Happy Halloween – Pumpkin Soup

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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

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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

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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