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"Children eat the foods their bodies need" Really?

Posted by admin on January 10, 2013

Many parents comment to us in our workshops and consultations that their little one eats lots and lots of the same food over and over again - and they let them do it, because they believe they are craving a nutrient, vitamin or mineral from that food their body needs.

We've searched the archives tirelessly and are yet to find quality evidence supporting the claim that "children will eat what their bodies need", since so many factors come in to it - psychological, emotional and behavioural.

It's common for little ones to go through a short phase of eating the same things over and over again. Short-term it is often not a problem but very quickly this can be the start of narrowing your baby's palate and restricting their tastes.


It could be that your little one has tasted some yummy things and thought “I like that – I want more of it!”. No food is “bad” when it is eaten in moderation and rotating these foods in to your baby's diet so they don’t come to expect them is a great way to gain balance.

Routine For Security


An example of a psychological factor would be that very quickly, children can slip into routines. Routine gives children a sense of security, and so are good things when they are constructed by their parents (ie by people with the maturity of thinking to know what the child's needs are and who construct a routine around this). 

However, routines can mean something entirely different if they are self-created and/or if they become rituals that the child 'must' stick to or they get upset and seem to be about needing control (e.g. only eating food when it doesn't touch other food). These kinds of 'routines' represent the child's effort to manage anxiety/insecurity. This may occur when change or instability happens in the home (e.g. possibly mum has gone back to work or breastfeeding has stopped). This could therefore also manifest in food in terms of always wanting to eat the same things over and over again, and only you can gauge if your child seems to want these foods to gain control in some way. 

Children frequently are drawn to sugary foods in times of stress as breastmilk/formula milk has always been a comforter - and those are super-sweet and triggers the release of serotonin which is an enormous comforter!

You're the parent!

You're the parent and you're in charge and if you're okay with your child eating those foods in that volume and you know it's short-term because it's a special occasion then there shouldn't be any problem - but don't kid yourself that your child knows best and her body is craving calcium or some other nutrient. It's more likely, the foods are new tastes, yummy and sweet and most likley being super-sugary they trigger serotonin which all make her  feel happy making her want even more. 
Plenty of adults demonstrate this same refined sugar reaction over christmas day when they couldn't stop eating "just one more" mince pie or slice of yule log despite their buttons bursting from a big turkey dinner!

Lots of sugar switches off your ability to feel full

When you consume fructose, a hormone called Leptin is down-regulated. Leptin is the hormone that makes us feel full and so with that not circulating in our bodies telling us to stop eating, we instead keep eating and eating and eating. This is one of the many reasons why we are such advocates of zero sugar in all our recipes.

image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

We like to set our little ones a good example and encourage sharing. We don't mind you using any of the information, recipes and tips from our website, all we ask is that you credit us hard-working mummies here at Yummy Discoveries. 
Thank you x

Water Can Change The Way Your Child Eats

Posted by admin on December 15, 2012

In a recent research paper, 75 children aged 3-5 were served vegetables with either a drink of water or sweetened drink. The children ate more vegetables when drinking the water than with the sugary drink.
A group of older teenagers aged 19-23 were asked to say how well water or a fizzy drink goes with pizza, chips and vegetables. They confirmed that when they’re drinking a fizzy drink they have no interest in combining it with vegetables and when they’re eating pizza and chips they don’t want water.
But why is this? We have a theory and it comes from food association. 
Food-and-drink combinations are developed preferences. If artificially-flavoured sweet drinks lead to an association with (and desire for) similarly salty, processed food, then you're almost priming your child for this by giving them sweet drinks with meals. If the drink on the table determines whether children and adults will eat their vegetables, then perhaps it is time to change that drink, and replace it with water.

Our taste preferences are heavily influenced by repeated exposure to particular foods and drinks. This begins from the moment you start to wean your child through exposure to meals served at home and by meal combinations offered by restaurants.

If your child gets used to drinking fizzy, sweet drinks, then you're also inadvertently developing their preference for processed-tasting sugars and flavours. Think about how different these flavours are to natural flavours; for example, processed sugar ismuch sweeter than the natural sugars found in fruit. Fruit doesn't even seem sweet if you've just had a chocolate, does it? It's nowhere near as satisfying, if you're used to that processed sugar flavour.

The extreme sweetness and strong flavours in fizzy drinks (and the saltiness of processed foods) can therefore make natural food seem less flavoursome. If your child gets used to drinking strongly-flavoured drinks with food, the artificial flavour may overwhelm the natural flavours of, for example, the vegetables in front of them. These may well then become less interesting, as the flavours are more subtle.

