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Would you like to have 12 different creative child friendly fish recipes to encourage your children to eat fish? 

In this article and podcast episode, I take you through 12 fantastic fish recipes that your kids will love.

Worried about mercury and microplastics in fish recipes?  I cover sources of fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids but also the types of fish that are low in mercury and a realistic way to check if your fish has been sourced using a sustainable fishing method.

Fish Recipes For A Fussy Eater?

Got a fussy eater?  The examples of the child friendly fish recipes will delight any toddler even if he is new to the concept of being a food explorer. 

Remember, you can offer fish recipes up to ten times before moving onto a different presentation of fish.

If you need support nurturing a food explorer, don’t forget to sign up to the waiting list for the fussy eater’s course which I am creating for you.

The course will be a combination of e-learning as well as 1:1 consultations with me virtually. 

Should Your Kids Be Eating Fish?

By the end of this blog post on should your kids be eating fish, you’ll discover the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids when your child eats a portion of oily fish every week.

No panic required if sustainable fishing methods are important to you (and so it should).

Download this comprehensive pocket guide by the Marine Conservation Society.

It’s clear, visual and beautifully describes which fish to enjoy whilst supporting sustainable fishing methods with ease.

Read: Should Your Kids Be Eating Fish?
Navigating Fish Labelling

You can download the good fish guide app, for up to date sustainable seafood advice or simply look out for the MSC blue sign on any packaged fish.

If you enjoy prawns or other types of fish that are farmed, then look for the ASC sign on packaging which quickly let’s you know that your seafood has been farmed responsibly.

The MSC and ASC signs are widely used in the U.K and Germany which makes shopping for fish sourced responsibly easy for busy parents.

The podcast episode by the Food Medic called “Sustainable Seafood” is brilliant.  She interviewed a guest from the Marine Stewardship Council who shared the research findings by Dr Ray Hilborn.  She explains that eating a mix of seafood and plant-based proteins has a low impact on the environment.  So if you are worried about adopting a “part-time” vegan diet or would like to include fish in your plant-based diet, then you absolutely can! 

Fish is also a brilliant source of iodine and contains iron.

Thinking about following a vegan lifestyle?  Then read ‘Is A Vegan Diet Safe For Children?’ 

Vegan nutrition for children can be complicated but it doesn’t need to be scary.  

You can book a free 15 minute call with me to discuss how I can help you at one of my London clinics..

Low Mercury Sources Of Oily Fish

Examples of low mercury oily fish are:

  • mackerel
  • herring
  • pilchard/sardine
  • trout
  • salmon

 

Other low mercury fish are:

  • cod
  • haddock
  • plaice

These types of fish are significantly lower in omega 3 fatty acids and count as a portion of ‘white fish’ providing protein, some iron, vitamin B12, selenium and iodine.

For children aged 1-4 years of age, a portion size is roughly 1/2 cup or 75g of weighed cooked fish.

DHA, The Brain Fat

Remember, the advantage of including a weekly portion of oily fish in your child’s diet is that your children can benefit from the important omega 3 fatty acid, DHA. 

From pregnancy until about 2 years of age, your child’s nervous system accumulates DHA to support the normal development of the brain and eye for vision.

What does DHA do?  During the early years, the brain develops rapidly and DHA helps support and nurture this growth. 

In infancy, breastmilk is another source and levels are influenced by the amount of oily fish you eat during the breastfeeding years.

 DHA USDA Guidelines

Infants: birth till 6 months of age require 0.1 to 0.18% of total energy intake

Infants: Babies until 2 years of age require 10-12 mg/kg/day of DHA

Toddlers:  2 to 4 years require both EPA + DHA 100-150 mg/day

Children: 4 to 6 years require both EPA + DHA 150 – 200 mg/day

Children: 6 to 10 years require both EPA + DHA 200 – 250 mg/day

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding mothers: 200 mg/day

 DHA UK Guidelines (> 6 months)

Linolenic acid (LA): 3-4% total dietary energy

Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA): 0.4-0.6% total dietary energy

Note these calculations assume that DHA will be converted in the body from ALA rich foods.  

 

Can DHA be made in the body?

Research suggests that conversion of ALA found in green plant tissues, walnuts, flaxseeds, rapeseed oil, soybean oil and flaxseed oil to biologically active DHA in humans is poor (as low as only 1%) and advice is therefore always given to eat preformed DHA rich foods such as seafood and oily fish.

In adults, the benefits of including EPA and DHA rich foods include benefits of the heart (including reduced risk of mortality), improvements in inflammatory conditions including arthritis and asthma.

12 Child Friendly Fish Recipes

Fish in soy and honey glaze (by taste.com.au)

Children will adore the sweetness from the honey.  You may wish to start with 1 teaspoon of soy sauce and honey first to control the amount of added salt and sugar.  If you are feeling super organised, why not marinade the fish overnight?

 

Fish pie with prawns (recipe by Jamie Oliver)

Who can resist fish pie? If your child is following a dairy free diet, then choose a plant milk and vegan cheese to achieve creamy potato mash.

You can also try using a variety of different fish in this recipe but always pick at least one source of oily fish.

 

Thai fish burgers (recipe by BBC Good Food)

This recipe was sent to me by a mum who I am working with.  This recipe was a hit with her daughter who previously hated fish so it’s definitely one for you to try.

She recommends that you refer to these as “burgers” and said, “they are tasty (especially with sweet chilli sauce!), very healthy (without the sauce!) and they only take about five minutes to prepare.”

 

Fish cakes with sweet potato (recipe on the blog dairy free and gluten free)

Fish cakes are easy on the palette, especially with the addition of sweet potato.  It’s a great opportunity to get children into the kitchen too so that they can practice on the go messy play.  

For more ideas on messy play to overcome fussy eating read this blog post and listen to the podcast here.

Sweet potato is also a type of smart carb which means that it is a source of fibre and is slowly digested in the body.

Fish kebabs (zesty recipe by GoodtoKnow)

These would be gorgeous in the summer, but equally a hit in the oven in the colder months.

I know kids aren’t always thrilled at the sight of mushrooms so fine-tune this recipe by adding sweet red bell peppers or sweet corn on the side.

Don’t forget to ask the kids to help you make these.

 

Anchovy based pasta in tomato sauce (see recipe suggestion here)

I first came across the idea of adding anchovies to a tomato sauce via Jamie Oliver.

Anchovies dissolve into a tomato sauce rather effortlessly, leaving behind a DHA enriched sauce for the kids.  One of the best ways of sneaking in omega 3 fatty acids without drama at the dining table so that children don’t need to feel overwhelmed by a big piece of fish.

 

Fish fingers (recipe by BBC Good Food)

Another easy recipe with spinach and peas. To encourage children to eat fish recipes, it’s always a good idea to get them to prepare it by getting them involved in the kitchen.  Remember to switch up the carbs by using wholemeal flour or bread crumbs for additional fibre, vitamins and minerals.

 

Fish tacos (recipe with a pineapple salsa)

The best fish tacos I had were in Costa Rica.  The kids loved it too when we ate it under a sun by the pool.  Simply gorgeous!

I love the idea of serving these with a pineapple salsa but you may wish to skip the chilli in the recipe.

Alternatively, look through recipes online with older children and pick a recipe to make together.

 

Pan fried Mahi mahi, fresh tuna or sword fish (recipe by Delish) are lovely on the BBQ or pan fried for a meaty texture.  

Just remember that sword fish is not suitable for children under 16 year of age due to the high levels of mercury.

