The average 5 year old eats it’s weight in sugar per year!

According to an article in the Times today, health officials are warning that the amount of sugar consumed by children is much more than parents think. It’s shocking when you think of it in terms of eating their own weight in sugar – but is it? Sugar is available everywhere. There are so many foods that entice kids to eat sugar both openly and in a sinister and underhand way, that encourages an almost addiction like desire for that food.
Why does society still accept this for our children? High sugar foods are not real foods that keep a child healthy, and many of them are not cheap.

High sugar foods are deleterious foods, meaning they take from health, rather than give to health. Sugar is used for instant energy by the body – but the body can get that energy from healthier carbohydrates, fats and protein, without the harmful effect of instant blood sugar rush. When a child consumes sugar, it should really only be to give them energy before a race or a very active past time so it can be used up quickly. Even then there are better choices like fruit, nuts and seeds.

The truth is sweet sells. Many children that have been given sweet foods from birth prefer sweet foods, refined carbohydrates, sugary drinks, fruit juice, fruit purees and smoothies. Parents that consume a lot of sweet foods make it acceptable for their children to do the same thing, so the cycle goes on. Once a child becomes independent, even if they haven’t been given sugary foods and drinks at home, they will be influenced by friends to buy bags of sweets that are ubiquitously available everywhere a child turns. Schools unbelievably, still sell sweet foods.  Governments know we should not allow kids to consume sugar, parents know, manufacturers know, doctors, nutritionists and everybody has a good idea as to why we shouldn’t let kids eat so much sugar – but here we are in 2017 – 11 years after the headline “Children grow fatter as the experts dither” in the Times newspaper in February 2006!

Sugar is in the news today due to the worrying statistics of how many very young children are having their teeth out due to the effects of sugar in their diet. What is not always understood or fully explained is why the sugar affects the teeth. This is important because it’s not just the teeth that are being affected. Sugar feeds bacteria, it is generally the bad bacteria that is not health supportive, that feeds on sugar. This not only makes more grow, but they produce acid as a by product which damages the enamel on teeth, especially young soft teeth. The affect of sugar is not just felt on the teeth, but in the gut. The microbes that are so important to a child’s health can be thrown out of balance because of sugar feeding undesirable bacteria. Now mix that with a dose of antibiotics that was given because of a sore throat or chest infection and you could have a microbial imbalance in the gut, mouth and other areas which will affect your child’s health longer term. It is vital to not give your child any sugar or refined carbs with or post antibiotics.  Antibiotics kill the good bacteria as well as the infection that the medications are there to fight. A poor diet then makes the situation worse, this can all cause the immune system to start becoming sensitive and worsen conditions like asthma, eczema and sensitivities.
Fresh vegetables are the antidote to sugar as they contain the cellulose that feeds the good bacteria.
The only way to avoid the health conditions created by sugar is to avoid consumption.

Choose healthier sugars to bake with like Rapa Dura or molasses. You can also use dates alone to sweeten foods like muffins and cup cakes.

Chocolate crunch cookies – a healthier way

Ingredients

4oz Goat’s butter (half a normal size block of butter) easy to digest, less cholesterol

Half a cup organic cocoa powder – high in antioxidants

2 and a half cups of whole-grain Spelt flour – high in minerals, B Vitamins and fibre. Easier to digest than normal wholegrain flour (or use brown rice flour if you are gluten free)

2 thirds a cup of Rapa Dura sugar (click on link) – raw cane sugar, it’s sweeter than white sugar so less is used, high in iron and contains other trace minerals. It has a richer flavour. Can purchase from health stores or online.

Half cup of raw organic cocoa nibs (optional)
– makes more crunchy and gives nutty flavour without the nuts – high in antioxidants.

2 x teaspoons of cardamom (optional) you can purchase spices from “BuyWholeFoodsOnline” it is a less expensive way to buy as you get so much more for your money.(click on link)

Directions

Heat the oven to 150 degrees and prepare a tray either greased with butter, or covered with grease proof paper.

