Let’s talk about kids drinks

Kids Drinks
When I ask parents about their kids drinks it’s always an interesting conversation. A lot of the time it goes along the lines of this…
Me – “do you give your kids soft drink?”
Parent – “absolutely not, that stuff is full of sugar. They might have it at a party but not at home”
Me – “do you give your kids cordial?”
Parent – “no way, cordial rots kids teeth”
Me – “do you give your kids juice?”
Parent – “yes, they probably have 1 or 2 glasses a day”
It’s about this time that I tell parents about the sugar in kids drinks. Did you know that there is exactly the same amount of sugar in apple juice as there is in coke? Not many parents do! And that is a no added sugar variety. And I’m not blaming you, marketing  managers are clever and they definitely pull the juice is healthy card when they can get away with it.
When you give your child a glass of juice (and I mean 250 mls which is a measuring cup) it is the same as 5 teaspoons of table sugar. Okay so imagine getting out your sugar bowl and spooning your child a teaspoon of sugar. Then spoon them another. Then another. Another. And another. By this time my Miss almost 4 would be in heaven, but fast forward about an hour and she would have crashed and would be entering tanty zone.
After a quick internet swoop, here’s the sugar content of some common drinks for 1 cup:
Coke/softdrink – 26.5g
Apple juice (no added sugar) – 26g    
Orange juice – 13.8g
Orange drink (25% juice) – 27.5g
Nesquik – 27g
Milo – 24g
Cordial – 16g
Plain milk – 15g (from lactose which is natural sugar)
Water – 0!!!!
You can see how over the day, if you are giving these drinks, that sugar intake can bank up! Unfortunately one of the biggest causes of childhood obesity is sugary drinks.  Don’t get me wrong, a little bit of these things is okay. Every now and then give your kids juice if you want, or treat them to a milo if you feel the need one day, but for everyday use, water is the best choice. Water is the only everyday drink.
Tips for getting your child to drink more water:
-serve it cold. Some kids will drink it more if it is cold!
-keep a jug that your older child can pour from themselves. If there is the novelty of doing it themselves, then they might be more likely to do it.
-give them a cool looking water bottle.
-infuse the water with fruit (strawberries or lemon are often good) or even cucumber.
-use a chart for older kids. Let them tick off when they finish a glass of water.
-model the behaviour and talk about it. Something along the lines of “wow mummy is thirsty. Where’s my water bottle I need a DRINK”. Feel free to exaggerate.
Happy drinking,
The Dietitian Mummy


Weight Loss Eating Plan



Okay I know I said Friday but it’s all done annnndddddd here it is early!! The Dietitian Mummy Weight Loss Eating Plan.


Eating Plan Cover Final

You asked for a weight loss meal plan and here it is! I have structured it as an eating plan rather than just a meal plan. What is the difference? Well an eating plan gives you a guide of how many serves of which foods to eat each day. It then tells you what a serve is and allows you to plan and build your day of eating. You can adapt it to your week, your family and your likes. It gives you the opportunity to adapt your plan to suit dairy free, gluten free and food intolerances.


But then if that all sounds too hard, there’s also a meal plan in there! For 2 weeks at that. All planned out and ready to go.


It is also based on real food. No hard to pronounce foods, no searching health food stores for certain (expensive) products. Just real, honest, food.


It is an eating plan (which is accompanied by meal plans) but it is soooo much more.


In The Dietitian Mummy Eating Plan you get…

-weight loss information

-the eating plan instructions

-4 weight loss levels for women, including a breastfeeding level

-serve size guides

-recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner

-2 weeks of meal plans

-tracking sheets and blank meal plan for planning


All this written by an Accredited Practicing Dietitian, mum, food lover and weight loser!


So follow this link and be on your way to weight loss. Once you have bought it, join us on facebook to ask questions and achieve your goals along with others along the same path!




The Dietitian Mummy.

Fussy eating – starting right

In our eating world it’s been a long time since we have had to feed our little ones but I’ve seen a few clients recently who are early on in the introduction to solids stages.

One of the things I ALWAYS talk to mums about at the starting solids time is the behavioural aspect of food introduction and it’s links to future fussy eating.

I’m not in the business of telling mums they are doing things wrong but I do like to share my knowledge and experience on fussy eating development and basic kids food antics.

The biggest behavioural aspect we talk about is the category I like to call aeroplanes/tricking/coaxing.
My mother-in-law was quite upset to find that when I started solids with my number 1 (her first grandchild) that I had banned all aeroplanes when feeding her. Any behaviour (from mum,  dad or care providers) that are trying to get kiddies to eat when they are showing that they aren’t keen most often swts us a bit of a pattern for fussy eating.

