This season check out Bloom’s new seasonal nutrition newsletter, about all things new life and Spring!
Click here to read, and as always, let us know what you think, and what you’d like to know more of!
x Angela @ Bloom
This season check out Bloom’s new seasonal nutrition newsletter, about all things new life and Spring!
Click here to read, and as always, let us know what you think, and what you’d like to know more of!
x Angela @ Bloom
Preparing school lunch boxes can feel a little like ground hog day.
And no wonder, as kids go to school for around 200 days per year! But fear not… if you’re in need of a little school lunch inspo, you’ve come to the right place!
Bloom’s winter newsletter for 2019 is all about lunches and lunch boxes. Get ready for the low down on the boxes we love, and how to fill them with nutritious, tasty food your kids actually want to eat! Favourite sandwich fillings, great non-sandwich lunch ideas, dietitian approved packaged snacks, and more.
We hope our tips and tricks help hit the spot. Click here to start reading!
X Angela @ Bloom
You’ve heard it before – it’s famed as the most important meal of the day. But why is breakfast so good?
Breakfast, literally, breaks the fast from overnight, fuelling your body with energy and nutrients for the day ahead. So, breakfast is like the platform you use to dive into the day. Start the day right and the day ahead is looking good from the get-go!
In nutrition research, eating breakfast is linked to many good things. There’s an association between eating breakfast and maintaining a healthy weight, as well as increased overall nutrient intakes for key nutrients like fibre, calcium, iron, folate and vitamin C. Research suggests skipping breakfast impairs cognitive performance (so little brains don’t work as well!) , and there are associations between skipping breakfast and an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Back in 2014, an Australian Bureau of Statistics Census at School Survey found that as many as 1 in 7 kids weren’t eating breakfast on a given day. And similar numbers of adults were found to skip breaky back in the 2013 Australian Health Survey, and 2012 National Nutrition Survey. So if this is a common occurrence in your house, it’s time to take action!
Set aside even as little as 5-10 extra minutes in the morning routine to sit and eat. And given that breakfast is one-third of our main meals, it makes sense to make it count nutritionally.
Breakfasts higher in protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals, and lower in free sugars are the way to go.
How do we do this? It’s as simple as choosing minimally processed foods, (like food from the major groups of the Australian Guide to Healthy eating, or AGHE, below), and getting your kids on board with the choices! When kids have some input and ownership of the meals that are chosen for the family, they’re more likely to eat them.
When talking to kids I love using the analogy of foods that make you GO, GROW and GLOW.
GO foods are the grains or carbohydrate sources – the yellow area from the AGHE. They provide energy, fibre and if you’re choosing whole grains, lots of metabolism-boosting B vitamins.
GROW foods are what you might typically think as the protein sources – meat, eggs, nuts, dairy – giving protein and essential nutrients like iron, calcium, phosphorous, zinc – important for building muscles and bones. These are the blue and purple sections of the AGHE.
GLOW foods are those foods that help your body feel great – they’re from green sections of the AGHE. Filled with fruits and vegetables, they’re packed with all the good stuff – fibre, prebiotics, and a whole host of vitamins and minerals.
So a breaky that ticks all 3 big GO, GROW and GLOW boxes is a great start.
How do we achieve this? Try some of the easy ideas below:
· A smoothie (milk, yoghurt and fresh fruit) & a slice or two of grainy toast with your favourite topping
· Grainy granola, with oats, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, served with milk or yoghurt
· A breakfast wrap – multigrain wrap, filled with scrambled eggs, tomato and spinach
· A jaffle, made with wholemeal bread, filled with baked beans and cheese
· Good old fashioned porridge oats made with milk, and topped with banana and cinnamon
· Rye sourdough with tomato, avocado and crumbled feta
The list goes on!
So give your family breakfast the once over. Look at what you’re regularly serving, and where you might have gaps. Pop in something from the food group that’s missing to give your breaky a nutrient boost and supercharge your day!
It’s that time again… With the change of seasons comes a new Bloom Nutrition Studio seasonal nutrition newsletter. Hurrah!
