Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sitting in the sunshine

It is the second week of the school holidays and we have returned to the sunshine state of Queensland. A couple of days sitting on the beach in the sun will do us the world of good after 9 days of rain and cold. It is important to get some Vitamin D from the sun everyday (as long as we are sun safe with our little ones). Remember the sun screen and hat; close the computer, turn off the T.V and go play outside with the kids.
I am turning my computer off for a few days to really enjoy the break- see you on Thursday
Kate x

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday morning breakfast..................bliss!

There is nothing more than relaxing with the paper and a yummy Sunday morning breakfast that is healthy, quick, easy to prepare and guaranteed to be eaten by everyone in the family. Yes there is such a meal......French Toast.

The popular history behind French toast (aka German toast, American toast, Spanish toast, Nun's toast, Cream toast, Amarilla, Poor Knights of Windsor) is that it was created by medieval European cooks who needed to use every bit of food they could find to feed their families. They knew old, stale bread (French term "pain perdu" literally means lost bread) could be revived when moistened with milk and enriched with eggs. The traditional method of cookery was on a hot griddle prepped with a little fat (butter, oil). Quite like today.

High in protein, iron and low GI this is a great breakfast to start the day and give little engines the boost they need.

Try out my French Toast recipe from my cookbook "kids meals the whole family can enjoy" available from my website http://www.ultimatelunchbox.com.au/
Enjoy your leisurely Sundays!!
Kate x
French toast stars
1 egg
1 slice wholegrain or wholemeal bread
1 table milk
2 tablespoons of berries or mixed fruit pieces
Vanilla yoghurt
1 teaspoon maple syrup
Cut toast length ways into fingers or use a cookie cutter to make shapes
Soak bread in egg, milk mixture
Fry in medium pan until golden. Serve with drizzle of vanilla yoghurt or frozen yoghurt and teaspoon maple syrup
*For savoury French toast add grated cheese to the egg mixture and instead serve with a drizzle of tomato sauce.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Footy Fever - Grand Final Day

For those of you who a: live in Australia and b: follow AFL....then today is your day. Geelong V's St Kilda, Grand Final Day. I am somewhat saddened as my home team of the Brisbane Lions are nowhere to be seen:( . Aussies take their football very seriously, whatever the code- equally as serious are the football parties which can start the night before the big game.

Ever the hostess (and always thinking of my belly!) below are a few tips for catering for a "footy do"
  • It doesn't have to be all 'pies and chips' or 'deep fried'!
  • have some low fat dips (hummus/ avocado mixed on low fat Philly cream cheese)
  • Serve light crackers or toasted pita bread with warmed salsa
  • Serve veggie and salad sticks as dippers (yes people will eat them if they are offered)
  • Sliced hard boiled eggs
  • Fresh fruits such as strawberries/ cherry tomatoes
  • Sliced lean meats
  • Small bruchettas or filo pastry wraps
  • Meat balls or chicken bites
Remember to keep jugs of iced water or soda water handy - to help hydrate and lubricate the 'rasping' throats.
Enjoy your day and .........GO THE SAINTS!
Kate x

Friday, September 25, 2009

It is time to bake

The rain is pelting across the window pane and the mercury has not crawled into double digits yet- so it is definitely an inside day today. School holidays are a great time to discover new recipes and have fun with the kids - mine love to bake, however baking doesn't have to be an unhealthy option. Many recipes call for large amounts of butter, margarine or oil and excess sugar which can be cut down. You can also add a few key ingredients to fortify (nutrient enrich) your baking. Two that I am particularly fond of are baby rice cereal (found in the baby section of the supermarket) which is iron fortified and protein enriched, and Benefibre(completely soluble in water) which adds extra fibre to your baking. Wherever possible I like to use wholemeal flour for extra fibre as well.

