The family that eat together….stay together

photo-5   Many Australian’s celebrate Mother’s Day by showing their love, appreciation for the achievements and efforts of mothers, motherly figures. A special mention to those first time mothers, even though your little bub cannot express their appreciation, there are many years to come. Hopefully, many mother’s were spoiled, and I sure many families spent the day eating and celebrating together, I know our family definitely spent the day eating, from dawn to dusk. Getting the whole family to sit down for dinner can be tricky especially in this modern day, hectic day-to-day life schedule. From working late, homework, sport training and cooking, many family members eat a ‘whatever’ time suits them best, this is fine from time to time. Studies have shown that families that eat together more than three to fours a times a week have shown to demonstrate positive attributes when it comes to health, family relationships and social developments.

My top reasons to eat at the dining table:

Communication and well-being The family dinner table is environment not only for dining, but is a place where children learn manners, interact with people, have a chance to ‘catch up’ with life events and of course new foods experiences. The eating of food at the table are essential part of the roles into feelings around food and family.

Modelling food behaviours A great opportunity to display to your children meal etiquette, social skills and exposure and exploration to trying new food. Try not to force or instruct, be a leader and guider.

Expand there food horizon Encouraging new foods without being forceful nor bribing. Introduce a new food along with known foods. Remember as I have mentioned before it can take 7-15 exposures to a new food before it is accepted, so be patient and persistent. Trying new foods for your children will expand your families food vocab.

Nourish your bodies Meals prepared in your kitchen have the power to be more nutritious and healthy, as you can control what goes in. Try to include lots of colourful vegetables and fruits, dairy products packed with the goodness of fibre, calcium, vitamins!

Become chefs Many children are missing out on the importance of knowing how to cook  meals. I think it is important to involve families in menu planing, grocery shopping, lunch box packing. Get your little ones to chop basic vegetables (obviously blunt knives), mixing and stirring and setting the table. Working as a team can not only put the meal on the table faster but makes every member have a duty and somewhat ‘ownership’ of a meal.




Lots of love to my mother, we love you so much and especially your amazing cooking, you have brought our family together at every meal!

The best mocktail for your bub


There is a lot of emphasis about healthy food choices for your bubs, but what about healthy drink choices? 

Children’s drink choices can affect their overall health. During the summer heat in Australia, children can become easily dehydrated, so keeping up with their fluid is very important. However, what your kids drink can drastically affect the amount of calories consumed.  By making healthy drink options, you’ll be helping your child have a better overall diet. The Australian Dietary Guidelines for Children and Adolescents state that ‘a child’s fluid needs are best met by water and milk’.

Offering drinks such as sugary soft drinks, fruit drinks or cordials can be referred to as ’empty’ calories, that is drinks they are a high in calories but provide little nutritional value and also cause tooth decay (not so good for the dental bills!).

The best type of Mocktail

Very easy…two simple ingredients that are easily accessible. All you need is a tap with running water and a cow with a good supply of milk (not really..just pre-made cows milk!).

One of the most essential nutrients for life, needed for bodily processes. Plain water should be the fluid of choice, the human body is constantly expelling water from lungs and skin. Additionally, free calories and no cost…let it flow freely.

Milk also contains high amounts of water to aid with hydration, but also is nutrient dense in relation to amount of calories.  It contains essential nutrients, not only the main contributor to calcium but also protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamin A, B12, riboflavin and phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and zinc.
What about flavoured milk? Also contains the essential nutrients, however it contains added sugar,  offer plain cows milk as the main source of milk to your child.

The not so great Mocktail

 The ingredients found in fruit drinks, fizzy drinks and other sweetened drinks tend to be highly processed and contain a wide range of different preservatives and additives such as sugar, food acids, sweeteners, citric acid, sulfer dioxde and the list is endless.

Fruit juice:
You do not need to always say no, as juice does provide nutrients such as vitamin C, folate and antioxidants, but less than milk. Just keep in mind, fruit juice contains natural sugar which is calories similar to soft drink, and usually all the goodness of the fibre is usually removed which is the good stuff and contribute to poor dental health. Instead of offering fruit juice it is better to encourage whole fruits and vegetables.

Sugary drinks:
Fizzy drinks and other sweetened drinks such as cordials, fruit poppers provide high amounts of calories but lack in  nutrients. If kids have lots of sweetened drinks it can compromise their diets, as they become full and unable to eat foods with high nutritional value. Also, they can end up with a unbalanced diet and increase risk of dental caries and obesity.

I will leave you with one simple thought…

                                        LESS IS BEST FOR YOUR BUB’S MOCKTAIL


Boost your supply


A mother offered me a ‘cookie’ the other day at work. As much as I was tempted to munch it, you should never accept anything from a patient’s bedside in hospital. She had failed to mention what type of cookie, to me it looked like a homemade chocolate chip biscuit, but when she started describing to me how her breast milk supply was increasing it clicked…these were not your average cookie, it was a lactation cookie.