This Autumn we’re sharing our top tips to start the day right, with our gorgeous new Breakfast Issue.
Planning better breakfasts, breakfast in a hurry, long and lazy weekend breakfasts, and some awesome new recipes await inside.
Sit back, relax, and have a read. We hope it brings lots of delicious, nutritious inspiration to your family breakfast table.
x Angela @ Bloom 🌿
The warm weather has finally arrived her in Adelaide, and holiday season is on it’s way, giving us all the more reason to get out and about.
Click below for your own little copy of Bloom Nutrition Studio’s Newsletter for Summer 18-19, packed with lots of great tips to keep your family happy, active and well fed this season.
We all know there are plenty of reasons to use less ‘single use plastics’ in feeding our families.
The impact of pollution from plastic production and waste on the environment, and then the recycling crisis quickly come to mind. But there’s also the recent statement from the American Academy of Paediatrics about children’s health and reducing the contact of food with certain types of plastic. (You can read more about it in Julia’s article here). It all makes you stop and think.
In our home we have always recycled, and have a compost, a worm farm, and chooks to help with our waste management. But it’s recently been drawn to our attention that this isn’t enough. So we have begun reducing what we buy and use with plastic, and have looked into a range of reusable, plastic free options (and ensuring the plastics we do use are food safe and heat safe).
In doing this though, the issue of food safety of reusable items around food kept popping up.
A barista in my local cafe said that some shops were refusing to use reusable take away coffee cups as they may not be properly cleaned. A university nutritionist discussed hazards of beeswax wraps in children’s lunch boxes- they’re a biological material that is not heat stable – a potential gold mine for bugs. The issue of the bacteria E. coli in reusable shopping bags, identified many years ago, also came to mind. (Which you can read about here.)
So, in choosing reusable products, I wondered, does it mean we are putting our families at risk of illness? Well, no – it doesn’t have to, but it does require a little elbow grease!
I spent some time looking at commercial food safety information to help guide our practice in the home. And from all this the key point seems to be that food storage products that can be successfully reused, need to be regularly, easily, thoroughly cleaned. Even our shopping bags!
The principals of commercial food safety – used in food manufacturing and commercial kitchens – tell us that to be free of those nasty bugs, surfaces that come in contact with food need to be both cleaned and sanitised.
Cleaning refers to the removal of food and other types of deposits from a surface that comes in contact with food. Types of cleaners include detergents, solvent cleaners, acid cleaners and abrasive cleaners – and they need to be food safe. For in home use, detergents and abrasives seem to be the most widespread affordable and practical methods.
Sanitisation however, means decreasing the number of microorganisms that are on a properly cleaned surface, to a safe level. An item needs to be properly cleaned, otherwise it is not possible for the sanitiser to effectively work on the surface.
Sanitisaton can be via heat, chemicals, pH changes or UV irradiation. A range of methods are available to commercial kitchens and food production facilities. Chemical and pH sanitizers are generally only used in the home environment for surface preparation – think bleaches and sprays, or even vinegar that may be used on sinks and bench tops. Heat is an other great method that can be transferred into the home.
So to adequately clean and sanitise reusable food storage products to prevent food borne illness, what should we do?
First choose the right re-usable products. This means those made out of food safe materials, that can be effectively cleaned. If something has hard to reach crevices, or is made of a material that can not be put in hot water or the dishwasher or washing machine this raises some red flags.
If hand washing, clean major food soiling using a food safe detergent and abrasive – good old fashioned dish detergent on a soft scourer is fine. There should be no visible material left.
A trip through the hot cycle of a dishwasher will sanitise products too. Or for fabric products like sandwich wraps, snack pockets and produce and shopping bags, a separate hot cycle of the washing machine. Otherwise a separate clean sink of hot water at 77 degrees celsius is recommended here by Food Standards Australia New Zealand. For other products, alcohol wipes or undiluted vinegar can also sometime be used. (For my family, I’ve started using more silicone, stainless steel and cotton canvas products that can all go in the hot cycle of the dishwasher, or the washing machine.)
