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Q&A about children's nutrition with nutritionist Angela Dowden - ANSWERS BACK

(59 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 18-Apr-13 11:15:14

We're running a Q&A this week with nutritionist Angela Dowden, who will be available to answer your questions on children's nutrition.

Do you worry about whether you're giving your kids the food that's best for them? Are you concerned about whether they're getting the right vitamins and nutrients from their food to keep them going throughout their day? Should your children snack between meals and if so what sort of snacks should you be giving them? Post your questions to Angela before the end of Tuesday 23 April and we'll post up her answers on Monday 29 April

Angela Dowden is a registered nutritionist and specialises in family nutrition. A freelance journalist, she writes for about health and diet for national newspapers, magazines as well as many national online titles. She is currently working with the makers of Ribena Plus, a range of no added sugar juice drinks with added health benefits.

This Q&A is sponsored by Ribena Plus

Flisspaps Thu 18-Apr-13 11:32:37

From what I've learned on MN, I thought anyone could call themselves a nutritionist, and the people to speak to about diet/nutrition are dieticians?

Einsty Thu 18-Apr-13 11:47:14

Frankly? What are your best power-packed easy meals for pre-schoolers. My DD 4 is shockingly reluctant to eat vegetables or anything challenging. I want some basics that will do her good while I work on improving her repertoire.

Shannaratiger Thu 18-Apr-13 12:08:23

My dd(9) and ds(6) are both really fussy. They are getting better but the only meat dd will eat are chicken and sausages, and ds sausages and value ham. The only fruit and veg ds will eat are bananas, and carrott. Dd eats ready brek which I know has added iron, but i'm still worried how to get more iron into them and how much they should be eating per day.

cansu Thu 18-Apr-13 12:41:52

Dd has recently been ill with measles. She seems to be catching lots of colds. I am worried her immunity is low. She is autistic and has a poor diet. What vitamins and or supplements would help build up her immunity again?

OhHullitsOnlyMeYoni Thu 18-Apr-13 12:44:01

My DD is 20mo and has always loved cheese. She would eat it all day if I let her and will sneak it off the side if I turn my back for a second and bite a huge chunk out. It was her first word!
I remember hearing that as adults we should limit ourselves to a matchbox sized amount of cheese - but as children under 5 need more fat, is it alright for her to eat so much cheese? I try to limit it, but how much is alright, or is there no limit, as long as she is eating other nutrients?

80QuidYoniJob Thu 18-Apr-13 12:44:37

My DD is 19 months old and wants to snack constantly on things like cherios, toast, bread stick and rice cakes. She does eat fruit and some veg but I really struggle to get her to eat meals. I've tried dramatically cutting down on her snacking but she will still only have a few mouthfuls of her lunch or dinner. Except if we are having pasta which she will eat bowlfuls of. Meat is also a struggle.
So my question is, should I carry on trying to get her to eat more of her main meals or is the snacking okay?

Likeaninjanow Thu 18-Apr-13 12:51:43

One of my DC has severe food allergies. He is allergic to all dairy, eggs, sesame, peas & pulses, nuts & peanuts. What healthy snacks can I give him to up his calorie intake? The only fruit I can get him to eat is the Ella's kitchen fruit smoothies. He's age 5.

katrinefonsmark Thu 18-Apr-13 13:10:54

DD is now 7 and resolutely resists vegetables. She will eat frozen peas from the packet and had managed half a mouthful of broccoli. She will eat kiwi, berries, mango and pineapple in tiny quantities.
Will she be ok on tiny bits of the above, expensive multi vitamin and good quality fruit juice? She looks like she's thriving but Im permanently mentally tormented about this 5 a day business.

MavisSnapdragon Thu 18-Apr-13 13:27:31

Fliss, I think Dara O Briain said that dietician vs. nutritionist is a bit like dentist vs. toothiologist!

