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My kids love a pikelet (mini pancake). My kids enjoy these in their lunchboxes. I often add a little container of pure maple syrup for dipping into. They also make a great breakfast option, and when cut into strips are ideal for babies doing baby led weaning.

Enjoy!

 

 Ingredients:

1 banana

1 cup of rolled oats

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1/2 cup greek yoghurt

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

Method:

Put all ingredients into your blender (I used a high speed nutribullet). Blitz until smooth. Place a frying pan on medium/low heat and melt a small amount of butter. Pour mixture into pan in “pikelet size”. Cook for about 1- 2 minutes or until the underside is starting to turn golden brown. Flip on and cook on the other side for another 30 seconds.

Suitable for freezing.

 

Variation: Raspberry and vanilla pikelets

1 cup rolled oats

1 egg

1/2 cup greek yoghurt

1 teaspoon of vanilla seed extract

1 TBs milk

1/2 cup frozen raspberries

 

Method: as for the banana and oat pikelets, but stir through frozen raspberries after blending other ingredients.


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If you’ve been following Bloom for a while you’ll know that I like to make a lot of my children’s snacks. I do this to maximise the nutrients in their snack choices whilst minimising less desirable nutrients such as salt, sugar, fat and refined carbohydrates. 

For young children who need to eat regularly, snacks form a large part of their daily diet and should really represent our major food groups as much as possible, not something just grabbed in haste to fill a hole.  

Now no one likes to be a slave to their kitchen, so when I bake for the lunchboxes I do large batch cooking and freeze. I look for recipes that include ingredients from our key food groups like fruit, vegetables, wholegrain cereals and seeds (or nuts if your school permits them). I’ll often try and reduce the sugar too. If you need some inspiration you might like to try our green seed slice or coco cranberry bliss balls. 

Even with great planning and preparation there are still weeks where I might find I have nothing on hand, or I just don’t want to or have time to cook. In these situations I turn to a selection of pre-packged snacks from the supermarket that still offer plenty of nutrition. I also like to alternate my home cooked choices with purchased snacks to mix things up a bit and ensure the kids don’t get bored of the same old thing.

To help you make smart choices in the supermarket we’ve come up with this list of Bloom approved snacks.

1. Roasted nori sheets – These are a great source of iodine. 1 small 8g packet provides 30% of a young child’s daily iodine requirement. It should be noted that these are very high in salt but as the serving size is so small (8g) the total quantity of salt consumed is small. 

2. Fruit/Raisin bread  I’ve always got a loaf in my freezer. Sure it has some added sugar, but most of the sugar comes from the added dried fruit. It’s low GI, filling and has around 120 calories per buttered slice (1 slice is plenty for a recess snack). Tip top have alsohave a wholemeal Raisin toast and that’s got my tick of approval

3. Cheese and Crackers -I’m not really a fan of the pre-packaged cheese and biscuit packs as they cost a fortune. Even when you’re low on time you can still still grab a handful of crackers and cut a slice of cheese (or a cheese stick if you really need to). Not all crackers are created equal though. You definitely want to focus on buying a wholegrain variety (look for those with at least 4g of fibre per 100g) and with a sodium content less than 400mg/100g (harder to find). 

My top picks would be Ryvita wholegrain crisp breads (I’d suggest breaking two in halves as they are larger), Vita-Wheat crisp bread range and crackers (note these all exceed 400mg of sodium/100g,but most are under 500g/100g) and the Mary’s Gone Crackers range (although please note these are a more expensive option). 

Team with your child’s preferred cheese and you have a filling snack option high in fibre, B vitamins, Omega 3 fatty acids (from the seeds), calcium, phosphorus and magnesium.

3. Roasted or puffed Chickpeas and Fava Beans

The crunchy texture of these products will appeal to many kids. 

