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Back To School Lunch Box Tips And Tricks

Getting the kids ready to go back to school after the Christmas break can be a daunting task! Between organising school uniforms and after school activities, it’s easy to leave the kids’ lunch boxes to the last minute. Here are our top tips and tricks for planning and preparing healthy lunches that will ensure a


Getting the kids ready to go back to school after the Christmas break can be a daunting task! Between organising school uniforms and after school activities, it’s easy to leave the kids’ lunch boxes to the last minute. Here are our top tips and tricks for planning and preparing healthy lunches that will ensure a stress-free start to the school year.

1. Planning ahead.

Setting aside the time to come up with lunch box ideas for the week ahead will not only keep you organised, it will also save you time on those mornings when you are rushing out the door.

How To:

  • Allocate 1 hour on the weekend to write out lunch box ideas for the week ahead. You can do this by manually drawing out a plan or using a planner App.
  • Choose meals and snacks that keep well in lunch boxes – some examples include savoury muffins, protein balls, wholegrain crackers and pasta.
  • Structure lunch boxes around the three key macronutrients: carbohydrates, fats and protein. See the image below for a visual guide on how to fill your kids lunch box.
  • Make sure you include variety – children may grow tired of the same foods, so it is important to incorporate some different lunch options! A good way to do this is by changing up their snacks and rotating between different fruits and vegetables.

2. Batch cooking.

Once you have planned out the children’s lunches for the week ahead, set aside time to shop, cook and portion out meals on a Sunday as this will ensure you are prepared for the week ahead.

How To:

  • Allocate 1-2 hours on a Sunday to prepare meals and snacks.
  • Batch cooking is an efficient method that can be used to prepare many meals at once. Pick some of your child’s favourite recipes and double the quantities to increase the number of serves.
  • For easy grab and go snacks, wash, pre-cut and store vegetables and fruit ahead of time.
  • Freeze any leftovers as these can be used at a later date.

3. Hide extra nutrients in food.

If your children are fussy eaters and struggle to eat their vegetables or a variety of foods, a great way to include more nutrients in their lunchboxes is by hiding them in their favourite foods.

How To:

  • Grate or blend vegetables such as carrots and zucchini into sauces.
  • Add chia seeds or ground flaxseeds into yoghurt.
  • Choose wholegrain breads that have visible seeds and grains.
  • Blend spinach into egg mixtures.
  • Add a scoop of Kids Good Stuff into baking and smoothies – click here to explore some kid friendly recipes!

4. Get the kids involved.

Do you cook with your kids? It may seem overwhelming, but It doesn’t have to be stressful. Getting your children involved in the act of meal preparation not only provides valuable skills and education, it also exposes them to different foods. 

How To:

  • When planning out lunch box ideas for the week, sit down with your kids and let them contribute ideas. This will ensure they will enjoy their meals more and actually eat them.
  • When preparing food, get the kids involved with the washing, sorting and assembling of ingredients.
  • Baking is a fun and exciting hands-on activity for kids. Try a healthy take on your favourite classics.
  • Encourage the kids to help you pack their lunch boxes. This can be an activity that gets the kids excited about their lunches!

For more tips of how to pack a healthy lunch box, click here https://www.nuzest.com/blog/how-to-pack-a-healthy-lunchbox/

The Importance of Meal Preparation and Planning

For many of us, the start of a new year brings about new hopes and aspirations for healthy habits, however, when it comes to creating these new healthy habits, it’s easy to fall off the bandwagon. In fact, up to 80% of New Year resolutions are unsuccessful[1]. Meal preparation and planning is one of those


For many of us, the start of a new year brings about new hopes and aspirations for healthy habits, however, when it comes to creating these new healthy habits, it’s easy to fall off the bandwagon. In fact, up to 80% of New Year resolutions are unsuccessful[1].

Meal preparation and planning is one of those things we all know we should do but often don’t. Meal preparation involves the planning and cooking of your weekly meals ahead of time and is a good idea for those who are looking to save time, money and get a bit more organised with their nutrition.

Here are our top three ‘how to steps’ for meal preparation that will encourage successful healthy habits in the New Year.  

1. Plan your menu for the week ahead.

Like the saying suggests, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”. Sitting down and planning out a menu is one of the most important steps in meal prep.

How To:

  • Use a menu plan template and/or an App such as ‘Mealime Meal Plans & Recipes’ to plan out your meals for the week ahead.
  • Identify your busiest days – late nights, early mornings, social commitments and plan your meals accordingly.
  • Create nutritionally balanced meals by building each meal around the three key macronutrients – protein, carbohydrates and fat. An example of this may include overnight oats, with oats as the carbohydrate, Clean Lean Protein as the protein and peanut butter as the fat.
  • Remember, just because you are meal prepping, doesn’t mean your meals should be boring! Sit down with yourself, your partner or your family and choose meals that you enjoy! This will encourage successful meal preparation.

2. Prepare meals ahead of time.

Setting aside time on the weekend to meal prep will keep you organised Monday through to Friday. Preparing your own food also provides you with more control over what goes into your meals, which is beneficial for those with specific health and nutrition goals.

How To:

  • Allocate three hours on the weekend to shop, cook and portion out meals.
  • Batch cooking is an effective method that can be used to prepare multiple meals at once. When preparing some of your favourite recipes, try doubling the quantities so that you increase the number of serves
  • Wash, cut, cook and store food in advance. Vegetables can be roasted on large trays, and grains such as rice and quinoa can be cooked and stored in the fridge to be added to meals throughout the week.
  • Plan and portion out healthy snacks. Cut up fruit at the start of the week and store in the fridge. This can be consumed with nuts for a perfectly balanced snack.
  • To ensure your meals last, store additional serves in air-tight containers in the freezer. It is worth investing in good quality airtight, food storage containers as this will guarantee your foods freshness.

3. Variety is key.

Whilst it is easy to prepare the same meals week after week, this can create a lack of variety and become monotonous and tasteless.

How To:

  • To avoid monotony, come up with three to four core recipes that can be rotated throughout the week. Some great core recipe ideas include vegetable casseroles, lentil curries and pasta bakes.
  • Adding vegetables that are in season ensures diversity.
  • The addition of herbs, spices and condiments are also a fantastic way to create interest and variety!

Meal preparation and planning is a fantastic way to stay organised and can be an important tool for those wanting to stay on top of their health goals in the New Year. With these simple tips, you’ll have plenty of healthy options ready to support you throughout the week.

The Foundations of Health

Are the foundations of health holding you back from thriving? Here’s how to implement the foundations of health and nourish your body and mind in order till feel your best all the time.


Are the foundations of health holding you back from thriving?

Welcome to 2021! New year, new you and a new set of (sometimes unrealistic) health expectations and resolutions. Although we strive to be the healthiest versions of ourselves after the holiday period, chances are by February, everything has gone down the drain.

We’re here to remind you that health doesn’t have to be hard, it’s simple if you just keep the basics in mind. It’s about consistently implementing the foundations of health and nourishing your body and mind in order to feel your best all the time. How? It’s easy – que the foundations of health: 

Nutrition

The food you eat can either be your most powerful partner or greatest enemy and at this time of year (where all the days seem to merge into one) it’s easy to overindulge and create unhealthy habits that can be seriously damaging to your health. 

A diet with the right balance of macronutrients, and that is abundant in vitamins and minerals, is essential to help your body function optimally. With so much information available about what we should and shouldn’t be eating, it is more and more evident that there really isn’t a one size fits all approach when it comes to food.

The main aim when it comes to nutrition is to fuel your body with foods that provide the right balance of nutrients so you can function at your best. Creating healthy balanced meals is simple – start by following this formula. 

  1. Fill ½ your plate with fibre. Fibre helps to regulate appetite, slow digestion and keep you feeling satisfied for longer, as well as supporting healthy digestive function. Sources of fibre include: Crunchy salad vegetables, leafy greens and non-starchy vegetables – aim to include a variety.
  2. Fill ¼ of your plate with protein. Protein provides the primary building blocks in the body and is essential for all bodily functions. Your brain, bones, digestion, immune system, skin and hormones all rely on a constant source of good quality proteins to function. Quality sources of protein include: eggs, fish, red meat, poultry, dairy, legumes, tofu, quinoa, raw nuts/seeds, high-quality protein powder like our Clean Lean Protein.
  3. Fill ¼ of your plate with complex carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the sugars and starches found in foods. The right carbohydrates supply the body with essential fuel for energy. Steer clear of simple carbohydrates (white bread/pasta/rice, cakes, biscuits, processed foods etc.) as they provide little to no nutritional value and contribute to fatigue and hunger. Instead choose complex carbohydrates – foods that have high dietary fibre promoting satiety, fullness and stabilised blood sugar levels. Complex carbohydrates include: whole grain products (visible seeds), legumes, brown rice, quinoa, oats, whole-wheat products (breads and pasta), root vegetables. 
  4. Add 1-2 tablespoons of healthy fats. Consuming the right fats in appropriate quantities is important for the structure and function of every cell in the body and is essential for energy production, stabilising blood sugar levels and keeping you feeling fuller for longer. Healthy fats include: Avocado, olive oil, coconut, quality dairy, raw nuts and seeds


How to maximise your nutrient intake: 

  • Follow the above formula to create balanced meals daily
  • Boost your nutrient intake with a daily scoop of Good Green Vitality
  • Always have fresh produce in the fridge 
  • Eat a wide variety of foods daily
  • Avoid highly processed and packaged items 

Water

Water plays a role in almost every process in the body, with our bodies made up of approximately 60% water. Water enables the body to flush out toxins and is important for digestion, brain function, skin health and so much more. 

