Macronutrients for Kids

MacronutrientsNutrients are foods that we need for energy, growth and bodily functions. ‘Macro’ means large, so ‘macronutrients’ are needed in large amounts in our body. ‘Micro‘ means small. Micronutrients are required in small amounts in our body and they include vitamins and minerals.

Macronutrients include:

  • Protein
  • Fat
  • Carbohydrate

There are ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ types of each of these groups.

Many children are missing out on the protein and fat groups, particularly at breakfast time. Throughout the day they are also consuming more of the ‘unhealthy’ types than ‘healthy’ types, particularly when it comes to fat.

Protein…

…is essential for growing children. It is used for muscles, tendons, organs, skin, hormones, enzymes and neurotransmitters (brain chemicals). With the running around, focusing and thinking, communicating and learning children do at school, adequate protein is hugely important to optimise their school performance. Increasing protein at breakfast time and in their lunchboxes is critical. The usual breakfast of cereal or toast, followed up by some fruit, then a vegemite sandwich at lunch won’t contain near sufficient protein for your child’s learning capabilities. Adding an egg to breakfast, some seeds (nuts when outside of school) or a container of dip such as hummus will make sure they start the day right. Eggs are a perfect snack and can be eaten whole, or made into patties, muffins or quiches that are bite size and perfect for lunch boxes.

Fat…

…is an essential macronutrient for brain and nervous system development. The types of fats that are in snack are foods are trans-fats or hydrogenated fats. These are the ‘unhealthy’ fats and can be found in biscuits (sweet and savoury!), snack foods, store bought cakes and muffins, chips, margarine, salad dressings,  and in high amounts in take away foods. Trans fats increase our risk of high cholesterol and heart disease, which many mistakenly believe doesn’t matter in kids as “they’re still young”. But with the rates of obesity rising, heart disease in children is also increasing. “Healthy” fats are generally unprocessed. Olive oil, coconut oil, oil from fish and plants such as avocado are all good for you.

Carbohydrates…

…are also best consumed in their most unprocessed form. The best type of carbs? Vegetables! 🙂 The worst type? Sugar 🙁  Processed cereals such as Nutri-grain, Coco-pops and Froot-loops, which are popular with the kids are extremely processed, contain large amount of sugar and minimal protein and fat. While Weet-bix is lower in the sugar count, it is unfortunately also unbalanced in macronutrient status. Mueslis containing nuts and seeds, eggs and wholemeal toast with toppings higher in fat and protein are much better alternatives at breakfast time.

Give it a try!

It does take some experimenting and trial and error due to the fussy nature of some children. But the long term health benefits and good habits beginning early most definitely do pay off. Not just in health but behaviour, academic performance and emotional stability.

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Child and Maternal Health Month Wrap-up

Empower Nuture Nourish

Due to an influx of pregnant patients (we have had 7 patients give birth in 2 months!!) I was inspired to dedicate a month of information sessions aimed to educate and empower parents to give their children the best start to life. After setting this intention, things fell into place. 3 speakers just about fell in my lap, so planning began for Santosha’s Child and Maternal Health Month in Feburary. Each speaker focussed on a different aspect of children’s and family health. We covered birth, breastfeeding, maternal mental health, childhood development and raising a healthy family through diet and nutrition. The information was really well-received and we had some great feedback.

The month started off with Louise McCartney. She covered many aspects of 20th century health from why our diets are making us sick, to things to avoid and why ‘gut health’ is so important. We were at capacity for Louise’s talk and I am still investigating the possibility of her coming back for a second presentation. Some feedback from the presentation:

“Louise is extremely informative, providing information that is hard to access in mainstream medicine.”
“Very informative.”
“I have heard Louise speak 4 times now and every time I attend one of her sessions I learn something new or remember the importance of something.”

Louise McCartney

 

Our second speaker was Rebecca Kubenk, a lactation consultant and expert on Tongue-ties, speaking about breastfeeding and tongue-tie. This was information that is hard to find! Rebecca is extremely knowledgable on these topics and those who came went away with a sense of empowerment.

“Having had 2 children with ties, I learn something every time i talk to Rebecca. I wish I knew when my kids were babies, what i know now.”

On the same weekend Sarah Menadue from RDGP spoke to the mums about mental health particularly around having a new baby. She shared information about where to turn to in times of need and different services available in the Riverland.