To give you some background, let’s talk about kid antics for a bit. Kids dont get much control. Especially early on. You choose their clothes.  You choose the toys they have. You choose where they sleep. You choose what they do each day. When they get to the age where they want to get some control, hell they’ll grab it from wherever they can get it.

So think about this situation:
A wonderfully competant mum has decided to start feeding her hungry bub some solids. Mum is super excited and really wants this to be a successful stage in bubs life. Along the line somewhere, because well everyone else does it and thats how her mum did it, this lovely mum starts doing some aeroplanes to get bub to eat when he gets a bit fussy. Coaxing mouthfuls and tricking bub with alternate spoons of foods that bub likes also sneak in (1 spoon of veg, one spoon of fruit is usually what I see). Bub starts to realise that mum really really wants him to eat food and at this early stage loves this because bub is ecstatic when mum is happy. Bub gets older and starts wanting some control in his life because well he IS boss, isn’t he. He realises he can actually control what he eats, he can clamp his mouth shut and wowee does that cause a hilarious reaction from mum, he notes to self “lets do that one again”!

So that’s my reasoning behind not doing those beahviours from the start. So here’s my tips for starting right…

– if your bub is not interested in their food, don’t worry. If their growth is fine (and by fine I mean tracking along a percentile – no matter what percentile) then they will be fine missing a few meals. Especially seems at the start they are still getting most of their nutrients from their milk.
– use a 3 spoon rule. If they turn away once wait a minute or so. Try again if they turn away wait again. Third strike, if they turn away they are done. Obviously if before then they start going crazy or trying to get out their chair then don’t bother trying the 3 but you get my gist.
– it takes up to 10 exposures to food before some kids are happy enough to try the food so persist. Don’t take one refusal as “they don’t like it”.
– expect mess, and wastage. Its part of the process. A frustrating part yes, but something you have to deal with.
– if you find yourself coaxing, tricking or aeroplaning, put down that spoon mummy and step awaaayyyyy from the food 🙂

So if you are starting solids or about to, have a think about your feeding behaviour and remember, a healthy child will never starve.

Happy feeding,

The Dietitian Mummy

Nutty Friday – Walnut edition

It’s that time again, time for me to nut on about nuts!


Today’s nut is the walnut. I put walnuts in so many baked goods that I make, just a handful chopped in cakes, biscuits, muffins and most importantly today, loaves.


When we were kids, mum used to make this nut loaf all the time. We used to eat it warm, fresh and delicious or a few days old with lashings of margarine. I re-created her recipe the other day in honour of this delish nut.


Mum's 1970's nut loaf tin

Mum’s 1970’s nut loaf tin

Mum’s old nut loaf

¾ cup chopped walnuts

1 cup plain flour

30g olive margarine

½ cup honey

½ cup chopped dates

1 egg

1 tsp baking powder

¼ cup milk




Soften the dates by soaking in boiling water for a few minutes. Drain well.

Mix the honey into the butter and add the drained dates and chopped walnuts.

Crack in the egg and give it a good old beat.

Sift the flour and baking powder on top and add the milk.

Grease a nut loaf tin (cylinder tins with a lid for the top and bottom), and pour the mixture into the tin.

Bake in a moderate oven (180 degrees) vertically (standing up) for about 45 minutes.

wpid-20140606_152535.jpgVisit http://www.nutsforlife.com.au for more nutty info!


Happy nutty Friday,


The Dietitian Mummy


Introducing solids

Introducing solids has always been, hands down, my favourite part about the baby stage. As you can tell, I LOVE food, and being able to give it to my girls and share in their enjoyment is amazing. Sometimes I take for granted that I was taught from a medical perspective how to introduce solids to an baby, something that really isn’t taught elsewhere and results in mums doing frantic google searches and getting different advice from everywhere.

I wrote about this on my personal blog quite some time ago and good really good responses from mums that I had reached so what better place to re-post it (better written of course) for all you lovely ladies reading along.


This guide is a combination of what I was taught at university, what I have seen/heard through working as a dietitian and what I have experienced myself as a mum. My experiences may be different to yours but always remember to let your child be the guide and progress at their pace. So here we go, you ready for some fun??


The technical stuff
We start our kiddies on solids somewhere between 4 and 6 months. Don’t try to research the recommendations because the jury is out on an actual recommended time. Typically, health peak bodies all say different things. The World Health Organisation recommend starting solids from 6 months, whereas ASCIA (the main allergy body in Australia) say that there is not enough evidence to definitively say when but that experts around the globe say somewhere between 4  and 6 months. What they can all agree on is that your child’s signs of readiness should guide you.


