- My child keeps bringing food home from school, rather than eating it. How do I know if I’m giving them too much? What’s the right number of snacks to give?
Children can be very up and down with how much food they eat from their lunchboxes. If there is food constantly coming home then I would feel confident that you are definitely sending enough food. Anything that comes home can be reoffered to them as afternoon tea – often they are too busy playing during the day to eat all of their lunch so presenting it to them again at afternoon teatime is a great way to reduce food waste. As a general rule, I like to send 1 main food item (like fried rice, wraps or sandwiches), 1-2 pieces of fruit, a yoghurt or cheese and crackers, and one “fun” snack (like a bliss ball or cookie for example).
- With flu season looming, I know that my kid is likely to pick up a nasty cold soon… What are some of your go-to recipes or foods for a cold?
Chicken soup might sound cliché but there is a reason why it is so well known as a food to give someone when they’re unwell. Chicken soup is filled with immune system-boosting, gut health-loving nutrients. It is also really easily digested, meaning that it will absorb more nutrients into the body more quickly. I also love making lemon, honey, and ginger tea (especially for sore throats and congestion). Adding anti-inflammatory spices like ginger and turmeric where possible is also beneficial (you could add both ginger and turmeric to my Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Soup recipe!). If the weather is warmer you could also give a green smoothie for an added boost of nutrients. Foods high in Vitamin C are great also like broccoli, cauliflower, oranges, and strawberries.
- I’m not sure my child is getting enough protein… How much protein do they need?
This depends on their age. Children from 4-9 years of age need around 19 grams of protein per day. 9-13 years of age they need around 34 grams of protein per day. From 14 and up the requirement changes depending on their gender, boys need 52 grams per day and girls need 46 grams per day.
- It feels like my kid is forever hungry/asking for food… Why might this be? What should I do about it? Are there certain foods that I should be incorporating into their diet?
There can be a few reasons for this. Children are constantly growing and when they go through growth spurts, they can seem endlessly hungry. Ensuring that they are getting their daily requirement of protein can help them to feel more satisfied and fuller. Also making sure that they are getting more complex carbohydrates and fiber rather than refined carbohydrates – choosing brown rice over white rice, wholemeal bread over white bread, and incorporating more vegetables into their diets is important. Adding healthy fats is important too. Some easy ways to do this is by spreading some nut butter or tahini onto slices of apple, adding hemp seeds and chia seeds to porridge, or adding avocado or tahini to smoothies.
- My child keeps rejecting water, and I’ve tried to explain how important water is. What can I do? There are many ways to increase the likelihood of your child drinking more water, and becoming accustomed to water being an essential and normal part of our diet. Here are some important strategies.
- Limit access to other drinks like fruit juice, cordial and soft drinks as sugary drinks increase dehydration.
- Make sure that your child is having no more than the recommended serving of milk per day for their age – some smaller children will prefer milk over water and will choose milk if given the choice. If they are drinking only the recommended servings of milk then it increases the chances that they’ll drink more water.
- Always have easy access to water by having a water bottle somewhere they can easily reach it during the day or by sending a filled water bottle with them to school or kindy. Make sure to continually remind your child throughout the day to take a drink.
- Continue to stay positive about the benefits of drinking water and model this behaviour by drinking water in front of them throughout the day.