 

Fish and vegetable stir fry (recipe by Taste)

I prepare variations of this recipe and use any vegetables that I have in the fridge.

My girls love sweetcorn so I usually add these or serve corn on the cob to get them excited about the meal, but to be. honest, anything with noodles get them to the dining table with minimal effort.

 

Smoked salmon rillette (recipe by MSC)

Posh French sandwiches sound excellent for an after school snack or during the weekend. 

If your child follows a dairy free diet, try using coconut cream with an alternative oily fish or dairy free oat based double cream.

 Fish high in mercury

Other fish high in mercury do include fresh tuna, shark, marlin, canned albacore (white) tuna, orange roughy and escolar.  You may wish to restrict these types of fish to one serving once a month as per the Canadian guidelines.

Imported fish from Asia, especially dried fish may also contain high amounts of mercury. To lower your child’s risk it is best to choose a variety of fish.

Low mercury fish you can include in fish recipes (but check for sustainability):
  • anchovy
  • capelin
  • char
  • flounder
  • sole
  • clam
  • mussel
  • oysters 
  • hake
  • herring
  • haddock
  • Atlantic mackerel
  • mullet
  • pollock (Boston blue fish)
  • sardines
  • salmon
  • smelt
  • rainbow trout
  • lake whitefish
  • blue crab
  • shrimp
  • lobsters
  • canned “light” tuna*

*There are many types of canned light tuna such as skipjack, tongol and yellowfin. You do not need to limit the amount of these types of canned tuna that you eat. Check the label to see what type of tuna was used. Š 

*Albacore canned tuna is higher in mercury than other canned tuna. Children and women who are pregnant and/or breastfeeding should limit the amount of albacore tuna they eat. Otherwise those 12 and older do not need to limit canned albacore tuna unless they eat it every day. It is best to choose a variety of fish. 

Let me help

Would you like to meet a children’s dietitian who has successfully helped families solve their nutrition problems from around the world?

Whether you are worried about picky eating, food allergy or need to help your child build a healthy relationship with food, I’ll help you manage these with confidence.

For bookings and enquiries email me on bahee.vandebor@gmail.com or book a free initial consultation here to talk about how I can help you.

The post 12 Child Friendly Fish Recipes To Delight appeared first on UK Kids Nutrition.

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“11% of Londoners who undertake the school run regularly stop on the way home so that their children can have some dinner, nearly three times as outside London.”see reference.  

Eating out as a family can spark joy when it’s a special occasion.  Do it regularly and it’s a habit with the potential for salt and the daily recommended sugar intake for kids to blown by undesirably high levels.

UK has a cosmopolitan palate but if families stop at bakeries and coffee shops daily to pick up breakfast, food choices will be high in sugar.

This routine practice may be convenient and something to look forward to as a Friday morning treat, but as a daily habit, thats worrying.

Are we really starting to move away from traditional eating habits such as eating breakfast at the table? 

Why do kids exceed the recommended daily sugar intake?

  • Label reading can be confusing
  • Hidden sugars in foods
  • Perception that natural sugars are healthy choices
  • Increased frequency of eating out
  • Unlimited access to high sugar foods
What is hidden sugar?

Hidden sugars can certainly be a problem which is why label reading is crucial in helping children stick to their recommended daily sugar intake.

See How To Screen Breakfast Cereals for detailed information on how to identify hidden sources of sugar.

There’s a worrying trend promoting natural sugars as “healthy” when in fact it’s still a free sugar.

Hidden sugars in foods

The goal isn’t to eliminate sugar from your child’s diet but beware of recipes or brands promoting ingredients such as maple syrup, date syrup or coconut sugar as a healthy addition.  Often misinterpreted as healthy sugar alternatives, they are in fact not. 

There’s a promise of antioxidants, minerals and fibre but the truth is, children would need to eat kilos (yes really) to reap any of the proposed benefits.

If you use breakfast cereals as an example, by choosing a cereal based on wholegrains with either fresh or dried fruit, children can reap the benefits of fibre, vitamins and minerals without the extra free sugars from the fancy coconut sugar.

Unless you are making pancakes for weekend breakfast, then obviously yes of course maple syrup is a delicious must as a planned meal with added sugar.

My ultimate guide on sugar

Beat the confusion and grab your guide on sugar.

Simply click on the image to download your free pdf with simple alternatives for high sugar foods.

You will also receive an email a day for five days with activities to help you identify hidden sugars in everyday foods.

Don’t forget to listen to this podcast episode with Louise from Dietitian’s Life who is also a registered dietitian.  We chat a little about the UK’s sugar tax and her recent media appearance on BBC midlands TV where she chats to Nick about sugar.

Snacks – sugar free or not?

Many of you have shared with me that you worry that your children get bored easily with simple snacks such as fruit.

The truth is fruit is perfectly fine as a snack alongside items like popcorn, mini sandwiches, crackers, milk or yoghurt. 

Most snacks that are packaged are either high in salt or sugar.  You don’t need to go sugar free, but do screen labels of everyday foods.

Yoghurt for example is a useful option as it provides calcium and protein, but unless its natural, plain or plain Greek style, it will have added sugar.

You don’t need to avoid yoghurt with added sugar but do select a brand providing natural sugar from pieces of fruit or with sugar at levels less than 10g per 100g.

Read ‘How To Choose The Best Children’s Yoghurt’ for additional tips.

Other great snacks for kids following a plant-based diet without added sugar include:

  • fresh or tinned (drained) fruit
  • rice cakes or corn thins with nut butter
  • slice of wholegrain toast with hummus or vegetable spread prepared using tahini paste
  • wholemeal fruit bread or easter bun
  • vegetables with a nut or hummus based dip
  • calcium fortified dairy free plant pudding (check the levels of added sugar)|

If your child eats animal foods then the following can be useful snacks:

  • mini egg sandwich or stuffed in pita pockets
  • cheese with crackers or oat cakes

Remember, if the first three ingredients listed contain any of the words that mean sugar, the food item is likely above 10-15g of sugar per 100g.

Should I sugar count?

Absolutely not!  But do screen labels and choose brands for snacks containing less than 10 – 15g of sugar per 100g.  

If children are eating around 11g of sugar at breakfast before school, that’s their entire sugar allowance for a 2-3 year old in just one meal!

Why not listen to the podcast if you’d like to hear me practice screening two real examples of food labels?  You can scroll down to the player to listen.

One example I used was a food label of Waitrose’s wholemeal easter buns.   The second food label belonged to a fruity date bar.

As I’ve said before for a valuable way of balancing sugar: remind kids that all foods are delicious. 

Vegetables are delicious and so are high sugar foods. 

My philosophy with food is that my children should be able to enjoy all foods including any with added sugar.  Children can safely enjoy small amounts of high sugar food or drink as part of balanced eating.

Let me help

Would you like to meet a children’s dietitian who has successfully helped families solve their nutrition problems from around the world?

Whether you are worried about picky eating, food allergy or need to help your child build a healthy relationship with food, I’ll help you manage these with confidence.

For bookings and enquiries email me on bahee.vandebor@gmail.com or book a free initial consultation here to talk about how I can help you.

Want to master a food explorer? 

Join the waiting list to learn how you too can empower your child who may be a fussy eater.

The fussy eaters course will be a selection of e-learning, activities and 1:1 time with me virtually via video consultations.

Drop me a line on bahee.vandebor@gmail.com if you’d like more information.

