Tag Archives: Children

How to snack properly…..

Is snacking a healthy habit to get my kids into? 
To snack or not to snack? Confusion on whether to give your child something small between meals is quite topical as ‘snacking’ has been somewhat demonized. This is thanks to the never ending fat and sugar debates that surround the food industry and the growing rate of childhood obesity.  Snacking is healthy and can benefit your growing munchkin(s) when done properly. Here are some top tips to snacking healthily:
It’s all about timing 
Children are great at understanding their hunger and will naturally feel hungry at certain intervals over the day. This is due to the stomach emptying and energy levels reducing over time as it’s being used through learning, play, general body needs and growth.  For this reason, they will need something small between meals to ‘top up’. ie. Morning tea, afternoon tea and supper.
It’s about portion size 
Unless you have been living under a rock, you will have noticed how servings for both adults and children have increased over the last 20-30 years. For this reason, it is important to be aware of what an appropriate portion size is for your child.
A rough guide to snack ideas:
80g Fresh fruit
80g Canned fruit in natural juice
150-200g Yoghurt
3-4 Wholegrain crackers with 30g cheese
Cream cheese (50g) with vegetable sticks
Occasional small chocolate/ cake/ biscuits (~150kcals)
Fruit Smoothie (200ml)
Snack and treats are different, not the same.  
A ‘snack’ is an occasion of eating, not a type of food. Snacks that are high in fat and sugars (sweets, cakes, chocolate, crisps, biscuits, etc…) tend to be those with lower nutritional benefits (reduced fibre, vitamins and minerals) and for this reason, it is good to associate these snacks as ‘treats’ or ‘sometimes’ foods. Don’t know how to judge a food label? Check out a post I did here (http://www.dietduchess.com/2013/12/12/the-dos-and-donts-to-reading-food-labels/) on the Dos and Don’ts to reading food labels.
It’s not a reward 
Food is never a reward. Trust me on this, you don’t want your child to grow up with an association of food = reward/ comfort. As an obesity dietitian, I daily support patients trying to get out of the habit of comfort eating and it’s a hard one to crack at times.  Instead of food, consider reward charts, stickers, an extra 15 minute at their favourite playground, colouring sheets, etc.
It’s not a distraction 
Just like adults, kids can be bored and will wander into the kitchen for a ‘little something’. Consider when your child last ate and when you know they are next eating. If it has been a while or it will be a while, they are likely hungry and a snack is justifiable.  If not, distract them.
Fussy eating doesn’t just occur at meal times 
Snack time is also an occasion when fussy eating can be displayed. A general rule for fussy eating – offer the snack to your child around 17 times. If they’re not keen after this amount of exposure, they generally don’t like the snack (taste and or texture). Struggling with fussy eating? Chat to your GP who can refer you to a dietitan for support.
Role model 
You’re a superhero in your child’s eyes, so to help in-still healthy habits into your child’s lifestyle, reflect this.  Snacking is healthy for both adults and children a like, so if your child sees you regularly eating a variety of healthy choices as snacks they too will slowly adopt this. Remember: ‘the door swings both ways!’ If you eat for boredom/ stress/ comfort they may learn these unhealthy behaviours too. For this reason, if you feel you are finding it difficult with managing your eating habits or your child’s for that matter, seek support by chatting to your GP or a dietitian.
Now your turn, what’s your ‘go to’ snack option? Mine’s a small whole meal pita toasted with cheese and Vegemite.
Perryn Carroll – Registered Dietitian MNutrDiet BSP&ExSc
Twitter: @PerrynCarroll

5 reasons why women gain weight after having children?

It can at times feel like weight gain is inevitable after having kids. There are some challenges that make managing weight difficult post childbirth, but it can be mastered.

Here are 5 reasons that may be making managing weight difficult post childbirth:

Plate scraping.  Your child has some food left over (kids are great at knowing when they are hungry and full), but there’s only a little left so you eat it. Although a few spoonfuls, this can add up. Two tablespoons of rice contains around 100kcals and consuming this amount daily over a month could amount to 0.5kg (1lb) weight gain. When cleaning up, consider storing food or throwing it away.

Missing meals. As adults we struggle with eating regularly because we don’t feel hungry.  Over the years our environment and experiences have led us to lose touch with our hunger signals (even though they are still going off). Figure out why you miss breakfast or lunch or dinner and work out what you need to do, to get you eating regularly. Eating regularly has been found to be an important habit in weight control.

