Ways To Boost Your Child’s Gut Health

, Ways To Boost Your Child’s Gut Health

Gut health is a pretty big conversational ticket in 2019; maybe you’ve even already made a concerted effort to achieve a well-balanced tummy. But what about your kids? Nutritionist and mum of three, Kathleen Alleaume shares the best ways to boost gut health for the whole family.

Why is gut health important?

Looking after your child’s gut health from the get-go can set them up for a lifetime of good health. In fact, it’s widely believed that by the time kids reach school age, their microbiome – a fancy word for the trillions of bacteria that inhabit the human gut is already established, and potentially remain with them for their entire life.

The gut’s primary function is the digestion and absorption of nutrients from food, as well as the excretion of waste. The gut also has a major influence on the immune system helping children to fight off any bugs kids get exposed to. An unhappy gut in a child can lead to stomach aches, issues with nutrient absorption, irregular bowel habits, poor immunity, lethargy, sleep problems, or may even influence their mood. The trouble is, a child may find it difficult to explain what exactly is wrong and adults might just put it down to their behaviour.

How to maintain good gut health
Fortunately, there is much we can do to help nurture the tiny critters that reside in the gut – simply through our diet and lifestyle alone. The whole family can follow these simple guidelines.

This story was originally published in Kidspot. For gut health tips, click here.


Roasted Brussel Sprout Salad With Chili Yoghurt

, Ways To Boost Your Child’s Gut Health

Turn salads from side player to star attraction featuring the best of Spring’s produce.

Serves 2: 2403kJ (572 cals), 16g carbs, 51g protein, 31g fat and 11g fibre per serve.


  • 200g Brussels sprouts
  • 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 250g chicken breast
  • 2 tb lime juice
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 corn cob
  • 1 baby cos, roughly chopped
  • ½ avocado, sliced
  • ¼ cup pepitas

Chili yoghurt

  • ½ cup plain Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tb chipotle seasoning or chili flakes
  • 1 tb lime juice


  1. Preheat oven to 200 C. Trim bases of sprouts and halve lengthways.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add brussel sprouts, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, one chopped garlic clove and paprika, and toss until evenly coated.
  3. Spread on tray in a single layer. Bake for 10 minutes, toss, and bake for a further 8-10 minutes or until crisp and golden.

This recipe was originally published in Fitness First Get There blog – To see full method click here.



Juicing Vs Smoothies

, Ways To Boost Your Child’s Gut Health

Indeed two different beverages, yet each however, has distinct advantages and drawbacks.Let’s explore.


Juicing is a process that extracts water and most of the vitamins and minerals from whole pieces of fruits or vegetables, but leaves the fibre behind (aka pulp). Unlike juicing, Smoothies, include the whole fruit/veg, including the fibre, and when combined with other ingredients, such as milk or yoghurt – the outcome is thick and smooth.

Proponents say that you can achieve the maximum nutritional benefit from juicing compared to eating whole fruits and vegetables because the body can absorb the nutrients better and provides much needed rest to the digestive system. Some go as far as claiming that juicing can reduce the risk of cancer, but there is exactly zero scientifically supported evidence that extracted juices are healthier than the juice you get by eating whole fruits or vegetable itself, let alone prevent or cure any illness.

Does your digestion really need a break?

The notion that your digestion needs a break is nonsense. In reality, fibre helps with digestion and is the major reason that fruits and vegetables are good for the body. And, if you’re like most Australians, chances are you don’t know how much fibre you need each day – that’s 30g just in case you’re wondering. Yet most folks only eat about two thirds of the fibre they need. The evidence that fibre is associated with a reduced risk of some of our most widespread chronic conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and some cancers is strong.

What about weight loss?

If you’re considering a juice cleanse to bust the kilos fast, listen up. Beyond weight loss, juice cleanse companies would have you believe that flooding your insides with raw fruits and vegetables can wash away just about any health problem, with benefits including increased energy, bolstered immune system, radiant skin and, of course detoxification.