Water is such a vital element of every biochemical process in the body that dehydration levels as low as 1-3% can have a noticeable impact on body function. 

How to increase your water intake: 

  • When you wake up have a large glass of water
  • Carry a reusable water bottle with you 
  • Set reminders or alarms on your phone 
  • Consciously swap soda/sugary drink for water
  • Try herbal teas or add citrus, berries or mint to taste

Movement 

Over the holiday period it’s easy to neglect moving your body or ditch your regular exercise routine but maintaining regular movement and exercise is not only important for your physical health but your mental health too. 

Regular movement helps keep your body functioning and aids the body’s key systems to increase metabolic rate, strengthen muscles, increase energy levels, support mental health, mood, sleep quality and overall cognitive function. 

Getting outside every day will contribute to getting your heart rate up, soaking up Vitamin D and breathing fresh air, as well as releasing endorphins to make you feel happy, healthy and confident. 

How to schedule in daily movement: 

  • Aim to hit 7 000 to 10 000 steps daily through incidental movement 
  • Schedule in exercise and make it a priority 
  • Make it social – enjoy movement with friends and family 
  • Try something new – swimming, dancing, tennis or a yoga class

Click here to read 5 Exercise and Lifestyle Tips to Create a Happier & Healthier You This New Year



Sleep 

Sleep is one of the first sacrifices we make during the holiday season. Ditching a regular sleep routine for late nights, social events and Netflix binges delays the onset of natural drowsiness and gets in the way of quality and quantity of sleep. These activities delay the production of melatonin and disrupts the body’s circadian rhythm (the internal body clock regulating the sleep/wake cycle) and can contribute to anything from weight gain, digestive issues, poor liver function, cardiac problems, congestion and, of course, an ongoing state of fatigue. 

Sleep is classified as one of the foundations of health as without it the body cannot thrive or even perform basic functions like digestion and metabolism of food. It’s a time when your body relaxes and repairs and it’s important to promote quality and quantity sleep year-round. Sacrificing these precious hours and ditching a regular sleep routine can contribute to poor health and long-term illness. 

How to support sleep health: 

  • Prioritise your sleep – aim for 7-8 hours each night 
  • Establish a regular bedtime routine and consistent bedtime 
  • Avoid drinking caffeine after 2pm 
  • Create a healthy sleep environment – quiet, dark and comfortable
  • Avoid screens prior to bed – switch to night mode if needed 
  • Quiet your brain – journal, deep breathing, bedtime meditation 
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Avoid anxiety-driven activities before bedtime e.g., checking work emails or watching the news

Mindfulness

This is the perfect time of year to create some healthy habits around mindfulness that will provide you with the tools and skills for the year ahead. Mindfulness can help with stress management, improve sleep, benefit your relationships and support your physical and mental health. 

A mindfulness practice has been shown to help everyone from children to adults and proves to play an important role in overall health and wellbeing. 

How to be mindful: 

  • Eat mindfully – sit down, chew your food and enjoy every mouthful 
  • Practice self-love and prioritise you
  • Try guided meditations to kickstart a new habit
  • Take deep belly breaths 
  • Actively listen to those around you and be present  
  • Unplug and recharge your batteries 
  • Become intuitive with your body 

January is the time to ditch the resolutions and focus on long term, simple and sustainable changes that support your body. It’s often the foundations of health that will hold you back from reaching your health goals. When these foundations are out of balance, everything is out of whack. Get them right and everything else will follow.

Alex Hamlin

6 Health Mistakes To Avoid This Holiday Season

The holiday season can present a number of challenges when it comes to maintaining healthy habits. The good news? With a little smart planning, you can avoid the speed bumps that may throw you off course so that you can enter the New Year feeling confident and in control of your health and wellbeing. Here,


The holiday season can present a number of challenges when it comes to maintaining healthy habits. The good news? With a little smart planning, you can avoid the speed bumps that may throw you off course so that you can enter the New Year feeling confident and in control of your health and wellbeing.

Here, Sydney-based Dietitian and Nutritionist, Rachel Hawkins, discusses six of the biggest health mistakes that people make during the holiday season, as well as providing some tried and true strategies to help you avoid making them!

Mistake 1: Skipping Breakfast to Save Room for Later

Although breakfast isn’t an essential meal for most adults, skipping breakfast in order to save room for later is a dangerous gamble. Whether it’s the office holiday party, Thanksgiving dinner or a Christmas lunch, showing up to an event where there is going to be a smorgasbord of food with an empty stomach only increases the likelihood that you will go ‘all out’ and overeat when you’re there.

Regardless of the time of year, overeating can easily spiral out of control resulting in a number of health consequences. These include bloating, gas, nausea, sluggishness, and unwanted weight gain.1,2,3,4 Chronic overeating may also disrupt the balance of hormones that control your hunger (ghrelin) and fullness (leptin), making it more difficult to determine when your body actually needs food.5,6

Instead of skipping breakfast before a holiday event, enjoy a balanced breakfast that includes a source of protein, healthy fats and low glycaemic index (GI) carbohydrates so that you are adequately nourished and able to make more mindful choices at holiday events.

Some breakfast suggestions include:

  • Overnight oats made with chia seeds, berries, maple syrup and your choice of milk
  • Poached eggs on toast made with wholegrain bread and a side of avocado
  • A loaded breakfast smoothie made with berries, spinach, rolled oats, chia seeds, a serve of Smooth Vanilla Clean Lean Protein and your choice of milk

Mistake 2: Having an All-or-Nothing Mindset

The all-or-nothing mindset is a mentality that people have, whether it be towards nutrition or exercise, where they are either all in or all out. It is the kind of approach that sees people eat two pieces of pavlova after Christmas lunch and then say, ‘oh stuff it’ and spend the rest of the week bingeing on Christmas leftovers.

The problem with an all-or-nothing mindset is that it is accompanied by unrealistic, self-imposed rules that naturally test our willpower. When these rules are broken, we feel guilty about this and revert to the old ‘stuff it’ mentality. And so, the cycle repeats.

My advice?

Ditch the restrictive diet. Telling yourself that you aren’t allowed to eat any sweets on Christmas Day isn’t realistic. However, allowing yourself a plate of dessert is. Enjoy the holiday festivities but do it in a balanced way. By allowing yourself permission to eat the foods that would otherwise be on your ‘banned list’, you are essentially decreasing the likelihood of bingeing later on.

Secondly, eat more mindfully.Eating slowly and taking the time to chew your food properly is a practical strategy that will help you to savour the flavours of your meal, thus helping you to feel more satisfied after eating (and less likely to go back for second and third servings)! Aim for 20 chews per mouthful. This trick will also help to improve your digestion!

Mistake 3: Failing to Plan on Days You Don’t Have Holiday Events

Not every day between Christmas and New Year needs to involve a smorgasbord of food.

Set yourself up for success during the holiday season by planning your menu on ‘regular’ days when you’re not at an event. This will help to alleviate the stress of not knowing what to cook at the end of the day, thereby reducing the likelihood of you buying takeaway food or making undesirable food choices.

Plan your meals ahead of time by writing a list of what you are going to eat for your breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks each day of the week, and also what ingredients you will need from the grocery store in order to make this happen.

By doing this, you reduce the likelihood of being caught out in between holiday events thus making it easier to make healthy nutrition choices during the silly season.

Mistake 4: Going Hard on the Booze

Food isn’t the only thing that we typically overindulge in over the holiday season. Many festive celebrations involve alcohol, and typically in higher volumes than we would normally consume.

In the short term, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to impaired judgement, reduced inhibitions, loss of coordination, unstable emotions, memory loss, headaches and vomiting.7,8 In the long term, excessive alcohol consumption can negatively impact our mental health and fertility and increase our risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.7,8

Regular alcohol consumption can also lead to unwanted weight gain.7,8

Alcohol contains seven calories per gram, which is around the same amount as a gram of fat.9 This, in addition to the added calories found in mixers such as tonic water or coke, means that you could be drinking around 200 calories per standard drink. If you’re drinking a pint of full-strength beer, then this number increases to 240 calories per drink.