This mother swore by them, her supply was dwindling, expressing 20-30ml and after having a few it went up to 100ml. I was intrigued, did they really work?

So, I did my own investigating…



1 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats, divided
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1/4 cup arrowroot starch
4 heaping tablespoons gluten-free Brewer’s yeast
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup chocolate chips 
1/4 cup (2oz) virgin coconut oil, slightly soft at room temperature (not melted)
2/3 cup maple syrup


Preheat oven to 350ºF and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Combine 1/2 cup oats, flax, arrowroot, brewers yeast, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for about 2 minutes, until oats are finally ground. Pour into a mixing bowl and add remaining 1 cup oats and chocolate chips. Stir to combine.

Add coconut oil and maple syrup to the food processor (no need to wash it from the previous step) and process until creamy and emulsified, about 3-4 minutes, stopping several times to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Pour over the dry ingredients and stir until fully combine.

Using a medium size scoop to scoop the cookie dough onto the sheets. Moisten hands and slightly flatten the mounds of dough. Bake for 10-12 minutes, and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Store in an air-tight container.

What are the special ingredients to boost break milk?

Oats: They are a good supply of iron and fibre, both of which are important for milk production. And, they are a comfort food – and anything you can do to make your self less stressed and more comfy should help with milk supply.

Flax Seeds: They are another great source of fibre, and contain significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids which are crucial to baby’s brain development.

Brewers Yeast:  It is a healthy source of vegetarian protein, another key nutrient for milk production. Additionally it is high in B vitamins, which are important for women’s health, especially nursing mums.

Coconut Oil: Full of lauric acid, a fatty acid known to boost immunity in both mum and baby. It’s important for nusing mum’s to eat a good amount of fat – so why not make it the right kind!

For all you breast feeding mothers… enjoy 🙂 

Dietitian Vs Nutritionist


Sorry mum’s and bub’s this one is for the general public.

A question I am commonly asked is…what is the difference between a nutritionist and dietitian?

Essentially, nutritionist and dietitians are both knowledgeable about food. We have both studied how diet affect your body and health. However, the two professional titles should not be used interchangeably.

Firstly, to become a qualified dietitian in Australia, a dietitian has completed a under graduate/master degree that includes substantial theory and supervised and assessed professional practice in the clinical setting (hospitals), medical nutrition therapy and food service management. The dietetic courses are structured to include biochemistry, physiology, applied science. We are scientists in the food world.

Whilst a nutritionist is someone who has studied nutrition and may have a graduate degree, diploma or undertaken a nutrition course. In Australia, all dietitians are considered to be nutritionists however, nutritionists without a dietetics qualification cannot take on the specialised role of a dietitian.

What do Dietitian’s and Nutritionist do differently?

A dietitian is an expert in food and nutrition. We offer dietary advice, help promote health eating habits, develop specific diets for people and can participate in clinical studies/research.  In the hospitals we work in a team by providing nutritional care to treat patients with complex clinical conditions such as diabetes, food allergy and intolerance, IBS syndrome, eating disorders, chronic fatigue, malnutrition, kidney failure, bowel disorders and advise on diet to avoid the side effects and interactions between medications. Dietitan’s are legally able to prescribe specialised formula’s, pancreatic enzymes and phosphate binders.

Nutritionists work in different roles including public health, health improvement, health policy, local and national government, in the private sector, Non Government Organisations (NGOs) and in education and research. Nutritionists are qualified to provide information about food and healthy eating.

I am a Dietitian…NOT a Nutritionist.


One push at a time…



This is a little funny, depending on your maturity.

As a dietitian, I never thought a large part of my day would be analysing stools (in other words..poo!), and I NEVER thought I would be excited by a formed, smooth or brown colour poo! Many times I have arrived at work and my patients mothers have kept a dirty nappy ready for me, had little urine jars brought to me and seen numerous photos of babies poos! Yes…it is gross, but it is a natural process and for some children passing a ‘stool’ it can be extremely painful, uncomfortable and end up in tears and this could be simply due to lack of fibre and fluid in their diet.

Constipation among children is a common issue and usually happens around the time of toilet training or after a frightening bowel movement!

What will my bub do if they have constipation? 

