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Health

Food Allergy and Intolerance Friendly Party Food Ideas

I was talking to the lovely Kara of Little Foodie Guide the other day and mentioned that it’s Gracie’s 3rd birthday coming up and that I’m looking for party food ideas so the majority if not all of the food she will be able to eat.

Kara has kindly provided me with some awesome ideas to share with the HGG community – amazing!!

Kara says as little Gracie’s birthday is coming up, I wanted to compile a list of allergy friendly party food to share with all of her lovely allergy parent followers. We don’t have any food allergies in our family, but this is the food I have made for my son’s birthdays in the past. I’ve also had the honour of being asked to cater for several friends’ birthday parties. These days our kids know at least one child with a food allergy, so to take the stress out of your next party, I hope you’ll find this list useful. All of the party food here is healthy, gluten free, dairy free, egg free, peanut free (plus tree nut free options), and refined sugar free. Just as important – it’s all easy to prepare, fun, and colourful!

Berry and yoghurt ‘sundaes’

Something Sweet

  • Rainbow fruit platter – on a large platter, create a colourful rainbow out of sliced fruit.
  • Berry and yoghurt ‘sundaes’ – layer berries and coconut yoghurt in little clear cups or glasses. Sprinkle some gluten and nut free granola on top.
  • Fruit skewers – put chopped fruit onto icypole sticks (or skewers for older kids). A little dipping coconut yoghurt, or tahini, or melted raw chocolate would be fun.
  • Sliced fruit with nut or seed butter. Banana slices topped with almond butter, or apples with tahini.
  • Bliss balls – there is an abundance of recipes out there, or start experimenting yourself with seeds, coconut, cacao, dates, dried apricots, chia seeds, coconut oil, cinnamon, sweet potato, and any other allergy friendly ingredients you have.

Drinks

  • Mini smoothies – blend some dairy free milk, fruit, and vanilla extract. Pour into cute cups or bottles with colourful straws.
  • Water is all kids need but infused water is lovely special party drink. Fill a jug with water (still or sparkling) and add in fresh lemon slices, mint, cucumber, and strawberries.

Bliss balls

Savoury finger food

  • Meatballs and dipping sauce – mix some beef mince with grated carrot and zucchini, roll into balls and pan fry. They can be served warm or cold with a lovely homemade tomato sauce.
  • Antipasto platter – most kids love a platter with all kinds of interesting bits and pieces that they can choose for themselves. Cold meat like roasted chicken or ham off the bone, roasted veggies, olives, artichokes, sundried tomatoes (check ingredients for allergens for all of these unless you cook everything, or make your own marinade yourself).
  • Sushi or rice paper rolls – both are simple to make once you master the art of rolling.
  • Dips and veggie sticks – make your own hummus or other dairy free dip, or use cashew cheese, in individual cups with carrot and cucumber sticks.
  • Salmon and sweet potato patties – put some lovely fresh salmon, cooked sweet potato, and coriander or chives into a food processor and blitz until combined. Form into balls and cook in a pan or oven.
  • Kale chips – pull the leaves off a bunch and coat in olive oil, add a little sea salt and pepper. Bake in the oven until crispy.
  • Roasted veggie chips – finely slice some sweet potato, pumpkin, and beetroot. Coat with olive oil or coconut oil, and bake in the oven until crispy.

 

Dips and veggie sticks

Serving tips

Make it fun: Use individual pots or mini buckets the kids can take home with them, use cookie cutters to cut out fruit, use icy-pole sticks, and paper patty cases.

Think of the environment: There’s no need to use a whole lot of disposable plastic just for a couple of hours of fun. There are plenty of eco-friendly options available like bamboo or paper that you can recycle. Kids can eat off regular plates too, or just keep it all finger food so they can pick and then go and play. Mess is inevitable!

Don’t overcomplicate it: Kids are happy to eat almost anything particularly when they’re with other kids, and there’s lots of chaos and giggles. Relax, enjoy, and cherish this special day – your child is one year older.