It is possible to enjoy the holiday season whilst still moderating the amount of alcohol you drink.

  • Alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks such as water, soda water or zero sugar soft drinks
  • Pour your own drinks instead of accepting refills from others so that you can keep track of how much you are drinking
  • Avoid getting involved in rounds as this often means you will drink more than intended
  • Switch from full strength beer to light beer to save ~90 calories per pint
  • Pace yourself by taking small sips

Mistake 5: Failing to Move Your Body

It may be the holiday season, but this doesn’t mean your normal healthy habits need to completely fly out the window.

Exercise is incredibly beneficial for our overall health and wellbeing. It promotes good cardiovascular and mental health and can also be used to strengthen and maintain our musculoskeletal system.10

Regular exercise can help to keep our mental health on track when our normal routines are disrupted by promoting the release of feel-good brain chemicals that can help to boost our mood and overall sense of wellbeing. 10

Because the holidays are such a busy time of year, it can be a good idea to exercise in the morning before the day slips away from you and excuses start to creep in. But if you’re more of an evening exerciser then that’s ok too!

Ways to stay active over the holiday season include:

  • Going for a hike with a friend
  • Taking the dog for a walk
  • Doing a home workout. We have shared our favourite workout apps here.
  • Going for a bike ride
  • Participating in gym classes or group bootcamps
  • Running interval sprints on the sand at the beach
  • Doing some laps at the pool

Mistake 6: Not Seeking Help

While it might be the most wonderful time of the year for some, for others it can be a really difficult one. The holiday season can remind people of loved ones they have lost, while for others it can be a time they spend alone.

The global pandemic adds an additional challenge this year due to the fact that there will be many people who will not be able to spend the holidays with their families due to restrictions around travelling and group gatherings.

So, it is more important now than ever before to prioritise our mental wellbeing.

Keep active, slow down and take things one step at a time. If you’re lonely, reach out to a friend you trust and talk through how you are feeling. If you’re overwhelmed by the presence of family, schedule out some time for yourself.

If you are concerned about your own mental health, or the mental health of a loved one, there are a number of things that you can do…

  • Start a conversation. If you are struggling with your mental health, consider opening up to a friend or family member about this. Mental illness effects one in five (20%) Australians aged 16-85 years each year.11 Starting a conversation with someone you trust can help to alleviate anxiety and make you feel less alone. If you think that a loved one may be struggling with their mental health, simply checking in with a simple phone call and asking, ‘are you ok?’ is a great way to offer your support.
  • Seek support from a health care professional.  This could involve referral to a psychologist, psychiatrist or other specialist doctor from your GP. In Australia, telehealth services are available which help to make mental health services more easily accessible.
  • Utilise online and telephone-based servicesThere are a number of online and telephone-based support services that can be accessed for immediate crisis support. They include LifelineBeyond BlueHeadspace and The Butterfly Foundation.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2754813/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4699282/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK355894/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3777747/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2777281/
  6. https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/alcohol/about-alcohol/what-are-the-effects-of-alcohol
  7. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/how-alcohol-affects-your-health
  8. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/alcohol-support/calories-in-alcohol/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4224225/
  10. https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/exercise-and-physical-activity
  11. https://www.flyingdoctor.org.au/news/country-mental-health-access-fifth-rate-city/
Rachel Hawkins

Long-lasting Energy For Kids

To keep up with the demands of school, extracurricular activities, sports and friendships, kids often need a bit of an energy boost. Growing kids Children and adolescents are going through massive periods of growth and development, and this means they need plenty of food. In fact, young teens need more calories than any other stage


To keep up with the demands of school, extracurricular activities, sports and friendships, kids often need a bit of an energy boost.

Growing kids

Children and adolescents are going through massive periods of growth and development, and this means they need plenty of food. In fact, young teens need more calories than any other stage of life. Unfortunately, this is also a time when many girls intentionally diet to restrict calories. By age 15, over 75% of girls reported dieting at some point.1 Not only can this lead to low energy, but there is potential for nutritional deficiencies when total food and calories are insufficient. Remember, it’s not just growing boys that need to eat more, girls do too!

Rather than aiming for a specific calorie goal (as this changes based on things like height and activity levels), encourage your children to eat until they’re full, neither overeating nor undereating, and focus on a varied diet filled with complex carbohydrates (like whole grain bread, beans, sweet potato, quinoa and brown rice), a rainbow of fruits and veggies, fats and protein. Try my recipe for delicious overnight oats, full of complex carbohydrates to keep kids energised until lunchtime.

Adding a product like Kids Good Stuff (or even Good Green Vitality for adolescents) to their daily routine is a great way to ensure they are getting all the vitamins and minerals their bodies need to thrive.

Specific nutrients for energy

  • Carbohydrate is the body’s preferred energy source, and the only source that our brains can use. Simple carbohydrates (like white bread and sugar) are used quickly, while complex carbohydrates (like brown bread, wholemeal pasta, fruits and veggies and beans) give us longer lasting energy. Try to include complex carbs with each meal and snack to boost energy.
  • Protein takes longer for your body to break down and turn into energy so it is a longer lasting energy source that also provides satiety (minimising the risk of reaching for sugary snacks). Kids Good Stuff is a plant-based smoothie mix with 8g a protein in every serve.  
  • B vitamins help our bodies extract the energy from the food we’ve eaten,2 so it’s important to make sure your children’s diets have enough of them. This can be easy as B vitamins are found in a wide range of foods including meat, dairy, eggs, beans and lentils, and seeds (especially sunflower). If your child is vegan, however, they will need to eat food fortified with vitamin B12 or take a supplement like Kids Good Stuff (which is packed with a full spectrum of B vitamins), as this vitamin only occurs naturally in animal products.
  • Iron is needed to transport oxygen around the body and to the brain.2 If you’ve ever been in a closed room full of people with no open windows, you’re probably familiar with that dozy feeling that low oxygen produces. To avoid this, make sure your children are eating plenty of iron-rich foods, not just meat, but beans and red lentils, chia and hemp seeds, spinach and tofu can all help to boost iron. Having a source of vitamin C at the same time (from oranges, of course, but also capsicum, kiwi, tomatoes and broccoli) can help the body absorb more iron. Only give your child an iron supplement if their doctor has advised it; not everyone’s body can process excess iron, and it’s much easier for our bodies to regulate it from food sources.

Sleep hygiene

It might sound obvious, but helping your kids get a good night’s sleep is crucial for ensuring their energy lasts all day, and there are several ways to encourage this. The routines and activities we do before bed are labelled ‘sleep hygiene’; good sleep hygiene promotes good quality sleep, while poor sleep hygiene tends to disrupt sleep.

Good sleep hygiene tips include:

  • Make sure your children wake up and go to bed at the same time every day, even weekends. While it might not make you popular, it really helps set kids’ body clocks so they aren’t overtired come morning.
  • Make their bedroom restful. A comfy mattress, nice bedding and a dark, clutter-free room can all promote good sleep.
  • Stretching, yoga or meditating before bed can help to calm the mind if they are worriers. Get the family involved and do it together to promote restful sleep in everyone!
  • Enforce a ‘no screens’ rule an hour or so before bedtime. The blue light from screens can disrupt the hormones which make us sleepy; fast-paced, bright tv shows and social media can also be very stimulating for the brain making it harder to switch off at night.
  • Adding a couple of drops of lavender essential oil to a warm bath is a great way to relax before bedtime. For older children who prefer showers, a lavender body lotion or pillow spray are good options.

References:

  1. Hohman EE, Balantekin KN, Birch LL, et al. Dieting is associated with reduced bone mineral accrual in a longitudinal cohort of girls. BMC Public Health 2018;18(1):1285.
  2. Tardy AL, Pouteau E, Marquez D, et al. Vitamins and minerals for energy, fatigue and cognition: A narrative review of the biochemical and clinical evidence. Nutrients 2020;12(1):pii:E228.

What Makes Clean Lean Protein So Unique?

All around the world, the shelves are flooded with protein powders – whey, soy, pea, insect, you name it, it’s available. So, what makes our Clean Lean Protein so unique in a sea of worthy competitors? It’s as much to do with what we leave out of the product as it is what we put


All around the world, the shelves are flooded with protein powders – whey, soy, pea, insect, you name it, it’s available. So, what makes our Clean Lean Protein so unique in a sea of worthy competitors?

It’s as much to do with what we leave out of the product as it is what we put in. From seedling to shop floor, we use the cleanest growing and manufacturing methods available to produce a unique, high-quality plant protein that is suitable for everyone.