Sarah Menadue

 

Anna Siebert, an Adelaide based doula (see her blog post 8 things you might not know about doulas). Anna spoke about all things birth, particuarly things you may not hear in your traditional birthing class. She covered a history of birthing practices, why we do what we do and how to have your best birth (yes! it can be enjoyable). We received a lot of verbal feedback (nothing in writing) but the general consensus was that Anna’s knowledge was extremely empowering and those who attended felt more prepared for their upcoming birth and labour.

Anna Siebert

The last weekend in February I presented to a small group on “Optimising Learning and Development”. Discussion was focussed on the normal milestones of development from infancy to childhood and why each of those are so important. I also explained what may impact these normal stages and how to prevent this from happening in children. This presentation was aimed at parents, but is extremely important information for any care-giver or teacher. Some feedback received:

“Catherine spoke very well and made us feel comfortable enough to ask questions and comment.”
“I found it very informative.”

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Chocolate Smoothie

Chocolate Smoothie


This chocolate smoothie, packed full of goodness went down really well with the kids. I saw a few sneaking back for a second serve. The first time I tried it was in the Thermomix. I made the full amount and it came out to over a litre of smoothie, so it will need to be scaled down if you’re not feeding a family. The second time I tried it, I did scale it down and used the Magic Bullet, not the thermie. It took a long time to blend and even then there were chunks of dates and some ice. The Thermomix is second to none when it comes to processing something as hard as ice, but it can be done if you’re patient and don’t mind chunks. Obviously I would recommend the Thermomix for all it’s other functions. If you’re interested in taking a look at the Thermomix and perhaps even hosting a no-obligation demo, send us an email and we’ll pass on Larissa’s details.

What you need:

  • 5 Medjool dates
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 200g ice
  • 30g raw cacao powder
  • 200g frozen banana (about 2)
  • 200g avocado (about 2)
  • 120g baby spinach (this is a lot of baby spinach, but it blends down)
  • 600g water or coconut water
  • 100g activated almonds (if you don’t have activated, soak them overnight in filtered water)

What to do:

  1. Process the almonds, chia seeds and dates
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth
  3. Serve with a thick straw, this is a thick smoothie

Tips:

Larissa tells me ice breaks everything up and makes it smoother. I’m going to start doing this is more of my smoothies.

Bananas are apparently easier to digest once they’ve been frozen. I always have frozen bananas in my freezer. Once they start to turn a little bit black, peel them, pop them in a ziplock bag and they’ll always be ready.

Coconut water has a lot of sugar, natural sugar, but it’s still sweet. If your after a bit of sweetness use all coconut water, but gradually swap out the coconut for filtered water.

 

This recipe comes from Jo Whitton’s Quirky Cooking, a brilliant book to accompany your Thermomix. See more on her website.

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Santosha’s 1st Birthday Kid’s Party Wrap-up

Photos from Santosha's 1st Birthday

We were blessed with a beautiful Spring day, 27 degrees with a slight breeze, to celebrate one year of Santosha Health and Wellbeing Centre.

The purpose of the celebration (besides the milestone) was to throw a kids party and demonstrate that it doesn’t have to be all fairy bread and lolly bags. We wanted to create a party to present to parents and kids, that foods with a healthy twist can be yummy and there are many fun activities that are also educational. We were nourishing little minds and little bodies all under the guise of a party with balloons, cupcakes and bunting!

Fitting with the philosophies of Santosha, Health Living, Optimal Living, Sustainable Living, there was an emphasis on promoting businesses, particularly local, who also fit under these themes. We invited local businesses to participate by including their information in our goodie bags and if possible a take home sample. The result was amazing! We had home-made playdough, tomato plants, honey, body scrubs, apples, fish oil tablets and much more!

The celebrations started by congregating the children with Megan and then playing a game to organise them into youngest to eldest. After dividing the group into three based on age, the activities began.

Suzanne from Art Play by Zuska lead an art activity where everyone was encouraged to choose colours with their eyes closed based on how they felt. They were encouraged to not just draw with the materials on hand, but to run their fingers over the page and replace thinking about the drawing with feeling the drawing. This kind of activity allows children to create art not based on what ‘looks good’ but more an expression of themselves. Suzanne believes that art is beautiful and avoids encouragement based on how it appears, but rather how it felt while creating it. Children and adults alike LOVED this activity so much that Suzanne had actually run out of paper by the end of the party!

Larissa was demonstrating some simple recipes with the Thermomix. She started with the older children’s group and whipped up a delicious strawberry sorbet which was devoured by everyone there. Next she proved that healthy can be yummy by blending a chocolate and green smoothie. I witnessed many kids sneaking back for another cup. The nutella was also a hit with most.