Look for:

The ability to sit supported with good head control.

Your little one doesn’t need to be able to sit by themselves but they do need to be able to sit upright without slumping to the side, air-o-planing off the side of the high chair, face planting their pumpkin or licking their chest.

An interest in food.

Please, please, PLEASE look for this one. One way to fail yourselves right from the start mummies, is to start before your darling is ready. Forget about “such-and-such” at mum’s group who is bragging about whatever-her-bubs-name eating three meals a day, licking the bowl and asking for more. Not your child, not your problem. You will be banging your head against a brick wall if you try before your bubba is ready. Don’t feel bad if you do try and bubs doesn’t want a bar of it, you haven’t caused any harm. Just wait a few weeks and try again. NO stress.

What does an interest in food look like?
Our girls would stalk our mouthfuls. They would watch your fork get the food, watch the food to your mouth, then watch it disappear into your mouth. Over and over again. If you feel like a prisoner with a chubby bully watching you eating and waiting till you turn your back to knock you out and steal your food then you have food interest. Number 2 bub even started chewing thin air as she watched us chew. It can also take the form of children putting things in their mouth all the time, and/or grabbing at your food.


How to start
In terms of allergy prevention, ASCIA say that there is “little evidence that delaying introduction of solids beyond 6 months reduces allergy risk” and “insufficient evidence to support previous advice to specifically delay or avoid potentially allergenic foods (such as egg, peanuts, nuts, wheat, cow’s milk and fish) for the prevention of food allergy or eczema”. What does that mean? It means that the old idea of introducing foods at different ages isn’t actually supported by much evidence. So in theory you can start with whatever food you like.


There are however a few disclaimers:
– You want to maintain some element of safety, so you might not give your little one a big ol’ lump of steak or raw carrot. If you want to start with meat try minced, cooked then pureed. Or if you want to do baby led weaning then try some slow cooked meat or mince (there are precautions you should take if you want to do baby led weaning (BLW). Contrary to popular skeptical belief, BLW doesn’t mean handing your child any type or form of food you like. There are guidelines, follow them here).
-If your child has a diagnosed allergy (and by this I mean true allergy, tested by an allergist. Not diarrhoea sometimes, or a rash sometimes or “tested” by a blood test or by some weird technique like hair analysis or holding onto metal poles) or you have allergy in your family, it might be worth waiting on certain foods. If this is the case, consult an allergist or a dietitian who specialises in allergy to help decided what to start with and what precautions to take.


And there are some common sense ideas that generally work well too:

–        Offer food after a feed to begin with, in the early stages food is an addition to milk not the other way round. By the time they have been eating solids for a few months and are managing “meals” i.e about ½ cup at a sitting, you could start switching it round.

–        Start with bland tastes, rice cereal, porridge etc. Babies are super tasters and will get much more taste from a mouthful that we do so bland to start is okay.

–        If you are concerned about reactions, start each new food by itself for one sitting before using it with others that are okay.

–        Introduce foods that are like the family foods you normally eat. I.e if you normally have peas, potato and carrot as your veggies then start with these ones, if your family favourite meal is spaghetti bolognaise, use this as a minced option. Don’t go making a million different meals that put more stress on you.

It’s all in the texture

Texture is a big thing for babies and babies’ mouth development. If you aren’t following baby led weaning, then you will probably be starting with purees. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking babies have purees for ages. They don’t need them for much longer than a few weeks before you can start lumping up the texture.

So also, as a side note, don’t get sucked into the “baby food preparation all-in-one, miracle saviour” machines that will set you back a pineapple or two. Considering that bubs will only be on puree for a few weeks, get yourself a stick blender for $20 or less at the supermarket and you have all you need (plus they have a freaking million other uses for that matter I LOVE my stick blender).

After puree, you can go to small lumps. If you are making it yourself this is easy to grade, just blend it less and less as time goes on, until you get to fork mashed and then minced consistency. If you are buying your baby food, get something more lumpy (like the 8 month plus) jars/sachets and use your trusty old stick blender (or a fork really) to make it less lumpy.

The dreaded choke

When it comes to moving up through the textures, the biggest concern for mummies is fear of choking. That shit is rife out there! However, it is a moment in your mummy lives where you have to suck it up, prepare yourself, and let your bubba learn.

So by this I mean:

-suck it up. Okay your fear is real, I get that. Your kids are your LIFE. But they do need to learn how to eat, chew and swallow. And if they get puree their whole lives, they become less and less able to learn to chew and swallow. Your child will gag. They will cough and splutter. And god forbid, they may even choke properly. But again, it’s something they have to do to learn.