It starts with the peas and where they are grown:

Clean Lean Protein is made from the highest quality European Golden Pea (Pisum sativum). The growing of the peas is contracted to farmers primarily in Northern France, an area known for their quality soils, clean environment and sustainable practices, before being processed in Belgium by Cosucra.

Cosucra is a private family business regarded as the world leaders in pea protein isolation and renowned for their low carbon footprint and 100% sustainable processing facility. The seeds are provided to the farmers by Cosucra to assure premium quality. There are strict rules and regulations in place around farming practices in France to minimize the risk or cross contamination with pollutants and to avoid the use of common herbicides, pesticides and artificial fertilizers.

Peas are classified as a sustainable crop as they use less land and water than alternatives and add vital nutrients like nitrogen back into the soil. Cosucra transports the peas from Northern France by waterways to Belgium for processing, further reducing their carbon footprint and environmental impact.

The isolation process:

Typical pea protein isolation processes involve high temperatures and chemicals that can destroy the nutrient profile of the peas and denature the protein. Cosucra does not use any solvents, chemicals or high temperatures in their isolation process. The nutrients are extracted from the peas in their state-of-the-art facilities via a gentle water-based extraction process.

This patented extraction process ensures the removal of anti-nutrients like phytic acid, lectins and trypsin inhibitors, making the resulting protein highly available and digestible for the consumer. In addition, this process increases the protein content and availability from the peas in a similar way to processes such as sprouting and fermenting, but more effectively.

After the isolation process is complete, Cosucra purifies and recycles the water used and turns all remaining pea material into biofuel and animal feed.

What we’re left with is a high quality and high protein powder that smells neutral, mixes well into liquid and easy to flavour.

The quality and nature of the finished product:

Clean Lean Protein is renowned for its quality, taste, smooth texture and minimal ingredients. We can also guarantee that the product is entirely clean and free of contaminants.

Through independent laboratory testing, Clean Lean Protein is certified gluten, soy and dairy free as well as being free from Genetically Modified Ingredients (GMOs). There are no other common allergens present in any of the ingredients used and the finished products are regularly tested for herbicides and pesticides, and to ensure naturally occurring heavy metals are well within safe limits. Clean Lean Protein is also free from fillers, gums, preservatives, processing aids and masking agents that are commonly used in blending protein powders.

From a consumer perspective, Clean Lean Protein is not certified organic. This is because we currently cannot guarantee the supply chain of organically certified protein that matches the quality that Cosucra supplies – that being a high purity isolate that contains almost 90% pure protein. Furthermore, there is no need for a pea protein isolate to be organic as it is a processed ingredient. Consumers choose organic products for the nutrients in the soil and to avoid harmful herbicides and pesticides. The pea protein isolation process is simply pulling out the amino acids from the peas, with a by-product of beneficial fibre. Made from the highest quality European golden peas, Clean Lean Protein consistently outperforms in quality and taste comparisons with other plant proteins on the market and is truly the environmentally friendly choice.

Alex Hamlin

The Power of Kids Good Stuff

How diet and supplementation support hair regrowth in autoimmune hair-loss.


A recent paper has been published in the Cureus Journal of Medicine in which an eight-year-old patient achieved remission of Alopecia areata (AA) through the use of diet and supplementation including Nuzest’s Kids Good Stuff in the regimen. 

What is Alopecia areata (AA)?

AA is a common autoimmune condition targeting the hair follicles causing ‘spot baldness’ (or more extensive) hair loss in individuals. Autoimmune diseases are conditions that trigger the immune system to attack part of your own body; in the case of AA, the hair follicles are targeted, contributing to an individual’s presentation of hair loss. White blood cells attack healthy hair follicle cells, causing them to shrink and fall out. This is often present on the scalp in small patches, however, hair loss can occur over other parts of the body. 

Hair loss is a physical, external sign which may indicate that something is going on within the body. Nutrient deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, thyroid disorders and pharmaceutical drugs are just a few factors that may contribute to hair loss. 

The Case Study & Case Presentation

A case study by Cliff J. Harvey published in November 2020 reports the treatment of AA through the use of combined diet and supplementation.[1] The patient was an eight-year-old male who presented with AA.

Advice was provided to the patient’s parents to increase zinc, vitamin A and vitamin D-rich foods, to avoid gluten and dairy where possible, and to focus on a whole foods diet reducing intake of processed ‘packaged’ foods.[1]

The supplementation regimen consisted of our Kids Good Stuff multi-nutrient powder which is rich in vitamins A, D3, zinc and secondary antioxidant nutrients; paired with a zinc sulfate supplement and a fish oil with added vitamin D. Lifestyle advice was also given to spend 5-10 min outside daily. 

Key micronutrients including vitamin D, zinc and vitamin A were supplemented through a daily dose of Kids Good Stuff. Per 15g serve the following amount of key micronutrients were provided: 

  • Vitamin A – 400μg RE
  • Zinc – 6mg
  • Vitamin D3 – 10μg

The Results

After following the prescribed dietary and supplement regimen for two months, the patient’s hair was seen to grow back. After five months, it was reported the patient achieved complete remission, with evidence that the patient’s hair had completely recovered. Additional research suggests there is a relationship between the incidence and severity of AA and several micronutrients, including vitamin D, zinc and vitamin A.[2]

Read the full case report here.

The Benefits of Kids Good Stuff

Kids Good Stuff is an all-in-one nutritional support formula providing the right balance of vitamins and minerals to fill nutritional gaps in a child’s diet. It’s true that even as adults, many of us don’t get all the essential micronutrients that we need to thrive from diet alone and without vital nutrients we can’t perform and feel out best – this rings true for kids too! 

Insufficient intakes of nutrients increase rapidly from infancy. For example, from the age of 2-4 to 14-18, around 1/3 of males and over ¼ females don’t consume sufficient vitamin A and for boys and men, zinc insufficiency consistently rises from childhood to over 2/3 of the male population by adulthood.[3] The major reason being, we are not getting everything we need from diet alone as diets high in refined and processed foods are favoured. 

Kids Good Stuff is not a substitute for healthy, balanced meals, but is a daily supplementation to help support the health and growth of our kids. The nutrient rich formula includes microalgae, mushrooms, vegetables and high polyphenol fruit and berry extracts which provides an array of phytonutrients, trace and ultra-trace minerals necessary for proper absorption and utilisation of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients in kids. Each ingredient works together in a range of different functions, supporting all 11 systems of the body, including the integumentary system (hair, skin and nails). 

Kids Good Stuff was designed specifically with children’s needs in mind. It’s packed full of vitamins, minerals and other great stuff to set kids up for a good day and to support and nourish their growing bodies.


References:

[1] https://www.cureus.com/articles/42894-combined-diet-and-supplementation-therapy-resolves-alopecia-areata-in-a-paediatric-patient-a-case-study

[2]ABS. Australian Health Survey: Nutrition First Results‐Foods and Nutrients, 2011‐12. Australian Bureau of Statistics Canberra; 2014.  

[3]https://www.researchgate.net/publication/316992207_The_Role_of_Micronutrients_in_Alopecia_Areata_A_Review

Alex Hamlin

Health Around the World: Which Country Has the Healthiest Diet?

The world is becoming increasingly aware of the importance of good nutrition for health. But what country has the healthiest diet? Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Nutritionist, Rachel Hawkins, compares the dietary guidelines of ten popular countries to determine who will come out on top! Good nutrition is important for all aspects of health. A healthy


The world is becoming increasingly aware of the importance of good nutrition for health. But what country has the healthiest diet? Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Nutritionist, Rachel Hawkins, compares the dietary guidelines of ten popular countries to determine who will come out on top!

Good nutrition is important for all aspects of health. A healthy diet helps to protect against malnutrition and the risk of noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.1 But establishing dietary guidelines is no easy task. While the World Health Organisation (WHO) makes global dietary recommendations, it is up to each country to modify these to make them suitable for their population.

Why? Because people that live in different countries lead different lifestyles that involve different diets; from the food that is accessible, to the way it is prepared, and even the pattern by which it is consumed.

Dietary guidelines of ten countries around the world

We summarise the dietary guidelines of ten countries (including when they were last reviewed) below.