The unfortunate thing about foods that we eat today is that anything processed generally has a lot of added sugar, whether its a ‘sweet’ food or not. This leaves many taste buds and palates narrowed to just sweet tasting food. Anything outside of this just will not taste good. This is not the time nor the place for a discussion on sugar and its impact on our health, only to say that it is a big problem and slowly but persistently swaying children away from the processed and store-bought foods, to home made varieties where you can control the ingredients and sugar levels will benefit them in the long term, in more ways than most people can imagine!

Megan, operating as her business “me. The Mindful Mother” held a very popular mindfulness and mediation class for all three groups. Speaking to a few parents after they had been in Megan’s room, they were pleasantly surprised at their children’s participation and ability to sit and be ‘mindful’, even the very young ones. In our busy, crazy, noisy world, learning to just sit and be is such an important skills for children to learn.

While all of this was happening, Georgia from Wellness Pilates and Massage generously gave a few lucky parents a seated massage.  Those I had the opportunity to speak to after their session were extremely pleased, very relaxed but all commented that they “had a few sore bits”.

Although the schedule of activities was a little lost by the end of the day, this allowed the children and their parents to gravitate towards areas that interested them. It was also a great opportunity to chat with like-minded people and also of course enjoy the sunshine.

The gluten-free cupcakes in chocolate and vanilla were gobbled up early. As were the Bliss Balls made with activated almonds and walnuts, kindly made and donated by Riverland Activated Nuts. It wasn’t until the very end that we realised we had forgotten to bring out the jelly! So those left had a special opportunity to taste test some home-made jelly cleverly made by Amy.

After months of planning, the day turned out well. We hope those who came along had a great day, enjoyed the activities and hopefully also learned something along the way.

Thanks to the following people for contributing on the day:

  • Amy Martinson for helping me plan and brainstorm ideas, help with recipes and keep me on track
  • Josh Kenyon, my husband and maintenance man, for cleaning up around the clinic, weeding, fixing, sweeping and bringing me food and everything I forget
  • Trisha Langford, AKA Mum, for baking the cakes while on nightshift, making the bliss balls, donating Riverland Activated Nuts to the goodie bags and forever doing my dishes
  • Megan Petersen for helping plan, put together the goodie bags and holding the Yoga and Mindfulness activity
  • Jemma Smith for ideas, organising goodie bag contents and setting up on the day
  • Suzanne Macphersen for bringing her unique art class
  • Larissa for the thermomix demonstration and patience while we tried to choose recipes
  • Georgia Tsanavaras for dedicating some of her day to massage
  • Tammy Spinks for taking photos on the day
  • Maarten Smits for beginning to help with balloons and for taking photos on the day
  • Diana Van Meel for blowing up and hanging balloons
  • Everyone who brought their kids along
  • Everyone who helped clean up
  • Anyone I have forgotten (I do apologise)
  • And lastly, all the businesses that contributed to our goodie bags which were filled to the brim. Please support these businesses where you can:
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Banana, Coconut and Lime Ice Cream

Banana Coconut Lime Ice Cream

What you’ll need:

  • 3 frozen bananas
  • 6 tablespoons coconut cream
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Juice and zest of half a lime
  • Toasted coconut

Peel and freeze 3 bananas at least one day before.

Measure 6 tablespoons of coconut cream and freeze for about 30-60 minutes before you intend on mixing the ice-cream. I have learned that my ice cube trays are kindly 1 tablespoon in each cube, just in case you have the same ones. Also handy for freezing lemon juice for when lemons go out of season. I digress.

Add banana, coconut cream, cinnamon, lime juice and zest into a food processor.

Blend until smooth.

Serve into four bowls.

Garnish with toasted coconut.

This recipe originally came from Alexx Stuart from http://alexxstuart.com/ I have made various versions of this recipe but have stripped it back to basics here. If you are looking for many more delicious real food recipes, I definitely recommend Alexx’s wesbite!

The coconut cream will help with the metabolism of sugar by slowing down the process so you don’t get the sugar highs and lows (even though there is only minimal sugar in the banana in this recipe.)

The cinnamon will do the same.

Some people report being able to digest frozen bananas, better than fresh ones. I always freeze my bananas before adding them to my smoothies, except when I forget to. Then I don’t.