The post What Is The Recommended Daily Sugar Intake For Kids? appeared first on UK Kids Nutrition.

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Have you thought about how the right messy play activities can help empower your toddler to try new foods?

Are you thinking that you know all about messy play activities? Perhaps you’ve read about it or have watched YouTube videos and even given a couple of activities a go?  Would you like to pick up further tips? 

Let me start by sharing a couple of success stories with you.

My clients applied some of the techniques that we discussed at my London clinic and had great results.

In this blog post, you’ll learn about the power of messy play for picky eaters.

Learn how you too can unlock your child’s eating potential.

“Something resonated with my son.  He tried the recipes using the techniques we discussed and it worked. He took the smallest bite but it's a start.  Thank you.”

Mother of 5 year old boy

Another mum wrote to me after two weeks of trialling messy play activities. “She is doing so much better with her eating,” she said. “She actually looks better and isn't as tired.  She's making an effort with meals and all in all I think we're heading in the right direction.”

Mother of 9 year old girl
Messy play activities work

If you are worried that there’s no hope for your fussy eater, then here’s a true story. 

I was thinking about the time when I burst into tears. Yes, torrential tears after the midwife informed me that my baby who was under a week old had lost more weight.  She was also jaundiced.  Through my love struck eyes, I had assumed yellow orange was her colouring.

The fact that she was losing weight was a complete shock (me being a paediatric dietitian and all).

I even had a trip to the hospital with her that included a short stay.  After the initial shock, I finally created a feeding plan to help bubba grow and gain weight appropriately.

My story

This same young lady is an 18-month-old toddler going on 18 years! Stubborn, knows her own mind and our journey with food hasn’t entirely been easy.

So, if you think that you’ve got a fussy toddler and you’re worried that they will never out grow their selective eating tendencies, try not to worry.

Today I’m going to show you how you too can empower and nurture your child to become a food explorer using messy play activities.

If my daughter listens to this podcast episode in the future, she’ll probably be really cross that I’ve shared so much about her.  She has been known to spit out food, play with food instead of eating it and if you do a happy dance because you think her plate looks empty – wrong! 

You’ll soon discover food all over the step and seat of the high chair and on the floor. It’s easy to give up at this point, but don’t give up. Try some of the messy play activities that I’m about to share with you and you will get results.

Messy play for babies

If you have a baby at home, the most important thing to remember is to engage your baby early with messy play activities.  Babies who are exposed to a wide variety of flavours and textures early are more likely to accept new foods in a variety of presentations.

This will utimately minimise any fears that they may develop when presented with new or unfamiliar food, flavours and textures.

Dry textures for messy play activities

For toddlers who might be a fussy eater, start with messy play activities involving dry textures.  These activities are perfect if your toddler is usually repulsed by wet textures.

Use dry foods that don’t leave a mess on their hands such as pieces of dried pasta, rice, lentils, or even pulses, which are all great options.

Encourage sorting activities with the dried pieces of food.  Use food colouring for a bit of fun and ask your toddler to sort items by type, shape or by colour.

Have you got a toy kitchen?  You can use it to compliment messy play activities and you could even sneak in toy vegetables.  When you use toys that represent real foods, you are showing your child how food can be both safe and fun. 

These activities seem simple and yet are imperative for helping your child build a positive relationship with food (without any pressure to eat).

Once your child is comfortable with dried foods you can switch to cooked pieces of food.  You can offer cooked pasta, fruit and vegetables as part of the messy play activities. 

Recipe books for messy play activities

Consider consolidating these activities by gawking over picture or recipe books that include a good selection of fruit and vegetables.

You don’t need to over think this, simply grab your favourite cookbook, get comfortable on the sofa with your little one and leaf look through the pictures. 

Ask your child what they think of some of the pictures and whether they would like to make the green beans in a white sauce or a tomato based sauce for dinner.  Notice how I’ve chosen the vegetable as a side dish but have  given the child the option of selecting which accompanying sauce to prepare?

 

Effortless mess

Once your child is enjoying playing with dried textured foods, it’s time to move onto mess.  It’s one of the questions that I get asked most often by parents who have fussy eaters.  How do you incorporate mess if your child doesn’t seem to enjoy it?

Yes, I am not denying that this can seem tricky at first, but once you get into a routine it will transform the way your child eventually approaches eating.

The most important thing to remember is to lay off the pressure, maintain a relaxed environment and simply try to have fun with your toddler.  It’s all about enjoying the activity and increasing your child’s confidence with different foods.

Flour as a messy play aid

An excellent way of approaching this is by using flour.  It’s a common household ingredient so you are bound to have some at home.   

Invite your child into the kitchen and allocate reasonably simple tasks such as measuring flour using a set of kitchen scales. 

Or why not ask your toddler to help you roll out the dough if you plan to bake?

Pastry and bread are good examples for this activity, as your child gets the opportunity to visualise transformations of flour into everyday food that they enjoy eating. 

Positive messy play activities

A trick to getting your child excited about this activity is by letting them know how helpful they have been.  Don’t forget to thank them for their valuable help in the kitchen (even if looks upside down after your activity together).

You can also talk about transformations of food by crumbling up dried pieces of toast or a wheat biscuit.  Feed this cereal to your child’s favourite doll, soft toy or figurine.

As you can see, this activity isn’t too messy. It might get messy, but don’t worry about it.

Have you thought about hosting a tea party or picnic with your toddler’s dolls and figurines? You could even practice this activity outdoors, in your garden or in the park.

It’s a valuable way of getting your child to start thinking about food in a positive light.

The next step is to move onto wet textures that don’t leave too much mess.

These activities are ideal if your child does enjoy some foods in its dried form, but needs encouragement to try it in its ‘wet’ form.

Oat & Raisin Cookies (Dairy Free)
‘Soft’ messy play

For example, think about playdough and cookie cutters that come in a variety of shapes.  Ask your child to shape the playdough into any shape they like using their hands. You could even make your own at home using cornflour and food colouring.

Using imagination, ask your child to build ‘pretend sandwiches’, cakes or biscuits.  Eventually, start introducing the concept of nourishing foods, but do it in a way that they enjoy the activity.

If your child enjoys the activity, have fun together using ‘pretend eating’ through play.  You’ll know when your child is ready to move onto the final stage where you’ll be introducing wet textures as part of these messy play activities.

Messy mess

You could build on the “let’s feed your dolly activity” by adding milk to the wheat biscuit or add yoghurt to cut up pieces of fruit. So, you’re merging textured foods here by introducing textures that have been previously accepted with a new texture that’s wet such as liquids.

This activity doesn’t need to be complicated or scary.  The smallest of changes can really help increase your child’s confidence with textures. 

If your child feels overwhelmed with real vegetables, why not try toy vegetables with sauces?  Your child may be more comfortable with this initially.  You can still demonstrate to your child what it’s like to eat that food.

You can also role model at the dining table which is another opportunity to reinforce the same messages around promoting a variety of foods.  This is exactly why it’s important to eat together as a family as much as you can.

You’ll be amazed at how something as simple as a family meal seated at the table can have a positive effect.  Remember to switch off electronic devices including the TV and remove iPads or mobile phones away from the table. 

Your toddler needs your full attention.

If you have a baby at home do encourage them to get messy with their food whilst seated in a high chair.  Your dining table and home may look look like a hurricane has visited your house, but try not to let that bother you.

You can always clean up afterwards.  This is a great example of messy play activities that you can introduce to baby using real foods.