One of our favourite 'quick' recipes are scrolls. These can be sweet using sultanas and dried fruit or savoury, adding pizza toppings or simply using grated cheese and Vegemite (substitute any favourite spread if you are not fond of our little Aussie icon!)
Scrolls – cheese and Vegemite
2 cups self raising flour
90 g olive oil margarine
½ - 2/3 cup reduced fat milk
1 tablespoon Vegemite + 2/3 cup grated cheese

Place flour and margarine in bowl; rub in with fingers until feel like breadcrumbs
Slowly add milk until dough forms.
Roll out onto floured surface making a rectangle
Cover with Vegemite and cheese
Roll dough to make a cylinder. Cut segments about 2 cm thick and arrange closely on tray lined with grease proof paper
Bake for 12 - 15 minutes in hot oven
Let cool
* If you can cope with the mess, kids love getting their hands into the flour and margarine. If you would prefer, invite them to roll the dough once it has formed into a ball. They can spread the ingredients on the dough

Scrolls- sultana
2 cups self raising flour
90 g olive oil margarine
½ - 2/3 cup reduced fat milk
1 tablespoon margarine + 1 tablespoon brown sugar mixed to paste + ½ cup sultanas

Place flour and margarine in bowl; rub in with fingers until feel like breadcrumbs
Slowly add milk until dough forms.
Roll out onto floured surface making a rectangle
Cover brown sugar, margarine and sultanas
Roll dough to make a cylinder. Cut segments about 2 cm thick and arrange closely on tray lined with grease proof paper
Bake for 12 - 15 minutes in hot oven
Let cool
One of my favourite sites for recipes and inspiration is www.taste.com.au

Enjoy your bake-offs!

Kate x

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Drinks- the good , the bad and the downright ugly!

To drink or not to drink ........................or what to drink?

What we drink these days is creating as much confusion (and health problems) as what to eat. Firstly we need our water - the general recommendation is 6-8 glasses per day (more if it is hot or you are exercising). For our kiddies under around 5 years of age I use the rule of around 125ml per kilogram body weight. So a 10 kg child needs about 1.25 L per day. The diet provides some of this fluid from foods such as fruit, vegetables, yoghurts and milk so they don't have to slug down 1.25 litres of plain water. For older children and adults the rule is 45-55 ml fluid per kilogram body weight.

Sorry to say I am not fussed on soft drinks, juices and cordials all moonlighting as something we need! Juice and soft drink believe it or not have the same kilojoules (calories) which often means a similar sugar content! (see link from Jessi at Newsy.com re 'soda taxes in the States')
Now for the bad news for 'us adults'!. For every latte, cappuccino or flat white, you can be consuming the equivalent of 1-2 pieces of bread! One a day is plenty (make it a skinny) or have a long black with a dash of milk.

The news is not much better when it comes to alcohol (I hear groans...) 120ml of wine/ red/ white or bubbles is a piece of bread. So watch the amount you consume.

Remember water, water, water for us all and water and milk for the children and young adults (reduced fat if they are over 2 years).
Remember World School Milk Day on the 30th September

Kate xo

Monday, September 21, 2009

cold days= comfort food

I am dealing with some seriously cold days here in the southern city of Adelaide. Brisbane Queensland is tipping the temperature charts at a balmy 25 -30 degrees celcius whereas Adelaide is crawlinng to a maximum of around 12 degrees (right in the heart of comfort eating territory!! )This doesn't have to be pies,chips, sausage rolls or fast food- the humble Spag Bol (or spag bog! as we call it) will do the trick. It is the quick and easy meal that is cheap, high in iron and protein, suitable from a toddler to a grandparent and anyone in between and a meal you can 'hide 'or 'enhance with ' some vegies to make it a complete meal. I have included my husbands 'no fail' spaghetti bolgnese recipe- let me know how you have enhanced your spaghetti recipe?
Kate x
Spaghetti Bolognese
500g lean beef mince
400g canned tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Onion finely chopped
1 tablespoon mixed Italian herbs (fresh or dried)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon bown sugar
500 g spaghetti

Lightly fry chopped onion in small amount of oil
Add mince and stir until brown
Add canned tomatoes and tomato paste
Sprinkle with herbs