Toasted coconut is a great thing to have ready in the pantry. I used shredded coconut in my picture above, but you can also use coconut flakes. Lay the coconut flakes/shreds on a baking tray. Turn the oven onto grill. DON’T LEAVE the kitchen. I did once. Then I saw some towels that needed putting in the laundry. Then I saw there was a load of washing that needed to be folded. Then I smelt smoke as I folded the washing. My coconut was on fire! In my brand new oven. I repeat. Do NOT leave the kitchen while toasting coconut. Anyway, you may need to take it out and toss it around a bit while it is toasting. Toast (but don’t leave the kitchen) until your level of coconutty goldeness is reached. Wait until it has all cooled, place in an airtight container and store in the pantry.

The toasted flakes can be used as a garnish for ice creams, other desserts, stir fries, other Asian dishes and much more. I also eat them straight from the container as a snack.

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Book Review – Well-Adjusted Babies

Well-Adjusted Babies Book

Well-Adjusted Babies is a book I recommend to all parents of young children but especially pregnant women. It takes the reader on a well-informed journey from pre-conception, through the pregnancy, labour and birth and all the options that present, breastfeeding, through to first feeding solid foods, and more!

The information offered in the book is well-researched, evidenced-based and backed up by referenced studies, however this is all presented in an easy to read format (as opposed to some other dry and boring information based books).

Well-adjusted Babies has been endorsed by celebrities such as Miranda Kerr who reportedly continued to refer back to the book as her baby boy Flynn grew.

The best thing about this book is that you are basically getting about 10 books in one. Generally each stage of your child’s life requires another book and another lot of information. With Well-adjusted Babies you can find it all in the one place, with each stage flowing on from the last.

Claire, mother to Fergus who is 2 months old and blogger on White Blank Pages had this praise for Well-Adjusted Babies:

“Throughout my pregnancy and now with a newborn I refer to Well-adjusted Babies constantly.

“It guided me through my pregnancy, reassured me and made me feel like I was fully equipped in every scenario. Well-adjusted Babies was my one and only resource through my pregnancy. I especially referred to it in the final stages, when I needed it more than ever preparing me for labour and giving me the courage I needed.

“In the build up to labour, my partner even picked it up to read giving him a better understand as to what to expect.

“It is a fabulous resource from conception through to motherhood. I highly recommend it.”

Claire Colebeck | whiteblankpages.com.au

 

Well-Adjusted Babies is available from Santosha Health & Wellbeing Centre or online by clicking here.

 

 

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How to ensure optimal motor development in your children

Baby Crawling

Although each child develops at different rates, there is a correct sequence to this development. This sequence moves through parts of the brain in a very specific order. Unfortunately with all the mod-cons of today, this sequence is often disrupted.

Normal development

Babies are born with reflex movements only. This begins before birth and the ‘kicking’ felt from the baby is part of this development. No movement is purposeful. At around 16 weeks of age, the brain progresses into what is called homolateral activity, which is using one side of the body and either top or bottom at one time. This also includes visual and auditory senses (seeing and hearing) but due to each side working separately, location of sounds and depth perception doesn’t occur.

Between 6 months and one year of age is a very important time period developmentally speaking as this is when the body learns to use both sides of the body together. This movement pattern is called “cross-crawl” or “cross-patterning”. This is an important phase due to its relationship with moving into an upright position and ensuring the two hemispheres of the brain to work together. This development time frame also includes hand-eye coordination.

Between one and five years, this bilateral (both sides) development continues to progress and walking begins. Early in this stage the arms do not move in a cross-pattern with the legs, but rather they are used for balancing. Moving into this phase too early (i.e. when bilateral function is not sufficient) can retard normal development. It is not until 3 years of age that left or right sided dominance becomes prominent. Before this time it is important to develop both sides of the brain equally. Once dominance is established, it should be constant through-out the body. Hand dominance should be the same as eye, foot and ear. This stage will reach full development by around 5 to 8 years of age.

Examples that may cause disruption to this normal process

Bottle-feeding babies on one side
Breastfeeding naturally encourages development on both sides as each breast is used almost evenly. When feeding occurs, one eye, arm and leg are restricted and eye contact is made with the other side. When bottle-feeding, it is common for the parents to use their dominant side, however this means the body restriction on the child is consistent on one side, not allowing the often restricted side to develop fully. Swapping sides each bottle feed ensures each side of the baby’s body receives the same stimulation.

“Walking” babies (holding onto their hands while they “walk”)
As walking is a very complex task neurologically, it is imperative that the nervous system is developed sufficiently to cope with this activity. Proficient development of each hemisphere of the brain must be complete; otherwise it may be delayed or interfered with when encouraging a child to stand or walk too soon. Allowing children to develop at their own pace allows the normal sequence to occur naturally.