I remember when I used to wipe mess from my daughter’s hands and mouth straight away.  I was obsessed about keeping her clean. I hated stains on clothing and the laundry was a never-ending chore. 

Needless to say, I now know how important it is to forget about keeping chairs and white sofas sparkly clean and to just embrace the mess.

Grow vegetables

If you have a garden then research shows that children who are involved in gardening or any growing of vegetables are much more likely and willing to try new foods. 

Do find that green thumb and trial growing your own vegetables.  If you live in a flat or you want a simple task, another approach to this is to grow your own herbs.  Basil, thyme and coriander are brilliant and your toddler can be in charge of watering the pot. 

Don’t worry if you don’t have a green thumb.  I certainly don’t and have managed to kill several pots. 

When it’s time to cook together, ask your child to pull out the herb leaves to prepare the meal that you’ve chosen together. That’s a gentle way of getting them involved in the cooking process, particularly for children with a long history of food version.

Courgette Boat Stuffed With Tuna
Food pairing

Have you thought about food pairing?  And by that, I mean using foods that your child usually loves to eat with a food that they are currently not enjoying.  At the dining table, always have at least one food that your child enjoys..

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Lactose intolerance and dairy allergy is widely misunderstood – so I interviewed Rose, mother to three-year-old Sadie who has an egg and dairy allergy to help unpick nutrition facts and myths.

 Slow down – what’s lactose intolerance?

When your child’s body doesn’t have enough of an enzyme called lactase, they may experience difficulty digesting the carbohydrate in milk and dairy products called lactose.  As a result, lactose remains in the gut undigested.  Bacteria that naturally live in the gut go onto feed on the lactose, which can produce a lot of gas, bloating and discomfort for children.

 ARE YOU LISTENING TO HEALTHY EATING FOR KIDS PODCAST?

What are lactose intolerance symptoms?

  • Bloating
  • Excess wind/abdominal pain
  • Nausea and diarrhoea
 Would my child need to avoid cow’s milk and dairy?

Unlike a dairy allergy whereby children have an allergic reaction to the protein found in cow’s milk, your child will not need to avoid dairy entirely.

The amount of cow’s milk or dairy products that your baby, child or adolescent will tolerate can vary.  Most children will be able to tolerate and enjoy small amounts of cow’s milk and dairy products when eaten as part of a meal spread out over the day.  For example, up to 120ml of milk, hard cheese and yoghurt can be eaten in small quantities spread through-out the day to help meet your child’s daily requirements for calcium. 

How to diagnose your child with a lactose intolerance

Speak to your GP or paediatrician if you suspect that your child may have lactose intolerance.  Your doctor can then organise a lactose intolerance test (blood test, breath test or stool acidity test) to help establish a diagnosis.

Podcast Interview with Rose & 3 year old Sadie

In this podcast episode Rose introduces us to her daughter Sadie, who has an immediate IgE mediated dairy allergy.  She initially presented with dermatological symptoms such as facial swelling and red hives. 

This basically means that Sadie’s immune system has an abnormal reaction whenever she is exposed to dairy or cow’s milk protein and presents with swelling and hives on exposure.   

Her symptoms are immediate and different to lactose intolerance.  Unlike lactose intolerance Sadie initially couldn’t tolerate small amounts of dairy and needed to follow a strict milk free diet.

If your child has a medically confirmed dairy allergy, the treatment is a strict dairy free diet. 

In this podcast episode, Sadie describes what happened to her when someone gave her the “wrong” milk which caused her to vomit (or be “milk sick” as Sadie calls it) before experiencing red swelling.

Interestingly, “this was the first time that she showed gastrointestinal symptoms” said Rose.  Another reason why lactose intolerance and dairy allergy can be confused.  The symptoms can be similar but the cause for the reaction is entirely different.

DOS AND DON’Ts for managing a dairy free diet by Rose
DO

Speak to your doctor, expert and a registered paediatric dietitian as soon as you can.  Your dietitian will help you navigate through the supermarket shelves when you are on the hunt for milk free food.  There’s an art to reading labels to determine whether a food contains cow’s milk protein or dairy. 

 

Some foods contain hidden amounts of dairy therefore it’s important to learn how to read the back of packets and its nutrition labels.   Foods containing lactose that can be enjoyed in small quantities for a child with lactose intolerance would unfortunately need to be avoided for a child with a dairy allergy, so it’s crucial that you know how to identify hidden sources of cow’s milk protein in the ingredients list.

 

Be prepared to feel overwhelmed at first, but after a couple of weeks, reading labels will be like scrolling through the news feed of a social media channel.  Easy peasy basically.  Remember, common allergens do need to be clearly highlighted in nutrition labelling which eventually makes label reading effortless.

DO

Check with your dietitian whether your child needs to avoid foods labelled as “may contain traces of milk”.  Often this warning is displayed when a food item has been prepared on the same tray line as another product which contains dairy as an ingredient.  For children with very severe reactions, this may be necessary, however, this may not be the case for all children.

DON’T

Try not to panic.  Other people including well-meaning family members may not necessarily understand the difference between lactose intolerance and a dairy allergy due to the similarity in symptoms.  People often mean well and are eager to offer advice but remember that after a few sessions with your dietitian, you will be armed with tonnes of information.  You will become an expert when it comes to your child’s nutrition. 

It can hurt when friends or family members don’t believe your child’s diagnosis such as a dairy allergy.  Some people even find it hard to believe that lactose intolerance is a genuine medical diagnosis! 

Speak to your dietitian for tips on how you can explain to loved ones what a lactose intolerance or milk allergy is in an easy to understand language (or divert them to this blog post for essential reading).

DO

Keep it flexible.  Even as a busy parent with time restrictions, think about batch cooking. It can be super helpful.  Once a week at a time that suits you, cook a few portions of meals that you know your child enjoys eating and pop it into the freezer.  

Become familiar with dairy free and egg free snacks (if your child is also allergic to egg) and keep a good supply at home or in your bag for when you are out and about.  Freezing home-made dairy free and egg free muffins for snacks after nursery or school can also be handy for you and the kids. 

DO

Remain calm when family members say “Can she not have a bit of cheese”?  Feel free to remind others what happens to your child if they do accidentally eat dairy.

DO

Is soy milk harmful for your child?  Do speak to your dietitian about whether soya is a suitable alternative to cow’s milk for cooking or as a main drink.  A small percentage of children can react to soy if they are also allergic to dairy. 

A popular misconception is that soy milk can cause infertility and contains oestrogen.  In reality, with the exception of babies under the age of 6 months, soy-based infant formula and soy milk can be given safely from 12 months of age, particularly if they are also following a plant-based diet.  Do check that the brand you choose is calcium fortified, has added B and D vitamins.

DO

To build variety into your child’s diet and if you are still worried about using soy, do check out the healthy competition.  There are a variety of plant drinks available on the market today but only a couple are appropriate for toddlers as a main drink.  In this blog post I’ve reviewed at least five different types (see “how to choose a dairy free milk on a plant-based diet”.  To build variety in your child’s diet).  You could select one type for cooking and another as your child’s main dairy free drink if you prefer.

 

DO

Make a nutritious choice for your child by offering a range of calcium fortified products such as soy, oat or coconut yoghurt type snacks.