-prepare yourself. LEARN FIRST AID. If you can’t afford a course, google how to clear your baby’s throat if they choke. Do this before you start solids. Not while your baby is choking. Learn the real signs of choking (no air going in or out, silence, colour of their face going red to blue) and be bloody vigilant. Don’t ever leave your baby (or toddler near a baby) with food if you aren’t there. Especially because the real signs of choking are silent. How are you supposed to know if you aren’t there?! Don’t start a meal with them if you can’t be there the whole time.

-let your bubba learn. If they gag, cough or splutter try really really hard not to swoop in there straight away and get the food out. Two reasons for this:

1) they need to learn how to move their mouth to clear their throat if they are about to choke. This will mean less gagging over time; and

2) if you swoop in as soon as they gag or splutter you could actually scare them into inhaling the contents of their mouth properly and then they really will be choking. Not to mention they will start to associate anxiety with gagging/etc so will actually increase their chance of choking continually.  So, if they gag/cough/splutter, let them go for a little bit. If they are coughing, then air is getting into the lungs and they are just getting the food cleared out of their throat. They are learning. If they go silent, no sounds, no air, no cough – complete permission to get in there and perform the necessary procedure!

Iv'e been attacked by food!

Iv’e been attacked by food!

How much to give

Well how much is a piece of string? As usual, every child is different. Some may be small eaters and some may be gobblers.

To start, your baby will probably have about 1 tsp at best. Progress with amounts as your child allows. When they turn their head away or get annoyed, they have had enough. Remember that their stomachs are about the size of their fist so don’t be expecting them to eat a dinner plate.

Once they get to “meal” stage, the World Health Organisation suggests this frequency as a guide:

6-8 months         offer 2-3/day

9-11 months       offer 3-4/day

12-24 months     offer 3-4/day plus 1-2 snacks

*remember if you started solids earlier you may adjust the months accordingly.


Fussy eating

Okay here’s the big one. How to prevent fussy eating from starting. And let me say, it’s lucky you aren’t paying for this because it’s pretty basic. I could actually write a whole post on this but I’m giving you the most basic and successful tip that will hopefully set you up for success.

Okay, its one word. Relax. Relax relax RELAX! Obviously every kid is different, and I make no guarantees, but I can tell you now, the most successful way of preventing your baby from becoming fussy is to relax. Babies, toddlers and kids are fickle with food. That is a fact. One day they will eat their entire body weight in food and the next day they will turn their nose up at everything you try. They also love attention, and they don’t give a damn how they get it! If they twig that you care about how much they eat, they will hold onto that one thing they can control (especially if they are lovely independent little kiddies like my Miss 3).

If they aren’t interested (for whatever reason – not hungry, excited, at grandma’s house, friends over) then don’t push it. They won’t starve. If you have a normal healthy child, they won’t starve if they don’t eat a meal, let alone a few meals. Pleeeaaassseeee don’t fall into the trap of giving them something they like just so they don’t go to bed hungry. Kids are smart. They will soon realise that all they have to do is say they aren’t hungry/or just cry if they are a baby, to get something they want. Yup it can be bloody heartbreaking when you prepare meals for your kids and they turn up their noses but the best way is to calmly tell them that “it is fine, but I’m putting it in the fridge and if you tell me you are hungry later I can bring it out for you”.

So when starting solids, use this motto from the start. If bubs turns up their nose, don’t stress. They will still be getting plenty of nutrients from milk (whether breastfed or bottle fed) and they don’t need to get all their nutrients from food for a long time. Be relaxed and if they don’t want it then try again later. Try foods that are turned away, again, many times. It can take anywhere up to 10 times for a child to taste something before they like it. Same goes with textures. It will feel weird to them at first when you change textures. Give them time and don’t push it straight away.

Ideas, ideas, ideas

So you know about when, textures and safety. So now it’s time for the fail safe, tried and tested, recipes for success with getting your kids to eat everything served.

Hmmm they just don’t exist, I’m sorry that was cruel. It is all about trial and error. Every child is different and likes different things. And kids are generally pretty easy going when it comes to meals, meaning they don’t need gourmet masterpieces. Quick easy recipes normally go down much more easily (and it’s slightly less devastating if they refuse when you haven’t spent half the day cooking the meal). Cover the basic ‘kids food groups’, go foods (carbohydrates), grow foods (meat, dairy, nuts) and glow foods (fruit and veggies) in equal proportions, one third of each.

Here are some Jak starting solids faves: Please note – these are not amazingly inventive, just my girl’s favourites

Baby food

Obviously pureed veg and fruit. Pureed mince with added water to assist pureeing (which actually smells like cat food) was a favourite of Miss number 2.