1. Australia

The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating uses a plate model to visually represent what proportion of the five food groups should be eaten each day. The food groups included on this plate are grain (cereal) foods; vegetables, legumes and beans; fruits; lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds; and dairy products (mostly reduced fat) and/or dairy alternatives.2,3

Key Messages from dietary guidelines:2,3

  • To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, be physically active and choose amounts of nutritious food and drinks to meet your energy needs
  • Enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods from the aforementioned five food groups every day
  • Limit intake of foods containing saturated fat, added salt, added sugars and alcohol
  • Replace high fat foods which contain predominately saturated fats such as butter, cream, cooking margarine, coconut and palm oil with foods that contain predominantly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats such as oils, spreads, nut butters/pastes and avocado.
  • Encourage, support and promote breastfeeding
  • Care for your food; prepare and store it safely
  • Drink plenty of water

Last reviewed? 2013

2. New Zealand

Interestingly, New Zealand does not have a visual guide to model their current healthy eating guidelines. Instead, their guidelines are only available in written form.4 The New Zealand Heart Foundation adopted the use of The Healthy Heart Visual Food Guide (pictured) in 2013 as a means to represent cardio-protective eating patterns, however this model does not represent New Zealand’s national eating guidelines.5

Key Messages from dietary guidelines: 4,6

– Enjoy a variety of nutritious foods everyday including:

  • Plenty of vegetables and fruit
  • Grain foods, mostly whole grain and those naturally high in fibre
  • Some milk and milk products, mostly ow reduced fat
  • Some legumes, nuts, seeds, fish and other seafood, eggs, poultry and/or red meat with the fat removed

– Choose and/or prepare foods and drinks:

  • With unsaturated fats instead of saturated
  • That are low in salt (sodium)
  • With little to no added sugar
  • That are mostly ‘whole’ and less processed

– Make plain water your first drink of choice

– If you drink alcohol, keep your intake low

– Buy or gather, prepare, cook and store food in ways that keep it safe to eat.

Last reviewed? 2013

Last reviewed? 2013

3. Singapore

Singapore’s My Healthy Plate visually represents the proportion of foods that Singaporean’s should eat at each meal.7 My Healthy Plate is a practical guide for showing people what to eat at each meal and in what amounts in order to adopt and maintain healthy eating habits for life.7,8

Key Messages from dietary guidelines:7,8

  • Achieve and maintain a body weight within the normal range
  • Eat a sufficient amount of grains, especially wholegrains
  • Eat more fruit and vegetables everyday
  • Chose and prepare food with less fat, especially saturated fat
  • Choose and prepare food with less salt and sauces
  • Choose beverages and food with less sugar
  • If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation (one standard drink per day for women and two for men)

Last reviewed? 2003

4. United Kingdom

Similar to Australia, the United Kingdom’s Eatwell Guide uses a plate model to visually represent what proportion of the five food groups should be eaten each day. However, unlike Australia, the five food groups they reference are different. The food groups included in the Eatwell Guide are potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and other starchy carbohydrates; fruit and vegetables, beans, pulses, fish eggs, meat and other proteins, dairy and dairy alternatives and oils and spreads.9,10

Key Messages from dietary guidelines:9,10

  • Eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day.
  • Base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates; choosing wholegrain versions where possible.
  • Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks); choosing lower fat and lower sugar options.
  • Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 portions of fish every week, one of which should be oily).
  • Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and eat in small amounts
  • Drink 6-8 cups/glasses of fluid a day
  • If consuming foods and drinks high in fat, salt or sugar have these less often and in small amounts

Last reviewed? 2016

5. United States of America 

The USA use the My Plate model to visually represent what proportion of food should be eaten at each meal.11

Key Messages from dietary guidelines:11,12,13

– Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan. A healthy eating pattern includes:

  • A variety of all vegetables, legumes and beans
  • Fruits
  • Grains, at least half of which are whole grains
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy and/or fortified soy
  • A variety of protein foods including seafood, lean meats, poultry, eggs, legumes, beans, nuts, seeds and soy products
  • Oils
  • Limits saturated and trans fats, sugars and sodium

– Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount. 

– Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake.

– Shift to healthier food and beverages choices. 

– Support healthy eating patterns for all. 

Last reviewed: 2015

6. Canada

Canada’s Food Guide uses a plate model to visually represent what proportion of foods should be eaten each day. Canada’s Food Guide uniquely suggests that healthy eating is more than the foods that you eat but also about where, when, why and how you eat.14

Key Messages from dietary guidelines:14,15

  • Be mindful of your eating habits. Take time to eat and notice when you are hungry and full
  • Cook more often
  • Enjoy your food (culture and food traditions are a part of healthy eating too!)
  • Eat meals with others

Make it a habit to eat a variety of healthy foods each day:

  • Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, whole grain foods and protein foods. Choose protein foods that come from plants more often.
  • Limit highly processed foods, sodium, sugars and saturated fat
  • Choose foods with healthy fats
  • Make water your drink of choice
  • Use food labels
  • Be aware that food marketing can influence your choices

Last reviewed? 2019

7. China

China’s Food Guide Pagoda embodies the core recommendations of China’s dietary guidelines. It includes five levels, representing the recommended proportion of the different food groups that should be eaten each day.16

Key Messages from dietary guidelines:16,17

  • Eat a variety of foods, with cereals as the staple.
  • Balance eating and exercise to maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Consume plenty of vegetables, milk, and soybeans.
  • Consume an appropriate amount of fish, poultry, eggs, and lean meat.
  • Reduce salt and oil, and limit sugar and alcohol.
  • Eliminate waste and develop a new ethos of diet civilization.
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Daily physical activity

Last revised? 2016

8. Thailand

Thailand’s Nutrition Flag uses a hanging flag to visually represent the type and amount of each food group that should be eaten each day. The four food groups include rice, rice products, other grains and starchy foods; vegetables and fruits; meat, legumes, eggs and milk; and oil, sugar and salt.18

Key Messages from dietary guidelines:18

  • Eat a variety of foods from each of the food groups and maintain a proper weight.
  • Eat adequate amounts of rice or alternate carbohydrate sources.
  • Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits regularly.
  • Eat fish, lean meat, eggs, legumes and pulses regularly.
  • Drink in appropriate quality and quantity for one’s age.
  • Eat a diet containing appropriate amounts of fat.
  • Avoid sweet and salty foods.
  • Eat clean and safe foods.
  • Avoid or reduce the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Last updated? 1998

9. Spain

Spain’s Food Pyramid visually represent the frequency that different foods should be consumed in the overall diet and is based on a traditional Mediterranean Diet. The Food Pyramid is divided into three levels of consumption: daily at the base (wholegrain cereals and products, fruits, vegetables, olive oil and dairy products), weekly (fish, poultry, pulses, nuts, potatoes, eggs, red meat and meat products) and occasionally on top (sweets, snacks and sweetened beverages). The pyramid also includes recommendations on physical activity.19,20

Key Messages from dietary guidelines:19,20

  • Enjoy a variety of foods. Divide your daily food intake into five or six small meals, for example: breakfast, snack, lunch, snack and dinner.
  • Breakfast is an important meal in your diet.
  • Eat plenty of cereals, preferably wholegrain.
  • Try and eat five portions of fruits and vegetables every day.
  • Eat milk and dairy products every day.
  • Eat fish two to four times a week.
  • Eat small amounts of fat and high-fat foods.
  • Use good fats, such as unsaturated fatty acids (olive oil), omega-6 (sunflower oil and soya oil) and omega-3 (nuts and soya oil and fatty fish).
  • Prefer carbohydrates and fibre-rich foods.
  • Limit salt intake to less than 5 g per day.
  • Water is the best drink – drink at least 1.5 litres every day.
  • Watch your weight and stay active. Do physical activity regularly

Last reviewed? 2016

10. India

India uses a number of graphical elements to represent the messages of its dietary guidelines, one of them being a Food Pyramid. Similar to Spain, the Food Pyramid is divided into levels that indicate the frequency of food consumption: sufficient quantity at the base (cereals and legumes/beans), liberally (vegetables and fruits), moderately (animal foods and oils) and sparingly at the top (highly processed foods high in sugar and fat).21

Key Messages from dietary guidelines:21

  • Eat a variety of foods to ensure a balanced diet.
  • Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits.
  • Ensure moderate use of edible oils and animal foods and use a minimum of ghee/butter/vanaspati.
  • Minimize the use of processed foods rich in salt, sugar and fats.
  • Adopt the right pre-cooking processes and appropriate cooking methods.
  • Avoid overeating to prevent overweight and obesity.
  • Exercise regularly and be physically active to maintain ideal body weight.
  • Ensure the use of safe and clean foods.
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Abstain from drinking alcohol
  • Say no to smoking

Last reviewed? 2011

So, what country has the healthiest diet?

Spain takes the gold medal here! Spain’s dietary guidelines are based on a Mediterranean Diet. The Mediterranean Diet is one of the world’s most well-researched diets due to the fact that many years ago researchers realised that people who lived in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea (such as Greece, Italy and Spain) were healthier and had a lower risk of lifestyle related diseases compared to those who lived in other countries.22,23

A Mediterranean Diet may have health benefits and reduce risk of developing:22,23

  • Heart disease, including heart attack
  • Type 2 diabetes or its complications
  • Some cancers, including bowel cancer
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Depression or improving its symptoms
  • Cognitive decline, including dementia.

