Dr Deb Levy Fussy Eaters Interview

Dr Deb Levy Fussy Eaters Interview

Quick, Easy and Healthy Lemon Tart

1 cup almond meal
1 cup desiccated coconut
12 Natural Delights Medjool Dates, seeds removed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

6 egg yolks
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Zest and juice two lemons
4 tablespoons coconut oil

Place the base ingredients into your processor and blend until the mixture resembles a fine, sticky crumb. Use your hands to press the mixture firmly into the base and a centimetre or two up the sides of an 18cm spring form pan. Place the base into the fridge to set.
Place the egg yolks, honey, maple syrup, lemon zest and juice into a saucepan and whisk to combine. Place the saucepan over low – medium heat and add the oil. Whisk continuously for five minutes or until the mixture starts to thicken. Do not let the mixture boil. You may need to reduce the heat. Spoon the mixture into a bowl and leave to cool. Once cool spoon the mixture over your base and return to the fridge to set.
Slice. Serve. Eat and enjoy.

New Research Finds Australian Children Fussier Eaters Than Ever Before

Leading paediatrician concerned we are undernourishing our children as the rate of fussy eating doubles in recent years.

New research has estimated as many as 85 per cent of Australian children, aged 2-12 years, are fussy eaters, leaving them at risk of potential nutritional gaps within their diet.

This new research shows a significant increase in the amount of children parents identified as fussy eaters, with the number almost doubling in recent years.

The study, conducted by YouGov Galaxy Research on behalf of Blackmores, also revealed two out of three kids would rather eat junk food, which can be laden with sugar and salt, over fruit and vegetables.

Specialist paediatrician, Dr Deb Levy says while opting for sugary foods, which may seem an easier solution to fussy eating, parents should encourage children to develop a healthy relationship with nutrient-dense foods.

As a general rule parents should be conscious of the amount of sugar in the food and drinks their child is consuming. It's important to understand the difference between refined sugars and natural sugars and how to identify all those words that ultimately mean sugar.

"By cutting out sugary junk food and sweets, we aren't depriving our children, but instead are helping them to thrive," says Dr Levy.

The key is ensuring you are providing your children with a range of micronutrients, as this is important to support kids' health potential.

These nutrients are commonly found in fruits and vegetables, but the challenge is getting kids to eat sufficient variety of these foods for optimum health. For instance, the study showed more than three out of four Australian children, 2-12 years, refused to eat at least some vegetables and only 12% eat mostly healthy foods.

"All too often I see parents come in with their toddlers and kids who are eating a white diet – this is what I call a diet of pasta, cheese and milk, very much lacking in fruit and vegetables," says Dr Levy.

"Whilst a healthy balanced diet is first and foremost, and parents should encourage this, with fussy eating seemingly on the rise there may be a place for supplementation to help support these nutritional gaps. If you have any concerns about your child's diet, visit your healthcare practitioner."

The research found only 14 per cent of parents are regularly supplementing their children's diet with a vitamin to help fill nutritional gaps. This may be due to the perception that all kids' vitamins are packed with sugar, which may not necessarily be the case.

"If your child's diet is lacking in healthy foods they may be at risk of dietary insufficiencies. It's important to keep an eye out for this as nutrients are necessary for healthy growth and brain development."

This concern extends beyond the foods Australian children are or aren't eating, but also the amount of physical activity they are doing.

In the day and age of ample screen time, the research also highlighted one in two parents were worried about whether their child is getting enough physical activity.

"Kids often mimic their parents, so I cannot express how important it is to stay off your phone during mealtime, as well as living an active lifestyle yourself. It's important to set these boundaries and expectations earlier to help ensure your kids are not being chewed up by too much screen time", says Dr Levy.

Key research findings include:
75% of parents are at least a little concerned their child is not getting all the nutrition that they need.
74% of 2-12 year olds would prefer to eat fast food/snack throughout the day or have soft drinks if left to their own choice
Almost one in two children would rather snack all day than have a prepared meal
Kids most disliked foods includes: 61% = Brussel sprouts, 45% = spinach, 32% = broccoli, 19% = fish, 18% = eggs
41% of parents give their 2-12-year-old vitamin supplements
20% of parents are concerned about the amount of sugar in some children's vitamins
Overall diet/health is the most mentioned (81%) definition of wellbeing for their children

"It is a little concerning that one in three children would rather eat chips or crisps for their meal, rather than a meal prepared for them by their parents.

"I understand how frustrating it can be when children refuse to eat meals, but considering the incidence of overweight children, it really is the case of adequate food intake, but under-nourishing with these foods.