Sticking to your most basic principals of food hygiene is essential too – always washing utensils, washing produce, washing hands. And food needs to be appropriately stored, with high risk foods being kept out of the temperature danger zone of 5-60 degrees celsius, and following the 2 hour/4 hour rule of food temperature storage. You can read more about that here from FSANZ too.
While it can seem like a little more effort than throw away single use products – it is worth giving a go. Bulk food purchases and reusable products done right can mean a healthier family, healthier environment, and can help you save money too.
Little changes all add up!
x Angela @ Bloom
Feel that sunshine on your skin!
Spring has arrived. The sun is in the sky and the trees are in bloom. Sit back and enjoy our Spring Nutrition Newsletter, with lots of great nutrition news, recipes and family eating tips for the season.
We break down getting kids into the kitchen, the new American Academy of Paediatrics statement on additives and child health and what it means for food storage, vegan diets for children, and a host of nutrition tips and recipes.
Take a look inside!
x Bloom 🌿
Have you ever sent out birthday party invitations, with a polite little “Let us know if you have any food allergies” at the bottom, only to be faced with a wave of responses you weren’t expecting?
Well – keep calm, and carry on. With a little know how, feeding kids with food allergies is totally manageable – and actually kind of fun! Here’s our go to guide to keep you on the right track…
Start by making a list of the kids with allergies, and those ingredients that you need to avoid. Then decide what party food you will make and buy, and match them up. At the end of your food planning, make sure there are at least one or two safe options available for each child on the list.
You can generally cater the needs of the kiddy crowd, including those with common allergies, with a few simple staples. Fruit kebabs or platters, fruit juice icy poles, fairy bread (with milk free bread and milk free margarine), plain potato chips or crips, and popcorn made with only oil, salt and or plain icing sugar are a good start.
The main event however, the birthday cake, can be the tricky one to cater. And in this regard, cupcakes can be a lifesaver. You can substitute out different ingredients easily, and make a few different batches for different kids if need be.
If you’ve got a favourite cupcake recipe you want to use, try these modification tips:
Gluten free or wheat allergy?
Use a premix gluten/wheat free flour (like Bob’s Red Mill, Vitarium, Schar, FG Roberts or Woolworths brand), and ensure you use pure icing sugar or a gluten free icing mixture for your topping, as many icing mixtures contain a small amount of wheat flour.
Use Orgran egg replacer and water in place of eggs. Some people use chia or flax eggs ( with ground chia seeds and water ) but the texture of this is often better suited to a muffin recipe with chunky ingredients rather than a smooth cupcake.
Use soy milk or rice milk, and a dairy/soy free margarine, like Nuttelex. TIP: buy a new tub of margarine for the party to avoid any contamination with things like peanut butter or toast crumbs from the family.
And… remember to read all the food labels of your usual ingredients to check for the allergens your guests need to avoid!
In Australia, the 10 most common food allergies are to milk, egg, wheat, soy, peanut, sesame, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, and lupin. The recipe below can me modified to cater for them all if need be.
Bloom allergy friendly birthday cupcakes
-makes 12 large cupcakes
2 cups self raising flour (regular or gluten/wheat free mix)
¾ cup castor sugar
¾ cup milk (or soy or rice milk)
125g melted Nuttelex margarine
2 eggs (or 2 tsp Orgran egg replacer + 2Tbs water)
2 tsp vanilla essence
4 cups pure icing sugar
1 cup Nuttelex
2-3 Tbs milk (or soy or rice milk)
1 tsp vanilla essence
Food coloring, or try a more natural colour and flavour like raspberry or strawberry powder or cocoa powder.
Sprinkles, cachous, fresh or dried berries or other favourite decorations (remember to check the ingredients!)
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C
Line 12 hole muffin pan with paper cupcake cases or reusable silicone ones.
Sift SR flour and castor sugar into a large bowl, and make a well in the centre.