They come in plain (lightly salted), as well a variety of other flavours.  I love that they come in individually wrapped portions so you can simply grab and chuck into the lunchbox. They also hit the mark for fibre content, sodium and overall calories, not to mention they also count towards your child’s daily intake of vegetables!

4. Popcorn

Another option that’s sure to be a hit with most kids that is filling and high in fibre. I’d recommend you check what type of oil your popcorn is cooked in (or better yet go for air popped, although many kids may find this too bland) and avoid any cooked in palm oil (a saturated fat we want to avoid). 

Also look for those with a lower sodium content, ideally less than 400mg per 100g. I’d also stay away from any of the sweetened varieties, children don’t need the extra sugar in these products. 

My pick would be CobsR natural sea salt variety. I buy it in the large packs and portion it out to save money, but if you’re really low on time you may prefer the individually packed option.

5. Coles “buddy” dried fruit and seed packets – with a few varieties on offer there should be something here that most kids will like. Some varieties contain “fun” foods like mini marshmallows and chocolate buds. This personally doesn’t bother me and I find the inclusions of some fun foods in a trail mix makes it more likely my kids will eat the whole thing. 

6. Weetbix mini breakfast biscuits – These multi-pack biscuits have just over 1 teaspoon of sugar per packet but best of all they have 2.8 g fibre, more than most other snack biscuits on the market. They are also fortified with iron and a range of B vitamins. Bel vita also make a similar biscuit however with 3 teaspoons of sugar per biscuit they are my second choice, although I it should be noted that they contain more fibre at 4g per packet.

7. Milk boxes/Smoothies – Devondale mini milk boxes are a perfect option to deliver a hit of calcium (and protein) to your child’s lunchbox. As they are long life milks you don’t have to worry if they get warm during the day. My kids are happy to have plain milk but I do also give them flavoured ones to mix things up a bit. The Devondale Moo flavoured milks have around 1 tsp of sugar per 100g which is not overly bad given that this product also contains lots of other worthwhile nutrients. Sippah straws are another quick option to pop in the lunchbox with a thermos of plain milk and contain less than 1/2 teaspoon per straw. Nudie also released a range of long life brekkie smoothies last year in flavours such as banana and mixed berry. They are sweetened with maple syrup and have around 1.5 teaspoons of sugar per 100ml. 

8. Fruit straps – There are a few different options on the market now, for example The “Fruit Wise” and “Bear Yo Yo’s. Both brands are made from 100% dehydrated fruit with no added sugars or fillers. Per serve these products contain about 1/2 the calories of a fresh piece of fruit. Most people don’t find them as filling as eating fresh fruit (because the water content has been removed from them) and of course being quite sticky they aren’t a great option for your child’s teeth. I wouldn’t make this your every day fruit option but they’re a reasonable back up. 

9. Date and seed based bites/bars and protein balls – eg Kez’s kitchen lamington bars. These are made from dates and seeds and have nothing but real ingredients added. If you are buying these sorts of products check the ingredient list and try and avoid those with added sweeteners such as honey or  rice syrup. Most of these products are quite pricey and I feel you could make a similar version yourself for much less but for those busy times they are a handy option.     

10 Messy Monkeys – Out of all the flavoured savoury snacks/biscuits on the market for children these would probably be my pick. They are high in fibre (2g per serve) and don’t contain artificial flavours or flavour enhancers, the salt and fat content is however quite high (as are many other similar products in this category). My biggest concern with savoury salty snacks for children is that it tends to program their taste buds to want more salty highly flavoured foods and these flavours aren’t found in natural whole foods. That’s not to say that I’d never buy these snacks for my children but I certainly limit them to occasionally and where possible I try to buy plain varieties of biscuits. 

11. Mini dips and baby cucumbers – we love the Obela mini dips for the convenience of their grab and go size!  Keep and pack of baby cuqs (cucumbers) on hand and have you have a super healthy snack prepared in 30 seconds!


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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.

 


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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!


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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 🌿


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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