 

DON’T

Try not to fall for the internet trap that soy is a carcinogenic devil.  Soy is not a carcinogen.  In fact, soy milk does contain phytoestrogens such as isoflavones which is present in higher quantities compared to other plant-based drinks such as almond milk or coconut milk.  Breastmilk does contain isoflavones but the amounts are significantly smaller in comparison to soy milk.  Although phytoestrogens are thought to have oestrogen like activity, once consumed and in the body, these actions are thought to be “weak” and biologically inactive.  The literature reassuringly describes reports of children who have grown up drinking soy-based infant formula to be perfectly healthy and thriving.

Consumption of soy isoflavones has also been studied in relation to breast cancer prevention with the majority of studies showing either a protective or no harmful association.

DO

With the support of your dietitian and allergy team, children can be challenged using a milk ladder.  For children with immediate or IgE mediated cow’s milk protein allergy, it’s best not to proceed with the milk ladder at home without prior agreement as skin prick testing may need to be organised first for children with moderate to severe dairy allergy. 

For children with lactose intolerance, you may find that children are gradually able to tolerate bigger quantities of lactose but this will vary from child to child.  Always chat to a registered paediatric dietitian if you are unsure.

Final words

It’s tempting to make changes to your child’s dairy free diet based on what you read online or after a casual conversation with a friend.  My advice?  Speak to your paediatric dietitian / children’s nutritionist about whatever’s on your mind.  Chances are, after a conversation with your nutrition expert you’ll have clarity, peace of mind and confidence that you are making the right decisions to support your child with lactose intolerance or a dairy allergy.

Lactose intolerance vs dairy allergy interview with 3-year old toddler #nutrition #vegan #cmpa - YouTube
 Let Me Help

Would you like to meet a children’s dietitian who has successfully helped families solve their nutrition problems from around the world?

Whether you are worried about picky eating, food allergy or need to help your child build a healthy relationship with food, I’ll help you manage these with confidence.

For bookings and enquiries email me on bahee.vandebor@gmail.com or book a free initial consultation here.

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Do you feel confused about which dairy free milk you should choose for your toddler following a dairy free, milk free or plant-based diet? 

Perhaps you worry that it doesn’t contain enough protein and whether it should contain any vitamins and minerals.  Or you are not sure how much plant drink your toddler should be having each day.  

I reviewed five different plant drinks in the following video and podcast episode. 

Keep reading to find out my findings or you can scroll down to listen to my recommendations in the brand new podcast episode.

Short on time?  No problem, I’ve summarised my recommendations for choosing a dairy free milk for your toddler into a handy downloadable checklist.  Simply subscribe to the podcast newsletter and send me an email with the heading ‘dairy free plant drink checklist’ and I’ll gladly send you a copy.

Let’s review the options available in supermarket shelves and tease out what’s appropriate as a breast milk substitute or even a prescribed special formula by your GP or paediatrician.

Remember, we are discussing suitable alternatives for your toddler who is at least over the age of 18 months.  Plant-based dairy free milks are never appropriate as a substitute for breastmilk or infant formula for babies less than 12 months of age, even if they have been diagnosed with a dairy allergy (also known as cow’s milk protein allergy). 

Breast milk is rich in protein, fat and carbohydrates as well as a full range of vitamins, minerals, hormones, digestive enzymes, essential fatty acids and antibodies that simply cannot be replicated or replaced by formula or a plant-based drinkconfused

How to choose the best dairy free milk on a plant-based diet - YouTube
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But before we get right into the different dairy free plant drinks for your toddler’s plant-based diet, I’d like to invite you to download for free five tasty dairy free recipes for kids. It’s super handy to have these five delicious dairy free recipes up your sleeve for any upcoming children’s parties. You’ll receive a biscuit recipe, an avocado and chocolate cake, as well as a plum tart recipe which is available exclusively only in this downloadable dairy free guide. So, go on, check it out and let me know what you think.

And as a bonus if your child is also following a gluten free diet, I’ve included instructions for you on how to manipulate the recipe so that it’s suitable on a gluten free diet, so I hope you enjoy them.

How to select a dairy free plant drink

If you’ve been thinking about moving away from breastmilk for your toddler or a specialist infant formula provided to your child to help manage a dairy allergy and the idea of a plant drink entices you, how should you select the best one? 

The decision does eventually boil down to personal preference but praise the plant drink that has been created with some consideration to nutrients such as calories, protein, B vitamins, calcium and iodine.  Selecting the ideal plant drink is not as easy as you might think, as some nutrients, vitamins and minerals require careful consideration.  For background reading on whether vegan diets see ‘Are Vegan Diets Safe For Children?’.

In this article, I’ll guide you through how to select a plant drink for your toddler with a dairy allergy or following a plant-based diet.  I’ll encourage you to consider the overall fat, protein, calories, calcium, B and D vitamins as well as any iodine that a plant drink may provide.

 

Coconut

I thought we’d start with coconut milk as it’s really popular at the moment.  Initially, coconut sparked a lot of interest with it’s unique fat composition consisting of a small amount of medium chain fats (see Coconut Fat – Friend Or Foe?).   

An important question to ask when you pick up a carton or any plant-based drink is – where’s the added calcium?   Obviously, cow’s milk is rich in calcium and regardless of the role of alternative sources of calcium enriched foods on a plant-based diet, cow’s milk would usually be the main source of calcium for toddlers.  This essential bone building mineral should therefore be replaced in any plant drink that you choose for your little one.  This is especially important if you are switching from a prescribed milk free infant formula to a dairy free plant drink.

If you have your heart set on coconut based drinks and you are interested in organic varieties, this is perfectly fine, but just make sure that the brand you choose is calcium fortified. Some organic varieties are notorious for skipping important minerals such as calcium.

How much calcium for strong bones?

We’ve established that plant-based drinks require added calcium to help meet your toddler’s requirements.  Children aged between 1-3 years of age, require 320mg calcium per day.

Select a brand offering around 120 mg per 100ml.   That’s the amount of calcium that you would find naturally in cow’s milk and the amount that you would usually find if you look at the back of the cartoon and along the 100ml column for calcium.

 

How much protein?

Although you can find brands of coconut drinks that are calcium fortified (look for brands providing at least 120mg of calcium per 100ml), when you screen for protein this is where coconut drink is going to let us down.  The protein content is disappointingly low, as are the overall calories.  With the exception of Koyo’s latest chilled coconut drink range offering 1g protein per 100ml, there’s usually only around 0.2 – 0.5g protein per 100ml in most brands of coconut drinks. 

To put this into context, let’s have a look at cow’s milk. There’s about 3.3 grams of protein per 100ml so 0.2 grams in coconut milk in contrast is ridiculously low.  Now I know what you’re going to be asking me, does it really matter?

Could protein requirements be met by using alternative plant or animal sources of proteins from your child’s diet? Absolutely, we could certainly have a conversation about your child’s eating pattern and choices and manipulate the diet.

However, just bear in mind that kids at this age are unreliable eaters.  Their appetites vary as do their food preferences. Toddlers can be agonisingly fussy eaters. If this is something that you’re worried about, you are right in that children’s protein intake can be compromised.

I believe that sometimes we can overhype protein requirements for children.  If your child is eating a lovely range of foods they are probably meeting their requirements for protein. However, if your child’s dairy free drink is a plant-based drink like coconut, most brands are low in protein, and it’s possible that on some days, your child is not getting enough protein.

Coconut Summary

Coconut milk is fine for you mummy if you enjoy it in your coffee or cup of tea but sadly for children they just need a little more protein from a dairy free plant-based drink.  The exception is Koyo’s newly released range called ‘Koyo dairy free super’ which contains per 100ml, 1.2g protein, 2.5g added sugar, 170mg calcium and modest additions of iodine and vitamin B1.