Add eggs/egg replacer, vanilla, your milk choice and melted Nuttelex into the centre and gently stir to combine.
Spoon into cupcake cases, up to about ¾ full, to ensure they don’t rise too high when cooking.
Bake for about 12-15 mins, or until just cooked through.
Cool thoroughly on a wire rack before icing.
Beat margarine and vanilla together. Sift in icing sugar, adding in a little of the milk as you go, and your colour/flavour if using. Beat until evenly combined. Spoon into piping bag and pipe on top cupcakes. Decorate as desired!
Cupcake decorations – Keep in mind any decorations you use may contain things like milk or wheat, so check labels carefully. Major supermarkets tend to carry items like sprinkles and cake confetti that are often suitable, or consider a non edible decoration like a paper topper that matches your party theme.
Remember when cooking for a crowd to be aware of cross contamination in the kitchen. When preparing foods, clean work areas, and use separate chopping boards, utensils and serving plates. Always remember to wash hands between preparing items too.
The other way to deal with food allergies, which is also totally acceptable, is to admit if you feel unsure or overwhelmed.
Invite the parents of kids with food allergies to stay at the party to make sure their little one is safely included. Many parents of children with severe allergies will do this automatically- stay on and keep watch, ask you what ingredients are in a product, or bring along some food of their own, and their medicine bag just in case.
They wont be offended, they’ll appreciate you take their little one’s allergies as seriously as they do. And you will all have a great time, safely enjoying the celebration together!
Angela @ Bloom
Milk substitutes are rapidly gaining popularity in the modern food supply. They’re chosen for different reasons by different people – allergies, intolerances, vegan diets, environmental concerns, and of course health benefits. Do you choose any plant based milks in your family diet?
Readily available plant based milks include almond, coconut, soy, oat, rice, as well as couple of other more obscure varieties like cashew, hemp seed and flax seed milks.
Home made milk substitutes are also becoming more popular, with people enjoying knowing where their food is coming from, exactly what goes into it, and the lower level of environment impact from food prepared in the home.
Like with all food selection there are lots of factors that will guide your individual choice, depending on what’s important to you – things like taste, nutrition, health conditions, availablilty, cost, and environmental sustainability.
I’m all for the availability of dairy milk substitutes. They’ve been a great source of nutrition for many of my clients, and I’ve personally included them in my diet over the last decade since having children with food allergies. Back then the choice available was much smaller, and asking for anything more exotic than a soy latte was unheard of!
These days I actually enjoy a variety of plant based milks in my coffee or with granola for breakfast, but I also drink cow’s milk regularly and eat other milk based products like cheese. Dietary variety is a key factor in meeting nutrient requirements after all!
If you want to make sure your milk choice is helping meet your nutrition needs, there are a few key factors you should look out for.
Energy – This varies widely between the type of milk you are choosing, and is dependant on the amount of fat, carbohydrate (sugar) and protein in each milk. Low energy milks include choices like skim cows milk, rice and almond milk, and higher energy choices include full fat dairy milks, and traditionally produced coconut milk. If you’re choosing you’re milk based on its energy content, look at the nutrition panel and compare brands for their 100ml serving. But don’t just look at energy content, by doing so you may be doing your body out of lots of important nutrients below.
Protein – Again this varies widely between milk sources and brands. Items like rice milk are typically very low in protein, as is the base ingredient of rice, but surprisingly to some people, so are most nut milks, as the protein portion of the nut is mostly thrown away. Cow’s milk tends to be the highest in protein at around 3.5-4g/100ml, and soy milk is typically the highest protein plant based milk, averaging around the same . While calcium fortified soy milk is nutritionally my plant based milk of choice, its important to note that it’s not the right choice for everyone (for example some children are also allergic to soy protein, and some soy milks are not good choices on a low FODMAP diet).