Such health benefits can be attributed to the fact that the foods in this diet are rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The diet also places a big focus on how food is eaten – cooked at home, mindfully and ideally shared with friends and family. In addition, the diet is thought to be incredibly sustainable which makes it easier for people to implement lifelong healthy eating habits.

A special mention goes to our friends in Canada for placing such a large emphasis on the where, when, why and how we eat in their newly revised guidelines – they take my second-place medal!

Tips to make your diet healthier (and do like the mediterranean do)!

  • Replace large serves of meat with vegetables in your meals. They should take up at least half your plate!
  • Eat fish (especially oily fish like salmon) twice per week
  • Switch red meats out for white meats
  • Eat more legumes! If having mince, try replacing half the mixture with beans or lentils.
  • Replace canola, sesame, coconut or other vegetable oils with extra virgin olive oil in cooking and dressings.
  • Instead of spreading margarine or butter on bread try avocado
  • Add nuts and seeds to salads and smoothies

A day on a plate

Breakfast

Rolled oats made with your choice of milk, topped with fruit and a handful of chopped nuts and/or seeds. Add a scoop of CLP for a protein boost

Lunch

A roast pumpkin and lentil salad, including roast pumpkin, tomato, dark leafy greens, avocado, brown lentils and a honey mustard dressing made using a combination of extra virgin olive oil, seeded mustard, honey and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Dinner

Homemade pizzas using a wholemeal base topped with vegetables such as onion, zucchini, eggplant, capsicum and olives drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.

Snacks

  • Fresh fruit
  • Natural or Greek style yogurt
  • Handful of nuts and/or seeds

Rachel Hawkins

Better Nutrition for Better Behaviour

The most important meal of the day That’s right, breakfast! If you’ve ever run out of the door without breakfast on a workday, you’re probably familiar with the distraction that hunger can cause. This is no different in children – attention and memory are improved in children that have breakfast compared to those who don’t,


The most important meal of the day

That’s right, breakfast! If you’ve ever run out of the door without breakfast on a workday, you’re probably familiar with the distraction that hunger can cause. This is no different in children – attention and memory are improved in children that have breakfast compared to those who don’t, and some types of breakfast seem to improve attention more than others. For example, children who ate low GI (or glycaemic index – a measure of how quickly your blood sugar rises after a meal) breakfasts saw greater improvement in attention than those who had high GI breakfasts.1 Common high GI breakfast foods are white bread, high-sugar cereal and baked goods like muffins and pastries, whereas low GI options include oatmeal, eggs and wholemeal toast.

Examples of how to turn a high GI breakfast into a low GI one below:

Of course, it’s a little reductive to say that it’s only breakfast that is important when thinking about attention and behaviour in children. Making sure children eat regularly through the day and focussing on low GI foods ensures they have sustainable energy to focus and helps to reduce the poor behaviour that often arises from hunger.

Specific nutrients to help

As well as ensuring that children eat regularly, it can be helpful to ensure adequate intake of a few key nutrients.

  • Magnesium, in concert with Calcium, helps calm the nervous system by regulating nerve firing and reducing over-excitation of the nervous system. For diets low in magnesium, supplementation might help to reduce anxiety. Check out this anxiety supplements which might help you a lot.
  • B Vitamins support all areas of health and mood; in particular B6 supplementation (with magnesium) has demonstrated improvements in symptoms of hyperactivity and aggressiveness in children.3
  • Iron deficiency in children has several symptoms, one of which is poor behaviour, and treatment with supplemental iron can reverse the behavioural symptoms.4 There’s no harm in increasing iron-rich foods in the diet (for example spinach, beans, lentils, tofu and red meat) as our bodies are very good at regulating iron from food sources; however you should only ever give children iron supplements if your doctor has identified an iron deficiency.
  • Zinc insufficiency is associated with a number of behaviour problems including anxiety/depression, withdrawal, emotional reactivity, attention problems and aggressive behaviour.5 Including more beans and lentils, seeds like hemp or pumpkin, nuts like cashews or almonds and dark chocolate can give your kids a boost of zinc in their diets.
  • Omega-3s have been found to improve problems like inattention, hyperactivity and oppositional behaviour in children, both with and without a diagnosis of ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder).6 [Hibbeln] As well as oily fish, omega-3s can be found in seaweed, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax, walnuts and beans.
  • Protein keeps them fuller for longer, helping to avoid afternoon ‘hanger’ tantrums!

To help achieve the levels of nutrients kids needs to thrive, try adding a Kids Good Stuff multivitamin smoothie to their daily routine. It contains over 50 ingredients including magnesium, calcium, B vitamins, naturally occurring iron, zinc and protein.

Things to avoid

Experiment with removing artificial colours, flavour enhancers and preservatives to see if this makes a difference in your child’s behaviour (some children are more sensitive than others); these include:

This can be an overwhelming task and it’s best to work with a professional (like a dietician, nutritionist or naturopath) when making restrictions to a child’s diet.

Allergies and intolerances

Allergies and intolerances don’t always show up as the classic symptoms of rash, itchy throat, bloating or diarrhoea. Behavioural problems can also be a sign of an undiagnosed allergy or intolerance. Speak to your doctor if you suspect this and they can arrange an allergy test for you.


References

  1. Adolphus K, Lawton CL, Champ CL, et al. The effects of breakfast and breakfast composition on cognition in children and adolescents: A systematic review. Adv Nutr 2016;7(3):590S-612S.
  2. Boyle NB, Lawton C, Dye L. The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress—A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2017;9(5):429. 
  3. Mousain-Bosc M, Roche M, Polge A, Pradal-Prat D, Rapin J, Bali JP. Improvement of neurobehavioral dis-orders in children supplemented with magnesium-vitamin B6. I. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorders. Magnes Res. 2006;19(1):46-52.
  4. Mahajan G, Sikka M, Rusia U, et al. Iron profile in children with behavioural disorders: A prospective study in a tertiary care hospital in North India. Indian J Hematol Blood Tranfus 2011;27(2):75-80.
  5. Liu J, Hanlon A, Ma C, et al. Low blood zinc, iron, and other sociodemographic factors associated with behaviour problems in preschoolers. Nutr 2014;6:530-545.
  6. Hibbeln JR, Gow RV. Omega-3 fatty acid and nutrient deficits in adverse neurodevelopment and childhood behaviours. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am 2014;23(3):555-590.
  1. Adolphus K, Lawton CL, Champ CL, et al. The effects of breakfast and breakfast composition on cognition in children and adolescents: A systematic review. Adv Nutr 2016;7(3):590S-612S.
  2. Boyle NB, Lawton C, Dye L. The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress—A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2017;9(5):429. 
  3. Mousain-Bosc M, Roche M, Polge A, Pradal-Prat D, Rapin J, Bali JP. Improvement of neurobehavioral dis-orders in children supplemented with magnesium-vitamin B6. I. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorders. Magnes Res. 2006;19(1):46-52.
  4. Mahajan G, Sikka M, Rusia U, et al. Iron profile in children with behavioural disorders: A prospective study in a tertiary care hospital in North India. Indian J Hematol Blood Tranfus 2011;27(2):75-80.
  5. Liu J, Hanlon A, Ma C, et al. Low blood zinc, iron, and other sociodemographic factors associated with behaviour problems in preschoolers. Nutr 2014;6:530-545.
  6. Hibbeln JR, Gow RV. Omega-3 fatty acid and nutrient deficits in adverse neurodevelopment and childhood behaviours. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am 2014;23(3):555-590.

Kids Good Stuff – a Parent’s Best Friend

By Nicola Miethke, Clinical Naturopath and Nutritionist  Despite our best efforts as parents to give our children a wholesome, balanced diet filled with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, quality protein and healthy fats, it’s never quite that simple! Perhaps your child is a picky eater and you’re worried that their diet of sausages and


By Nicola Miethke, Clinical Naturopath and Nutritionist 

Despite our best efforts as parents to give our children a wholesome, balanced diet filled with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, quality protein and healthy fats, it’s never quite that simple! Perhaps your child is a picky eater and you’re worried that their diet of sausages and potato every night just isn’t cutting it. Maybe their schedule is so busy or they are so active that it’s hard for them to find the time to eat enough whilst on the go. Or maybe your child has a sensory processing disorder or food allergy/intolerance which limits the variety of foods they are able or willing to eat. Whatever it is, most of children won’t eat everything we give them.

So how we can be sure that our children are getting everything they need for healthy growth and development whilst still having the energy to just be kids?