You can either hand rub the butter and flour together to make them into ‘crumbs’ or use a food processor to gently mix – use the pulse button to keep it light. Add the cocoa powder, sugar and cardamom if using it. Add the cocoa nibs last. Mix until it becomes a dough.
Roll into small balls about 25g each then press the palm of your hand down to flatten them into cookie shape.

The oven at 150 degrees is hot enough to cook, but cool enough not to over heat the fats and proteins which makes them healthier. Leave to cook for 20-25 minutes.

Remove form oven and let them cool, this is when they become crunchy.

Nutritional benefits:
High in fibre and polyphenol antioxidants and a good source of Iron, B Vitamins.
Goat’s butter is a healthy addition to the diet in moderation, low in cholesterol and contains important dietary fats as well as n-Butyrate which is a substance that feeds our cells in the gut lining and supports mental health and well-being.

Note: Rapa Dura is a sugar and should be consumed in moderation even though it is a healthier choice.

 

 

 

 

 

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Carrots are not just for eyes!

Carrots are amazing! They are packed full of Beta-Carotene that converts to Vitamin A which is vital for your eyes, but also for your skin and your immune system. They contain antioxidants that are hugely protective of your heart and blood vessels – studies have shown that eating cooked carrots or a raw carrot once a day can reduce your risks of heart attacks when you are older by 60%! Other foods containing carotenes have a similar effect. Carrots protect your lungs, bladder, and your digestive tract and provide fibre to keep your friendly bacteria in the gut happy. Carrots are so versitile, they come in different colours and can be fun and easy to prepare. They really are a special food.

Sample recipes from
“Connie Carrot” NutriKids Book:

Bright Carrot Rice

Finely dice carrots and lightly cook in
a pan with some olive oil, spring onions and ground cumin.
Add cooked brown basmati rice and a pinch of turmeric
to give a rich colour. Serve with chicken, fish or even
sausages. For vegetarian add garlic-sautéed
chickpeas and raw pumpkin seeds.

Carrot and Potato Mash

Chop carrots and potatoes and steam until soft, mash with a  little goat’s butter. To make smoother , add olive oil, milk or water.  Add cooked
peas to make tasty, colourful mash.

To purchase “Connie Carrot” click here

Why do your Kids need Vitamin K and where do you find it?

Meet NutriKid Kelly Kale, she knows how important strong bones are.

Vitamin K is not a very talked about nutrient, either in the press or by doctors.
It is vital for your child’s growth, so vital in fact that they are given it as an injection when they are born just in case they have not got enough from the mother for those first few vital days. You get Vitamin K1 from leafy greens and other vegetables, and if you have the right balance of good gut flora (healthy bacteria in the gut) these will produce the K2 form. Vitamin K3 is the synthetic form in supplements. All 3 types of Vitamin K play an important role in the healthy clotting of the blood, however Vitamin K1 from fresh vegetables appears to be the superior form as this also plays a vital role in bone health. K1 converts bone protein (osteocalcin) to its active form that is vital for healthy bone growth and strength – it allows the osteocalcin molecule to join with the calcium molecule and laying down strong healthy bone tissue.
This is needed from birth to old age and a diet rich in Vitamin K is the best
way to ensure you child gets enough.

Vitamin K is found in:

Kale, Spinach, Broccoli, Lettuce,
Cabbage, Watercress, Asparagus,
Oats, Green Peas, Green Beans, Green Tea and Wholewheat.

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Happy Halloween – Pumpkin Soup

pumpkin-soup300dpi

 

You will need a blender

Ingredients

I whole medium/large pumpkin – designed, cut and scooped out.

1 pint filtered water

I large red onion – chopped

2 organic low sodium vegetable or chicken stock cubes

Seasoning – pink Himalayan salt

Optional: Small pinch of cayenne pepper

Pumpkin Seeds to garnish

Directions:

pumpkin-fleshSeparate out the pumpkin flesh from the seeds – you can spread the wet seeds out over a tray and dry them out in a very low heat in the oven. The eat the seeds – crack open the shells when they are very dry and remove the seed inside. Delicious!