I'd better come up with a sensible question, now that I've said that! blush

DD1 is tiny for her age, underweight, poor growth (due to past cancer treatment mainly, but probably naturally small as well). She doesn't have a huge appetite, and no sweet tooth at all. DD2 is tall for her age, great appetite, not fussy about food at all, will eat anything, but is rather fond of cakes, biscuits, crisps etc as well as fruit and veg. How do I get extra calories into DD1 without giving DD2 more calories than she needs and without making it seem like DD1 gets all the "good stuff"? I'm really conscious of not making weight/calories etc an issue for either of them as they get older (they are 5 and 7 atm), so I try to give them the same meals and snacks etc (they notice if one has something and the other doesn't!). I think I need some suggestions for high calorie, non-tooth-rotting savory snacks that DD1 will actually eat before DD2 scoffs the lot! She likes crisps and popcorn, but I worry about salt content as she has some damage to her kidneys too.

MotheringShites Thu 18-Apr-13 13:55:50

Like many other posters, my DTs aged 4 are incredibly fussy. They refuse any veg and eat very little fruit. I blame myself for some mistake during weaning. DTD visibly shudders and gags if coerced into trying something new. They eat around 4/5 meals over and over.

How can I introduce more variety without making food a huge "issue" ans a battle ground?

InMySpareTime Thu 18-Apr-13 14:00:16

DS (age 11) has a milk allergy, and approaching puberty. How do I get his calcium levels up given he is reluctant to eat green leafy veg and doesn't really like tablets?
Also, he is on epilepsy meds that make him hungry (weight gain not an issue, he's very active and stick thin) any tips on keeping him full so he doesn't keep pestering me for food All. The. Timehmm.

eosmum Thu 18-Apr-13 14:01:34

DS is 6 and just diagnosed with faecal impaction. I have loads of questions but I am finding it particularly difficult to get liquid into him, I put fruit into a smoothie as it's the only way to get that into him, but what is the minimum amount of liquid he should be having? and should it increase as I'm trying to get more fibre into his diet?

Whatalotofpiffle Thu 18-Apr-13 14:04:00

A dietician at the local sure start centre told me that chewable vitamins for 3+ are ok for my 2 yr old as long as I cut them in half to minimise the choke hazard. Is this right?

She said that the vitamin content is fine it's just 3+ due to size, the sane as small toys are labelled. My dd won't take liquid vitamins, drops, nothing, so this is a last resort

KB02 Thu 18-Apr-13 14:09:03

I'd like some ideas for 1 yr old for protein at lunch, I always seem to go for cheese but worried about excess salt. He is not keen on egg. Baked beans have salt, even the reduced salt ones and often have.Artificial sweetener in. I make houmous sometimes but haven't always got it available and usually keep meat for main meals. Also, is it possible to get salt free bread without making my own?

RedundantClare Thu 18-Apr-13 15:27:16

I am struggling with how to approach the subject weight and over eating with my daughter. She is 12 nearly 13 and clearly " big boned" but I know she is a secret eater and find sweet wrappers in her room and pockets. Our approach to food has always been everything in moderation and nothing is banned. She does moderate exercise but is significantly bigger than her peers and at 5ft tall is wearing size 14 clothes.
What do I say to her without giving her a complex?

SheWhoCannotBeShamed Thu 18-Apr-13 15:59:30

My question is similar to the previous one. My daughter is 8 and definitely tending towards chubby. I don't think she eats in secret but is constantly hungry and asking for food. She will eat fruit but she already eats a huge amount of it and it affects her digestion. What can I give her that will fill her up? And how do I encourage her to simply eat less - she doesn't seem to have a stop mechanism.

mothertheresa Thu 18-Apr-13 23:59:42

My 8 year old is overweight too. Always has been big boned but her main feature is a very bloated tummy which is worse as the day goes on. Can she have candida at this age? I know that can make you bloat and make you feel hungry. She is always asking me for sweet things and says she's hungry all the time. There is definitely an element of comfort eating. My Q also to the nutritionist is what is the recommended daily calorie intake for an 8 year old who isn't particularly sporty?

Cuddlydragon Fri 19-Apr-13 00:11:57

My son is 9 months old and has fallen and risen through the centiles due to silent reflux and a bottle aversion. The reflux is under control mostly and weaning going ok. He's on 3 meals a day, some good days, some bad. He is however taking nowhere near the recommended 500-600ml of milk each day. He will take 3-4 oz per bottle and 3 or 4 bottles. Apart from sneaking it into porridge, milk and cheese sauces and feeding yoghurts etc, any ideas please? His weight is fine at the moment but is there any long term implications in lack of nutrients?