First and foremost, the priority is continuing your best efforts to help your child get the nutrients they need from a predominantly wholefood, unprocessed diet. But, with various issues affecting our children’s food intake (as mentioned above) and the following statistics to prove it, there are a lot of gaps that need to be filled:

  • 95% of children eat insufficient serves of vegetables
  • 40% of children eat insufficient serves of fruit
  • 40% of our children’s energy intake is from discretionary foods
  • On average, only boys aged 4-11 and girls aged 9-11 meet the recommended daily intake for grains
  • Almost all children aged 4-18 do not meet the recommended serves of dairy products, meat and alternatives1,2,3

In short, almost all children are missing the mark in at least three of the five primary food groups (fruits, vegetables, grains, meats and alternatives, dairy and alternatives) making it very difficult for them to get all the essential vitamins and minerals they need to thrive. “Thrive” being the key word here. The recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamins and minerals set out by government guidelines are purely a baseline for survival. They do not take into consideration individual needs, activity levels or requirements for optimal wellbeing.

It doesn’t help that we are busier and more time poor than ever, and packaged convenience foods are so readily available. Unfortunately, it’s these foods (biscuits, crackers, muffins, potato and corn chips, snack bars) that children tend to love because they are the highest in sugar, salt and saturated fats, providing them with little other than high levels of kilojoules or what we call “empty calories”. They’re great at keeping them quiet but far from nourishing.

Some of the most common nutritional deficiencies we see in children are vitamin D, vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium, iodine, iron and zinc.4 Approximately 85% of girls aged 12-18 have inadequate calcium intake, 70% have inadequate magnesium levels and 40% are low in iron.2,5  Whilst 60% of boys aged 12-18 have inadequate magnesium levels and 70% don’t get enough calcium.5 It’s also very common for children, particularly teenagers, to show signs of low levels of B group vitamins (such as fatigue, difficulty concentrating and irritability) when the pressures of school life start to create additional stress. The reason why we see these deficiencies creep up as our children get older is because the period between the age of 4 and 14 is characterised by rapid growth, and cognitive and emotional development. Therefore, giving them a strong nutritional foundation during these years is the best strategy for avoiding problems later on.

Is there is an easy solution?

Thank goodness, YES! Nuzest’s Kids Good Stuff (KGS) is the nutritional insurance for our kids that we have all been looking for to put our minds at ease. Adding it to your child’s normal daily diet it will not only fill the gaps to help them reach their RDIs, it will help to ensure they are going above and beyond these recommendations for optimal health, growth and development.  

For example, every serve of KGS contains 200% of the RDI for Vitamin D for children aged 4-14, 261% of Vitamin C, 278% of Vitamin B12, 83% of zinc, 63% of iodine and 21% of calcium. Not to mention a host of other essential vitamins, minerals, fruits, vegetables, herbs, protein and probiotics to support all 11 body systems through this time of rapid growth.

Is Kids Good Stuff easy to take?

One of the things that kids love the most about Kids Good Stuff is that it tastes too good to be healthy. So good that even the fussiest of eaters will be happy to take it. With 8g of the highest quality pea protein per serve, Kids Good Stuff makes the perfect addition to breakfast or is a healthy and satisfying snack all on its own. Alternatively, it can be blended with your children’s favourite smoothie ingredients or added to raw snacks and treats for a nutrient boost.

As a parent, knowing that just one scoop a day can be the difference between your child not getting the nutrients they need to grow and develop properly and your child thriving, it’s an absolute must! It will make you feel confident that you are giving our children the best start in life.  

Why is it better than a regular multivitamin?

If you ask me, Kids Good Stuff is a clear winner over any multivitamin capsule or gummy. Not only do children associate gummies with candy, deeming all varieties of chewy confectionary to be “healthy” to them, but it’s impossible to get all the nutritional support children need in just one small chew or capsule. Because Kids Good Stuff comes in a concentrated powder form with no fillers, it’s able to deliver over 50 ingredients in quantities that will actually have a beneficial effect.

Even more importantly than the quantity though is the quality of the ingredients. And Nuzest have absolutely assured this. Every vitamin, mineral, herb and probiotic in Kids Good Stuff has been selected based on maximum bioavailability, meaning that the body can recognise and absorb every ingredient and none of it goes to waste.

In summary, if you are looking for nutritional insurance to give you peace of mind that your child is getting all the nutrients they need to grow and thrive then there is nothing like Kids Good Stuff. With everything they need for healthy development, strong immunity, good digestion and gut support, healthy bones and long-lasting energy without any of the bad stuff, it’s the best way to keep them happy and healthy from the inside out.

Please note that vitamin and mineral supplements can interact with medications. If your child has been prescribed medication by a GP or specialist, it’s important to consult them before taking a nutritional supplement.

References:

AIHW (2018). Australia’s Health 2018. Retrieved 13 October 2010 from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-health/australias-health-2018/contents/indicators-of-australias-health/fruit-and-vegetable-intake

AIHW (2018). Nutrition Across the Life Stages. Retrieved 13 October 2020 fromhttps://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/fc5ad42e-08f5-4f9a-9ca4-723cacaa510d/aihw-phe-227.pdf.aspx?inline=true

AIHW (2019). Poor Diet in Children. Retrieved 13 October 2020 https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/food-nutrition/poor-diet/contents/poor-diet-in-children

Raising Children Network (2020). Vitamins and Minerals. Retrieved 12 October 2020 from https://raisingchildren.net.au/teens/healthy-lifestyle/nutrients/vitamins-minerals#vitamin-and-mineral-deficiencies-nav-title

ABS (2015). Australian Health Survey: Usual Nutrient Intakes. Retrieved 12 October 2020 from https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/health-conditions-and-risks/australian-health-survey-usual-nutrient-intakes/latest-release

Eating for a healthy headspace

There is perhaps no better time for a dietitian like myself to be having an honest conversation about the connection between nutrition and mental health. The two most cost common mental health disorders, depression and anxiety, affect more than half a billion people globally1 Anxiety affects around 4% of the total population across all demographics


There is perhaps no better time for a dietitian like myself to be having an honest conversation about the connection between nutrition and mental health.

The two most cost common mental health disorders, depression and anxiety, affect more than half a billion people globally1

Anxiety affects around 4% of the total population across all demographics starting at age 15+, but is slightly higher in those that are over 502

Depression follows a similar trend, but spikes more significantly in those aged 50+ as compared to anxiety disorders. 3

The global pandemic has undeniably taken a toll on the health and happiness of people around the world and while food only represents part of the mental health picture, it’s one we certainly cannot ignore.

There is an undeniable connection between food, nutrition and human mental health and happiness.

For many of us, there are only a few things in life that might bring us more joy and anticipation than our favourite meal.

And there is so much more to it than that.

We are at a point in scientific discovery now where the connection between certain foods and nutrients and mental health outcomes like anxiety and depression is better understood than it has ever been before.

It is these discoveries, and more, that I plan to explore in today’s article.

What Does The Research Tell Us?

There are two primary bodies of research evidence in the world of nutrition and mental health.

The first is the observational evidence which looks at the dietary differences between those who do and do not have depression and anxiety and tries to establish certain key foods and nutrients that are associated with an increased or reduced risk of these conditions.

The second is the experimental evidence, which looks at people who already have symptoms of depression and anxiety and evaluates whether or not dietary changes can help modify those symptoms.

Let’s take a look at what each research category has to each us about the connection between nutrition and mental health.

The Observational Evidence

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there is a strong correlation between a person’s dietary pattern and their risk of depression.

In 2017 a significant review of studies from ten countries found that certain foods were either predictive of, or protective against, depression risk.4

The food components that were protective included:

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Fish
  • Olive Oil
  • Dietary Antioxidants*

*Nuzest Good Green Vitality is enriched with antioxidants from a variety of sources and can help increase the antioxidant quantity in your diet.

The food components that were predictive included:

  • Red meat
  • Processed meat
  • Refined grains
  • High-fat dairy products
  • Sweets
  • Animal Protein*

*Nuzest Clean Lean Protein is an 100% plant-based protein product that can help improve your plant to animal based protein intake ratio.

Researchers believe that the interaction between these foods and depression risk has a great deal to do with how they interact with blood sugar levels, the immune/inflammatory systems and the gut microbiome 5

Given the increasing interest specifically around gut health and the gut-brain connection, I want to take a moment to explore it further.

Gut Health And Mental Health

The gut-brain connection refers to the intricate chemical messaging system that takes place between the human brain and digestive tract, which we know is heavily influenced by our gut bacteria.

Naturally, this makes gut health an interesting topic in the world of mental health nutrition.

A 2019 study out of the British Medical Journal found, for example, that the use of prebiotics and probiotics may represents a useful complimentary treatment approach for both anxiety depression. 6

Although both studies admit more research will be required, the potential protective effect of probiotics  was also eluded to in a more recent 2020 systematic review published in Frontiers In Neurology.7

Nuzest’s Good Green Vitality contains 8 million probiotic cultures as well as prebiotic fibres from a number of sources including flaxseed and psyllium husk.

While both pre and probiotics are commonly consumed in supplemental form, as there are also certain widely available foods in each category that allow us to access these potential benefits from our day to day diet.