Sweet drinks can also contain extra empty calories and energy and we already know that many young children are obese. For example, smoothies contain much more fruit than a child (or an adult, for that matter!) would ever eat in one sitting. Even fruit juices and smoothies (often thought of as the healthy option) can therefore fill up your child and make them less hungry for the food in front of them, as well as providing much more energy and sugar that you'd like your child to consume.

As a nation, we're fighting obesity and many chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, which is often preventable and can start with eating too much sugar. So don't let your child develop a taste for having too much sugar when they're young, as taste preferences gained in childhood often persist throughout life.

Finally, drinking water is a habit that needs to be learned, and as many of us know as adults, we don't drink nearly enough water. Many adults are chronically dehydrated. Serving water with meals is therefore a great way of making sure your child gets into the habit of drinking water regularly.

So, here are the tips:


  • Always serve water with meals
  • Treat squash, smoothies, fizzy drinks and even juice as meals in their own right


Research Paper: Cornwell, T. B. and A. R. McAlister. 2012. “Contingent Choice: Exploring the Relationship Between Sweetened Beverages and Vegetable Consumption.” Appetite

image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
We like to set our little ones a good example and encourage sharing. We don't mind you using any of the information, recipes and tips from our website, all we ask is that you credit us hard-working mummies here at Yummy Discoveries. 
Thank you x

Images copyright to Yummy Discoveries Ltdgar 

Mince Pie Parcels

Posted by felicity on December 15, 2012

Mince Pie Parcels

(Refined Sugar & Aspartame Free!)


All our recipes are 100% refined sugar and aspartame free. They are given the thumbs-up by our own families before sharing them with yours.
Makes enough for 12 mince pie parcels
For the mincemeat:
125g dried figs
4 tbsp water
50g butter
125ml apple juice
100g sultanas
100g currents
50g raisins
2 tsp mixed spice
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ginger
Pinch of nutmeg
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
For the parcel:
1 pack of filo pastry
1 egg, beaten
1.       Remove the filo pastry from the fridge to allow it to come to room temperature
2.       Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC (180C Fan) gas mark 6
3.       Finely chop the figs and put in a pan with 4 Tbsp of water. Bring to the boil and leave to gently simmer for about 10 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed 
4.       Place the stewed figs into a bowl and set aside
5.       Put the butter and apple juice in the pan and on a low heat gently melt the butter
6.       Meanwhile in a bowl mix the sultanas, currents, raisins, spices and zest together
7.       Once the butter has melted tip in the ingredients from the bowl, add the figs and stir well
8.       Bring the mincemeat mixture to the boil and simmer on a low heat for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally
9.       Take off the heat once the liquid has been absorbed and the fruit mixture looks sticky and set aside
10.   Lay out a sheet of filo pastry and brush with the egg. Lay a second piece of filo over the top to give it strength as a double layer
11.  Using a knife, cut the pastry in to 4 equal rectangles
12.  Dollop a teaspoon of the mincemeat mixture in to the middle of each rectangle. Bring the corners of each to the centre and twist to make a parcel
13.  Brush with more egg and pop on a greased baking tray and in to the oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown
We like to set our little ones a good example and encourage sharing. We don't mind you using any of the information, recipes and tips from our website, all we ask is that you credit us hard-working mummies here at Yummy Discoveries. 
Thank you x
Images copyright to Yummy Discoveries Ltd

"Your Sister is Eating it - Why don't you?"

Posted by admin on December 12, 2012

"Your Sister/Brother/Friend is eating it - Why Don't You?"

Such a common and natural thing for a parent to say to a little one who yet again isn't eating their meal. This small sentence that trips off your tongue could be fuelling your fussy eating issues. It could also create self-esteem issues for your child and could associate food with negative emotions.

You say:
"So-and-so is eating it - why don't you?"

Your child may well hear (well, the adult equivalent of this follows, because they aren't aware of the meaning they're attaching to your words but the message gets through)":
"I love so-and-so more than you", 
"So-and-so is better than you", 
"So-and-so is a good child and you are a bad child" 

These kinds of comments are unhelpful on three levels:

1. You're setting up your child to become insecure and jealous (you happen to be talking about food, but the food becomes irrelevant in terms of the message your child may hear).

2. Eating may now well become associated with a horrible feeling for your child, evoked by the above message. The more your child hears these comments, the more you may unwittingly be creating a cognitive pathway in your child's brain between food and negative emotions.

3. You are putting pressure on your child to eat, which is likely to give them an opportunity to resist you, as they will quickly understand that you really want them to do just that.

Instead of using this line, take the attention and focus away from your child eating and place it on something else. Ask the sibling/friend who is eating the food questions about it, such as "can you tell me what it tastes like?". With the attention on the other child you may find the resistant eater wanting to join in too.

