Guest Post & Recipe - Zoe Bingley Pullin & a new program by Australian Avocados


Aussie Kids Urged to Try Nature’s Rainbow!

By Zoe Bingley-Pullin

We all know that vegies and fruits contain essential nutrients that are vital for children’s health, growth and development but, let’s face it, sometimes all the washing, peeling and chopping involved in preparing fresh snacks can seems like a hassle to a busy parent! Indeed, with the development of more pre-packaged supermarket snack options, it is increasingly common to see trolleys stacked with boxes, tubs and plastic packages rather than fresh produce.
The problem is that many of the pre-packaged snacks may look healthy but are actually hiding some really nasty ingredients. To investigate the nutritional value of popular snacks like kids yogurts, rolled fruit snacks, cheese and cracker packs, fruit juice drinks and savoury biscuit snacks, I recently conducted a review of some of the popular options in these categories, with the support of Australian avocado growers. The results showed that, in many cases, these products contained alarmingly high levels of sugar, salt and unhealthy fats.
Some cheese cracker snack packs contain up to or over 100 per cent of a three year olds’ recommended daily sodium intake. Sweet puffed rice bars were also shown to have up to a quarter of a toddler’s recommended daily sugar allowance and, disturbingly, some children’s yogurts can be higher in sugar than adult varieties.

This means that at a time when essential taste preferences are being established, parents may actually be putting their kids on the wrong track, long term.
Research shows that 70 per cent of taste preferences – that is, the foods and flavours we choose to like or dislike – are formed at a very early age. This means it’s really important to encourage healthy eating habits right from the beginning with little ones, showing them just how delicious it can be to eat a rainbow of fruits and vegies.

An initiative that helps improve the eating habits of Aussie toddlers, which I’m a passionate supporter of, is the ‘Eating My Colourful Vegies and Fruit’ early childhood learning resource kit.
Developed in 2010 by Australian avocado growers in association with nutrition and education experts, Shelly Woodrow and Nadine McCrea, the program provides educators with the necessary tools to engage kids and help them develop healthy, varied food preferences in fun and positive ways.
The resource kit contains development-based food exploration activities to encourage growth of language, science and food literacy skills. A free tray of delicious, healthy avocados is also provided to each childcare centre.
Avocados are a rich source of dietary fibre, low in salt and sugar, mild flavoured, creamy and fun for kids to experiment with, so they are a perfect colourful first food for little ones to be exposed to.
Using the resource as a guide, educators encourage three to five year olds to explore the variety and origins of vegies and fruit and practice life skills as beginner cooks. They also build and expand their social abilities by sharing their snack creations with others.

This innovative program is really working to help Aussie kids get a healthier start to life, but of course, parents have a huge role to play – we need to ditch the processed snacks and instead, whip up nutritious options with fresh produce, involving kids in the cooking process along the way. This is a great way to make those positive connections with healthy vegies and fruit.

Here is my suggestion for a healthy snack alternative to some of the pre-packaged snacks often given to toddlers.  

Avocado Yoghurt with a Strawberry, Cinnamon and Honey Puree
Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:1 avocado, pip and skin removed 1 cup yoghurt 1 punnet of strawberries 1 tbsp honey1 tsp cinnamon

Method:
1.            In a blender place the strawberries, honey, cinnamon and blend until smooth.
2.            In a bowl mix the avocado and yoghurt thoroughly together.
3.            To serve, spoon out 4 tablespoons of avocado yoghurt mixture with some strawberry puree on top.

For more information about Eating my Colourful Vegies and Fruit or to get involved, visit www.avocado.org.au/earlylearning or email earlychildhood@avocado.org.au

About Zoe Bingley Pullin:
Founder of Nutritional Edge, Zoe Bingley-Pullin, has long been passionate about the food in our lives. A nutritionist (Diploma of Nutrition, Sydney) and internationally trained chef (Le Cordon Bleu School, London), Zoe helps people embrace the benefits of food through education and understanding.
Zoe is also a passionate writer. She is the author of Eat Taste Nourish (New Holland)  and a regular contributor to national publications such as the Fitness First magazine, Women’s Health and Fitness, Madison, Cleo, Cosmopolitan, OK Magazine, Marie Claire and Harper's BAZAAR.
Zoe is the spokesperson and nutritionist for Avocados Australia which sees her creating recipes, writing editorial content, making appearances on television and providing advice to the Australian public.
A passion for the industry means Zoe is always looking for fresh ways to educate people about the importance of nutrition and their environment
Zoe also gave my book, The Pram Diet a positive response on the A Current Affair segment see what she said HERE

 

4 comments:

I love that you found yourself on my blog!
Thank you reading.
Have a gorgeous day!

Rebecca X

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