  • Stomach cramps (pain comes and goes)
  • Your child to feel less hungry than usual
  • Irritable behaviour
  • Anal fissures (small splits of the skin at the anus/bottom) – which cause pain and bleeding at the anus (bottom) when passing poo. Straining (pushing hard) to pass a large, hard poo can cause anal fissures.
  • Holding-on behaviour to avoid doing a painful poo, such as squatting, crossing legs or refusal to sit on the toilet.
  • hHard lumps of poo might be felt when pressing the abdomen

Dietary Changes:

Giving your child enough fibre may help with constipation, here are some ideas to add more fibre to your child’s diet:

  • Aim for at least 2 x fruit serves/day (keep the skin on).
    Fruits with peel such as plums, apples, pears, apricots, peaches have loads of fibre
  • Aim for 3 x vegetables/day
  • Offer wholemeal/wholegrain breads and cereals. bran cereals, shredded wheat and oatmeal. Avoid white breads, refined cereals such as cornflakes and rice bubbles
  • Add prunes to cereals or dilute prune juice with water

Make sure your child drinks lots and lots of water!

Encourage physical activity, moving around will help get the bowels moving

This is a good indicator to rate your child’s bowel motions: 


Hope you did not read this during your dinner time!

New experiences… foods… tastes……


This week has been all about change.

I have finally kicked started my career in an amazing hospital (The Mater Hospital), moved 957km away from home (Sydney to Brisbane), I have spent more time in my bubble car than on land due to poor navigation skills, lack of GPS, failing iphones and all the one-way/motor ways in Brisbane.

Nevertheless, so far so good…thus far! Things are finally looking up, have found myself a house and going to be enjoying the city-cycle, will probably be the only one in the whole of brisbane zooming down the freeways in the yellow helmets.

This leads me to taste buds and….change.

Taste is one way your bubs and children experience the world, as they grow and develop so do their taste buds.

Your children’s taste buds are forever changing. Recent studies have shown that the sense of taste changes throughout your life, so even though your child may not like vegetables and fruit now…there is still hope! But this does not mean throwing out all of your vegies and fruit in your fridge and waiting till they are 18!  You still need to be persistent and as I have mentioned it could take 10-15 times for a new food to be accepted.

Children are more sensitive to certain tastes than adults but because taste can be subjective, the mechanism that causes taste sensitivity in your young ones can be difficult to analyse. Taste is a composite sense that’s partly determined by the taste buds, but also affected by a food’s aroma, its appearance and even previous experiences with that or similar foods. Therefore, by changing or altering the composition of certain foods that your child my dislike initially may help for the new food to be accepted.

There are myths that taste buds change every 5-7 years…however there are no definite conclusions that this is true, So does anyone have any hard facts for or against the changing tastes every seven years theory?

The Battle of Milk



What is the deal with introducing toddler formula or cow’s milk after 12 months?

Studies have proven the health benefits for providing your child with human milk or fortified milk (formula) until the age of 12 months…but the golden question is…..what happens after???

There is a lot of debate and controversy when introducing milk to babies after 12 months, this is partly due to the vast variety of formula’s in supermarkets. It can be confusing, at times I become over whelmed about what to recommend to mother’s and what is best for their bub.

It is recommended to NOT give your baby any cows milk until 12 months because, their digestive systems are not ready. Cow’s milk contains high amount of protein which can overload their immature kidneys, it also lacks vitamin C, iron and other nutrients for infants which could lead to iron-deficiency anaemia. This is because it is harder to digestive causing blood loss in their stools. So…cow’s milk before 12 months will not provide optimum growth and nutrition for babies.

The concern is after 12 months…what to do?

Many nursing mothers are told they must stop breast feeding and transition straight to cow’s milk after their child reaches 12 months. However, your breast feeding bub is obtaining the best source of milk..mother’s milk providing high amounts of fat needed for brain growth, high iron content and other nutrients! I recommend there is no need to completely stop breast feeding and add cows milk to your toddlers diet as long your bub is breastfeeding at least 3-4 times per day (over a 24 hour period). Just ensure to offer solids before breast feeds or in between meals. If your bub is feeding less, offer cow’s milk.

As your baby progresses and increases intake of solids, it is normal for your bub to breast feed less and start to wean them completely off breast milk. After this stage you bub can start on cow’s milk some babies might he hesitant to start, I would recommend by transitioning them slowly start by adding cows milk to breast or formula, add cows milk to solids e.g. cereals. It could also help by serving cows milk at room temperature. The requirements for dairy is approximately 2 cups per day, if you baby is not meeting this target there are other ways to get into their intake e.g. yoghurt, cheese, cottage cheese, pudding, soups and sauces milk based or fruit milkshakes. Try not to offer too much cow’s milk as a drink as it can lead to iron deficiency anaemia as cow’s milk interferes with the absorption of iron and can decrease the child’s desire for other foods. Offer milk to drink in between meals e.g. morning and afternoon tea.

For babies, full cream/whole cow’s milk is absolutely fine, unless specified by your health professional. Growing babies need the calories and fat in whole milk as they grow and develop. After the age of 24 months you can talk to your child’s health professional about transitioning to reduced fat or non-fat milk. Children with risk of being overweight or have a family history of heart disease, obesity or high cholesterol should consider low fat milk after 24 months.