"Ultimately as parents we want to do the best we can, nourishing and nurturing our children to reach their full potential. Making the right choices for our children can be hard but with the right help and support it can be made easier."

The research also estimated more than one-third of parents are dealing with children who refuse to eat a main meal at least every few days and a further one-third of parents have to promise a treat to their child at least every few days to get them to eat or finish their meal.

For more information, recipes and activities to help grow your Little Well Being's full potential, visit www.blackmores.com.au/superkids

Quick and Easy Pancakes

1 cup buckwheat flour (145 grams)
1 tablespoon honey (25 grams)
1 cup milk (240 grams)*
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon bicard soda
pinch of salt

Place the ingredients into your processor and blend until the mixture is smooth and well combined.
Preheat your frypan to medium heat. Add coconut oil or butter to the pan. Once melted, pour small amounts of the mixture into the pan ensuring there is a little space between each pancake. Turn the pancakes when bubbles appear around the sides and top of the mixture. Cook for approximately 2 minutes on the reverse side and repeat until all of the mixture has been used.
Serve. Eat and enjoy.

Interview with Dr Deb Levy, Consultant Paediatrician

Question: How is your holistic approach to children's health, unique?

Dr Deb Levy: As a paediatrician with a holistic approach I look at the child as a whole, not only the disease or symptoms they may have. I investigate their diet, lifestyle, physical and emotional environment and use all of this information to create a comprehensive management plan inclusive of conventional medicine. I believe this approach better enables me to manage conditions, prevent other illnesses and help children thrive.

Question: What are your top tips for the parents of fussy eaters?

Dr Deb Levy: My top tips for parents: Empower yourself. Know exactly what your child is eating and then establish what they should be eating. Know the recommended serving sizes and allowances. Learn about healthier options for foods eg. good quality sourdough versus sliced white bread. Know how to read a food label. There is a lot of information out there and I recommend consulting your health care provider or using reputable online resources like government organisation sites and Blackmores Superkids hub.

Set a good example. Children learn by mimicking us. As parents we should sit down with our children to eat and enjoy the foods we want them to. Yes, that means eating brussel srouts with a smile on your face!

Involve children and make it fun. Most children prefer if they have some control over their food choices. So give them healthy options and decide together what to eat and get them washing, chopping or even setting the table. Meal time should be enjoyable and spent together as a family. For younger children you can make it fun by creating games like naming foods (eg Mr Broccoli head), or practicing counting and colours (eg how many green beans do you have?).

Don't give up! It can take multiple attempts for a child to introduce a food into their diet. 10-20 times according to some studies. Don't get discouraged when they refuse the food you've loving created. Keep calm and keep offering.

Question: How can all parents encourage children to develop a healthy relationship with nutrient-dense foods?

Dr Deb Levy: I recommend sitting down with your child and eating with them. It's about setting a good example and making meal time about enjoying each other as a family without all the pressure on food. Make the associations with food positive. I know it can be very stressful if you have a fussy eater, but try not to get angry but rather give encouragement and positive reinforcement for any small steps they make take e.g. well done for tasting that yummy beetroot.

Question: Is it possible to recalibrate a kids' tastebuds?

Dr Deb Levy: Absolutely. Although children naturally prefer sweet foods, breastmilk is actually very sweet, it is possible to shift towards less sweet foods. You do this by decreasing their sugar intake and especially cutting out the processed foods with refined sugars that makes food much sweeter than nature intended. Also be aware of any perceived health foods or supplements that may be packed full of sugar. Children should have no more than 3- 8 teaspoons (12-32g) of added sugar per day. By decreasing the amount of sugar they begin to better appreciate the flavours and sweetness of natural foods.

Question: How can parents ensure their children are eating enough fruit and vegetables?

Dr Deb Levy: Planning and preparation is really helpful here. Decide what foods you'd like to feed the family for the week and have everything prepped ready to eat or cook. Keep your kitchen full of only healthy foods to eat. This way when hunger strikes it's easy to reach for a healthy food and not be tempted.

Question: What types of nutritionally dense food are crucial for children?

Dr Deb Levy: If a child's diet does not include a variety of healthy foods, they may be at risk of nutritional deficiencies that can impact on their health, growth and behaviour. Children should really eat a rainbow of foods. The rainbow refers to different coloured fruits and vegetables that will provide a wide variety of nutrients needed to help children reach their full developmental potential. Other nutrient dense foods I also like to include in children's diets are: iron rich foods (e.g. liver), oily fish (e.g. salmon, sardines) and a variety of green leafy vegetables

Interview by Brooke Hunter