Category Archives: Advice

Categories Advice, Uncategorized

Kids Nutrition is a Long Term Game.

Just today I was contacted by a journalist at the Courier Mail to comment on nutrition in schools and kids nutrition in general, so I thought it was a timely reminder to unload my mind into a blog on this very topic.

This one… like many of my blogs, has been stuck in my head for a while. I’m mindful of the ‘over saturation’ of information and conflicting views out there in the stratosphere so sometimes I DON’T blog for fear that I am contributing to a problem and not being part of the solution. So, as with all of my writing and my work in general… take what works and leave what doesn’t. When it comes to kids nutrition, they are your children. You know them, I don’t. Do what works for your own family. But here are a few things to be aware of and consider from a nutritional perspective.

Firstly, the article in the newspaper was inspired by some recent debate among QLD teachers about the implementation of the Qld Goverment’s smart choices guidelines. The first question I was asked was whether I agreed with the classification of confectionary and chocolate as a ‘red’ item to be used only once or twice a term in schools. If you’ve been following me for a while, you will know that I’m really big on intuitive eating (in adults and kids) and inspiring a healthy relationship with food. But despite this, we do need to remember that this sort of food has in the past always been a ‘sometimes’ food or something that crops up at the odd celebration…. they aren’t everyday items. Go back 20,30, 40 years… there was no need to classify them in this way because they just weren’t something that our parents or grandparents had access too that often. But now, parents are time poor, we live for the short term gratification and convenience is king so they do crop up more frequently than ever before. Classifying them in this way is really just a reminder that our focus should be on providing filling, nourishing meals and not relying on endless packages of food stuff to fill little bellies.

But its not really that simple. We also know that being super restrictive and / or not extending some freedom and trust to our children can really backfire. Labelling foods as ‘good and bad’ can also lead to problematic relationships with food later on. So overall, its a tricky area to navigate and something that every parent will probably do slightly differently. Here’s a few things that we do in my family that might help yours:

  • We don’t talk about food as good or bad. If we’re having something sweet, we all try to enjoy it together. We try to have just enough for the 3 of us so there isn’t lots of leftovers to go back to over coming days.
  • We never use sweets, chocolates or the likes to REPLACE a meal. It always FOLLOWS a nourishing meal with protein, veggies, wholegrains etc. Generally, I’ve found kids to be really intuitive. My 2 year old will often get halfway through a small portion of dessert and then simply say ‘you can have it now Mummy, i’m done.’ (not always!)
  • We bake together a bit and we’ll often cook ‘wholefood treats’ like muffins with carrot or zucchini as the base or pancakes that are made with oats and bananas. We also love the real old fashioned stuff too though, like anzac biscuits and choc chip cookies. I tend to find you can reduce the sugar in these recipes by at least a quarter. These biscuits are then offered alongside other foods (like fruit or plain yoghurt) as a snack so its not all about the sweet treat.
  • We talk about how food makes us feel afterwards. If we’re having something sweet together, I’m more than happy to tell my daughter how much I love ice cream… but I just have a small bit because otherwise I don’t feel good later on. If my toddler says she is hungry and she wants a biscuit, I’ll suggest something else FIRST that will actually provide some satiety (like a little sandwich or some crackers and cheese) and THEN a biscuit, pointing out that the biscuit alone probably isn’t that filling.
  • As far as vegetables, fruits and meals go (i.e. the stuff we really want kids to be focusing on), getting kids in the kitchen to help with the preparation of these things can really make the evening dinner meal a lot more appealing. We also tell stories about the goodness in certain things.. to make them really fun. At the moment, green beans are a big hit because they have little peas in them full of superpowers that make you jump even higher on the trampoline. Bet you didn’t know they hey?
  • The old ‘you’re not leaving the dinner table until you’ve eaten all of your dinner’ doesn’t make a lot of sense. It completely overrides innate appetite signals and body intuition… and if we can nurture both of these in kids, most of the diet related issues we see in adults wouldn’t exist (IMO).
  • In younger kids, say 1-4, while it can seem messy and inconvenient, research suggests playing with food sparks curiousity and can lead to a more varied diet. Its normal for some of the food on my daughter’s plate to go into her mouth – some of it may be broken apart and turned into ‘boats’ in her water glass or ‘deconstructed’ with bits of it eaten and bits of it left behind. It all counts as food exposure and ‘normalising’ everyday foods.
  • When it comes to rewarding kids with food, particularly treats…. crikey, sometimes it would just make life easier hey? But if we consider the long game, and the fact that we don’t want adults turning to food as a reward or in times of emotional distress, it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Overall, all we can really do is continuously offer good food and encourage our kids to try a wide variety of options… and enjoy said good food ourselves. Be the example you want to see in your children and your family. Its just worth remembering that what we do now will set them up for the future. Think about how something will play out in the long term… and use that to guide your gut when it comes to your kids nutrition.

Categories Advice, Health

Business and Health…. Same Same?

I was asked just the other week to write down the top 3 things that have assisted me to build a successful nutrition practice and after I wrote them down I realized the same principles can be applied to getting healthy. So business and health… not that different after all!

This should come as no surprise. When I’ve met highly successful business people in the past (I mean, ones with much bigger businesses than my own) many of them have a really healthy and balanced lifestyle. They KNOW that eating well, moving regularly and looking after their mental health as well, has a profound effect on the way they can perform in their businesses. Now let’s look at some of the principles to apply to business and health.

1. Consistency: forget about starting a health kick for a week or a month or because you want to look a particular way for an event and instead focus on making it a lifestyle, because you will realise that ‘choosing health’ will benefit your life every minute of every day. If your health journey encompasses weight loss, this point is crucial as i will help you to enjoy the entire process of change. This is a much better way to track your journey than simply watching the kilos drop on the scales (because they may not drop each week!).

In business, this applies too because you have to consistently show up and be present to your clients; you have to consistently work on your own education to better your product or service and you have to consistently produce great content to attract your clients and customers.

On an important, side not, consistency is different from perfection. Hail those who never drink, never have sugar, never eat anything bad… that is so not me and that’s OK (see point 3 below!). Consistency means making good choices most of the time AND even more importantly, getting back up, dusting off the icing sugar (😂) and reverting to a healthy routine when you do fall off the bandwagon. And as far as business is concerned… well, we all have those days when we convince ourselves we are going bankrupt!

2. Caring: I really care about my clients and anyone who wants to make consistently healthy choices needs to care about themselves. This is far from selfish, because the more you look after you, the better shape you will be in to care for others. I also ask people to care about the food they put in their mouth and the people that have provided it to us. Too much of what is eaten is mindlessly consumed. How often do we stop to be grateful to the farmers and primary producers that produce all of the lovely food that makes it into our kitchen each week?

In business, you have to care for the product or service you are creating and you have to belief that it fulfills a need. I’d even go so far to say that you really need to be governed by a ‘higher purpose’ to really visualize and subsequently create a great business.

3. Being ‘me’ or in this case being ‘you’: in health, this means that 2 people can eat differently, exercise differently, relax differently, respond different to certain foods, like or dislike different things etc. It doesn’t mean one is better than the other – it just means we are all individuals. Whilst there are some key principles to ‘health’ there are certainly differences that will also set us apart. For example, I can eat gluten and dairy is a regular part of my diet, but for many of my clients this can not be the case. 

In business, this means that your message or your product or your service may be different from others in a similar field but it works for you, because you are showing up as your authentic self and offering something that is different from everything else out there.