Uncategorized

Category filter:AllAllergyChildren’s nutritionExerciseFamily mealsFeeding babiesFood Safetyfussy eatingInfant nutritionLunch boxesMotivationNewsNutritionNutrition in the mediaNutrition mythsRaising good eatersRecipesUncategorizedWomen’s Health
No more posts

almond-almond-milk-bottle-1446318-1280x904.jpg

An issue that is frequently misunderstood by parents is exactly how much protein children need everyday and where they can get it from. One of the most common concerns I hear from parents of fussy or picky eaters is that they’re not getting enough protein. As we go through their child’s diet, they are often surprised to find that their protein intake is fine.

One of the reasons for this is that our bodies actually don’t need that much protein. Even in children that are growing rapidly, it’s not hard to meet their requirements. We also get protein from sources other than meat which many people are unaware of. For example breads and cereals, whilst usually recognised as a source of carbohydrate, also contain protein. Whilst some of these sources do not contain a complete range of amino acids (the building blocks of protein) when eaten as part of a balanced diet, overall protein intake will be sufficient. Dairy is a very significant source of protein for young children. I always ensure there are adequate alternative sources if we need to avoid dairy for some reason (eg the child has an allergy).

So how much protein do children actually need and where can they get it from? Below I’ve included a pictorial to give you an example of how easily a child’s protein requirements are met.

Toddlers 1 – 3 yrs (between 10 – 15kg): 11g – 16g protein per day

 1 shredded wheat biscuit without milk 2g
1/2 Cob of corn 2g   1 small cup of milk(200ml) 8g

 Slice of cheese 4g

Children 4 – 8yrs (16 – 26kg): 15 – 24g protein per day

 

  1 cheese sandwich 12g   200g tub of yoghurt 6g     1/2 cup broccoli 4g

 

Children 9 – 13yrs (29kg – 46k): 29 – 46g protein per day

 3 weetbix with milk 14g       1 banana 1.5g   4 vita wheat crackers with cheese 7g                                                         Small tin of tuna 16g

The typical Australian diet usually provides most children with more protein than their bodies require (in fact a recent Melbourne based study (InFANT) found that very young children (aged 9 months to 5 years) protein intake from diet alone was 2-3 times higher than age appropriate Australian recommendations.  Occasionally we see children who’s growth is faltering and part of our management plan is to try a high protein and energy diet to get them moving again. In these situations we will use these diets on a short term basis until a medically agreed upon target is achieved. 

What is concerning me as a paediatric dietitian is a trend I’ve noticed on social media to use protein powders and shakes in children, that have been designed for use by adults. As our obesity rates have risen and as a nation we have become more focused on health, there has been an explosion of supplements many of them protein based drinks, powders and bars. 

There is evidence that in adults a diet higher in protein can be beneficial for weight loss, particularly in promoting satiety after a meal. We do not have this same evidence in children. The by products of protein break down are filtered out by our kidneys. The more protein we eat, the harder our kidneys work getting rid of the waste. The concern here is that if our kidneys are placed under long term strain, then the chance of developing chronic kidney disease later in life might be increased. Research in adults has suggested that high protein diets are probably fine if your kidney function is normal. We don’t have this data for children.  If children are fed these exceedingly high protein intakes for years as their kidney function develops and matures, what is the long term effect? Most of these protein based shakes, powders etc provide around 20g of protein per serve. For your average 10 – 15kg toddler, that means they are receiving 1.3 g – 2g protein/kg/day before you’ve even factored in any food. When we treat children who’s growth is faltering or are malnourished, as dietitians, we don’t usually exceed 2g protein/kg/day and this is on a short term basis only. My feeling is that it would be quite possible for children to be receiving as much as 3g protein/kg/day if they are regularly using adult based protein supplements. The other issue here is that many of these protein based shakes will also be high in added vitamins and minerals and there is the real possibility of exceeding the upper safe limit for these nutrients as well. 

If you are concerned about your child’s diet, a children’s based supplement will always be a wiser choice than something designed for adults (note – even when a product claims to be made of all natural sources as many of these protein powders and alike do, it does not mean it’s safe for children). As a dietitian I always prefer to look for food based ways to address any nutritional concerns, but sometimes we do have to use supplements. At these times I prefer to use a multivitamin and mineral supplement as most shake type supplements usually take the child’s appetite away and can hinder the progress of expanding a child’s diet.

I’ve written more about this here. If you just want to provide a little boost to your child’s nutrition, a simple smoothie made with your preferred milk fortified with a handful of nuts (I like using raw cashews) or chia seeds and some fruit or steamed vegetables, will go long way to not only adding extra protein but also iron, zinc, phosphorus, vitamin C and fibre.

Why not try my choice mint smoothie if you’re looking for something to boost your child’s nutrition? You can get the recipe here.

 


choc-mint-smoothie-1280x857.jpg

Smoothies can be a great way to get a few extra nutrients into your kids (especially if they’re fussy). In my house they’re my go to choice after school. Filling, but not too filling that they won’t eat dinner.

Recently the kids asked me if I could make them choc mint smoothies. Challenge accepted kids! This smoothie is a great source of potassium, phosphorus, calcium and zinc and has a hit of heart healthy poly and mono unsaturated fats thanks to the cashew nuts.I get 4 small smoothies out of this recipe and each smoothie contains around 2g of fibre which helps maintain a healthy gut. You can boost the fibre (and protein) content further by adding some chia seeds if you’re worried your child’s fibre intake is low.

Choc Mint Smoothie:

1 banana

2 medjool dates

1 handful of raw cashews

1 Tbs coco podwer

1.5 Tbs maple syrup

1/2 Tsp peppermint essence

lots of ice

Milk of choice (i use reduced fat cows milk) to the 700ml mark on your NutriBullet or similar high speed blender.

 

Blend and enjoy!


Bloom-e1543977731597.jpg

Hello Sunshine!

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.

Bloom summer 1819


Happy Summer!
x Bloom 🌿


alone-basket-carrots-1389103-1280x812.jpg

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