Asking funny questions such as "do your peas taste like ice cream?" can create a light-hearted, fun eating experience with you all sat around not focusing on what one child can't do but what all the children can do.

We like to set our little ones a good example and encourage sharing. We don't mind you using any of the information, recipes and tips from our website, all we ask is that you credit us hard-working mummies here at Yummy Discoveries. 
Thank you x

Make it Fun to Munch Christmas Lunch

Posted by admin on December 4, 2012

Christmas is nearly upon us, and with all the presents, the tree and the carols comes one of the biggest and most pressurised meals of the year. Whether you’ve cooked it yourself or whether you’re all out at someone’s house – each scenario can bring its own pressures when it comes to your little one’s eating.
We’ve put together some tips to help you get through Christmas lunch with minimum drama.
1.    Notice how things are different for your little one.
Your child is likely to be having an unfamiliar experience, so think about how things look to them:
-       This might be your child’s first Christmas lunch. Even if it isn’t, it’s unlikely to be the kind of meal or the kind of social experience they have every day.
-       You might not be sitting at your familiar table in your own home.
-       There will be lots of sparkly or metallic, colourful things on the table that aren’t usually there; e.g. Christmas crackers, paper hats.
-       The meal will last longer than usual and there will be lots of distractions and diversions from food and eating.
-       There are probably many more people around the table than usual.
-       You may not have as much time to devote to them, one to one, as usual at mealtimes.
-       Tastes, textures, smells, colours are all likely to be unfamiliar.
  1. Don’t be surprised if your child behaves differently to their usual mealtime behaviour.
All the factors above, to name but a few, mean that your little one has a lot more distractions around than usual. Imagine how they might be feeling and how they will need you to respond to this need. For example, they might feel confused or overwhelmed by all the foods, colours and sounds happening at the table. They might feel insecure because their environment is different or your attention is elsewhere more.
This means that they might be more clingy or less willing to eat than usual. Not eating is often simply a way to say: “Notice me! I need attention!” If you expect this as a possibility and know that it means your little one needs love and reassurance, it will help you to feel less stressed about it when it happens and to respond appropriately.
  1. Keep your behaviour the same as usual.
Become aware of how you might be tempted to behave differently in response to anxiety about what other people think, or what other people’s children are or aren’t eating:
- Don’t suddenly start doing something you’d never usually do, like spoon-feeding.
- Don’t let well-meaning friends/relatives take over.
- Make sure you keep the same rules and boundaries that you usually do, but give lots of reassurance if your little one gets upset or frustrated. Give them lots of love, but don’t move the goalposts or start bribing them with pudding, or anything else, just to stop them crying or having a tantrum.
- Explain to the others at the table that things are likely to get messy, if they don’t already know that. Think about which foods you can give that minimise mess.
  1. Use the opportunity to help your little one discover something new.
- Bring something with you that you know they like, to add that ‘safety blanket’ of a familiar food. You can then use this to introduce a new food.
- What is your child doing in their play? Are they wrapping/hiding things? If so, then wrap something new in a slice of turkey(if this is familiar, for example) with them. Are they enjoying putting things in cups? Then pop a few brussels-sprouts in a cup.
- Give them closed A/B choices: e.g. Would you like turkey or chicken? The amount of food choices on the table can be overwhelming.
- Don’t put too many different foods on their plate – this can also be overwhelming.
- Don’t expect too much. If they try one or two new things, that’s fantastic!
  1. Give them space to explore and don’t make a big deal of things.
 Your child’s need to be socially included is significant. Help them to try new things by modelling and letting them see you all enjoying something and having it within their reach, without pressurising them to try it.
-       Many mums find that their toddlers will reach for something completely new at family gatherings, where lots of food is around but there’s no pressure to eat.
-       If this happens, ignore it. Let them discover what they’ve picked up without a spotlight on them.
-       Many people recommend praising your child when they eat something, but at Yummy Discoveries we don’t believe in this, for various reasons. Firstly, your child is likely to become self-conscious, if all eyes turn to them, just when they’re tentatively reaching for something new. They might then suddenly refuse to eat any more. Secondly, you’re setting that food up as something you reallywant them to eat, which makes it into a big deal – this can backfire. Thirdly, You really don’t want the food itself to be a big deal. It’s eating and enjoying a meal together that’s important.
So Christmas lunch can be a great opportunity for your little one to experience new things, if you work with your child and expect a few hiccups because of how unfamiliar everything is. Don’t worry about what other people think of what your child eats – you know that they’re well-nourished.
If you relax and work with them, you never know, your child just might surprise you!

Image courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net

 We like to set our little ones a good example and encourage sharing. We don't mind you using any of the information, recipes and tips on our website or blog, all we ask is that you credit us hard-working mummies here at Yummy Discoveries. 
Thank you x