe even skill home baking remains for many families a thing of the past.

By making some of your own foods you will provide your family with a far healthier diet. It is an easy way to provide more nutrients from fruits and vegetables and good quality whole grains. This way of eating will educate your children about the importance of good nutrition and will […]

By |February 3rd, 2014|Dieticians Blog|0 Comments|

How to Deal with the Fussy Eater

Many parents worry that their child won’t eat a variety of food. We all know as parents that establishing a healthy eating pattern is important for long-term health so it is very concerning to us when we have a child that is fussy.

Fussy feeding can be a very normal part of a child’s development. As to why a child is fussy depends on many factors. Their personality, age, parental practices, feeding styles and social influences will all have an effect on the way a child eats. Some researchers even query whether there may be a genetic cause. Whatever the cause the fussy eater can be extremely frustrating and needs to be managed in a way that does not make the problem worse.

Fortunately many of these fussy eaters generally manage to obtain sufficient nutrients for growth and development and most importantly they don’t starve!

Here are a few prudent questions to ask yourself!

Does your child eat a Balanced Diet?

If your child eats few foods but does eat something from each of the food groups (listed below), then your child is likely to be receiving adequate nutrition. If your child is healthy, has lots of energy, is generally happy, is growing and is a healthy weight then more than likely they are eating enough for their needs. If however your child refuses to eat foods from one or more of food groups below, then your child may not be receiving adequate nutrition. If your child is frequently sick, is overweight or has poor weight gain, has mood swings and is frequently tired then these are some of the clues that may indicate an inadequate diet. It is worth remembering to look at what your child eats over […]

By |February 3rd, 2014|Dieticians Blog|0 Comments|

Food Additives and Behavior

Today there is increasing attention given to the role of diet and children’s behaviour, particularly as we now see more diagnosed cases of ADHD and Autism. Even without ADHD and Autism parents often feel concerned when they see huge mood swings in their child and wonder if food is to blame.

Over the years sugar has been seen as the culprit. Many parents feel their child becomes hyperactive after eating sugary foods at a child’s birthday party. It wasn’t until a study in the UK found that artificial food colours had an adverse affect on children’s behaviour that additives have been put in the spotlight.

Whilst many food additives are harmless it is now recognized that certain food additives can sometimes affect a child’s behaviour. Along with behaviour changes, some children develop hives, irritable bowel, headaches, itchy skin and asthma. It is important to remember that the percentage of children affected by food additives is very small. Food Additives will not affect every child; it depends on which additives they are sensitive to (if any) and how much they consume.

Unfortunately many of the foods containing these harmful additives are marketed at our children. Quite frequently these additives are used in every day foods like margarines, yoghurts, pancakes, bread, breakfast cereals, oven chips, and of course confectionery.

This article will help you understand which additives are best avoided and provide you with a few simple steps to become a little more additive free.
What are food additives?
Food additives serve many purposes some of which are improving taste or appearance, maintaining moisture content and softness and preserving foods. Because of food additives we have a large variety of foods to choose from in the supermarket. They play an important role […]

By |February 3rd, 2014|Dieticians Blog|Comments Off on Food Additives and Behavior|

Teaching Toddlers Healthy Eating

As the owner of Yummy Tuckers I have over the past 2 and half years picked up a few good pointers with regards to getting your Toddlers to eat healthy food. This has come mainly through being a parent to two little boys of ages 4 and 5 and my professional relationships via my business with nutrition professionals and the daycare industry. The first pointer I can give out is be patient don’t beat yourself up ……It’s Not Easy……….!

Nature has given us some wonderful mechanisms through which we have been able to evolve and survive for as long as we have. One of these mechanisms is to give infants a preference for certain tastes and a non-preference/ dislike for others. For example an aversion to sour bitter tasting foods helped us avoid toxic poisonous plants back in the day when we were hunter gatherers and a preference for sweet things helps babies with breast milk as it is a naturally sweet. There is also a liking for salty things in kids a reason for which has not yet been established.

So these mechanisms are still in our DNA today and determine our actions around learning what to eat, giving us, as infants a predisposition to eating foods with a ‘familiar’ taste as a built in safety mechanism thus preventing us from eating unsafe foods. So this would in turn help explain why introducing new foods with different tastes colours and textures to children is a difficult and challenging affair as we are battling nature’s safety switch !

