Baking and learning

We love this banana bread!  In fact, we bake it twice a week and use it for any meal (except for dinner..).  It is gluten, dairy, sugar and nut free and even better, it has no preservatives and uses healthy coconut flour and tahini.  The best thing that I would pick about this recipe, is that it is perfect for little ones to help in the preparation.

Being a Speech Pathologist, I will always take an opportunity to throw some language out there.  Here are some of the language-learning opportunities:

  • counting out 8 dates (and the other child can count them as they place them in the bowl)
  • talking about cup or spoon measures – ‘one over two means half a cup’ or ‘see TBL means tablespoon
  • elicit the cooking actions by asking ‘what do we do with this one?’.  You might expect terms such as scoop, measure, peel, grind, pour.
  • and the fun one… make sure you put the bicarb soda in first, then put the lemon juice (or we substitute a good dash of Apple Cider Vinegar when organic lemons aren’t in season) in – ‘FIZZ, BUBBLE….It’s a science experiment!!!’

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And here is the link to the recipe Wholefood Simply Banana Bread.  We substitute cinnamon for carob, for a change and also use Apple Cider Vinegar (with ‘mother’ – healthier) instead of lemon juice when organic lemons are out of season.

And then!!!  We add a banana and some almond milk to the leftover batter in our Thermomix and blend for a banana bread shake!

 

Let me know what you think!  ps – we use the 5 egg recipe (one of the reasons we have now got chooks!).

🙂 Heidi

I create my child’s healthy palate

hello beetroot goodness

hello beetroot goodness

From the very start Research is showing that your baby has been developing their tastebuds and ‘palate’ since they were in your womb.  All based on the foods that you were eating when you were pregnant!  Yes, so long ago..  This is just the start of how your child’s palate gets shaped.

Breastfeeding If you happen to breastfeed, your child’s palate gets further shaped, depending on what you eat.  The flavours in breastmilk change accordingly, whereas the flavours in formula remain the same.

Introducing solids When it comes time to introducing solids, this is already the time to start thinking further on shaping your baby’s palate.  Sure you can start with rice cereal but you can also think outside the box.  Fruit and vegetables can give much more flavour and good nutrients.  I am yet to come across actual evidence that says fruit creates a ‘sweet tooth’ but vegetables probably have better nutrients for a little one, so maybe err on the side of caution and push the veges!  Talk is even out there as to whether an ideal first food (or in the first few months) would be avocado with the good fats and not so much  a ‘fodder’, like rice.  (Any grains early on can also irritate the gut and lead to allergies and intolerances).  Treating them like a new food, you could introduce a herb, spice or garlic closer to 12 months.  If you have been eating these yourself in the pregnancy, chances are your baby will already be accustomed to the taste of them.

Keeping it going The best thing about feeding your baby is, you can get them used to any food!  Foods you love, foods you dislike, foods you wish you would tolerate more.  Again, think outside the box, babies all around the world are being introduced to very different foods than just rice cereal.  One website that dedicates itself to this is http://www.homemade-baby-food-recipes.com.  A baby’s palate is such a blank canvas, that as long as you keep up exposure to the food, they have the potential to be a healthy eater that appreciates a wide variety of foods.  But it does all rely on you, providing the food.  Yes, some responsibility!  Did you know a child’s food preferences are shown to reflect their parents’ food preferences?   But you can introduce them to a food that you might not eat.  Have a look through the supermarket for something that you and the family could try together.

The nasties These days, everyone is talking about how food is linked to later obesity, disease, cancer and even problematic behaviour in childhood.  Teaching your child to avoid these is easiest if started early, before they realise they are being ‘healthy’.

Salt – the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council has started showing how many children are consuming up to five times the recommended daily salt intake.  This can lead to future kidney issues and high blood pressure.

Sugar – has no nutritional value whatsoever to a child.  And considering their tastebuds don’t have to know any different, sugar is only adding to risks of childhood obesity, tooth decay, heart disease, type II diabetes, depressed immunity, just to get the list going!

Food additives – include colouring, sweeteners and preservatives.  All of these are starting to be linked with many symptoms, health issues and even suggestions they are changing our DNA.  www.fedup.com.au is a great place to start to see that symptoms from bedwetting to ADHD type behaviours to anger, depression and sleep issues are all very real and relate directly to food additives.