Cook spaghetti in saucepan of boiling water until just firm
Serve mince sauce drizzled over pasta, add grated cheese if desired
Serve with salad or vegetables
*older kids can stir over low heat and sprinkle in the herbs (if you take the pan of the heat the younger ones can have a stir)
*Bolognese is easy to freeze

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Dining out - wedding style.....how indulgent

Ahhhh! what a beautiful day. My sister (the bride) looked beautiful, the day went off without a hitch - a spectacular country wedding (although I froze in the open aired horse and carriage ride back to the reception centre- it was about 7 degrees Celsius!). The reception was brilliant and I especially loved the way I plonked myself down at the table and various people brought me drinks and food from 6pm onwards.........however I watched the whole 'over-indulgence' reveal itself around me. Canapes, bread rolls, entre, mains, dessert, chocolates, wedding cake!!!!! not to mention all the drinks that were showered per table. By the time most people consumed their fill there were cries of 'I can't move' and 'I can't possible dance'. One of the most common questions I get asked in my clinic is how to moderate myself at parties, conferences and social gatherings? Yes it is hard to say no when you are hungry and when it is being brought to you every 5 minutes and it is free!!

My top tips to avoid overindulgence
1. Eat regularly through the day so you are not famished when you reach the party
2. keep a track of the number of pre -dinner nibbles and stick to a maximum of 5
3. Ask for a large glass of soda water or plain water to hydrate yourself before your first alcoholic drink, and drink one in between each alcoholic drink
4. Choose Entre and main or main and dessert (you don't need all three)
5. Leave a few mouthfuls on each plate (remember the serves are there to satisfy a six foot athletic male - so unless that is you, you don't need it!)

Enjoy being waited on but not so much that you need to let out your belt or undo your top button under the table.........

Thursday, September 17, 2009

One family...........one meal

Slaves in the kitchen we are not. There are still many households who cook 1, 2, 3 or even 4 meals every night. I tell you I don't have the time or the creativity for 4 meals per night. I had a family today in my clinic(who were happy for me to blog about them!) that Dad was cooking 4 separate meals every night. I was exhausted listening to him and the reasons why. Mum didn't like chiken, son 1 didn't like slimy sauces and son 2 didn't like mixing foods together. This might sound extreme but the stats tell us that 40% of us cook more than one meal per night to satisfy the whole family.

My philosophy is ONE FAMILY- ONE MEAL. That doesn't mean seving up vindaloo to the 2 year old- it means having one base that you can adapt. Sometimes children just need the 'one' choice and conform to the family. A simple meal I have found that works well is the zucchini slice. It is soft, easy to chew, healthy, tasty and superquick to prepare. Parents can add some sweet chili sauce to spice it up. It is from my "kids meals - the whole family can enjoy" cookbook. see recipe below
Let me know what you think?

Zucchini slice
2 large zucchini (approx 300g) grated
1 medium carrot grated
1 onion finely chopped
3 rashes lean bacon
1 cup grated cheese
1 cup self raising flour
½ cup oil
5 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste

Microwave or lightly fry onion and bacon for one minute.
Combine zucchini, carrot, cheese and onion
Sift flour, add oil and lightly beaten eggs
Season with salt and pepper
Pour into well greased pie or quiche dish
Bake at 180 degrees for 40 minute
Note: if top starts to brown cover with tinfoil to continue cooking.
*Easy to freeze

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

School Holidays the break we need to have

Well we are in the home straight of the school term 3. The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter (no more lunchboxes, racing out the door at 8.30 armed with musical instruments, cowboy outfits, school camp notices and helping in the tuck shop...........) however with holidays comes the big spend on TREATS. I don't know about you but I have the constant nagging and huge pester power from two very good negotiators; "but your honour- we made our beds and cleaned up, surely that means we deserve a bag of mixed lollies at 10.30am!". Holidays to them spells fun and the hope of lots of treats including those of the 'non nutritional type!' Now before I hear you all groan and say "she's such a dietitian- those poor children" it is important to try to keep some sort of healthy normality during the school holidays. The way we have maneuvered around the topic in the past is set designated day for treats - namely "treat Tuesday". I have also sourced a few "treat type foods" for the holidays such as the cupcakes in the picture. They are blueberry muffins that have been iced so they look good, taste good and are better than plain cupcakes.