Our learning about food starts as a baby when we are experiencing flavours of food that our mothers have eaten via their breast milk. Babies use this subtle information […]

By |January 31st, 2014|Yummy Tuckers|0 Comments|

10 Ways Food Manufacturers Hijack Your Child’s Brain

Food manufacturers know how to use psychology to get your child to like their products. Corporate researchers learn to use the psychology of taste preferences to make your child crave their empty calorie junk foods.

 

Food manufacturers count on the fact that if parents feed their kids processed food, even if they do so only occasionally, the kids will crave it and ask for it more and more. Eventually, some parents will give up and feed their children a steady diet of processed, manufactured food, ensuring a steady income for the food manufacturer giants.

 

Here are some of the techniques that Big Food uses:

 

1) Sugar – Food manufacturers put sugar in most of their foods, even those that aren’t desserts like spaghetti sauce or frozen meals. Human beings have a natural desire for sugar — it signals calories and vitamin c, which were scarce in prehistoric times. The amount of sugar in manufactured foods is much higher than any foods that our prehistoric ancestors ever ate — and produces an addictive response that can be as strong as cocaine.

 

2) Fat – Food manufacturers put vegetable oil in most of their foods. It’s cheap and, like sugar, addictive in large quantities.

 

3) Salt – Salt is also addictive and hides the unpleasant flavour that a lot of processed food has. Food manufacturers know that if your child is given a high salt diet, she/he will learn to crave the salty taste.

 

4) Mild Taste – Processed food has very little taste. Manufacturers rely on the salty, sugary, fatty tastes to get your child addicted to their food. Processed foods have little real flavours, compared to the strong taste of real foods like oranges, spinach, or cauliflower. This means that […]

By |January 31st, 2014|Yummy Tuckers|0 Comments|

How to Introduce a New Food so Your Kid Loves it

 Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you knew a way to get your child to like any food you wanted? 

Imagine walking down the produce aisle of the supermarket and picking up asparagus, kale, or turnips, and knowing that in 6 weeks your child would be eating it enthusiastically.

Researchers have studied the processes by which children come to like new foods.  If you randomly feed your child different foods, you probably won’t hit on the correct formula.  But by following these steps, you can systematically teach your child to like any food.

Lesson 1: Introducing a New Food for the First Time

Wait until your child is hungry.  Hunger makes anything taste good!  Give your child the new food before his meal, as an appetizer.

Make it taste good.  If you’re trying to get your child to be an asparagus fan, don’t just boil the asparagus and plop it down in front of him.  Find a 5 star recipe on the internet and make a delicious asparagus dish.

Make it taste familiar.  If asparagus is covered with your child’s favourite cheese sauce, it won’t seem so scary.  Use ingredients that your child loves in your asparagus dish.

Use fat.  Most mammals, including humans, have an instinct to eat high fat foods.  Covering the asparagus with cream sauce or sprinkling it with parmesan cheese will make it taste better.  Don’t worry about the fat being unhealthy.  Children need more fat than adults, and you can gradually reduce the amount of fat as your child learns to like the asparagus.

Don’t force him to eat it.  It doesn’t matter whether he ignores it, eats a bite, or gobbles up the whole thing.  He’s still learning to like it.  Any exposure to a food will […]

By |January 31st, 2014|Yummy Tuckers|0 Comments|

Food tips for healthy kids

Getting our children to eat healthy as toddlers is a challenge right up there with everything else we deal with during our busy lives. It’s also right up there in terms of priority, as the habits children pick up in these very important formative years, can be the difference between a lifetime of health issues or not……… and I know that may sound alarmist but it is being proven day in day ou to be the case..

For Instance one would have to have their heads buried in the sand to have not heard about the current Diabetes epidemic that has swept the developed world and how it has been attributed, in the main, to our diet of over processed sugary foods and an ever increasing sedentary lifestyle. But have you heard how this epidemic has now gripped nations with emerging economies?……… where the highly processed and junk foods are finding new markets, for example  India, where the last official count had over 30 million being diagnosed with diabetes!! Recent estimates now have the number of diabetics in India at around 40 million and with a 9% prevalence/ uptake of the disease India now has the highest number of diabetics of any one country in the entire world!

When I hear the likes of the above for me it just confirms that we, as consumers, are not thought of in the best light by the companies that produce and market the rubbish foods we are constantly targeted with. It makes me angry and it makes me determined to educate my kids and as many others as I can that eating healthy is one of the most important things that we can do to determine good health […]

By |October 29th, 2013|Yummy Tuckers|1 Comment|