Place all the pumpkin flesh and chopped red onion in a pan of filtered water. Bring to boil for 5 minutes, add the stock cubes, then simmer for 15 minutes. Stirring occasionally.

When everything is completely soft, use a hand blender to make the soup smooth and creamy. Add a pinch of salt or cayenne pepper to add some warmth and a little spicy kick.

As an option to increase protein content crumble a little goat’s cheese or feta cheese.

Introducing Parker Pumpkin

peter-with-pumpkin72dpi-with-green

Parker loves pumpkin, not just because they are fun at Halloween, but he learned about the special things in pumpkins that protect his health and help him to grow healthy and strong.

Health Benefits of Pumpkin

The strong orange colour of pumpkin show’s the exceptional amounts of carotenes and antioxidants. Beta-carotene, Poly-phenic anti-oxidants and xanthin are all health protective – especially for eyes and skin. Beta-carotene converts to Vitamin A in the body which is vital for immunity and immune function.

Pumpkin is good source of B Vitamins needed for energy, growth, nervous system, well-being, digestion and so many functions.

The flesh contains fibre that helps keep blood sugar steady and removes toxins from the body. This is protective for the future health as it helps control cholesterol and diabetes.

pumpkin-seeds-smallestPumpkin seeds are packed with goodness: fibre, mono-unsaturated fats both supporting heart and digestive health.

They are high in protein and minerals like iron, selenium and zinc. Zinc is particularly important for immune function, digestion and many other functions in the body.

Pumpkin is disease protective in many ways and should be included in the diet regularly when in season.

NOT JUST FOR HALLOWEEN

 

Food Neo phobia – fear of trying new or unfamiliar foods

dont-like-cabbage

 

Trying to encourage healthy eating in a child who doesn’t want to eat healthy foods, can be one of the most frustrating aspects of parenthood. After spending time buying and lovingly preparing a meal that your child looks at with distaste and then gives you a look that says  “what are you doing to me?” can be disheartening and may make you feel like giving up.
What you are up against is not just your child’s preference and attitude but nature itself. A child refusing to eat something is not always fussy eating it can be about self-preservation.

Food Neo phobia is not an eating disorder, it’s not even ‘fussy eating’ it is a natural inclination to avoid a food that you are unfamiliar with and some children are more neo phobic than others. It is thought to be an inherited trait, or it can be a trait influenced by parents and those around them.

Millions of years ago humans used food neo phobia as self-preservation, to avoid eating poisonous foods especially the children. As a food became familiar then they would feel more comfortable to eat it. Some healthy foods like greens can have a bitter taste and and might need to be prepared and presented in a way that makes it more agreeable to a child’s taste buds. Like using butter, spices and adding the vegetables to other foods rather than giving it to them plain.  Teaching them why they should eat the foods is so important because otherwise it is hard to convince them to make the effort to eat something that they don’t think tastes as nice as carbohydrates.

Young children are heavily influenced by parental choices, if they can see their parents and those around them eating the food it is much more likely they will eat it. Children are also affected by feeling unwell and can associate a food if they had eaten it with making them unwell.

In the same way that they can be influenced to eat junk foods or foods that are not good form them. In some studies, where children with a more food neo phobic approach have been given a variety of food choices, there was a strong result for then choosing to eat carbohydrate foods. It is these children that tend to miss out on the highly nutritious choice of vegetables and protein, and why it is important to find ways to encourage them to eat healthy foods. By rewarding the children for trying the foods with praise or a sticker, and repeating this until that food becomes familiar this should overcome the fear of trying that food and even go on to encourage them to try more foods.