‘Banned’ for toddlers – tiger nut and rice drink

I walked down the supermarket aisle and I spotted tiger nut drink. That sounded really interesting. So, I inspected the ingredients list and it was predominantly rice based (it’s listed as one of the main ingredients).   If you’re not sure why rice drinks are contraindicated for young toddlers, food standards agency clearly states that children under the age of five years should not be offered it as a dairy free substitute to breast milk, infant formula or cows’ milk even if your child has been diagnosed with a dairy allergy.  This is due to the presence of arsenic that’s naturally present in rice and rice related products.

Shocked?  Try not to worry.  You wouldn’t be expected to eliminate all sources of arsenic from rice or rice related products from your child’s diet. 

Your toddler could however, drink between 300-500ml of plant-based drinks daily, so his/her exposure to arsenic from a rice-based drink is significantly higher compared to a heavier adult.  It’s down to body size and that’s why children under the age of five years should never be offered rice drink as a dairy free substitute to cows’ milk.

Hazlenut and nut drink

I reviewed hazelnut and the almond drinks range. Unfortunately, it’s the same story for protein.  It’s just too low in protein for young children.  Some brands are also not fortified with calcium so just be careful about checking the back of the carton to check what’s actually been added.

Some brands like the Alpro range do have calcium added as well as B vitamins and vitamin D.  The protein is still problematic as are  the calories which are too low for young toddlers (particularly if your child has a tendency towards fussy eating). 

And like I mentioned earlier, toddlers can be unreliable eaters. They can eat quite a bit at one meal with a lovely range of foods but then over the next few days may not be very interested in protein or calcium rich foods.

For peace of mind, it is recommended to pick a drink that’s going to be a suitable substitute for breast milk or cows’ milk from about the age of 18 months with a decent profile for protein. I’d recommend picking brands that offer at least 1g of protein per 100ml.  Do watch out for organic varieties, not all brands are fortified with calcium.

If your preference is a nut-based plant drink then your toddler will need an alternative calcium supplement.   Equally, some brands don’t include any B vitamins or vitamin D either so encourage toddler to enjoy their two portions of fruit and three of vegetables daily for their vitamins!

Hemp

You could use hemp milk and some brands are fortified with calcium.  Regrettably, a quick scan of the nutrition facts table revealed low protein at 0.5g per 100ml.  You now know that compared to cow’s milk which offers at least 3g of protein per 100ml, this is a very diluted drink nutritionally.  There’s so much variety today if you are managing a toddler requiring a dairy free diet or if your family are pursuing a plant-based diet, therefore you may wish to walk past hemp drinks.

Oat

I had a look at some of the oat drinks that’s available and there’s a good variety, including barista type drinks for us mums and dads following a dairy free diet.  Your final pick should be unsweetened without added sugar for children so do read the nutrition tables.

Once again, check for added calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12.  The good news is that some brands contain around 1g of protein per 100ml.  That’s a decent offering of protein and double the quantity found in nut, hemp and most coconut drinks. 

We’re getting closer to the protein profile that I’d like to see in a plant drink or an alternative to breast milk and cows’ milk for our young toddlers.

Protein content – it makes a difference

We’ve discussed protein in length because it’s an essential nutrient that will help your toddler grow.  Without the right level of protein in your child’s diet, their linear growth such as height can be compromised.  Protein is also key for muscle and tissue repair so it’s imperative that your toddler’s basic requirements for protein are met through a balanced diet.

Soya

I won’t deny it, this is my preferred cow’s milk protein free alternative drink is definitely soya.  Why?  There’s at least 3.0-3.5g of protein per 100ml which is exactly the same as cow’s milk.  

Soya drinks have transformed over the years.  You can find brands without added sugar, roasted or unroasted, organic with added calcium (120mg calcium per 100ml) and with added B vitamins and vitamin D. 

The recently released Alpro range include a toddler growing up drink based on soya with added iodine and vitamin B12.  This is a bonus if your child is following a vegan or plant-based diet and you are looking for a cows’ milk substitute with iodine for your toddler.

Iodine is an important mineral that can potentially be lacking in vegan diets.  The main source are animal products including cow’s milk.  Your body uses iodine to make thyroid hormones which are important for the normal development of the brain and bones particularly during pregnancy and in infancy.

Do shop around as Marks and Spencer as well as Morrison’s also offer soya drinks with added iodine.  Don’t forget to consider your chosen brand’s profile for protein, overall calories, B vitamins and vitamin D. 

Are you still struggling to pick the right plant-based drink for your toddler?  If you enjoyed this article and you’d like guidance from a paediatric dietitian book a free initial call here to discuss how I can help you.

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King Prawn Rice For A Fussy Eater

This is what you’ll need to prepare your king prawn rice for a fussy eater:

3/4 cup wholegrain Basmati rice

1 tablespoon vegetable oil (rapeseed)

1/2 red onion, chopped finely

1 garlic clove, chopped

1/3 cup green peas

2-3 tomatoes, diced

1 tablespoon Cooks Ingredients Frozen Thai Mix

250ml fish stock (optional)

200g cooked king prawns

1 large handful baby spinach

Learn how to nurture a fussy eater one bite at a time. Bahee is based at one of the world’s leading children’s hospitals and offers premium one to one nutrition consulting services.

Bahee Van de Bor

Paediatric Dietitian

How to make the king prawn rice for a fussy eater

If you are looking for dinner ideas for picky eaters, then this king prawn rice for a fussy eater is perfect.

It’s naturally gluten free, wheat free, egg free, soy free and of course milk and dairy free.

If your child doesn’t need an egg-free diet, then don’t hesitate to throw it in.  Eggs can be useful for increasing the protein value of recipes for your fussy eater.

You can also mix up the vegetables in this recipe, you could try sweetcorn, spring onions, red or yellow bell peppers/capsicum, mushrooms or even chickpeas and lentils to reap the benefits from plant proteins.

This popular recipe is basically a one pot dish so it’s quick and easy for nannies and busy parents to prepare after work.

Did you know that this popular king prawn rice can be whipped up and ready on the table within 30 minutes?  You could even prepare some of the ingredients the evening before so that you can get started straight away.  If you are short on time, you can use white Basmati rice which cooks in 15 minutes.

If you are worried about introducing prawns to little people, remember that early introduction of high allergenic foods is actually beneficial.  You can read more about that here in this article: When To Start Weaning High Allergenic Foods.

If you have babies under 12 months of age in the house, then a no added salt diet is necessary.  Rather than preparing a separate meal for your baby, skip the stock and use fresh herbs such as coriander and dill to flavour the dish.  I didn’t have any at home or they definietely would have gone in.

Method For The King Prawn Rice For A Fussy Eater
  1. Bring a pan of water to boil then cook the basmati rice until half cooked.  Drain excess water and set aside.  If using frozen peas, you could also add these to the pan five minutes before the rice is cooked.
  2. Whilst the rice is cooking, heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan and saute the onions, garlic and frozen Thai mix.
  3. Next, add in the tomatoes, frying a little before adding in the stock and rice.  Cook until the stock is fully absorbed by the rice.
  4. Finally, mix in the peas, baby spinach and king prawns.
  5. Dish out to hungry bellies.

I’m pleased to report that this king prawn rice for a fussy eater is a favourite amongst both my toddlers.

This popular recipe gets a star rating of FIVE BANANAS as determined by the enthusiasm that it was eaten, aroma as it arrived at the table and finally, the empty plates of my children.