Morepeasplease Fri 19-Apr-13 13:04:47

My 8 year old dd was a very fussy eater in the past and whilst she has improved over the years she has become very reluctant to try anything new. She says she doesn't like things knowing full well she has never tasted them, particularly if they have any fruit ingredient. Although she seems healthy enough she eats hardly any veg (maybe a slice of carrot or bit of sweet corn per meal) and no fruit, but does drink smoothies(two varieties only - wont try any others). Eats with rest of family at the table ( all good eaters) and really enjoys helping to cook but just still seems afraid to try new things. Have told her that she can just lick something to taste it, or spit it out if she doesn't like it but she seems certain that she won't like it without trying it.( she is bright enough to understand that she doesn't know what something tastes like without trying it). What can I do to encourage a more positive attitude to new foods? How can I get her to try new things? Or should I just leave her and see if she grows out of it? Don't want to make mealtimes more stressful for her, would love her to relax and just enjoy food. But would love to cook any eat a wider variety of meals, for the sake of my other children as well as myself.

MadMonkeys Fri 19-Apr-13 13:40:44

My 7 month old daughter is dairy intolerant and probably gluten intolerant (we're on an elimination diet to establish that). What should I be including in her diet to replace the calcium etc that she will be missing out on without dairy and gluten?

DuchessOfPodd Fri 19-Apr-13 22:08:08

What can I build my 6 year old daughter up with? She is as skinny as a beanpole in comparison to her chunkier classmates. Her appetite is huge in the mornings when she will happily devour two big bowls of porridge made with semi skimmed cows or goats milk. Other than that we have a battle getting her to eat much of anything else, just a few mouthfuls of meat and veg for our family evening meal. She does like fruit such as apples, tangerines. Her teachers say she eats well at school. She has just had a sickness bug so is even thinner now than usual.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Fri 19-Apr-13 22:15:02


Registered dietitians are experts in diet and nutrition. They can provide advice on all aspects of eating and diet, including special diets for medical conditions such as a diet for someone who has coeliac disease.
The title dietitian is protected by law. This means that you are not allowed to call yourself a dietitian unless you are properly qualified and registered with the HCPC.
Registered dietitians are regulated by statute. The professional association for dietitians is the British Dietetic Association.


Registered nutritionists are qualified to provide information about food and healthy eating, but not about special diets for medical conditions.
The Association for Nutrition website is the professional body for nutritionists and holds the register of nutritionists who have received an approved level of training including:
registered nutritionists (RNutr)
registered public health nutritionists (RPHNutr)
If you decide to get advice from a nutritionist, make sure you consult one who is appropriately qualified and registered. They should have the letters shown above after their name.

Shattereddreams Fri 19-Apr-13 22:22:35

My DD age 6 - How many glasses of milk a day is enough as she is milk free? (oatly milk is calcium enriched to same level as milk) but there is no cheese or yoghurt in diet to top it up. I can work out mg of calcium in each glass of milk so how much is enough? (Cmp intolerant non ig)

My DS age 3 - he isn't a fussy eater, he eats anything if mood takes him, such as olives. But he is tiny and falling down centiles. He is too lazy to eat. He has huge tonsils, could this be a factor?

TurquoiseTranquility Fri 19-Apr-13 22:24:13

Are there any defined guidelines on children's sugar and salt intake at different ages? I know toddlers' daily salt intake should not exceed 2g, but surely it can't be the same for a 1-y.o. as for a 4-y.o.

My other question is, my 3.6-y.o. won't drink during the day (and then gets really thirsty at bedtime). He needs constant reminders if he's going to drink ANYTHING, and if I forget to remind him he could go for as long as 6-7 hours without drinking. Just putting a drink in front of him doesn't work. Of course if it's juice or something else sweet he'll have it, but I can't have him drink nothing but juice all day as that defies the point really. Is there anything I can do to get him to drink more?

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