Examples of common foods rich in prebiotics:

  • Artichoke
  • Onion
  • Asparagus
  • Leek
  • Banana
  • Oatmeal
  • Apples

Examples of common foods rich in probiotics:

  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Miso
  • Tempeh
  • Kimchi
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kombucha

While we can’t say with certainty the inclusion of pre and probiotic containing foods or supplements will protect against or reduce the symptoms of depression, it is undoubtedly an area of great interest and putting forth some level of effort into the inclusion of these foods may represent a low risk strategy for many people to improve dietary diversity and gut health.

Further Experimental Evidence

Now that we have a better understanding of some of the food components associated with good mental health outcomes the next big question we have to ask is whether or not an individual suffering from a mental health disorder can experience symptom reduction by improving the quality of their diet.

This question was answered in resounding fashion via a now renowned 2017 mental health study known as the SMILES Trial.

The trial evaluated the impact of working with a dietitian over a 12 week period on individuals who were living with moderate to severe depression, many of whom were undergoing some form of therapy.

It found this nutrition-focused intervention to significantly improve depression symptoms in this population and has since paved the way for further similar studies.8 

Since its publication, further high quality experimental studies have emerged exploring the positive effects of dietary improvements on the improvements of people living with depression, thus confirming the massive role that nutrition intervention has to play in the world of mental health. 9, 10

And the experimental evidence does not stop there.

Omega-3s And Anxiety

A massive review published in the acclaimed JAMA journal found, for example, that omega-3 supplementation has a clinically meaningful role to play in reducing anxiety symptoms. 11

The amount of omega-3 required to achieve this affect was 2000 mg daily.

Which is approximately the same amount found in:

  • 150 grams of salmon, sardines, trout & other fatty fish
  • 1 tbsp of flaxseed, chia seed
  • 2 tbsp walnuts

Because the human body cannot synthesize omega-3 fatty acids, they are considered essential fatty acids which must be consumed from either food or a supplemental source.

They are also well known for their anti-inflammatory capabilities, which may further contribute to their protective effect as evidenced by studies showing that high fish intake is often associated with a lower risk of depression12.

Given the relatively few foods that are a rich source of omega-3s, it is important to proceed accordingly to ensure dietary adequacy, especially for those looking to optimize their mental health through dietary modification.

Other Nutrients Of Interest

I’d like to round off the focus on nutrition and mental health by exploring three more nutrients of interest, each of which have been implicated as potentially protective against depression. 13

They include:

Zinc – found in animal products such as seafood, dairy, meat as well as legumes, seeds and whole grains.

Folate – found largely in leafy greens, legumes and fruit.

Magnesium – found largely in leafy greens, nuts, seeds and legumes.

While we can’t say with certainty that eating more of these specific nutrients is protective against depression, the evidence suggests that they just may be.

Final Thoughts – Looking Beyond The Nutrients

As today’s discussion draws to a close, I believe that it’s important to acknowledge that the interaction between mental health and nutrition goes well beyond the role of specific foods or nutrients.

A 2015 study out of Thailand demonstrated that those who more regularly ate meals with others, rather than alone, tended to be far happier.14 

Obviously social interaction is one of the many external variables that can modify mental health status.

We also know, for example, that high levels of stress are often associated with poor digestive health outcomes due to the strong gut-brain connection that was discussed previously in this article.

This explains why the relaxation practice of meditation has been increasingly linked with improved mental and digestive health outcomes. 14

While stress management comes in different forms for different individuals, a daily meditation practice can be facilitated by a wide array of smartphone apps and online guides and has becomingly increasing acknowledged as valuable and accessible tool.

The body of research in the world of mental health is vast and while I’ve only just scratched the surface in today’s piece I do genuinely hope you will come away from today’s article with meaningful and actionable takeaways that will serve to better the state of mental health in our world.

Until next time,

Andy De Santis RD MPH

Andy De Santis

Maximising mood in your minis

In the most recent surveys looking at mental health in Australia, almost 1 in 7 children and adults aged 4-17 had been diagnosed with a mental health disorder; nearly half (45%) of adults had been.1 [aihw] As parents, we want to do everything we can to protect our children and try to prevent these illnesses


In the most recent surveys looking at mental health in Australia, almost 1 in 7 children and adults aged 4-17 had been diagnosed with a mental health disorder; nearly half (45%) of adults had been.1 [aihw] As parents, we want to do everything we can to protect our children and try to prevent these illnesses manifesting. Of course, this advice isn’t a cure-all. Sometimes, no matter what we’ve tried, our children will end up with a diagnosis of this kind, but by focussing on good nutrition and lifestyle modifications, we can help to reduce the risk.

Good food for good mood

Like most health states, people of all ages who have, or are at risk for, mental health disorders should aim for a varied diet including a range of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, meat or beans and tofu, nuts and seeds and a few treats. Try to keep sugary, fatty treats as a ‘sometimes’ food – there is some evidence suggesting that diets high in both saturated fat and sugar can affect a substance made in the brain called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (or BDNF); BDNF is often low in people with depression, and when levels increase symptoms of depression can improve.2 [O’Neil] There are a few nutrients we can make extra effort to include which have been shown to be protective against mental health disorders:

  • Omega-3 fats: there are a number of ways that these fats might help to protect against depression. It might be that they protect the brain and its processes, or perhaps that they reduce inflammation (which is commonly seen in people with depression). [Grosso] Science isn’t sure yet, but we do recommend including them in the diet. Oily fish is an excellent source of omega-3s, but seeds like flax and chia, walnuts and soybeans are great vegan sources of omega-3s.
  • Tryptophan: a necessary component of serotonin, the ‘happy hormone’ (low levels of this hormone contribute to both anxiety and depression), tryptophan cannot be made in the body and must be present in adequate amounts in the diet to ensure enough serotonin can be made. Higher intake of tryptophan has been shown to lead to lower rates of depression, irritability and anxiety.3 [Lindseth] Tryptophan is an amino acid – the building blocks of protein – so is usually found in high protein foods like poultry, eggs, dairy, peanuts and pumpkin and sesame seeds. If you prefer a protein powder or shake, look for one that is a ‘complete protein’ like Nuzest’s Clean Lean Protein, this means all the amino acids (and therefore tryptophan) are present.
  • Pre and Probiotics: there is a reason our stomachs are sometimes called our “little brain”. We’ve long known that our brain controls our gut, but we now know that the gut can influence the brain, too. Remember serotonin that we talked about above? About 95% of serotonin is made in the gut,5 [banskota] so it’s important to keep our guts healthy. Taking pre and probiotics can improve the microbiota (the mix of bacteria living in our stomach and intestines), and can reduce anxiety and depression symptoms.6 [liang].

Along with a variety of fruits and vegetables and a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals, Nuzest’s Kids Good Stuff contains 3billion CFU probiotics plus prebiotics from flaxseed, psyllium husk and apple pectin to help protect all aspects of children’s health.

Other lifestyle tips

It’s usually best to approach any illness with a holistic approach – that means not just focussing on symptoms but looking at the body and mind as a whole, and trying more than one treatment. So while you make small tweaks to the diet, you could also encourage some of the following:

  • Meditation and mindfulness can be a great practice for those with anxiety, depression and stress.
  • Sleep can be disturbed in those with poor mental health, aim for good sleep hygiene .
  • Exercise releases endorphins which can boost mood, even a short walk can be beneficial!
  • Socialising can be hard when suffering with depression or anxiety; encourage your children not to isolate themselves and continue seeing friends.

Medical help

This advice is intended to help your children boost their mood and reduce their risk of developing more serious mental health problems like depression and anxiety. If you suspect your child has a problem beyond low mood, it’s best to talk to your GP. Medication shouldn’t be feared! Work with your child’s doctor to find the best medication, if it’s necessary; your GP can also refer your child to a suitable therapist if needed.


References

  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Mental health services in Australia. Prevalence, impact and burden. 2020. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.
  2. O’Neil A, Quirk SE, Housden S, et al. Relationship between diet and mental health in children and adolescents: A systematic review. Am J Public Health 2014;104(10):e31-e42.
  3. Grosso G, Galvano F, Marventano S, et al. Omega-3 fatty acids and depression: Scientific evidence and biological mechanisms. Oxid Med Cell Longev 2014;2014:313570.
  4. Lindseth G, Helland B, Caspers J.  The effects of dietary tryptophan on affective disorders. Arch Psychiatr Nurs 2015;29(2):102-107.
  5. Banskota S, Ghia JE, Khan WI. Serotonin in the gut: Blessing or a curse. Biochimie 2019;161:56-64.
  6. Liang S, Wu X, Jin F. Gut-brain psychology: Rethinking psychology from the microbiota-gut-brain-axis. Front Integr Neurosci 2018;12:33.