Let Me Help

Would you like to meet a children’s dietitian who has successfully helped families solve their nutrition problems from around the world?

Whether you are worried about picky eating, food allergy or need to help your child build a healthy relationship with food, I’ll help you manage these with confidence.

For bookings and enquiries email me on bahee.vandebor@gmail.com or book a free initial consultation here.

Bahee Van de Bor

Paediatric Dietitian

The post How To Cook Popular King Prawn Rice For Fussy Eater appeared first on UK Kids Nutrition.

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King Prawn Rice For A Fussy Eater

3/4 cup wholegrain Basmati rice

1 tablespoon vegetable oil (rapeseed)

1/2 red onion, chopped finely

1 garlic clove, chopped 

1/3 cup green peas

2-3 tomatoes, diced

1 tablespoon Cooks Ingredients Frozen Thai Mix

250ml fish stock (optional)

200g cooked king prawns

1 large handful baby spinach

 

 

Learn how to nurture a fussy eater one bite at a time. Bahee is based at one of the world’s leading children’s hospitals and offers premium one to one nutrition consulting services.

Bahee Van de Bor

Paediatric Dietitian

How to make the king prawn rice for a fussy eater

If you are looking for dinner ideas for picky eaters, then this king prawn rice for a fussy eater is perfect. 

It’s naturally gluten free, wheat free, egg free, soy free and of course milk and dairy free.

If your child doesn’t need an egg-free diet, then don’t hesitate to throw it in.  Eggs can be useful for increasing the protein value of recipes for your fussy eater.

You can also mix up the vegetables in this recipe, you could try sweetcorn, spring onions, red or yellow bell peppers/capsicum, mushrooms or even chickpeas and lentils to reap the benefits from  plant proteins .

A one pot dish is quick and easy for nannies and busy parents to prepare after work.   

Did you know that this popular king prawn rice can be whipped up and ready on the table within 30 minutes?  You could even prepare some of the ingredients the evening before so that you can get started straight away.  If you are short on time, you can use white Basmati rice which cooks in 15 minutes.

If you are worried about introducing prawns to little people, remember that early introduction of high allergenic foods is actually beneficial.  You can read more about that here in this article: When To Start Weaning High Allergenic Foods.

If you have babies under 12 months of age in the house, then a no added salt  diet is necessary.  Rather than prepare a separate meal for your baby, skip the stock and use fresh herbs such as coriander and dill to flavour the dish.  I didn’t have any at home or they would have gone in.

Method For The King Prawn Rice For A Fussy Eater
  1. Bring a pan of water to boil then cook the basmati rice until half cooked.  Drain excess water and set aside.  If using frozen peas, you could also add these to the pan five minutes before the rice is cooked.
  2. Whilst the rice is cooking, heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan and saute the onions, garlic and Thai mix.
  3. Next add in the tomatoes, stock and rice.  Cook until the stock is fully absorbed by the rice.
  4. Finally, mix in the peas, baby spinach and king prawns.
  5. Dish out to hungry bellies.

I’m pleased to report that this king prawn rice for a fussy eater is a favourite amongst both my toddlers.

This popular recipe gets a star rating of FIVE BANANAS as determined by the enthusiasm that it was eaten, aroma as it arrived at the table and finally, the empty plates of my children.

 

Let Me Help

Would you like to meet a children’s dietitian who has successfully helped families solve their nutrition problems from around the world? 

 

Whether you are worried about picky eating, food allergy or need to help your child build a healthy relationship with food, I’ll help you manage these with confidence.

 

For bookings and enquiries email me on bahee.vandebor@gmail.com

Bahee Van de Bor

Paediatric Dietitian

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Dairy Free Banana Pancakes with Pumpkin

“Food allergy, one tiny part of who your child is – it doesn’t define the whole him/her.”

Are your kids ready to ease into Autumn?  Being the season of pumpkins, I couldn’t resist sharing an easy practical and tasty dairy free banana pancakes recipe with you.

Do you know that the flavour of pumpkins can actually be overpowering in baking?

 

Bahee Van de Bor

Paediatric Dietitian

 

Why you’ll love these healthy banana pancakes..

They are fluffy and perfectly sized for toddlers.  My daughter even asked me “is there chocolate in this?”

Cute, but no.  The pumpkin does caramelise into this chocolatey flavour if you let the pancakes sit in the frying pan for longer than the intended 1-2 minutes.

You can also add 1/4 teaspoon of mixed spice which is entirely optional.  

A pinch makes all the difference but it’s entirely up to you.

This gluten free pancake batter made 5 pancakes and with two tablespoons of maple syrup that’s roughly 4g sugar per pancake (which is just under a teaspoon).  

Sugar tip: store the rest of the maple syrup bottle in the cupboard and top the pancakes with chopped fruit or berries.  Remember, you don’t need to fear sugar, instead, teach your kids how to enjoy sweetened foods in portion sizes that are suitable for their little bellies.

What can your kids expect?

 

Fabulously healthy banana pancakes that are high in fibre owing to the smart carbs from the oat flour.

Oats contain around 9g fibre per 100g whist wholemeal or wholegrain flours provide around half the fibre content.

 

Ingredients

1/2 cup rolled oats (40g)

40g farine de blé noir or gluten-free flour

2 rounded teaspoons gluten free baking powder

1 medium banana mashed (110g)

2 heaped tablespoons pumpkin puree

4 tablespoons calcium enriched plant milk

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

 1/4 teaspoon ground mixed spice

1-2 tablespoons maple syrup

Method
  1. In a mixing bowl, gently stir together the oat flour and gluten free flour.  To make the oat flour, simply grind this into a powder using a coffee grinder.  If you don’t have a grinder, just use the oats as they are.  Next, add the baking powder and combine.
  2. Mix in the mashed banana, pumpkin puree, plant milk and apple cider vinegar.
  3. Gently whisk, then add the ground mixed spice if using and finally the maple syrup.
  4. Heat a non-stick frying pan and add 1/2 teaspoon of dairy free spread or vegetable oil to stop the batter from sticking to the pan.
  5. Add two tablespoons of batter, flatten a little using the back of a spoon and allow to cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
  6. When the edges are dry, flip and allow the pancake to cook for a further minute or two.
  7. Serve the banana pancakes with plenty of fresh fruit and a glass of calcium-enriched plant milk.

This recipe makes roughly 5 small pancakes. 

These banana pancakes with pumpkin are dairy free, milk free, egg free, gluten and wheat free. 

These are also perfect for weaning, simply cut these up into strips for exploring hands!

For some children, you may need to purchase gluten free oats so do check this with your dietitian.

Enjoyed this article?  You may also like:

Mastering Food Allergy

Does your child have a food allergy? Do you also worry about fussiness and tantrums at the dinner table? 

Does it feel like your child has regressed from what used to be good eating and you just need help expanding the variety of their free from diet?  Get in touch to see how I can help you.

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Designing a dairy free meal plan

Managing your child’s dairy allergy can be confusing, frightening and complicated to manage on your own.

A consultation with a registered paediatric dietitian is essential to help you accurately diagnose and manage your child with a dairy allergy.

Note, cow’s milk protein allergy should not be confused with lactose intolerance which is sometimes known as milk intolerance. 

Whilst dairy allergy is an abnormal response by the body to the protein present in dairy, lactose intolerance is an inability by the body to digest a carbohydrate known as lactose that’s naturally present in dairy.  In lactose intolerance, a strict dairy free diet is not always required.  Speak to your dietitian for bespoke advice.