Top 5 tips for school holiday eating

1. take fruit skewers (pictured) and muffin skewers to friends places

2.pack healthy breakfast bars or snack foods from home to take to the movies, skating or bowling

3. remember kids need water not all the sugar ladened juices and softdrinks so take a bottle of iced water from home.
Enjoy the holidays - We are off to the Adelaide hills for a farm stay - however I am afraid of horses so this should be very interesting!!!
Share some holiday 'treat' tips on my blog

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

More Peas Please!!

For anyone out there who has a finicky eater or knows a famliy dealing with a child who fusses with food at mealtimes - you will know how completely frustrating the whole process can be. I have been working in this area for over 10 years and have had countless families through my practice doors, ready to pull their hair out (or someone elses!!!).
HELP IS AT HAND! No it is not about making pretty hair with grated carrot or hiding broccoli in chocolate cake........................it is about uncovering the reason why and providing the solution. Some examples are; their food has been blended for too long, their meals are too bland with not enough texture, they are constipated and/ or filling up on millk or juice or they have a complete fear of trying something new due to poor chewing, choking or difficulty swallowing and breathing at the same time.
I have just released my third book co authored with Dr Julie Cichero (Speech therapist and feeding and swallowing expert).This is a must-read guide to finding nutritious solutions for fussy eaters from first foods that won't be spat out to lunch box fixes the envy of the playground. Whether your child avoids whole groups of foods such as vegetables and meats or flatly refuses to try something new, "More Peas Please" explains the reasons why and is filled with easy solutions.

Check out the link below to see me chatting with Mel and Kochie about the book on Sunrise.



Thursday, September 10, 2009

Keeping the family regular

Keeping the family regular
Babies may become constipated if their poo is dry and crumbly, or like pellets. This commonly occurs around the time they start solids.
Constipation is a difficulty passing a hard bowel motion (poo), causing pain and discomfort. A healthy diet, having enough to drink, exercise , correct toilet training and regular toilet habits are important to prevent and help treat constipation in children and adults. Chronic infant constipation may require expert advice from a Dietitian or GP.
Constipation in Adults
The cause of problems such as constipation are usually dietary related, commonly not enough fibre or a lack of water. Other issues affecting the regularity of your system could include the serving sizes of your meals and how often you eat. The best way of adding fibre to your diet is choosing wholegrain products and increasing the quantity of fruits, salads and vegetables . This means a minimum of two servings of fruits and five serves of salad or vegetables every day. For many people, however, the amount of fruits and vegetables that are necessary may be inconveniently large or may not provide adequate relief from constipation. In this case a fibre supplement can be useful.
Increased gas (flatulence) is a common side effect of high-fibre diets. The gas occurs because the bacteria normally present within you colon are capable of digesting the fibre to a small extent. All fibres, no matter what their source, can cause flatulence. By gradually increasing the fibre in your diet you can minimize the amount of gas produced.
When increasing the amount of fruits, vegetables and grains, it is recommended that you drink plenty of water to keep the stools soft so they pass through the bowel easily.

Constipation in Babies
Breastfed babies are hardly ever constipated, although they may not have a bowel motion for several days or up to a week. Even then, their poo will usually be soft. Many babies strain and go red in the face when doing a normal poo. This is not a sign of constipation unless the poo is hard and causes pain and discomfort. True constipation in babies is rare and should always be checked by a doctor.
Causes of constipation in babies include:
Formula too strong - if your baby is bottle-fed, make sure the formula is made up correctly, so that there is not too much formula powder for the amount of water.
Different formula - changes to the milk formula (especially swapping to ‘follow-on’ formula or cow’s milk).
Not enough fluid – especially in warm weather, bottle-fed infants require extra fluid such as cooled, boiled water between formula feeds. Breastfed infants may require more frequent feeds.
Solids not right for baby - use the correct solid foods for the age of your baby. Be aware that high fibre and wholegrain products are not suitable for babies under 12 months of age.
Starting baby on rice based cereals containing iron is important around 6 months of age however this may also cause poos to become dry and hard to pass. Using blended fruits and vegetables can help bulk and soften babies poos.