Rather than forcing a child to eat certain foods, or nagging them it is far better to do the following:

  1. Eat healthy foods yourself
  2. Introduce new foods regularly and at an early age
  3. Reward with stickers/certificates – not with treats

As well as the above if you can educate your child by taking them shopping to super markets and farmers markets, even farms where the foods are grown and reading books on the subject. Teach them to cook, or at least show them what you are doing – getting them to participate in the cooking process makes it more likely they will eat the foods you want them to. Get them planting and watching a food grow– even if it’s just in pots, anything from herbs to carrots.

Refs:
 1). Predictors and consequences of food neophobia and pickiness in young girls. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 68, 131-136 (January 2014) | doi:10.1038/ejcn.2013.239
 2). Food neophobia and mealtime food consumption in 4–5 year old children. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2006, 3:14  doi:10.1186/1479-5868-3-14

Vegetable Medley – like sunshine on a plate!

vegetabke-medley-in-white-pan

So easy yet so tasty and different.

Ingredients – this is a rough guide but you can increase or decrease according to how many servings are required.

1 chopped carrot
2 cups of frozen sweetcorn
1 cup frozen or fresh shelled peas
A large handful of chopped akle
I finely chopped white onion
Olive oil
2 tsp sweet paprika
1 heaped tsp turmeric powder
Big pinch of chilli flakes (or fresh chilli)

Directions:

Place olive oil in the pan on a medium heat, add all the ingredients except kale, keep stirring so it doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan. After a few minutes of cooking add the kale. Altogether cook for no more than 10 minutes to keep ingredients fresh.

Serve as a side dish, or you can add chopped chicken, flaked salmon, tofu or halumi with a small amount of cooked brown rice or quinoa to create a complete meal.

carrots-pile-smaller

 

The Good Fats – Why are they so important to get into your child’s diet?

Flax oilYour child’s brain and nervous system
developement depends on the nutrients in their diet. Breast milk is full of vital lipids (special fats). The fats your child eats can have a profound effect on their development.Which is why choosing the right fats to eat is so important – it can affect mental health, learning ability, well-being and immune function. Damaged fats in processed foods and too much saturated animal fat can be detrimental to all areas of health. But getting good fats into your child’s diet will help with blood sugar too as it helps to slow down the energy release into the blood so relieves the insulin response, making a child feel more full.

Omega3 fats

The fats in oily fish contain two forms of Omega3 EPA and DHA.Pregnancy – The developing foetus CNS (Central Nervous System) and retina rely heavily on DHA Omega3 – which can be found in oily fish and fish oil supplements as well as plant Omega3 like flax oil, walnuts and organic eggs. So this is vital to include these fats in the diet during pregnancy. DHA is really Salmonimportant in the early development of the brain as it grows. After the age of 5 EPA Omega3 becomes more important for the functioning of the brain, and as teenagers, adults and the aging brain. EPA can also help with asthma, eczema and immune support.

Butter (real) – in moderation (Goats butter has much less cholesterol)
Good for brain function, gut health and energy (avoid vegetable spreads)

Olive oil – Good for all aspects of health.

Avocado and avocado oil – great for brain health, skin and energy.

Nut oils, Seed Oils, nuts and seeds – good for energy, mineral intake, and all round healthy is they are fresh.
Keep in fridge.

Coconut oil/butter – Make sure cold pressed and not heated (the fat in coconut milk should be eaten only in moderation) good for skin, brain health, energy and gut health.

Eggs – contrary to popular belief eggs are good for you- the organic version will have higher content of good fats as the chicken’s feed and life is higher quality. Great for growth and repair as well as energy.

Oliy fish – good for barin health, skinand tissues. The larger fish like tuna are high in heavy metals so should be eaten in moderation, and alsway cooked on a low heat.