 

Kara is a mum on a mission to help kids eat a range of colourful and nutritious foods. As a professional nanny, she gained a wealth of experience cooking for the tiny picky eaters and the mini food lovers alike. She created her blog, Little Foodie Guide, as a hub for parents and experts to share real food recipes, tips, stories, and support. She is dedicating this month to kids with food allergies and intolerances, and June will be all about party food, so check back for some more ideas and recipes.

 

 

 

 

On a side note I also wanted to share that I’ve created a Facebook Support and Chat group  for parents who are going through similar issues and it would be great to connect with you all over there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food Allergy Safe Party Food

Health

Chronic Constipation you’re giving me the S^%$*

Chronic Constipation

I understand this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea to read, but when you become a parent things that never crossed your mind sometimes end up being your day to day worries with your child – cue my life right now!

I’ve not really mentioned this openly over on my social media accounts,  but the past few weeks have been very, very difficult at our home.   After Grace had a 24 hour gastro bug which was horrific in itself, she’s not been the same since.

Unfortunately when a child who already has a sensitive gut like Grace gets Gastro, it completely upsets their system and we are still feeling it weeks afterwards.  I feel like we’ve gone completely backwards with treating her chronic constipation, every couple of days she’s becoming blocked and it’s affecting everything, including her sleep (which we didn’t think could get any worst!) and eating.

As I mentioned in previous posts, Grace is on supplementation twice a day as well as a small amounts of laxatives for this. Everyday I monitor her bowel movements to try and see if I need to give her more or less.  At the moment I’m trying to get her supplementation and laxative amount just right, which is becoming a near impossible task.

The older she gets, the more I’m starting to notice the psychological aspect of all this,  and the vicious cycle it’s all becoming.  She gets a flare up of constipation which obviously makes her uncomfortable and sore from straining and basically holds it in for the fear of being in more pain, which of course only makes matters worse.

When we first started our journey to sort out her issues it was really obvious that food intolerances were the root cause.  However nearly two years down the line I’m starting to question everything as I don’t understand why she is still suffering with it, especially as we’re so careful with her diet.

We’re seeing her Integrative Paediatrician next month, which really can’t come soon enough.  Initially when we first started seeing our current doctor she said we could test her gut flora. We decided to wait and see if we saw improvements, which we did,  but even before the gastro hit we had started to plateau – I now think this will be an essential thing for her to get tested.

All we can do now is hope and pray that her gut starts to settle down with the help of the prebiotic food I give her and the supplementation….. and roll on May!

I’m really interested in connecting with other parents whose child/children suffer from chronic constipation and the reasons why.  So if that’s you please send me a private message or comment below so we can connect.

Mel x

Health

Yoga Poses that can help children’s gut health

Yoga For Children’s Gut Health

Gracie absolutely loves doing yoga with her Nanna, it’s become their thing!  I know Yoga is good for your general well-being, but I’ve recently been reading more into the benefits around doing Yoga for gut health and, as you know, we’re all about good gut health here! I’ve teamed up with Flavia Munn  to  share some tips on Yoga poses beneficial for Children.

Yoga for Children moves

Downward Dog time!

Flavia Munn is a Yoga teacher based in London (and also an award winning Journalist)  who as a child suffered from frequent constipation, bloating and was also prone to anxiety.  She found things did improve with age, but when she took up yoga in her 20’s the bouts became rare to never.

Flavia says there are many postures you can do to improve bowel issues. But really it is yoga itself that’s doing the work. Yoga asanas (postures) stimulate the rest and digest part of the nervous system, known as the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS).