4 recipes to help make you and baby more regular

Vegetable Bake – Family and blended for babies from 7 months
250g dried penne pasta
1 onion finely chopped
2 tsp olive oil
50g olive oil margarine
50g (1/3 cup) plain flour
375 g crushed tomatoes
1 cup corn kernels
1 zucchini sliced
1 carrot sliced
1 head broccoli cut into florets
145g (1 1/2 cups) coarsely grated cheddar
Preheat oven to 200°C
Cook pasta in a saucepan of boiling water following packet directions. Drain.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, corn, zucchini, carrot and broccoli and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the vegetables soften. Set aside.
Melt the olive oil margarine in the pan. Add flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Gradually stir in the canned tomatoes. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
Add the pasta, vegetable mixture and 1/2 cup of cheese to the sauce. Spoon pasta mixture into an ovenproof dish.. Sprinkle remaining cheese over pasta.
Bake for 40 minutes or until golden. Serve with mixed salad leaves, if desired.

Apricot balls - Family
11/2 cups dried apricots
1 table caster sugar
1 cup water
¼ cup plain flour
2 table olive oil
2 tablespoon desiccated coconut
11/2 cups natural muesli

place apricots, sugar and water in saucepan, bring to boil, cover and simmer for 12 minutes. Let cool
place apricot mixture, flour, oil, coconut, muesli in food processor and process until mixed.
Roll into balls (about 1 tablespoon each and chill).

Falafel Bites – Family and suitable for baby from 7 months
400g can chick peas
¼ onion finely chopped
½ teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon flour

Place all ingredients in food processor and blend till smooth.
Roll tablespoon amounts into balls
Shallow fry in olive oil or canola oil
Drain on paper towel
Serve immediately

Fruit Compote – suitable for baby from 6 months
1 apple peeled and chopped
1 pear peeled and chopped
3 dried apricots
2 prunes
½ cup water

place all ingredients in microwave proof container and cook on high for around 8 minutes or until soft. Blend all ingredients and cool.
Mix 3 spoon fulls of fruit mix with 1 tablespoon of plain yoghurt
Note: for storage place spoonfuls of fruit into an ice cube tray and freeze. Cubes can be thawed and mixed with yoghurt when needed

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Babies First Foods

Introduction of solids at six months has no set rules although it is an important stage in your baby’s development. All babies progress at different rates so don’t be alarmed is she doesn’t stick exactly to the rules.

When to give her the first spoonful.
Until 6 months of age your baby gets all of their nutrition from either breast milk or formula, however at 6 months her needs are generally not met by breast or formula alone. Babies at this age generally show signs that they may be ready for more solid food.

This includes
Showing interest in your food
Putting things in their mouth
Able to suck on a spoon (without the tongue forcing it out again)
Wanting more frequent feeds
Sitting up

The first spoonful
This needs to be very smooth and sloppy and mild in taste. An iron enriched baby rice cereal is a great first food due to its texture and iron content. This is mixed with cooled boiled water, breast milk or formula. Other great first foods are pureed vegetables such as pumpkin, potato, carrot, zucchini, avocado and fruits such as pureed banana, pear and cooked pureed apple.
Week one consists of 1 teaspoon of rice cereal per day after a breast feed or bottle feed. Week 2 increase the rice cereal to 2 feeds per day after a breast or bottle feed. Week 3 you can add pureed vegetables or fruit to one of the meal times (this could be between 1 and 3 teaspoons of pureed potato, pumpkin, carrot or zucchini). By week 4 you can add some pureed fruit to the cereal (again anywhere between 1 teaspoon to one tablespoon. After these first weeks continue to add the blander type vegetables and fruits such as pureed banana, pear, apple and avocado, gradually increasing the amount until you are up to ½ cup or around 120g per solid meal. The solid food is in addition to four or five breast or bottle feeds (600-800ml) each day.