Fat – Full cream cow’s milk is often rejected by people due to its higher saturated fat content when compared to skim and reduced fat choices. However fat is an important source of energy in the diet, and children under 2 years (when not drinking breastmilk or formula) are encouraged to use only full cream milks. Fat also plays a role in satiety, or how full we feel after eating and drinking, so many people prefer to use full cream milk for this reason. Coconut milk for cooking has 16 g/100ml fat, where as coconut milks designed for drinking have less (eg Sanatarium coconut milk 2.1g/100ml), but be aware most of this is saturated fat too. The source of fats in other commercial plant based milks is mostly unsaturated fats, but may also be an added fat like sunflower or canola oil, added for texture and energy content, rather than a naturally occurring fat.
Calcium – Plant based milks like rice, soy, coconut and nut milks are not naturally high in calcium. This means to meet your calcium requirements you will either need to choose a fortified commercial variety, choose enough other sources of dietary calcium, or take a calcium supplement. My personal choice is to choose a calcium fortified variety, and we recommend those that contain at least 120mg Calcium per 100ml.
Sugar – Many ( but not all) commercial plant based milks are sweetened with sugar or sugar alternatives to improve flavour. Lactose is the naturally occurring sugar in cow’s milk (and in human breast milk ), and our body usually produces the lactase enzyme from birth to be able to digest this. If you are lactose intolerant, all plant based milks are suitable, however simply swapping to a lactose free cow’s milk could be your best nutritional choice. If making plant based milks at home, keep in mind that large amounts of added sugars will add extra energy to your diet.
Iodine – Cow’s milk and dairy products are a source of dietary Iodine – an important nutrient for thyroid hormone production – especially in pregnancy and childhood. However, milk is not the high source of iodine it once was, since dairy industry stopped using iodophores to clean milk storage vats in the 1960s, and should not be relied upon as the primary source of iodine in the diet.
Plant based milks however are significantly lower in iodine, and swapping these into your diet will mean you definitely need to look for another source to boost your iodine intake.
The good news is there are other great non dairy sources in the diet like fish, shellfish and seaweed and eggs, which all contain more iodine per 100g than milk. On top of this, commercial bakers in Australia must use iodised salt in bread making, so there is an additional source of iodine readily available. As dietitians we typically advocate for using less salt in the diet, but where salt is used, choose iodised salt (unless you have a medical reason not to do so!).
B12 – Cows milk can be an important source of B12, particularly for vegetarians who don’t eat eggs. Some commercial soy milks are fortified with B12 (like Sanitarium So good Essential). If your are vegetarian, it’s worth reading your food labels to check how you can best meet your needs.
So choose your milk wisely, as it is an important source of nutrition in your day. If cow’s milk is not for you, that’s ok, but it’s not always as easy as a simple swap. If your favourite milk choice is lacking in a certain nutrient, make sure you boost your diet with other foods to cover the gaps. For the best individually tailored dietary advice, see an Accredited Practicing Dietitian, particularly if you or your family have any additional health issues.
Angela @ Bloom 🌿
(These tips, and other great nutrition stories, are available in our quarterly nutrition news updates. Subscribe to our nutrition newsletter on our home page to be the first to get it, straight in your inbox!)
Baby it’s cold outside. But at least the sun is shining!
Happy first day of winter. Stay warm and say well this season, with our Bloom Nutrition Newsletter for Winter 18.
Grab a cuppa and click below for some seasonal produce tips, nutrition info, recipe inspo and more!
x Bloom 🌿
Persistence. The key to combatting toddler fussy eating?
I’ve had lots of people say to me, “You’re lucky your kids are good eaters. It must be easy because you are a dietitian”. Thankfully, my kids do love to eat – now. And I genuinely feel more happy and relaxed at family meal times now with 4 kids at the table than ever before.
But I will be honest – it’s still not “perfect” (is there even such a thing?), and it was a long road to get to where we are.
We haven’t exactly had things easy in the feeding department. All 4 of my kids have had food allergies – 2 still see the Allergist regularly. One had the most sensitive gag reflex as toddler, she would eat an entire meal, vomit then immediately ask to be fed again. And one had a horrible run with enormous tonsils and adenoids, having multiple infections, speech difficulties and feeding aversions before needing speech therapy and surgery.