 

Here are a few tried and tested poses that may help your child with gut conditions:

  • Cat-cow with lion breath – On hands and knees, round the spine and look to the belly button. Then, arch the spine, look forward, open the mouth and stick the tongue out to let the air out in a lion ‘roar’. Even teenagers laugh at this…in the end.
  • Breathe fully – Make it fun by suggesting they are blowing their bellies up like balloons and then letting the air out. Anything working with the breath helps to relax the body. It’s the exhale that works the PSNS so aids relaxation and digestion.
  • Wind-releasing posture – Lying on their backs get them to pull one knee into the chest, with the other leg out straight. Repeat the same on the other side. You can always make fart references as who doesn’t find that funny?! This does literally release trapped wind!
  • Twist again and again – Lying on their backs, take the arms out to either side (in a T-shape) and then bring both knees into the chest and over to one side. Repeat on the other side. Move the knees from one side to the other like windscreen wipers. Twists help to stimulate our digestive organs.
  • Go upside down – Kids do this naturally. Handstand anyone? But a simple downward dog (inverted V) or legs-up-the-wall are very calming. They can do legs-up-the-wall by lying on their back with either feet flat on wall, or bottom up close to the wall and legs straight up the wall. Try playing some (soft-ish) music they like or reading them a book to keep them in position.
Yoga Namaste

Namaste

Also, if your child is at an age that they understand they have gut problems, try not to make it a big issue. Be relaxed, even about not going for a while, as tension will get no-one anywhere, least of all to the toilet.

To find out more about Flavia and her wonderful classes go here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yoga poses that may help your child's gut health. Easy for toddlers and older children.

 

 

 

Health

Eczema Cream – My Top Picks

Eczema

If your child suffers from eczema you’ve most likely tried in your despair A LOT of creams!!!  I think I’ve tried and spent more money than I care to remember!

I don’t believe in using chemical laden products, over the past few years we’ve tried to transition to using chemical-free products and that includes what we put on our skin.

With so many different creams on the market it can be overwhelming, I’ve compiled my top three that I’ve personally tested on Gracie’s skin and recommend.

My top three eczema creams:

My top tips for caring for eczema and sensitive skin:

  • If possible, wash your child every other day – water can be very drying (I know this is harder for older children)
  • Add 1-2 tea tree oil drops in bath, helps to reduce bacteria that eczema sufferers typically have on their skin (test cautiously first)
  • Bathe for no more than 10 minutes
  • Moisturise within 2/3 minutes of coming out the bath to lock in the moisture on skin
  • Winter months put a dehumidifier on in you child’s room as if you put the heating on etc, it can make the air very dry which can exacerbate things
  • Avoid swimming in chlorine, before swimming apply a thick layer of cream to create a barrier. Shower immediately and apply moisturiser immediately (If you’re in Sydney, Australia check out Little Bay Swimming School)

How do you care for your child’s Eczema and what cream do you use?

 

Health

Sunscreen Review: Eczema and sensitive skin

Summertime

As we’re currently enjoying summer here in Australia I thought it would be pertinent to talk about sunscreen for sensitive and eczema prone skin.

Gracie’s eczema has virtually cleared, but she still has very sensitive skin and I’m extremely careful what I put on it and that includes sunscreen.

So I thought I would compile my top 3 that I have personally used and recommend.

Eco Logical Baby Sunscreen SPF 30+ $19.95

Eco logical Baby Sunscreen SPF 30+

We used this sunscreen when Gracie was much younger, they also do a ‘body’ one for older children/adults.

It does have a slightly thick consistency and does leave a slight white reflect.

Ingredients:

Active ingredient: Zinc Oxide 20%. Inactive ingredients: Capric/Caprylic Triglyceride, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Silicon Dioxide, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Butyrospermum Parkii Seed (Shea) Butter, Euphorbia Antisyphilitica (Candelilla) Wax, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Simmondsia Chinensia (Jojoba), Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Seed Extract, Persea Gratissima (Avocado), Rosa Canina (Rosehips) Seed Oil, Carota Sativa (Carrot) Oil, Botswellia Carterii (Frankincense)

Wotnot Sunscreen SPF 30+ $28.95

Wot Not

We love all the Wotnot products – especially their baby wipes!  This is a great natural sunscreen however it does have a slightly thick consistency therefore you will need to rub it in quite well.

