Over the years I have met a number of parents who have told me that they are unsure if the way they introduced solids was the right way, or they were unsure if their child was ready, or that they had received conflicting advice about when and how to take this very exciting step into a new stage of development for their baby. It is so hard as parents being presented with so many differing opinions from sources that we trust such as family, health professionals and friends and trying to do what is right for our children and our families. Read more

Food is Sensory

Food can be one of the most sensory experiences a child has every day. All senses are being used in tandem. Take for example, eating a bowl of hot chips; you are first introduced to the aroma of the chips straight from the fryer, and see the colour of the chips and the bowl in which it is presented. Picking up a chip, you explore the texture of the outer crust, the bumps of salt and the sensation of heat. Taking a bite, the flavours of salt, potato and texture all mingle in your mouth.

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There are many different nutrients that our body needs for good growth and development. A common nutrient that we hear about is iron; but why is iron important? This post will discuss the importance of iron for growing children, the key signs of iron deficiency and how to encourage iron intake in children with feeding challenges.

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Best High-Fiber Foods for Toddlers and Kids - Benefits of Fiber for Kids

It is common for children with feeding challenges to drink small amounts water, eat minimal fruit and vegetables and get stomach pains and constipation. Being constipated can result in pain when needing to go to the bathroom and low appetite, therefore reducing the willingness of children to try new foods. One nutrient which can help to help to improve constipation is fibre!!

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mealtimes at childcare; eating with kids

Prior to working as a Speech Pathologist and Feeding Therapist, I spent ten years working as an Early Childhood Educator in child care and as a Preschool Teacher. In these settings, food was provided, cooked by an in-house cook and shared by children at mealtimes.

Over the years, I met many children who found mealtimes really challenging. Read more

Learning to live with mealtime mess and the benefits in developing Adventurous Eaters.


Think about when you go to a restaurant and choose something new from the menu. It comes to the table and you are curious, you want to touch it, smell, and inspect it before you feel confident enough to taste it. Children use these same techniques when they are introduced to a new food for the first time. Because children’s sensory systems are still developing, they need to experience this new feeling and texture ALL OVER THEIR BODY. Children learn about their environment and the world around them through their senses, touching, smelling, listening, and tasting.

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Children's balanced diet; variety of foods

As a Dietitian, I usually talk with parents and families a lot! It’s important to gather in depth detail about a child’s preferred and non-preferred foods, quantities of food eaten, growth patterns, fluid intake and stool patterns (and the list goes on) to conduct a thorough nutritional analysis and provide practical advice. Finding the gaps in a child’s diet to help them grow is like a puzzle and seeing how our advice can fit the pieces together for a family is extremely rewarding.

However, being able to provide practical advice to children and see their independence in the kitchen grow brings a whole other element to my work as a Dietitian. Cooking and being involved in the kitchen can be a fun and exciting way to learn about new foods. For many of the children I work with, they often haven’t been involved in meal preparation and cooking before. As a way to ease them into the kitchen, I start by cooking a familiar meal with them, so that they aren’t overwhelmed by too many new ingredients. From there, we adapt the recipes to introduce new foods based on the food groups that are currently missing from their diet.

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sensory processing

Does your child have difficulty sitting still at the table during mealtimes? Do they require the I-pad or TV to be on during meals? Do they gag at the sight and/or smell of food?

If so, they could have challenges with sensory processing and would benefit from an assessment from one of our Lively Eaters Occupational Therapists.

To understand how sensory processing impacts feeding, we first must understand what sensory processing is.

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parents coping, children becoming worried by COVID-19, strategies for families, helping parents

Mel has taken some time to reflect and write on the simple pleasures we can ensure, to assist in the ‘new normal’ of day-to-day…… Read more

Fussy eating, out of my brand, specific brands, food packaging, only 1 type of chicken nugget

During these challenging and stressful times, the last thing you want to be thinking about it is ‘what would happen if our specific brand of food is out of stock’, left wondering ‘what is my child going to eat if this happens’.

Children can quite often become fixated on specific brands and packaging of food leading to repetition of these foods and refusal when new brands and labels are introduced. As parents we can also become rigid in only buying the brands we know our children will eat. Read more