Happy, healthy new year!
We've been speaking to super mum nutritionalist Catherine Lippe about how to get all the family to sit round and get healthy in 2018. This is always hard after having chocolate for breakfast for the last month but here are her 6 top tips...
The end of the festive season brings the start of the new years’ resolutions. If your family has overdone it this Christmas and you want to rethink your eating habits here’s some advice….
Do it sensibly, do it gradually and do it together! Making changes as a family is a great way to establish some realistic and sustainable goals. It means;

  • your goals will be more practical and achievable. Making gradual changes to the family eating habits is more likely to be accepted and maintained than making the whole family eat cabbage soup for a week! Nobody wants to inflict that on their family surely?!

  • you’re all in it together and can support each other in setting and maintaining the goals together

  • you won’t be shopping for and cooking several different meals to suit each family member (who has time for that sort of shenanigans?)

So what are my top tips for healthy family eating? Well here you have them;

  1. Include foods from the 4 main food groups:

I get it, this title sounds boring in comparison to a detox cleanse which promises you masses of weight loss in 48 hours but I can assure you the age-old message of a healthy balanced diet is 100% more science based and 100% more suitable for family eating! The boring, but appropriate way, to set healthy eating habits is to include;

  • At least 5 portions of fruit and veg daily

  • Starchy carbohydrates with each main meal and some snacks. Aim for wholegrain options wherever possible especially for adults (younger children have lower fibre requirements and therefore a mixture of wholegrain and white varieties or 50:50 is fine). Wholegrains include, brown rice, wholewheat pasta, brown, wholemeal multigrain or seeded bread, oats, quinoa, bulgar wheat, wholemeal pitta or tortilla wraps.

  • Protein and iron rich foods such as fish, lean meats, eggs, beans, pulses and lentils at least twice per day

  • Dairy foods or a fortified dairy alternative 3 times a day. For example, milk on your breakfast cereal, cheese spread with oatcakes as a mid-morning snack and a yoghurt for dessert after lunch.

  1. Offer variety.

It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut with meals. We’ve all been there. The kids have a handful of favourite meals that we know they’ll eat so we serve them on repeat as if deviating will be the end of the world. The truth is if we never expose our children to ‘new’ foods they will never learn to enjoy new foods. My advice would be to throw in a new recipe just once a week. You can use the power of the internet for inspiration or do it the old school way and dust off your recipe books. By doing it once a week at the start of the year you’ll have created a full weeks’ repertoire of new meals by valentines day!

  1. Plan your meals

Menu planning is a great way to set out which meals you’ll cook each night and it’ll make your food shop easier for the week too. Find a meal planner template online that you like and set aside some time each week to plan out your meals and shopping list. If it’s down on paper and your fridge is stocked with all the necessary ingredients you’re more likely to stick to it. Remember that the meals you choose don’t have to be ambitious. Poached egg on toast with some sliced cherry tomatoes is a perfectly balanced meal that’s ready in minutes and ideal for a quick after school tea. The other advantage to writing it all down is that you can ensure you’ve covered the main food groups (as mentioned above) and ensure variety across the week.

  1. Eat together as much as possible

Developing healthy eating habits for the family is not just about putting a variety of food on the plate. Creating a positive environment to eat in is just as important. Eating together provides an opportunity to sit down and chat together and, perhaps most importantly, for your children to see you eating. Role modelling is one of the most effective ways of encouraging fussy eaters to try new things and although eating together might not be possible every day, trying to do it whenever you can will make a big difference (Palfreyman et al 2014).

  1. Avoid restricting foods

Whilst we want to focus on providing a healthy balanced diet for our families it’s important to remember that a balanced diet should also include cakes, chocolate, crisps and biscuits occasionally too. When it comes to kids, research shows that forbidding or restricting foods actually makes them more appealing (Fisher and Birch 1999). So instead of telling your chid they can’t have a particular food, my advice would be to allow it in reasonable portions and work on getting the other food groups in their diet later that day. And the same goes for you too!

  1. Enjoy your food

Food is such an integral part of life. Vital in fact. If you don’t like something don’t eat it. If you do like something do eat it. It’s so important to enjoy what you eat and yes, aim for a balance but don’t deprive yourself of the things you enjoy eating just because they don’t have more than 6g of fibre in per portion and haven’t been hailed a superfood by the latest food blogger.
Wishing you all a happy and healthy new year.
Fisher, J.O and Birch, L.L. (1999) Restricting access to palatable foods affects children’s behavioural response, food selection and intake. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 69:1264-72
Palfreyman, Z., Haycraft, E., and Meyer, C., (2014) Parental modelling of eating behaviours: Observational validation of the Parental Modelling of Eating Behaviours scare (PARM) [ONLINE] available at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S019566631400405X] [accessed 19/12/2017]
Catherine is a Registered Nutritionist (RNutr) specialising in children’s nutrition.
She has over 10 years’ experience as a Registered Nutritionist and has worked in both the private and public sectors including the NHS and Public Health England.

Since starting a family of her own Catherine now works as a freelance consultant pediatric nutritionist offering families, individual's, early years settings and schools practical, tailored advice on many aspects of nutrition including;

  • pregnancy and breastfeeding

  • weaning

  • healthy eating for toddlers, pre-school and school age children

  • fussy eating

  • childhood obesity and weight management

Instagram: @lippenutrition
Twitter: @lippenutrition
FB: Catherine Lippe Nutrition
Credit: Images via Pinterest.
January 09, 2018 — admin