Ingredients:

Grapeseed oil, safflower oil, sesame oil, candellila wax, beeswax, carnauba wax, shea butter, gmo-free vitamin e, purified water, certified organic aloe vera*, silica, naticide (all natural preservative). Active: zinc oxide. [*certified organic ingredients]

Eco Tan Natural Coconut Sunscreen SPF30 $29.95 (special at moment buy one get one free)

Eco Tan

As well as making an awesome sunscreen, they also have a fab tanning and body care range.  Again their sunscreen does come out a little thick and leave a white reflect, it also has a strong coconut smell.

Ingredients:

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride – Coconut Oil, Vitis Vinifera Seed Oil – Grape Seed Oil, Zinc Oxide – Natural Mineral, Silica – Natural Mineral, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter – Shea Butter, Hydrophobically Modified Natural Polymer, Euphorbia Cerifera Cera – Plant Wax, Cera Alba – Bees Wax , Parfum- Natural Coconut Fragrance, Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil – Jojoba Oil, Tocopherol – Vitamin E, Carthamus Tinctorius Seed Oil – Safflower Oil , Cucumis Sativus Fruit Extract – Cucumber Extract , Glycerin- Vegetable Glycerin, Aqua – Water, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract – Camellia Extract, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil – Rosehip Oil, Iron Oxide Pigments
(**All ingredients are accepted by Wholefoods Market Premium)

 

All three of these fantastic products can be purchased via Shop Naturally which stocks over 2000 natural products – amazing!

 

 

Please note as an affiliate of Shop Naturally I will receive a small commission from each sale that is made via my website.  This helps to cover some of the running costs with maintaining my blog and also go towards some of Gracie’s medical expenses.  

 

Health

What we use and why

Supplements

Since starting our journey to get Gracie’s gut and skin issues better I’m often asked what we use and why, even more since documenting on Instagram and connecting with other families in similar situations as to our own.  So I thought I would give an overview of what we currently use.

Skin:

  • Ancient Mineral Magnesium Bath Flakes – we use this almost every night, around 1/2 a cup of flakes.  This is to assist with her chronic constipation.
  • Weleda Calendula Cream – applied morning and night to moisturise her skin
  • 1 drop of tea tree oil into the bath – helps get rid of the bacteria on the skin that eczema sufferers’ tend to have

Supplements:

  • Probiotics – to support gut health
  • Vitamin C – helps with softening bowel motions
  • Magnesium – for muscle relaxation can aid constipation
  • Vitamin D (in winter months) –  support for the maintenance of healthy skeletal, cardiovascular and immune systems
  • B12 spray – to support the nervous system
  • Zinc drops – Zinc can improve frustration tolerance, boost the immune system and improve appetite
  • Fish Oil – reduces inflammation/assists Eczema sufferers

 

As I mentioned, Gracie’s eczema has basically cleared up since eliminating the foods that had came up on her food intolerance testing and giving her these supplements.  Her gut still isn’t 100% and she is still reliant on a small amount of laxative, but compared to what she started off on it’s nothing.  My aim this year is to get her off the laxative completely and to reduce her supplement intake as much as we can.  I also want to get her food intolerances re-tested and to then be able to slowly re-introduce more foods back into her diet.

 

Please note, this post is not intended as medical advice.  If you have health concerns about your child please seek medical advice.

Health

Healthy Eating on a budget

This year my husband and I are trying get back on track financially.  Last year we had a few hiccups so 2017 for us is getting back on our feet and trying to work towards setting some kind of budget to work with.  We’re a single income family which has taken some adjustment, especially for myself the past couple of years.