Where to start

  • Start looking at labels of everything you give your baby/child.
  • The fresher the better.  How much processed food does your child consume (which adds in more salt, sugar and additives)?
  • If an ingredient doesn’t sound like a real food (eg. thickener, stabiliser, acidity regulator, glucose syrup), see if you can think of a better alternative.
  • Compare brands. For example, Sakata plain rice crackers have no preservatives or other additives.  Every other brand and flavour does.
  • Remember, your baby doesn’t know (or care) about what they are missing out on.  Their ‘treats’ might be pasta and fresh pesto or some banana with cinnamon, not necessarily jelly, ‘fruit’ bar or cake.
  • Teach a young child that some foods help their body to grow, some are just for fun.  Fun foods are only eaten on certain occasions (determined by your family).
  • You provide the healthy food, your child decides which and how much they will eat.

Something to keep in mind : the majority of your child’s preferences in tastes will be developed by 4 years of age….

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🙂 Heidi

How do I get my fussy eater to EAT??

Some strategies to get children eating:

1. The best way to get your children to become healthy eaters is to ensure you are a ‘healthy eater’.

2. Involve your children in the cooking process. Some of the soft vegetables are easy to cut with a butter knife. For example mushrooms, capsicum, snow peas and beans.

3. Only offer small amounts on the plate. If you are really trying to introduce a ‘disliked’ vegetable maybe just start by them having it on their plate. Baby steps!

4. Look at your routine, are the children filling up on afternoon tea and snacks. When the 4.30 hunger strikes and dinner is not ready, Jessica Seinfeld suggests offering vegetable sticks. Her book Deceptively Delicious has some wonderful recipes and strategies. I offer my children a cup of ‘frozen peas’, for some reason they think this is special because they are frozen.

5. Keep offering. I know how hard this is because we are all so busy and there is nothing more frustrating and heartbreaking than having a meal you have lovingly cooked pushed away. Or what my Miss 2 year old does is looks in the bowl and yells “YUK”!!! But I keep trying and I know that her sister Miss nearly 4 is a wonderful eater, so it is just a phase.

6. It can be a long process of getting them to change but if you are consistent and have clear expectations of what you want them to eat, they will do it.

7. Create the atmosphere as pleasant as possible. Ask the children to put a table cloth on, set the table, arrange some flowers, even light a candle, put some lovely background music. Try not to turn dinner into a screaming match, ignore behaviour that can be ignored. Encourage the positive behaviour.

When to get help? If you a worried about your child not eating enough or the food battles are getting too much there is help out there. I once had a little girl in my class that would only drink apple juice (not diluted), nearly 2L a day and over 250g of ham. The sugar content in the apple juice was enough to cause concern. This had gone on for 6 months before her mum had decided to put her into daycare to see if she could get some help. After a month she was eating normally. She was almost at the point where the doctors were going to admit her into hospital. She had turned the food into a power struggle, which as you can understand this is not something we ever want our children to associate food with power. So please speak to your doctor if you are concerned. If you still feel this hasn’t satisfied your worries then speak to a child psychologist. The Triple P parenting program is also a good way to help with some strategies.

I will post some other great kid friendly food hints and recipes soon…..

My little Master Chefs!!

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This is such an easy ‘cooking experience’ to do with your kids. If you love your slow cooker, like I love mine, then get the kids to do it!!!

Chicken noodle soup/stew (this is not an exact recipe but it always turns out great)

1kg of chicken thighs (sprinkle some mixed dried herbs over them)

500g of pumpkin (diced)

Garlic (What does it smell like? Do you like the smell?)

Celery, capsicum, parsnip (they can cut these with blunt knives, How do we hold our knives safely?)

Onion (I cut these up, we don’t need any extra tears in our day)

1tsp of curry (a mild one if this is a new taste, What does this smell like?)

Enough liquid chicken stock to cover (They can pour).

Tomato Soup, a 400g tin (You can help them open and pour)

Coconut cream (Where does coconut cream come from)

Parsley (Out of your garden??)

Rice noodles (as much as you like, my children tend to eat anything that has noodles in it)

Put it all in the slow cooker and let it go for 6 hours or until you want it. Mash up the pumpkin and serve.

We do this in the morning and our dinner is ready. A small table in the kitchen is really helpful for you to be able to do everything at their level.

I love to cook and so do my children. Involving your children in all the stages of cooking has so many benefits. Children develop their ‘food relationship’ from their parents. Do you struggle to get your children to eat vegetables or a variety of foods? Do you stop offering because they don’t eat it? Do you just send food they will eat to Daycare? I have some strategies that may help!!!