6-8 months of age
Once your baby is eating cereal and several fruits and vegetables it is time to introduce foods which are higher in protein. These are more satisfying and contain nutrients such as iron, zinc or calcium. These include lean meats, chicken, fish, egg yolk (leave the egg whites until after 12 months of age), dairy foods such as yoghurt, tasty cheese or ricotta cheese and legumes such as baked beans and hommus. You can also include foods such as rice, pasta and bread cut into sticks or squares. Solids can now be offered before the feed. Remember babies taste-buds are very sensitive and have not been damaged by strong spicy hot foods therefore a bland taste to you has a strong flavour for your baby. Do not add salt, sugar or honey to any of his foods.
Tip: freeze pureed or mashed foods in ice cube trays for convenience. You can freeze as individual foods and mix and match for different flavours when reheating

7-9 months of age
During the 7-9 months babies will start to chew regardless of how many teeth they have. It is important to change the texture from smooth to a mashed texture with soft lumps. This helps him learn how to move the food around the mouth and chew. This is also important for his speech development. At around 8-9 months babies learn how to pick things up with their hands so you can introduce some finger foods.

Some suggestions are
Sticks of cheese
Bread sticks or rusks
Pieces of cooked vegetable including cooked carrot and apple
Tip: always watch your baby whilst she is feeding herself to prevent choking and make sure they are sitting upright.

To prevent choking avoid
Raw carrot and raw apple
Large pieces of food including large pieces of meat.
Large sized grapes and dried fruit such as raisins (cut in half or ¼‘s)
Popcorn, nuts and lollies

9 - 12 months of age
Your baby should be offered 3 meals per day (between ½ to 1 cup or 120 – 250 g) with 3 – 4 breast feeds or formula feeds (~600mls). Offer food before the breast or bottle feed. By 1 year of age the texture should be a lot chunkier and some babies are able to chew tougher meats or even chew on a chop. Offer water as an alternative to milk and try to avoid offering anything sweet such as juice (if offered it should be diluted 1 part juice to 4 parts water).

12 months and beyond
Your baby will probably be eating similar foods to the rest of the family. It is not necessary to cook different meals for different members (although it is advisable to tone down very rich, strong flavours for her).

You can now
Offer drinks such as water from a cup which is important for her hand eye coordination.
Offer cows milk as a drink
Use small amounts of honey
Use cooked egg whites

Tip: If you or your partner suffers from allergies or there is a strong family history of allergies, it is advisable to speak with your GP or Dietitian and they may advise the delayed introduction of certain foods.

Cheesy avocado
½ avocado
2 tablespoons smooth ricotta

Mix well and serve

Fruit compote (with yoghurt)
1 apple peeled and chopped
1 pear peeled and chopped
3 dried apricots
2 prunes
½ cup water

Place all ingredients in microwave proof container and cook on high for around 8 minutes or until soft. Blend all ingredients and cool.
Mix 3 spoon fulls of fruit mix with 1 tablespoon of plain yoghurt
Note: for storage place spoonfuls of fruit into an ice cube tray and freeze. Cubes can be thawed and mixed with yoghurt when needed

French toast sticks
1 egg yolk
1 slice bread (remove crusts)
1 table milk

Cut toast length ways into fingers or use a cookie cutter to make shapes
Soak bread in egg, milk mixture
Fry in medium pan until golden.

Beef and vegetables
2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
150 g pumpkin, peeled and chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
100 g lean beef mince
Plain yoghurt

Place chopped vegetables in microwave safe container with ½ cup water and cook on high for 8 -10 minutes until soft.
In pan cook mince in small amount spray oil until just cooked.
In bowl add mince and vegetables together and blend to desired consistency.
Place tablespoonfuls into ice cube trays and freeze for later use

Thaw 3 cubes and add 2 tablespoons of natural yoghurt. Mix well