Lumpy-minced consistency: risoni pasta with frozen veg (the stuff that is chopped really fine) and a jar of cheese sauce, tuna mornay, risoni bolognaise, scrambled eggs.

Finger foods: toast with vegemite, Cruskits with Vegemite, soft veggies, cheese slices, teddy bear pasta ($1 a packet at woolies!) or better yet I found Thomas pasta at Coles, shredded chicken, rice with frozen veg, home-made fish fingers, home-made chicken fingers,

So there you go, not ground breaking, super inventive or super-mum-esce. Just common sense.

Please hit me up with questions if you have them. I’m happy to answer!

Happy eating…

The Dietitian Mummy

Nuts about nuts

My relationship with nuts has been a funny one. For quite some time I hated nuts. As teenagers and young adults it was one of the snack options mum would offer us and for some reason (most probably my marketing driven taste preferences at the time) I used think I would rather eat nothing than eat nuts.


Somewhere along the way though I started to eat them and now they are one of my go-to snacks and I find myself trying to find ways to include them in more our the recipes I make, and meals we have. Salads, cakes, biscuits, veggie patties, stir frys, they have all come under the nut injection of late and I have started to become a bit nuts about nuts. Oh yes, queen of lame here.


So while at the DAA conference in the break, I was drawn to the nut stand. Purely because the very good worker on that stall was calling out “who wants some hot nuts?” but I got so much more than I expected. They were offering a special info package for bloggers which included some awesome nut infographics that I can’t wait to share with you!


Today’s is about nuts in general but I will be including infographics on specific nuts along with a feature recipe for that nut! It may not be masterchef style where the nut is “the star of the dish”, but may be recipes I have made and found an excuse to slip in some nuts. I wont bang on about the nutrition of nuts, I’ll let the picture speak for itself..Healthy handful_info

For more nutty info go to www.nutsforlife.com.au


Happy nutting,


The Dietitian Mummy

So here’s what I learnt from DAA 2014…

My beautiful morning walk to the conference venue

My beautiful morning walk to the conference venue

Well, as I’m sure you all know now, last week I attended the Dietitian’s Association of Australia 2014 National conference.


It was so very hard to be away from husband and the girls but such an amazing opportunity to be among like-minded people and to feed off the buzz that was the conference.


There were some parts of the conference that were completely over my head, parts that shocked and surprised me, some that encouraged me and some that damn well spoke to my inner core.


Food at a Dietitian's conference doesn't mean all lettuce!

Food at a Dietitian’s conference doesn’t mean all lettuce!

So obviously sitting there in the conference, my little brain was going into overdrive with inspiration and blog ideas on topics that interested me or that I thought would be interesting to all the mums out there. And I am super excited to write about them and bring them to your online doorstep!


The absolute highlight of the conference for me was the Blogging Bootcamp workshop I attended. I won’t be writing about this workshop, but hopefully me having attended (and learning about blogging better) will better your reading on this little blog. I can say though, it definitely put a cracker under my blogging butt!


Solitary breakfasts while away from my girls.

Solitary breakfasts while away from my girls.

So here is a quick taster of some of the posts that will be coming up that I will get up on the blog as I write….


-the very first speaker of the conference that hit me over the head with inspiration was a Dietitian called Tara Diversi. She is also a Psychologist and spoke about kids behaviour and eating. She had some REALLY awesome tips and tricks on how to get your kids to eat better. I’m going to be doing some posts on two parts of her presentation and also some practical posts translating her info.

-very interestingly, but not surprisingly, I saw a presentation on how commonly women self-diagnose wheat intolerance and self-limit wheat. Can’t wait to talk about this one gals.

-a wonderfully passionate public health dietitian (who happened to be my lecturer when I studied) spoke about children’s views about branded (private brands like Smith’s chips, Cadbury chocolate etc) and un-branded (Woolies and Coles brand) food which was a cracker. Some of the things these kids said were absolute gold but very concerning and something we should be considering as mums in a marketing saturated world.

-I heard some researchers talk about he devastatingly terrible rates of breastfeeding retention in Australia. That means we are really good at starting breastfeeding but not very good at keeping it up. This inspired me to write “the shiz someone should have told me about breastfeeding”

-I also heard some interesting info about kids snacking habits in Australia which I will be translating and talking about soon.


The free loot from the conference, I must say the girls thought I was the shiz bringing this home.

The free loot from the conference, I must say the girls thought I was the shiz bringing this home.


So keep on the lookout for some exciting posts ladies, I have a feeling there will be some late nights spent writing because I am bursting with too many ideas.


happy feeding,


The Dieitian Mummy