But the juice is cold-pressed, right? It doesn’t matter. The juice is still void of most of the fibre allowing the body to absorb the fructose (fruit sugar) more rapidly, which can wreak havoc blood sugar levels. Rapid fluctuations of blood sugar involved in juice fast can result in fatigue, rapid weight loss (most likely from water and muscle) and blurry vision. Certainly not recommended for people with diabetes. Eating fibre also contributes to a feeling of fullness that helps prevent people from overeating – a common culprit for weight gain. You’re simply not going to be satisfied if you drink your meals instead of chewing them. Besides, the idea that your body needs help ridding itself of toxins is false. The liver and kidneys are perfectly good filters to get rid of toxins, and exactly what they are designed to do after all.


Smoothie-lovers beware, too. Sure, smoothies provide the fibre, but when you combine whole fruit, dairy, yoghurt, chia seeds, muesli and protein powders (.. the list may go on), it equates to a complete calorie overload rather than a quick healthy drink on the run. What’s more, some store-bought or commercially made smoothies can include “hidden sugars” found in fruit juice concentrates, frozen yoghurt and sweetened juice, rather than whole fruit which can add up to 29 and 31 teaspoons of sugars and be close to 2000kj (478 calories) per regular serve – about the same as a full meal.

But it’s not all doom and gloom for smoothies and fresh juices – meaning you shouldn’t consider these refreshments ever again. Fresh juices and smoothies can be a great tool for following a healthy diet, largely because they can serve as an efficient way to consume much-needed fruits and veggies, however provided they’re integrated as part of a balanced diet of lean protein and whole grains. But when it’s taken to the extreme of limiting your diet to strictly fluids for days, if not weeks – it not only fails to be the magic cure they’re cracked up to be; it can also do more harm than good.

Chew on this

Whilst it’s always preferable to chew whole fruit and vegetables, if you do decide to try a juice cleanse, (perhaps to break unhealthy eating habits), choosing a vegetable-based one is a sure-fire way to reduce the calorie and sugar content. As for smoothies, it all depends on how they are made.  Stick to just 3 key ingredients, fro example fresh/frozen fruit, yoghurt/milk and flaxseed, along with choosing the smallest serving size and read the label carefully.

What do you prefer? A juice or smoothie?

Check out our green smoothie recipes in the 10-Days to a Healtheir You Reset Program



How To Master a ‘Cheat’ Meal

, Ways To Boost Your Child’s Gut Health

Got some serious fitness goals? Chances are you’re wedded to an equally serious meal plan. And while strict eating is a fast-track to results, it can also leave you dreaming about chocolate. For this reason, many health enthusiasts implement “cheating” – a diet time-out that lets you loosen the rules for a meal or even a day. While it may sound like you’re cheating yourself, a little lapse here and there can become your greatest weapon for success.

Don’t be fooled – dipping into cheat meals is a slippery slope. It takes discipline. So it’s best to set up some smart strategies.

Measure your might

It’s true that you ‘can’t out run a bad diet’ and many people overdo cheating to the point that all their hard work becomes undone. We all know that one biscuit can quickly turn into six, and mastering the cheat involves mustering some serious willpower. So always set strict guidelines and stick to them.

Turn cheating into treating

Let’s be honest, cheating has negative connotations. That’s why it helps to refer to them as treats. It’s a welcome reminder that you don’t need to feel guilty – you’re simply satisfying a craving and balancing out all your efforts. No one can follow a perfect diet, so the odd treat is perfectly acceptable.

Have a plan

Rather than see cheat days as an invitation to binge, organise it around a meal, or view it in a positive light, such as saying “I’ll be more relaxed about my dinner”. This will help the cheat to become an organic part of your diet plan. That way you’ll most likley view it as a positive reward to look forward to after a week of hard work. If you dive in head-first with zero guidelines, you’ll end up turning a cheeky dessert into a weekend of destruction.

This post was originally published in Fitness First Get There blog. To read the rest, click here.


Making Sense of Sugar

, Ways To Boost Your Child’s Gut Health

Confused about sugar? You’re not alone. There are over 50 words to describe ‘sugar’ which means interpreting food labels is no easy feat.