Sarah Norris

Bahee Van de Bor

Paediatric Dietitian

“Upto 3% of UK infants suffer from milk allergy.  A dairy allergy to cow’s milk protein can lead to immediate or delayed symptoms. Look out for blood in stools, vomiting, diarrhoea or constipation, severe eczema and gastro-oesophageal reflux. “

 

On the other hand, in dairy allergy and depending on your child’s diagnosis, your dietitian may recommend following a very strict dairy free diet. 

This is when you will need to follow a process for designing the best dairy free meal plan that suits your child but also your family.

 

Step one when designing the best dairy free meal plan

Once you get home after your expert consultation with the paediatric dietitian, screen all food labels for the word ‘milk’.  

Your dietitian will give you a list of words to look out for when reading the ingredients list which you can find in almost all packaged food items. 

Some foods have hidden milk as an ingredient which would be contraindicated on a dairy free diet so make sure that you screen all food labels carefully.

In the UK, most packaged food items contain allergy advice and will have ingredients listed in bold if it contains any of the common food allergens such as milk.

Step two in designing the best dairy free meal plan

It’s confusing but dairy and milk are literally the same things when following a dairy free diet.

Lactose is the natural carbohydrate found in dairy and milk but if a packaged food item lists lactose as an ingredient, it’s impossible to guarantee that the product is not free from cow’s milk protein. 

Sure lactose is not a problem in cows milk protein allergy, however, most manufacturers wouldn’t be able to guarantee that the product isn’t contaminated with milk protein.

As you know, in dairy allergy, it’s the protein present in cows milk that your baby or child will react to.

Your dietitian will most likely ask you to exclude foods containing lactose too so make sure that any food items that contain the words dairy, milk or lactose are removed from your child’s dairy free menu plan.

Ask your dietitian for the full breakdown of words that can contain hidden milk protein.  Unfortunately, a dairy free diet is not as straightforward as you may think.  It’s worthwhile booking in a session with an experienced paediatric dietitian.

Step three for designing the best dairy free meal plan

Make a list of your child’s favourite meals. If your baby has been recently diagnosed with cows milk protein allergy and you are ready to start weaning, make a list of your favourite family recipes.

For easy dairy free family recipes do visit the recipe section in this blog for inspiration.

By using clever substitute ingredients, you can easily revamp your child’s pre-loved recipes to suit a dairy free diet.

Dairy free recipes don’t always need specialist ingredients but for sauces, you could probably omit the milk or cream.   

Here’s a clever trick.  Now use oat or soy-based plant milk to make a delicious milk free sauce.  You could even use a thickener like cornflour to thicken the sauce if it’s runny or needs a creamy touch. 

Cornflour is great because it is also naturally gluten free. It’s perfect for children with multiple food allergies, for example, if your child is also following a milk and gluten free diet.

But don’t stop there.  Considering that butter is a popular ingredient in many baking recipes, simply switch to a vegetable spread for an instant dairy free makeover.  But be careful, some plant based spreads do have milk solids as an added ingredient to boost flavour.  It really is worth dedicating some time towards reading food labels carefully.

Avocado is also fantastic in dairy free baking so see easy avocado and chocolate milk free cake.

In some cases, children following a dairy free diet may also be asked to follow a soy free diet.  This is because a small percentage of proteins found in soy are similar to cows milk proteins.  Not all children with a milk allergy will react, but if after a trial of a dairy free diet, your child does not have complete symptom resolution, speak to your dietitian about the appropriateness of further exclusions.

So this is certainly a time to book a review session with your childrens dietitian for further help with menu planning with multiple food allergies.

Fourth, you don’t need hundreds of recipes.  The logic here is that if you can find five solid milk free recipes for lunch and dinner, then you are good to go.
Think about it, a delicious fish cake recipe like this easy salmon and haddock fish cake recipe can feature at least twice in your dairy free meal plan for the week.
What’s more, if you get stuck on recipe ideas, check in every fortnight for new recipes here on the blog. 
You can also subscribe to my newsletter so that you can be notified every time I publish a new milk free recipe for kids on the blog. 
That’s it!  Kids nutrition can be challenging if you are also faced with having to deal with a food allergy but writing a dairy free menu plan can be simple and save you time in the long run.

If you find the process daunting, then book a Skype or video consultation with me and I’ll give you tools with tips that will help save you time and bring joy back into family meals. 

  Bottom line – how to plan a dairy free menu plan
  • read labels to identify which cupboard items your child can have on a diary free diet
  • remember dairy, lactose and milk all mean cows milk protein and won’t be suitable on a dairy free diet for your child with a milk allergy
  • write down your family’s favourite recipes and see how you can revamp these with easy dairy free substitutions 
  • jot down 5 favourite recipes that will work for lunch and dinner then rotate these during the week, making extra portions and freezing as necessary.   
  • Don’t be afraid to tweak recipes until you have tasty variations that the whole family can enjoy and gradually build on your bank of dairy free recipes.
  • Subscribe to my newsletter and you’ll receive at least 1-2 dairy free recipes every month.
Mastering Food Allergy

Does your child have a food allergy? Do you also worry about fussiness and tantrums at the dinner table? 

Does it feel like your child has regressed from what used to be good eating and you just need help expanding the variety of their free from diet?  Get in touch to see how I can help you.

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The first step to making a vegan yoghurt recipe is to choose your base.

I strongly recommend choosing a calcium fortified plant milk. 

Soy is perfect as it has the best profile for protein.  If your child is following a milk and soy free diet, you may wish to choose a nut, oat or coconut based drink.

Just remember to check for the following:

  • has the plant drink of choice been fortified with calcium?
  • does it have any B vitamins?
  • any added vitamin D?
  • any added sugar?
  • any other bonus nutrients e.g. Vitamin B12 or iodine?

It’s a small commitment of your time but did you know that it’s apparently very easy to make?  You will also be in control of any added sugars, meaning, if you struggle to choose the best children’s yoghurt you will thoroughly enjoy making your own!

  Try this recipe that I found online:

1 L of plant drink

1 dose or 1 capsule of milk-free probiotic

2 teaspoons sugar

Mix the ingredients together and follow the instructions of your yoghurt maker.  If you don’t have one, mix the ingredients in a glass jar, cover with a cheesecloth and allow the vegan yoghurt to develop for up to 24-48 hours in a warm place.  

This vegan yoghurt recipe is brilliant as it has very little added sugar.  When you start reading nutrition labels of sweetened non-dairy based yoghurts, you will notice that although marketed as “healthy”, some brands of vegan yoghurts do contain sugar by up to 12g per 100g.

What’s more, some brands offer a blend of added sugar with fruit which also contributes to the overall sugar content of the yoghurt.

Keep it simple

No time to follow through with this vegan yoghurt recipe?  You’ll find that the supermarket branded ‘plain’ or simple non-dairy and milk free yoghurt-like offerings are suitable, but they just may not have any added calcium or bonus vitamins and minerals.

A dessert quick enough to please is to blitz a large handful of fresh or frozen berries and/or mango.  Now pour the delicious fruit puree over any unsweetened milk-free yoghurt.  Simple yet delicious.

Mastering Food Allergy

Does your child have a food allergy? Do you also worry about fussiness and tantrums at the dinner table? 

Does it feel like your child has regressed from what used to be good eating and you just need help expanding the variety of their free from diet?  Get in touch to see how I can help you.

 

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