All of these are minor issues in comparison to the complexities faced by many other families – but they were enough to add stress to an already gorgeously chaotic family life.
So while I haven’t had the easiest run with feeders, I do feel incredibly blessed that our issues were small, that my training allowed me to see what was happening, and that I had the knowledge to know where to get help, and what to do at home.
But as I said, it was a long road to get here, particularly with Mr Tonsils. In all honesty, how we ended up here was not through luck, or my profession, but through sheer persistence.
There were so many times when I wanted to just give him pasta, again, while we ate something else. Times when I picked up food from all over the floor, screaming on the inside, but calmly outwardly saying “Food stays on the table”. Countless times when I lamented the huge waste of food as I throw the veggies in the bin, again.
But it was the persistence with calmly offering without expectation, giving only brief and gentle encouragement, and most importantly, family role modelling that led to where we are today.
Recently, he, the fussiest of my four, finally bit into a cherry tomato (albeit in a effort to squirt his sisters with the insides – but thats how we encouraged him to put it in his mouth) and said “I tasted the juice!”. A few months ago he would’ve pouted “I don’t eat tomatoes, take it off my plate!!!”.
He also ate black charcoal noodles – “Mum, black is my favourite colour”- when they arrived unexpectedly in his beloved ramen noodle soup at a new restaurant. He randomly picked up the broccoli I was preparing for his sisters’ school lunch boxes and said “Mum, I eat this now, I’m strong”. He then proceeded to pop it in his mouth and walk away – the rest of us stunned into jaw dropping silence. He picked up chicken breast of the plate and ate it without a word, after months of not eating it. He drank a green smoothie and called it “hulk juice”, flexing his biceps as he drank.
So, you can safely say we had an amazing week at the dining table that week (cue champagne!), which reminded me that all that persistence with our feeding plan was worth it. We were winning.
I know I’m not alone in this sort of feeding experience. I’ve met so many parents over the years who have faced the same thing. The ongoing trials, but then finally the successes.
This year Julia and I will be putting together a package to help families with their in home feeding issues; so watch this space.
We will share the training and experience we’ve had as Paediatric Dietitians, and the trial by fire we’ve had as parents. We’re aiming to provide families with scientifically sound, but genuinely practical advice.
It works if you work it. We’ve got proof!
Find this, and more family eating, health and wellbeing stories in our Bloom quarterly nutrition newsletters. And to subscribe to future updates, click here!
Angela @ Bloom 🌿
We all know buying fruit and vegetables in season makes good sense. Food is fresher, tastes better, and is more economical. But with so many fruits and vegetables available out of their natural season, it can be confusing to know what to buy right now.
Below is a guide to whats available in the southern states in Autumn for March/April/May.
Autumn fruits –
apples, blackberries, cumquats, figs, feijoas, grapes, honeydew, limes, mandarins, valencia oranges,
passionfruits, pears, persimmon, plums, pomegranates, quinces, raspberries, rhubarb, rockmelons, strawberries, watermelons.
Autumn vegetables –
asian greens, beetroot, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, capsicums, carrots, celeriac, celery, cauliflower, eggplant, jerusalem artichoke, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, onions, parsnip, peas, potato, pumpkin, shallots, silverbeet, spinach, swede, sweet corn, turnip, chicory, zucchini.
(Seasonal Guide with thanks to Adelaide Farmer’s Market)
And what to do with these autumn offerings?
While the weather is still warm in the beginning of autumn, fresh foods served simply, like BBQs, salads and shared platters and outdoor eating remain at the top of the family meal list.
As the weather cools down, consider preserving some of the warmer weather’s fruits and veg for the coming winter. Getting chilly? Start ramping up the roast and soup rotations to help meet the family’s 2 & 5 goals for fruit and veg. Leftovers are great for lunchboxes too!
Remember, if you’ve got a fussy eater in the family, providing both new and familiar options of fruits and vegetables in a buffet or family style offering encourages children to try new foods.
Angela @ Bloom 🌿