Why so confusing? Currently our food labels show total sugar, which doesn’t differentiate between the sugars that are added (by manufacturing) and ones that are naturally occurring, such as fruit or milk-based products – think fruit, dried fruit, yoghurt.

recent review to consider mandatory “added sugar” food labelling makes total sense and mean Aussies could finally have access to information about how many “empty calories” are in processed and packaged foods soft drinks and packaged foods. For example, if mandatory labelling is enforced consumers would see 16 teaspoons of added sugar on the label for a 600 mill bottle of Coca-Cola.

What About “Healthy” Foods?

Food like yoghurt and breakfast cereals can contain beneficial nutrients that we need, such as calcium, B-vitamins, wholegrain and fibre, however some also can dish up whopping amounts of added sugar. To be on the safe side, look for ‘no added sugar’ on packs. 

As a general guide opt for less than 10g per 100g of or less than 25g per 100g of total sugar if cereal or yoghurt contains dried fruit.

How Much Sugar Are Aussies Eating?

The Australian Health Survey found that in 2011-2012, Australians were consuming an average of 60g of sugars each day, or the equivalent of 14 teaspoons of white sugar.

Not surprisingly, the majority of these sugars were coming from “discretionary” foods and drinks, such as processed foods and sugar-sweetened beverages.

Sugar in Disguise

if you really want to shy away from sugar, but confused about which alternative to choose? Here’s a simplified guide.

HONEY – Kilojoules per teaspoon: 92

WHAT IS IT? A liquid sweetener produced naturally by honey bees. Like table sugar, honey is made up of two simple sugars: glucose and fructose. Honey does contain more kilojoules than table sugar, but as honey is a little sweeter, you need less of it. Unlike table sugar, honey also contains very small amounts of nutrients, including B-vitamins, niacin, zinc, potassium, folate and calcium.

TIP: Honey is believed to have a number of health benefits, particularly antibacterial and wound-healing qualities. It is not suitable for children under the age of one due to the risk of contracting botulism.


Kilojoules per teaspoon: 92

WHAT IS IT? Sweeter than honey, agave nectar is also a combination of fructose and glucose sugars. “is syrup is derived from the Mexican ‘agave’ plant through intense processing. However, due to agave’s high fructose content, agave nectar has a very low Glycaemic Index (GI), which makes it diabetic-friendly.

TIP: Although agave is perceived as a healthier alternative to table sugar, agave is still a highly refined and processed sweetener, so best enjoyed in moderation.


These alternatives are plant derivatives that may be as sweet (if not more) as sugar but contain fewer kilojoules with minimal effect on blood sugar levels. Using sugar substitutes in place of sugar as part of a healthy diet may be useful for people concerned about their dental health, limiting their kilojoule intake or controlling their blood glucose levels. Some examples are as follows:


Kilojoules per teaspoon: 7.9

WHAT IS IT? Stevia is a natural and versatile alternative to other sweeteners, with no carbohydrates, minimal kilojoules and is over 200 times sweeter than table sugar.

BEST FOR: Sweetening hot and cold beverages. Add to your favourite fruits and cereals. It can also be used in baking as it is heat stable.


Kilojoules: range from 1 to 11 kilojoules per gram.

WHAT IS IT? Even though they are called sugar alcohols, they do not contain alcohol. Sugar alcohols are a type of sweetener made from natural carbohydrate found in fibrous fruit and vegetables. Common examples include xylitol, erithrytol, mannitol and sorbitol. You can cnd them in ice creams, chewing gums, so& drinks, baked goods, sweets, biscuits and puddings that are labelled as “sugar- free” or “no sugar added”. Sugar alcohols also have less of an impact on blood sugar levels and the taste is often sweeter than sugar.

BEST USE: Used to sweeten tea and coffee, and in baking.

CAUTION: Sugar alcohols can have a laxative effect or other gastric symptoms in some people, especially in children.

Looking for healthy snack low in added sugar? Satisfy your sweet tooth with these Oat, Banana and Chia Muffins

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