Master chef. Cooking 3 meals is not easy and is time consuming. You don’t intend to make variations, but previous tantrums have made you make adaptions…sound familiar?  Don’t worry, you are not alone and there are steps you can take to change things.  If certain foods are rejected, they need to be tried around 15-20 times for you to know for certain if they actually like or dislike the food.  Your kids should be eating what you eat. Not the opposite way around.

Treats for the kids. You don’t intend to eat them, but you do. You’re not alone, a lot of my mother and grandmother clients complain of picking at the treats they buy solely for their kids/grand kids. Consider the next time you go and grab a treat: do I usually grab a treat at this time? If so, there may be a pattern (boredom, stress, feeling low) which you may wish to work on.

Gym membership. You’re thinking right now ‘what gym membership?! I don’t go to the gym. I have no time’. This is exactly it, before kids you had the luxury of time (and money).  In the past you would slog it out doing regular exercise at the gym and local sports in the park.  As a mum being more active basically means moving more. Be creative, I have a lot of female clients walking their kids to and from school, extra-curricular activities and events. This is a clever way to fit in incidental exercise. They are also utilising their aerobic classes recorded from TV or DVDs, alongside their kids Wii sport games (with and without their kids).

As noted above, weight control is much more than watching what you eat. It’s about watching the habits you have changed. If you are struggling to manage your weight, I would suggest chatting to your GP who will be able to direct you to your local expert weight loss dietitians for advice.

Perryn Carroll- Registered Dietitian MNutrDiet, BSp&ExSc

Twitter: @PerrynCarroll



Children with HIV….how you can help

By Gill Perkins, CEO Wandsworth Oasis

When Baby Jumble asked me to contribute to their blog, I was honoured and then I thought, what on earth will their supporters want to hear about from the Chief Exec of a small community charity shop chain that raises money for local people with HIV?  I thought I could write about the amazing donations we get that are children and baby related  from antique rocking horses to soiled nappies (yes, really!).  Or I could shamelessly promote our lovely charity baby shop in Mitcham Lane SW16 (but I’ll do that later!).  And then it hit me – why not talk about the work that one of the charities we support does at the coal face with children and babies affected by HIV.


I recently met with Zetta Thomelin from the fabulous Children with AIDS Charity (CWAC).  Do you ever think about children having HIV?  I confess that even though I work for an HIV related charity I was quite shocked to find that there are more than 19,000 children affected by HIV in the UK.    Zetta described this as  a’ hidden’ group of children living with perinatally acquired HIV, contracted from their mother in the womb, at the point of delivery or shortly after birth, while being breastfed.  A group that was never expected to grow from babies into children, much less teenagers and young adults.  And what’s more, the stigma that society still places on HIV has another, even more unpleasant knock-on effect: it means that children cannot be told of their diagnosis until they are judged to be able to keep it confidential.

I was also humbled by some of the work CWAC  does that I had not heard about.  We provide funding to their worthy hardship fund each year for everyday items such as bedding, clothing etc.  Between January 2010 and April 2012 the fund supported more than 2,300 children affected by HIV.   67% of the children were living with one parent; most of the families have insecure immigration status and are unable to work.  Families are living below the poverty line and are unable to cover the basic needs of their kids.  But I hadn’t known about the large increase in the number of HIV positive women in the UK expecting a baby who are applying to the fund because they cannot afford to provide formula milk for their new child – if they breast feed, there is an extremely high risk that this loving act will transmit HIV.  It costs around £600 to provide formula milk for one year, whereas it costs up to £360,000 for a lifetime supply of HIV treatment.  How fundamentally sad this is on so many levels.

It seems to me that CWAC’s Formula Milk Campaign is a real no brainer in terms of funding, so we really want to try to support this.  Baby Jumble is donating a percentage of its entry takings to Wandsworth Oasis and we will earmark the money for CWAC’s Hardship Fund for Formula Milk.  We will also be supporting their Time for Tea fundraising initiative on 4 October in at least one of our shops.  If you want to support CWAC directly, you can text CWAC21 £3 to 70070 and play your part in protecting a baby from HIV.

Baby Jumble is also donating any stock left over after its sales to us if the original owners are happy with that so I hope this helps to put into context what we do with the physical and cash donations we get from you…And a final plug for our Oasis Kids shop at 127  Mitcham Lane SW16  – it’s a lovely, bright, colourful shop well stocked with toys, clothes and equipment – so do drop in if you want need something for your kids and you can’t find it at Baby Jumble or donate your old stuff to us if you are having a clear out, but don’t want to put it in a sale.  We collect in South West London and sometimes further afield.