Flowers

Daddy bought his girls some flowers

Looking through all our bills it’s pretty clear that one of our largest spends is on food (as well as supplements – don’t get me started on those costs!).  We tend to shop at various places to get different things and it all adds up, $50 here and $100 there…you end up losing track of what you’ve spent until you get a huge credit card bill at the end of the month.

Flemington Markets

Flemington Markets

As Grace and I have different but similar special dietary requirements at the moment, the main thing that we all eat A LOT of is vegetables and fruit, like ridiculous amounts!

So a couple of nights ago my husband said that he would get up early regardless of how many times Grace woke up throughout the night and leave around 5am on Saturday morning to go and shop at Flemington Markets! Well Grace must have a sixth sense as she woke up three times during the night and only wanted Daddy!!

So my tired husband arrived home a couple of hours later, high on caffeine buzzing about all the amazing produce he had bought for $146!! It took a good couple of hours to sort through and put away in the fridge and pantry, but we didn’t mind.  I’m 100% certain if we had bought all this at the shops it would have cost double the price.

Was it worth it?  Totally!  Yes it took more time and my husband had to get up extremely early but the savings were incredible and justified. Eating healthily and continuing to be able to do so is a priority of our family, so we will definitely be making this a regular occurrence.

Would love to hear if anyone else regularly shops at their local Markets, do you make large savings?  Is the produce better quality?

For more information on Flemington Markets, click here.

Flowers

 

 

 

Health

Your Child is Dairy-Free, but what about Calcium?

Chia Pudding

At first, when I was told that we needed to completely eliminate dairy from Gracie’s diet (probably for always) I was very concerned.  It’s pretty well known that children need appropriate calcium intake to ensure they grow strong bones and teeth. However if your child has food allergies/intolerances you need to look for alternatives.

Below shows the daily intake requirements for children of different ages:

Babies 0–6 months approx. 210mg (if breastfed)
approx. 350mg (if bottle fed)
Babies 7–12 months 270mg
Children 1–3 years 500mg
Children 4–8 years 700mg
Children 9–11 years 1,000mg
Adolescents 12–18 years (including pregnant and breastfeeding young women) 1,300mg

So what other foods are high in calcium?

  • Dark Leafy greens: 95mg in 1 cup of Kale
  • Oranges: 65mg in 1 fruit
  • Broccoli: 45mg in 1 cup
  • Seaweed: 126mg in 1 cup
  • Sesame seeds: 126mg in 1 cup
  • Almonds: 72mg in 1/4 cup (20 nuts)
  • Fortified soy, nut or oat milk: 300mg in 1 cup
  • Fish (with bones).  402mg in 1/2 cup of canned Salmon

Grace is currently at the age where she is testing boundaries and that typically means she can often refuse to eat the foods I make her. Perseverance is the key, I ‘try and pack a lot of goodness in her food,  whether that means me putting extra green veggies in a meatloaf or a sprinkle of sesame seeds over her food.

Simple ways I boost Gracie’s intake:

  • Fruit Smoothies made from Coconut Vitasoy (enriched with calcium)
  • Chia puddings made with Coconut Vitasoy (enriched with calcium)
  • Sprinkle sesame seeds over her food
  • Kale Chips
  • Salmon Patties

I’ve posted below a simple but tasty recipe for Salmon Patties which are very high in calcium.  If you look through my recipe index you’re find some other great ideas too.

If you make any of my recipes tag: #HGGfood so I can find you!

Salmon Fish Cakes

Salmon Patties

Print Recipe
Serves: 10-12 Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 160g tin red salmon
  • 1 large sweet potato grated
  • ½ brown onion, grated or finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbs spelt flour
  • 3 tbs olive oil, to fry

Instructions

1

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well

2

Roll into small patties

3

Gently fry in batches and then reduce to a low heat until cooked through.

Notes

Instead of using Spelt flour you can replace to Gluten-Free to meet special dietary requirements.

 

 

 

 

 

How to boost your dairy-free child's calcium intake through food and diet.