Using cutlery
The introduction of solid food for children is shifting earlier and earlier (this is a separate issue) but that also means the encouragement of utensils is also becoming earlier. The use of a fork or a spoon is a unilateral (one-sided) activity and may force a child into dominance before their brain is ready. Eating with their hands not only encourages a child to use both sides of their body (brain) before dominance at 3 years, it also gives them a lot of sensory feedback when they are able to touch, feel and move their food around. Sorry Mum, playing with your food is actually good!

These are just a few examples. Jolly jumpers, walkers, Bumbo seats and other contraptions are a contentious issue. The bottom line is that anything that pushes a child into an area of development that their nervous systems is not yet ready for, may be detrimental on the long term, whether used in moderation or not.

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Spinach Crepes

 

Finished product - spinach crepes with mango, broccoli and avocado

Finished product – spinach crepes with mango, broccoli and avocado

Like everything there are many conflicting stories about how to cook your vegetables.

  • They should be eaten raw to get maximum nutrients
  • They should be lightly steamed to get maximum nutrients
  • Boiling is fine as long as it’s not for too long
  • Greens should definitely be raw
  • Greens should definitely be cooked.

I’ll tell you what I know and with your own research and judgement, you can decide.

What makes green vegetables green is the chlorophyll component. This is also the part that takes the energy from the sun, to pass onto us through food. This chlorophyll is very similar to our blood. So similar that there is only one molecule of difference, which is, we have iron in the centre and plants have magnesium. This is one of main reasons green vegetables are so important.

Dr Joel Fuhrman presented a lecture for the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and explained about the structure of the plant cell. Inside the cell wall is something called “myrosinase” and inside the actual cell is “glucosinolates”. When these two enzymes combine they have powerful anticancer properties, BUT they must be combined before heating, or the enzyme is denatured (doesn’t work!).

So how do they get combined? If you eat raw it is through chewing. The more you chew, the more they are mixed, the more powerful their effects. If you want to add your greens to soups and stews, the best option is to blend them first. Blending and breaking up of the cell wall releases these enzymes, allows them to combine, then you are free to cook them.

Myrosinase-Glucosinolate System

Image courtesy of Joel Fuhrman

 

Spinach Crepes

I came across this crepe recipe a while ago and thought it would be prefect with the Broccoli and Mango salad I had once on a 3 day raw food detox. (The detox was actually 21 days, I only lasted 3!) I was quite surprised how delicious raw broccoli and mango are together.

These crepes fit perfectly with the theory that blending your greens before eating is a great way to maximise their benefits. It’s also a good way to get more vegetables into the kids (this is called Vegie Smuggling, for more information see Vegie Smugglers website). Even more handy if your child’s favourite colour is green. I think I may try these with shredded beetroot too, for pink or red crepes.

These ratios should feed 2-3 people depending on how hungry you are!

For the crepes you will need:

  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 1/3 cup of milk (almond, soy, dairy)
  • 1 cup flour (I used spelt flour, but you can use wheat if you wish, or gluten free)

For the salad you will need

  • 1 Mango
  • 1 small head of broccoli
  • 1 small avocado
  • A few chopped dates (optional)

As I was cooking in a stainless steel frying pan, I began by filling pan with water and putting it on the stove on high. (More about this another day).

Boiling water in a stainless steel pan apparently fills the pores with water, stopping your food from sticking

Boiling water in a stainless steel pan apparently fills the pores with water, stopping food from sticking

In a high speed blender (Nutribullet works well), blend up the spinach and milk

Transfer to a bowl or jug and mix through the flour

I used spelt flour as it's easier to digest

I used spelt flour as it’s easier to digest

Pour the water from your frying pan and place on low heat. I used the smallest flame on the smallest

Coat the frying pan with your choice of oil: butter, ghee or coconut oil are my choices. I used butter. Because I love butter. Good quality, grass fed, organic butter

Pour in the mixture to cover half the bottom of the frying pan, then move the frying pan around to spread the crepe mixture so it is a thin crepe (not a fat pancake)

Fill to the size of the pan, or slightly smaller

Fill to the size of the pan, or slightly smaller

Repeat for the remainder of the mixture

Finely chop the broccoli, slice the mango into cubes and chop the avocado in any way you wish. If you are using dates, finely chop them. Mix everything together in a bowl

Spinach Crepes Recipe (4)  Spinach Crepes Recipe (5)

Spinach Crepes Recipe (6)

When your all crepes are done, add a small amount of the salad and roll like a pancake

Best eaten fresh while the crepes are warm

 

Finished product - spinach crepes with mango, broccoli and avocado

Finished product – spinach crepes with mango, broccoli and avocado

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