Note on oils:

Recently the medical and science profession have announed that eating fat is good for you. This is because we know that a high carb, high sugar diet is so detrimental for health and is increasing obesity, cancer and heart disease in the populations who eat a “Western diet”.  However – not all fats are equal – there are many that should not be eaten regularly and even avoided if possible. Those are the processed fats found in junk foods, shop bought cakes and deserts and even vegetable spreads.   Nuts, seeds and good plant oils tend to contain Vitamin E and fresh fruit and vegetables are the best source of antioxidants whic will stop fats from becoming a danger in the body. Oils should not be kept over a long period of time, once opened all oils should be used within a month, and if possible kept in the fridge. Even butter oxidises – you may have noticed when a darker outside layer forms on an old block of butter, this is oxidation and is toxic to the body.
All oils have a “Smoke Point” – which is where they start to become damaged and no longer good for us. Light olive oil and clarified butter tend to be the best to cook with. Some oils should never be heated, especially flax oil. Always use a low to medium temperature for cooking with fats – and ignore most chefs advice on temperatures, as they always tend to cook on a high heat as they believe browned food looks better. Unfortunately browned food is NOT good, even though we do all love it! – eat in moderation, the odd BBQ never hurt anyone, but everyday will cause health issues.

Apples – why will they keep the doctor away?

Apples are well established as one of the best fruits for supportingApples pile
overall health. They are depicted as a divine food and the source of immortality in Norse Mythology.

Although apples may not be a source of immortality, there are important nutrients in apples that can support your child’s immune system and keep them healthy. In addition, these nutrients can lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure and stabilize blood sugar.

Apples are a great source of Vitamin C – an essential vitamin with many uses in the body, including supporting the immune system to fight infections and colds, keeping all tissues and cells healthy, regulating hormones, helping the absorption of iron and protection from the effects of stress and much more. Apples are high in polyphenols, which works with the antioxidant process and are an important part of any diet.

Apples also contain lots of minerals such as potassium. Minerals can help to maintain normal cell function and keep the bones strong.

Apples are an excellent source of pectin, a dietary fibre that helps to prevent dietary diseases, encourage healthy bowel movement and feeds the micro biota (gut flora), helping to keep your child’s tummy happy. The fibre in apples helps control cholesterol levels, so can protect the future cardiovascular health of you children. This fibre is deeply cleansing to the digestive system, and can also help settle a tummy bug!

Average fibre intakes for children and adults in the West are less than half of the recommended levels. In fact, studies show that we eat only 10% of what we used to eat as hunter-gatherers, so it is very important to have a source of fibre.

Studies show that apples contain over 4000 different flavonoids, which can improve cognitive function and prevent diseases in the long run.

Annie AppleThe easiest way to enjoy apples is to eat the fruit whole. Choosing organic means you can avoid removing the skin as this contains a significant amount of the healthy fibre and minerals. If the apple is not organic, be sure to wash it thoroughly with a detergent specially formulated for washing fruits and vegetables (or I sometimes use Ecover washing up liquid). The sharper tasting varieties are often more healthy as they contain higher levels of pectin fibre and polyphenols and lower levels of sugar. It is good to buy the variety that is local and in season as this supports local trade and the environment.

Add chopped apple and cinnamon to porridge or cereal, salads, natural yoghurt.
Lemon juice stops the apple from going brown, which looks nicer but the browning part of the apple is actually good for you.

Juice – another delicious way to harvest the benefits. If possible, juice the apples yourself or have it in a smoothie. Avoid clear, processed apple juice as this has most of the goodness removed and is very high in sugar. Excessive juicing is not advised though, as processed fruits contain a lot of sugar and without the fibre this can cause peaks in blood sugar which can lead to health issues later in life.

Avocado and Butter Bean Humus

Recipe from “Ava Avocado”Ava Avocado Front Cover CMYK

Try this deliciously different and healthy humus that’s full of good fats, Vitamins, minerals, fibre and plant protein.

1 soft avocado, 75g butter beans (lima),
2 dessert spoons of tahini, a little olive oil,
1 peeled garlic clove,
the juice of half a lemon, pink salt to season.

Place all ingredients in a blender until smooth, add a little water or more olive oil if too thick.
Can add a pinch of chili to give it a little kick.

Serve with wholegrain organic pitta bread, or chopped carrots and celery into sticks and
have fun dipping and crunching.

Butter eban+avocado pate