Have a Happy, Healthy Christmas

harlotte is a Nutrition Consultant who specialises in helping children to have a healthy and balanced diet, whether they are fussy eaters or they have behavioural issues around mealtimes. She can also offer advice on weight loss, healthy eating on a budget, weaning and introducing solids. Charlotte understands how difficult it is to follow a healthy diet both for yourself and for your children given all the myths out there. She is here to help you decipher this information and to provide tailored advice for you and your child’s individual needs.

For individual advice you can contact Charlotte direct at: www.greatvine.com/charlotte-stirling-reed
Speak to me on 0905 675 4742. £1.23/min from a BT landline; calls from mobiles and other networks may vary.

We all find it difficult to eat well during those winter months, especially at Christmas when there is always an abundance of chocolates and sweets around. But don’t fear, read below for tips and advice on eating well this winter.

How can I help build my baby’s immunity during the winter months?

Ensuring your baby is eating well throughout winter can help heighten their immune system and reduce the risk of flu and other illnesses. At around six months when your baby is starting solid foods, it’s a great idea to introduce fresh, homemade purees. Making purees at home allows you to know exactly what the ingredients are, to make them to the right consistency and means you can be sure they contain plenty of vitamins and minerals. Vitamin A and C along with zinc, iron, selenium and protein are all essential for a healthy immune system and these can be found in seasonal fruit and vegetables such as kale, pulses, berries, carrots and leeks – all of which make excellent purees. Opt for organic fruit and vegetables whenever possible to reduce the number of pesticides and remember to wash foods first. Additionally, offer your baby iron and protein rich foods, as iron is extremely important in the functioning of the immune system. Foods such as meat, fish, eggs, beans and pulses are all high in iron – just make sure you blend them to the right consistency for your baby, and that they are well-cooked all the way through. Lastly, from six months if you are breastfeeding or your baby is having less than 500mls of formula milk, it may be worthwhile giving some vitamin-drops as a safeguard. Young children are at more risk of being low in vitamins A, C and D and therefore vitamin-drops may help improve health and boost baby’s immune
system, especially over the winter months!

How can I attempt to return to my pre-pregnancy weight during the Christmas period?

The best way to lose weight after pregnancy is to eat a well-balanced diet and reduce consumption of high fat, high sugar foods. This can be tricky during the Christmas period and research has shown that most of us gain weight around the winter months, but here are some tips to help you keep that weight off!

  • Focus on good foods – Try and have a routine of three meals and two healthy snacks each day. This will help keep your blood-sugar levels stable, keep hunger at bay and reduce the urge for you to graze on calorific foods. Stock your cupboards with seasonal vegetables, wholegrains and tinned beans for quick and healthy meals.
  • Fill-up first – When going to a party, make sure you eat a healthy snack before you arrive. This will reduce the likelihood of overeating once you’re there and additionally, stay away from the buffet to avoid mindless eating.
  • Share it – Christmas is definitely a time for sharing, so make sure you distribute any treats you receive amongst friends and family to reduce the amount of calories you consume.
  • Water-aid – It can be tempting at Christmas to drink lots of soft and alcoholic drinks but keep consumption of these to a minimum as they top-up your calorie intake without filling your tummy,leaving you still hungry.
  • Don’t buy it – Make sure you never go shopping when hungry! By not purchasing junk foods when shopping, you won’t have them in the house. Instead choose healthy snacks and festive treats such as fruits, nuts, crackers and cheese.

Christmas time always focuses on sweets and chocolates. How can I make my toddler feel special and enjoy the occasion without filling him up on junk?

Contrary to popular belief, Christmas and special occasions don’t have to be centred around fatty and sugary foods. Instead, fill your toddler’s plate with different seasonal vegetables everyday and get him to rate his favourites. Additionally, introduce new and exciting fruits and vegetables and tell him a story about where each one comes from and why it’s great to eat.

  • Make healthy snacks accessible such as vegetable and bread sticks with homemade dips, and offer dried fruits and satsumas as treats. Plain popcorn sprinkled with paprika, roasted chestnuts and vegetable soups are all great snacks during winter time.
  • Stay away from fizzy and soft drinks and make your own non-alcoholic mulled wine using warmed 100% fruit juice and adding some cinnamon, nutmeg and orange peel. Offer fruit-based puddings; mince pies, fruit crumbles, fruit salads with yoghurt and ensure you halve the sugar used in any recipes!
  • Additionally, during Christmas it’s important to be together so make sure you dedicate time to playing games, venturing outside and getting active as a family!

For more expert information visit:www.greatvine.com/charlotte-stirling-reed