Expert Opinion

Nature One Dairy x Our Nourishing Table

How can I look out for my child’s health while allowing them to indulge over the Christmas period?

Part of the fun of Christmas is all the delicious treats that come along with it. Whether that’s candy canes from school friends, the morning chocolate from the advent calendar or some yummy gold coins from their Christmas stocking. Treats can be a lot of fun but there can also be A LOT of them around this time of year. Rather than depriving your child of treats, continue feeding your child a healthy and well-balanced diet filled with vegetables, fruit, whole grains and lean proteins so that when they can indulge in a treat, they’re still getting the nutrients they need each day to thrive. If there are a lot of treats coming home from school or kindy then I would recommend allowing your child 1-2 treats and then popping the rest away for another day.

Should I stick to a routine when it comes to my child’s eating, or is it okay to play it by ear? E.g. should I serve lunch at the same time they’d eat during the school day?

Our bodies do get used to being fed at certain times of the day so it makes sense that this would be the case for your child. This can vary for each child though, with some children needing food at certain times and some children being able to eat on less of a schedule. Personally, it really is down to your individual child and what you find works best for them. For example, I’ve noticed that if my youngest daughter doesn’t eat dinner by 6pm at the latest, it negatively affects her moods, and we are more likely to have meltdowns or irrational behaviour. Whereas my oldest son could wait longer for his food without being negatively affected.

I’ve also noticed that when kids aren’t fed a proper meal at the time that they’re used to, they are much more likely to snack and snack and then be too full when the actual meal gets served.

So long story short, yes, I do recommend sticking to a loose schedule when it comes to mealtimes and snacks. But also, be aware that some children will need their meals by a certain time and others not so much.

What are some healthy treats that I can make/buy for my child?

There are so many options on the internet these days for healthy treats that you can make for your child. Some of my favourites are chocolate protein balls, smoothies, chia pudding and cookies that use wholesome ingredients like these Spelt Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies, topped with Nature One Dairy’s vanilla custard. Kids love a platter as well! Make a treat platter with fresh berries, sliced fresh fruit and pancakes, with some melted chocolate, custard, or a healthier chocolate spread to dip the fruit into. Some of my favourite healthy treats to buy that my kids love are Table of Plenty Chocolate Coated Rice Crackers, Health Lab Chocolate’s and fruit straps made from 100% fruit.

I’m looking forward to cooking with my child this Christmas, what are some recipes that are easy to involve children?

I love looking on Pinterest for fun ideas on healthy treats to make or bake with your kids over Christmas. Some of my favourites, that the kids love to help make are:

Should I up the amount of food my children eat over the summer holidays if they’re being more active?

Kids are pretty good at making us aware of when they need more food. You might notice that they come to you more frequently for snacks or that they’re lunchboxes return home empty for once! Let your child guide you.

If you do notice that they have a bigger appetite than usual, then I would recommend making them some more energy-dense foods that contain protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates. This helps them to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, which helps to keep them fuller for longer. Try smoothies with some added nut or seed butter, chia seeds or hemp seeds and protein powder (there are lots of healthy options out there for children). Protein balls made from dates and seeds or nuts are fantastic and so is avocado toast with a boiled egg, apple slices topped with almond butter and vegetable sticks or crackers to dip into hummus.

Photo by KoolShooters

About the author

Sarah Bell is a Nutritionist and healthy recipe developer. Being a mother of 3, Sarah is passionate about pediatric nutrition and turning fussy eaters into well-rounded eaters. She loves creating family-friendly recipes that are easy to make and taste delicious.
As a Nutritionist, Sarah knows the importance of gut health to our overall health and wellbeing. Because of this, she loves creating recipes using wholefood ingredients that promote good gut health and that are free from refined sugars.